The XX Factor

Smarty Pants

I’ll be so glad when Elena Kagan gets confirmed (I hope she doesn’t wear that dreadful frilly lace thing at her neck) and we can spend more time analyzing her opinions than her love life. In the meantime, Ruth Marcus today in the Washington Post has an excellent column about how Kagan’s intelligence and ambition may have reduced her dating pool of available men. Marcus-who, like Kagan, went to Harvard Law School in the 1980s-said she doesn’t think the men there were put off by equally smart women, but perhaps they were intimidated by smarter, more accomplished women. If that’s so, I think it’s going to change. I know several couples in which the women outearn their husbands, and the husbands seem nothing but thrilled and supportive (my husband’s fervent wish is that I could be one of these women). Kagan is 50, and my impression is that for the generation behind us, who has the “biggest” career isn’t going to be that much of an issue. (Young DoubleX ers, what do you think?) Possibly the shift has to come more from the women, who may be programmed to date “up,” but who will realize they are limiting themselves if their husbands have to have equally prestigious, remunerative careers.