Mark Thompson

A Real Mindf*ck: Marry Smarter, Live Longer

According to science, those who marry the smarter among us can stave off dementia. However, for my own sexual thirst, driven from intelligence, marriage doesn’t have to enter into it …


Call me pretentious, call me odd. Maybe I’m not right upstairs. But there’s nothing I like more in the morning than gripping two handfuls of bae’s Double D’s: Discerning Discourse. You boiyz know what I’m talking about, right? Eh?

Well, for those who don’t, let me school you. My current partner shares an aspect with all that have come before her: she knows more than me. Her particular area of expertise is science, something I have not the faintest clue of how it works. It’s interesting, because I’m visiting a country I know nothing about. Conversely, she claims she was drawn to me because I know books ‘n’ that. Happy families? Maybe. Do we have problems? For sure.

But there’s seldom a gap in things to discuss. Which is seemingly important.

You see, according to the whims of lab-coated digital findings, those who choose their partner based on what’s upstairs versus downstairs tend to live longer and are less likely to succumb to a condition that scares the living tripe out of me: dementia. Side note, I don’t fear death; I do fear mental collapse, falling into myself, transforming into a raving paranoid mess, unable to define the features of those who love me the most. No thank you.

The findings were charted by a man from Aberdeen, Lawrence Whalley (who happens to be an emeritus professor of mental health at the College of Medicine and Life Sciences at the University in that town; bias?), who claimed, in what one can safely assume was a graveled whimsical brogue, that “the thing a boy is never told he needs to do if he wants to live a longer life – but what he should do – is marry an intelligent woman. There is no better buffer (to dementia) than intelligence.” Och, aye.

My family is from Dundee, so I can poke fun at the Scots, but clearly one can rise to Professor in Scotland on the back of homespun-dated anecdote. What if I wanted to marry an intelligent man? Eh? Moving on. The study itself focused on the differing lives of identical twins, discovering the different mental health between those who married smart and those who married the … and I’m reaching here … the aesthetically pleasing beau who didn’t challenge them mentally.

The long-held theory of defeating dementia is an effort to keep the brain busy when your body grows limp, usually taking the form of crossword puzzles or casual quantum physics. Standard. However, consider the findings of the study and indeed the intelligent spouse as a puzzle that tries to figure you out. For 40 years. Yes, it could be taken as tiring, but it’s better than that other option. For further learning, please consult the extremely grating Michael Haneke film Amour.

Another bone of contention is the question of marriage. It doesn’t have to really enter into the discussion. Who says you can’t flit between one large brain and the next? Size matters, after all. Plus, it’s not cheating, it’s using. Everybody does that. But I’ll let you do your own research. Then call me.




Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson lives in regional NSW working by day in an accounting firm, and by night lives and breathes being a food and wine snob. He hopes to one day be a food critic or at the very least, meet Maggie Beer.

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