Why did the boys like dizzy girls and not smart girls?

When I was in high school, one of my best friends was a very intelligent girl named Lynn.  She and I were both good students, usually earning good grades and scoring near the top of our class in standardized testing.  Though I dressed up for school and had long hair, the jock-type boys made fun of me whenever I blipped across their radar for being verbally praised by a teacher (otherwise, being at best an average-looking girl, they never paid me any mind), and they called Lynn and me “lesbians”.  I was mortified and grossed out by that (this was before being gay was Super Cool) and totally baffled as to why being a smart girl equaled being a lesbian in their eyes.

Lynn got married within six months of graduating high school (and she’s still married to the same man today), but I went away to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where I made fast friends with a girl named Hollie who also grew up in a small town in Michigan.  We had an especially bonding moment one evening when I told her how humiliating it had been in high school to have boys call me a lesbian, and she told me she had experienced the exact same thing!  Hollie was petite and cute as a button, with waist length hair, but she had been a straight A student in a small town and was called a slut and a lesbian even though she never dated anyone.  Maybe this was a rural school thing  and it was different in the big cities.

When Lynn and I were juniors in high school, we got jobs at a fast food restaurant together.  The boys who worked there went to different high schools than we did, and Lynn and I saw this as a fresh opportunity to make some other kind of impression besides “smart lesbian”, an automatic disqualification for any romantic possibilities. So we decided to act dizzy – that’s what it was called back then when a girl acted sort of silly and dumb and helpless around boys.  I don’t think the word dizzy is used that way now, but I’m not sure.  However, I can tell you that the boys loved it when we acted dizzy.  They delighted in correcting our “stupidity” and telling us what to do and laughing at our airheadedness.  Lynn was quite pretty and scored herself a boyfriend via this method almost immediately and then dropped the act.  It makes me smile now at the memory of how fun it was as a teenager to act dizzy and have boys treat us with playful condescension.

I suspect that the boys didn’t actually want dumb girlfriends, but I don’t know for sure.  I think girls and boys do a lot of playacting at that age, trying out various behaviors to see how the opposite sex reacts.  But is this still the case today, or do boys like girls who act smart and competitive now?  I know this is the sort of story that drives feminists into a rage but I have to say that other than the embarrassment of being called a lesbian back then, it didn’t make me angry (and still doesn’t) that, all other things being equal, the boys preferred dizzy over brainy (at least initially), but it does make me curious.

I do not advise modern girls to act dizzy around young men. But then again, modern girls sometimes make a rather big deal about beating boys – whether it is with academics or in other arenas – and I am not sure how modern young men really feel about girls who act like that.  I do think it is feminist influence that causes girls to measure themselves against boys and make such a big deal of it when they beat them.  I suppose the best bet is to be a good student while being quiet and modest about it.

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27 thoughts on “Why did the boys like dizzy girls and not smart girls?

  1. Interesting story.

    Over here on the West Coast, we call it “ditzy”, not dizzy.

    One operative theory: they were defaming your sexuality in order to goad you into trying to prove that you weren’t a lesbian.

    Another operative theory, and not inconsistent or incompatible with the first: they felt threatened by your intelligence and resorted to name calling because of their insecurities. Attacking your sexuality was just a cheap, easy tactic that would be hard for you to defend against.

    As for myself, I cannot say I recall seeing this behavior. Certainly I for one never engaged in it. It is odd, really. A pretty and smart girl with long hair? Would have been drawn to that- not disposed to mock her.

    Was it only jock types who engaged in this?

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    • A pretty and smart girl with long hair? Would have been drawn to that- not disposed to mock her.

      It is odd for my friends Hollie and Lynn, given that they were both quite pretty. Personally, I was not especially hot. I have always considered myself average at best. That is why I took pains to dress up and wear make up and do my hair. It’s odd though because I did not have trouble finding guys to go out with in college or finding a husband. It was only in my high school even though I was not a social outcast; my junior year I dated a boy from another school that I knew through my mother’s church until he broke up with me, and my senior year I had my first Serious Boyfriend that I met at work (by then I’d left the restaurant and worked in a store). So I was datable…just not by the guys I went to school with, who had cause to hear teachers praise me…

      Was it only jock types who engaged in this?

