Top 10: Ways to appear intelligent
1. Say nothing. Cowboys realised this one ages ago. To put it simply, if you keep your mouth shut in all instances and decline to engage in any debate/ discourse of any description, people will assume you are intelligent. Even if you are, even if you’re not. The psychology of this is simple. Talkative people, by virtue of the fact that they can’t seem to prevent every little thought (no matter how trite) from escaping their lips, give the impression that they are relaying literally everything they know. Conversely, the silent enigma is left as a mystery. We can only wonder at the rare gems of wisdom lurking behind that enigmatic exterior. Coupled with a fixed stare and careful squint, your intelligence is a given. Even if you’re dumb.
2. Hate everything. This one’s easy. You see critics do it all the time. To hate everything, without discrimination, suggests that you have gone beyond ordinary levels of criticism into a higher realm of such detail that even the slightest flaws are a barrier to your approval. It’s basically the golden rule of being a connoisseur (connoisseur, n. a person who is especially competent to pass critical judgments in an art, particularly one of the fine arts, or in matters of taste). The magic of it all is that you don’t need to give specific reasons for hating everything – just saying so is enough proof that you are above it all. Love everything, you’re a moon-faced consumer; hate everything, you’re a genius.
If you’re not convinced, ask yourself this: whose opinions are most respected on reality TV talent shows? Simon Cowell, Craig Revel Harewood (or whatever his name is), et cetera. The mean, pantomime villain ones who hate everything. See.
3. Never exclaim. It’s very, very, VERY difficult to maintain an air of intelligence whilst throwing exclamation marks around. Especially in print. For example…
Never exclaim! It’s very, very, VERY difficult to maintain an air of intelligence whilst throwing exclamation marks around! Especially in print!
See? The exclamation mark should be the most rare of sights in the punctuation landscape, used only by poets in moments of extreme emotional intensity. An exclamation mark is designed for sparing use – anything more opens the door to exaggeration, frenzy and, yes, idiocy. Sorry to break it to you if you’re a fan of the shift 1, but putting an ! after every clause just makes you look over-excited. Avoiding them at all costs has the opposite effect (if you ask me!)
4. Smirk when you should laugh. You might not establish yourself as the life and soul of any particular party, but a wry smirk in place of an enthusiastic laugh will create/ maintain an air of intelligence, even if you’re thick. The smirk is a smug, subtle way of saying, ‘yes, I acknowledge the humour in this situation, but I’m slightly too refined for it to erode my self-control’. Warning: a good sense of humour should take precedence over wanting to appear intelligent. Only stupid people would think otherwise.
5. Eyes right. Try this and see what happens. In the middle of doing something – watching TV, eating a meal, having a conversation, having a poo, et cetera- pause, and move your eyes to the right. ONLY your eyes. Congratulations. You look intelligent. How this works? Looking away to the right is like a signal of original thought. Something momentous has entered your consciousness, of such magnitude that all other activity needs to temporarily halt. The power of this in the middle of a conversation is so severe that you could literally say anything afterwards and it will still seem profound. Have a go and leave a comment detailing how far you have risen in the estimations of others.
6. Ensure your personal effects are of good quality, but well-worn. Let me explain. It’s important to have a variety of good quality accessories – everything from clothing to cars. Cheap stuff suggests a lack of refinement. However, to keep these things in immaculate condition would negate these effects. Your brogues should be scuffed, your tweed jacket rubbed, your Jaguar with dented bumpers. These little dinks confirm that you aren’t so small-minded that the welfare of your goods takes precedence over living life. You are discerning, but not fastidious. And let’s not forget, we all know that clever = eccentric, eccentric = can’t look after yourself properly and can’t look after yourself properly = scuffed up possessions.
7. Sip everything. Think about stereotypical gulpers. Louts. Jolly buffoons. Children… Now think about the stereotypical sipper. Professors. Clergymen. Critcis… Sipping is the action of the thinker, the person who is pondering life at a measured pace and can’t rush. The sipper is never flustered. The sipper never misses any subtlety of detail. The sipper is intelligent. Add a frown for added effect.
8. Wear glasses. Maybe. This one’s tricky and I may be wrong. We all know that clever people wear spectacles. I mean, I’ve been wearing specs since I was five – roughly the same time that I decided I was cleverer than average. However, times have changed and glasses are by and large the fashion accessory of choice, at least in the current zeitgeist. ‘Geek chic’ now means that the connotations of wearing glasses are more fashion slave than quirky thinker, especially if they’re remotely on trend. It’s the difference between Stephen Hawking and Gok Wan.
9. Be a luddite. Now, as a quick disclaimer, this will only make you appear intelligent to people who are either a)very stupid or b)very young. A luddite (luddite, n. any opponent of industrial change or innovation) was originally the name given to a group of workers who wilfully destroyed new technology which they believed would steal jobs from manual workers. The word has evolved into a colloquialism for any person who is ‘anti-technology’ (you probably already knew all that). Opting to be a luddite (shunning mobile phones, computers, microwaves, teleportation devices, et cetera) is a lazy way of stating your mental superiority to everyone else. You don’t require the convenience of technology and, moreover, your head is too full of subtle literary allusions to squeeze in the specific machinations of using an iphone. Yep, you look clever. (But you’re really just backwards.)
10. Commentate on trailers. At the cinema, if you want to come across as the most cleverest person in an eight-seat radius, say as much as you can about as many trailers as you can, as loudly as you can without being obnoxious. Comment on the new releases, say where you’ve seen each actor before, scoff at the action movie trailers, spin your anecdote about the origins of Pixar, roll your eyes at Hollywood excess, compliment the cinematography, reminisce over the days before they used to show adverts, anything. All of this activity will emit healthy signals of ‘oh, aren’t I clever?’ Go for it.
11. Have a cavalier attitude towards grammar. Any pretentious person will tell you, don’t worry about the details. If the essence is true, the job is done. Yeah you might split your infinitives, leave main clauses open, or just plain get the punctuation wrong. But you know what? That just confirms your true genius. Only a stickler for rules could ever be precious about grammatical accuracy – show how lofty your thoughts are by rising above it all!