      Mostly jocks, but not only jocks, used the “lesbian” slur. But all the boys at work really responded better to the “dizzy” behavior; we didn’t try it at school.

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    • Another operative theory, and not inconsistent or incompatible with the first: they felt threatened by your intelligence and resorted to name calling because of their insecurities. Attacking your sexuality was just a cheap, easy tactic that would be hard for you to defend against.

      That’s the same argument that feminists would use to defend men not liking strong independent women. Men are “scared” or “threatened” by a woman’s intelligence, independence, sexuality, or whatever else.

      Generally false.

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  2. It may be that this was a rural thing or a “back then” thing.

    The worst I ever got it was in my sophomore year. Unbeknownst to me, my English teacher entered a poem I had written in a state poetry contest, and I was one of the finalists selected to attend a luncheon at Michigan State University. The principal announced it over the loudspeaker during daily announcements, mistakenly stating that I had “won” the contest (I was actually one of half a dozen finalists from around the state).

    It doesn’t seem like much to us now, does it? But to a rural girl, it was a big deal, and the shock of hearing about it during morning announcements was too much for my fifteen-year-old nerves, and I promptly burst into tears. The boys were relentless for a good week after that; I got raked over the coals quite thoroughly.

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    • The boys were relentless for a good week after that; I got raked over the coals quite thoroughly.

      It’s interesting to me how I just phrased that, writing “the boys” as if it had been all fifty boys in my grade (I went to a very small school) when it was really only about 15 boys. Truthfully, I barely noticed most of the other boys. I don’t know if they noticed me or not; they didn’t say much about it if they did.

      When I was a senior, a boy in our class committed suicide, and none of my girlfriends and I knew who he was. We had to look in the yearbook to see if we could find a picture of him. My graduating class had fewer than 100 students in it. When someone says he or she feels invisible, he or she probably isn’t kidding. This boy was obviously invisible to us for some reason if we could look at him every day for years and not know who he was.

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      • It’s interesting to me how I just phrased that, writing “the boys” as if it had been all fifty boys in my grade (I went to a very small school) when it was really only about 15 boys. Truthfully, I barely noticed most of the other boys. I don’t know if they noticed me or not; they didn’t say much about it if they did.

        Was it the attractive and/or popular boys who mocked you?

        And I know that you consider yourself plain, but odds are that the other boys noticed you. We tend to, more often than not.

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  3. I can’t help with why the boys clled you a “lesbian” but. being “dizzy” must have been a good icebreaker at the restaurant. It allowed you to ask for help and boys love to be helpful.

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  4. Pingback: Why the boys like ditzy girls | Reflections on Christianity and the manosphere

  5. I think this may be a generational thing. I did very well academically in school and no boy wanted to come within 10 feet of me.

    Of course it could also be because I was bused to a neighboring school district to take advanced placement classes not offered in our hometown, plus I was overweight with bad skin.

    My eldest student is a straight-A student and science geek. As we speak she’s attending our state’s Med Quest program where high schoolers get to shadow doctors at a local teaching hospital and perform “surgery” on anatomically correct dummies.

    She has no problems getting attention from boys, including jocks, the tech-school program kids and those who are college bound. Then again, she doesn’t brag about her grades and she certainly doesn’t try to compete against her male peers although she is determined to graduate at the top of her class.

    The girls she hangs around with are also good students and they don’t want for lack of male attention either.

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    • Yes, it could be somewhat generational. I’m glad your daughter doesn’t act competitive. One of my daughters last year was constantly competing with a boy for the highest scores on everything from the MEAP to daily science quiz grades. She kind of had a crush on him, and I had to clue her in that informing him when she scored in the 97th percentile in math testing was probably more annoying that attractive. It’s like she had Hermione Granger syndrome or something. She’s knocked that off this year.

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  6. I think the term nowadays is “ditzy” as well, I thought that’s what it always was.

    Speaking as a young man (22 years old), there is a certain appeal to the Ditz. Not sure what it is, but I’ve hung around with the smart girls and/or the Christian girls but I always find myself drawn to the sorority girls. The big issue is that the Christian girls and the smart girls are boring, I’ve learned that smart girls are not as fun as a smart guy. My friends are very smart and I can have meaningful conversations with them about the sort of thing that interests me but smart girls just talk about school or God or other stuff that’s just boring.

    Ditzy girls are just ditzy and that’s fun. I won’t have a meaningful conversation with them but I’ll atleast have fun being around them.

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    • Hello Svar! It’s so good to hear from you! How’ve you been?

      I can see that dating a ditz would be fun, but wouldn’t it be tedious to be married to a stupid woman? Or maybe it would just always be fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s been a while, Sunshine! I’ve been doing well (I’ve been going to college for the last year) and apparently so have you. I thought you had given up blogging permanently and I’m glad you’re still around.

        As for being married to a stupid woman…. I could see it being boring and tedious but I think a girl could make up for being dumb by having a kind personality and being hot. The problem with smart girls is that I’ve noticed that not many girls and women are smart in a way beyond getting good grades. Hell, lots of ditzy girls get good grades.

        The sort of intelligence I value is the sort that I see in my male friends, one that involves critical thinking and the ability to make connections and recognize patterns which in turn leads to the ability to be able to talk about all sorts of stuff from typical mantalk involving girls and stuff we want to do to them to things like politics and religion. It reminds me of when Winston Churchill was told that he could not talk about politics, religion, or sex and he responded with “Well, what else is there to talk about?”

        That’s just kind of how it is with women. I’m not going to have a deep hours long conversation with one (atleast not one in the 18-22 range) about Spengler, Jose Ortega y Gasset, or St. Augustine regardless if she is smart or not. And if she’s smart it just seems she’s more likely to be uptight, prissy, prudish or even worse, completely humorless.

        What choice does a young man have? Smartness is a great quality but I’m willing to sacrifice it for things like charm, looks, and kindness.

        P.S. Do you still comment at other places?

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      • It strikes me that Svar is not saying that begin smart is bad, but rather that a lot of gals that have the aura of being smart don’t have that je ne sais quoi that makes a person interesting. I remember being in college and hearing young ladies talking about a similar thought–that they wanted a real man and not some hyper-serious Christian Geek. ™

        Feeling myself to be in that category, I was offended for a time, really, but after a while I got it.

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      • Oh, glad to hear you’ve been in school!

        I’ve been well, thanks. This blog is a quiet little place, mostly gardening and family life stuff with a bit of politics and “issues” posts thrown in here and there. I haven’t the time to run a busy site right now; we moved out to the country at the end of last summer and I got a new job, plus we’ve got puppies, a huge garden, and a million other side projects in the works. So I don’t comment much at present, but now and then I’ll say something at The Orthosphere or Donal Graeme’s place. I also comment here and there at Frank and Fern’s, Rural Revolution, IB’s and The Deliberate Agrarian, but not much.

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  7. I wonder if part of the attraction of the “dizzy” or “ditzy” person is that silly and scatterbrained require an object–you need to be interacting with someone in order to be that. Same thing with stupid male behavior–it requires an audience. Personal interaction is sexy, no?

    (by the way, the older term is “dizzy”, which apparently derives all the way back from Old English–the language, not the malt liquor. It originally meant “foolish” from the Old German “duetsig”)

    But that said, smart and not one of the athletes or otherwise popular people can be brutal, especially if you’re all in the same classes–I remember my plight was reduced when I was in classes that you didn’t need to graduate and the burnouts mysteriously weren’t there. I see it in church as well–our old church had mostly burnouts who really ought to go to trade school or hourly jobs, and the interactions are completely different than with the college bound kids at our current church.

    Bringing things full circle, our kids also interact with the college bound kids–raising the question of “would they have interacted more with the kids at our old church if they’d tried to be dizzy?” All I can say is that I’m glad they don’t quite know. :^)

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  8. The dizzy girls can seem more playful and approachable and that can help ease some of the awkwardness that a lot of boys have in high school. I don’t think the boys necessarily have a lesser interest in the smarter girls, they just pose a little bit more of a challenge that can require more advanced tactics.

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  9. 1. In general, we don’t pursue what we want; we pursue what we are comfortable with. It is a rare person who will intentionally pursue something that makes them uncomfortable long-term.
    2. How likely is it that a person of “average” intelligence can understand someone of “exceptional” intelligence? If you can’t understand them, how likely is it that you will be comfortable with them? (Question asked from a guy’s perspective. I realize that girls have a different perspective.)
    3. It is maybe possible that desire can arise in the face of extreme discomfort. But how likely is it that the uncomfortable person will have the fortitude to act on that desire? (That is: he has the hots for you, but you will never know because his perception of your intelligence makes him too uncomfortable to ever approach you).
    4. Others around here have stressed that desire cannot be negotiated. But, based on Points 1-3 here, it is also true that desired cannot always be acted upon. (That is: I am powerfully drawn to you; but the closer I get to you, the more uncomfortable I become because of my perception of who you are, smarts-wise. Ultimately, that increasing level of discomfort discourages me from ever closing the gap between me and you.)
    5. Points 1-4 are what is behind the adage “Don’t get above your raisin’ “. If people generally pursue what they are comfortable with, rather than what they want, the best relationships are bound to be between two people who are comfortable with each other (that would imply similar backgrounds and levels of intelligence). For guys in general, that means they will be most comfortable will a girl they perceive to be at or below their intellectual level (talking about long-term relationships here; not one-night hot and heavys). If you see a guy with a girl who is seriously more intelligent than he is, you can be sure it is only because he is comfortable with that. So, in the sense of pursuing what you are comfortable with, that guy is not really an exception to the rule – because he is comfortable.

    It seems to me this discussion is not really about guys who don’t care for smart girls. It is about guys who feel free to bully smart girls. Why do they feel the need to bully at all seems to be the real question. Which is a different question than why (some) guys seem to not like smart girls. This last question is answered by the observation that, over time, age seems to call to age, and like seems to call to like – as discussed above. But what makes a guy feel free to bully a girl, smart or not? (Probably depends on whether they had sisters or not, and the kind of father they had.) And a related question: do girls end up desiring guys who bully them (the “the jock-type boys”)? If “yes”, why?

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  10. I’ll hazard a guess you and your friends lacked charisma. Intelligent girls with charisma tend to have a playful, exciting, mischievous way of behaving they may not break rules but they will toy with them. Its very attractive and very exciting. Dizzy or Ditzy girls are more approachable easier to get along with then many “smart girls”. Just smart girls tend to follow rules and act as straight man with jokes and teasing, the charismatic ones aren’t necessarily approachable but they are more playful so will be more likely to join in jokes and teasing.

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  11. Smart girls can be harder for young guys to relate to and when someone diffrent , usually they are treated less then well* But honestly adolescents are not the best at thinking nor are the the most pleasant company.

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  12. A little late to this, but I think there’s two issues to separate apart first.

    1) The collection of young Men you interacted with at your school.
    2) The generally easier time Men have dealing with “ditsy” (or “dizzy” or “ditzy”) young Women.

    On the 2nd issue, I don’t think it’s terribly hard to understand. “Fun” and “adventurous” are traits in other people that we want to deal with. No one goes around thinking “I want to be friends with the pedantic jerk over there”. In that context, young Women that show those traits are simply easier to approach. (Plus, the only way you can show those traits? Actually intentionally interacting with the young Men. This allows a young Women to make herself approachable and plays to the “Men protect Women” instinct.)

    On the first issue, the story seems mostly confined to a small group of the generally attractive young Men within your high school class. So the real question is actually this: what was your relationship with the other young Women in your class? I would put good odds that is where the “lesbians” thought originated from. Because some of those young Men dating other young Women within your class, and eliminating competition is a class trait of young Women in high school.

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  13. Interesting essay, Sunshine. It reminds me of a passage I read in Gone With the Wind. It’s late, and I’m not going to try to find it right now but it said something like this: In order to catch a husband a girl must be silly, scatter-brained, fun, and flirtatious. After marriage she must have the intelligence, grace, and energy to run a household of one hundred plus people, be kind and charitable, and bear children.

    So back then (1930’s reflecting on 1860’s) men expected the ditzy act to drop after matrimony.

    It seems to me this act may be a sign of submisivness to the man. In high school I did notice the boys paid me much more attention after I stopped being a good girl (with good grades) and started hanging out with the wrong sort. I met my husband when I was 16 and he was 20, so the age difference dictated that I knew less than him. We’re fairly equal as far as IQ, but maybe part of the reason we!ve done well together is that he had to teach me things like how to parallel park.

    Some late night thoughts! Your puppies are adorable, by the way!

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  14. Pingback: Why Christians need to be able to spot manipulation in the opposite sex. | The Sunshine Thiry Blog

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