You’ve got two schools of thought. The first insists that smarts, like any other positive attribute, can only raise a man’s dating market value because women are hypergamous and appreciate a smarter man than themselves. The other school says that women are put off by men who are too much smarter than themselves, and that experience shows women fall for lunkhead jerks all the time, perhaps because these types of men are less introspective and more unthinkingly assertive about hitting on women.I agree with Roissy to a point. My perspective is that intelligence is a major plus in two circumstances. First, it is a huge DHV when dealing with women who place value on intelligence. These tend to be educated women in the 1 SD+ category; it's easy to spot them because they will mention a) their academic credentials, or b) how smart they are, within the first five minutes of meeting someone new. There is nothing that turns them on faster than being corrected or seeing a man intellectually humiliate someone. Second, it can be a very useful tool for both social and sexual dominance.
The science I’ve read on this subject has been all over the place, but the consensus seems to be that having some smarts is a net plus to a man’s desirability.
Where do I come down on this perennial issue? I stick by the Dating Market Value Test for Men at the top of this blog. A better-than-average IQ is beneficial, but the benefits to picking up women begin to dissipate past a certain degree of brainpower, because very high IQ seems to be associated with a lack of social savviness and other off-putting personality quirks.
That being said, one should never confuse the tool for the consequence of its use and that is the problem that most smart guys face. Most smart men think that displaying their intelligence, usually in some hopelessly dorky manner, will make them more attractive to women. This is not the case. Whereas women are attracted to muscles and strong bodies for their own sake, and not merely because they can indicate social and sexual dominance, the first group aside, they are not attracted to intelligence for its own sake, only when it is used to dominate others.
For example, if the science geek takes an arrogant attitude and openly disrespects less intelligent men as barely evolved chimpanzees, women will be attracted to him. Of course, he has to be able to back it up and few science geeks can. That's why men who are balanced, who honor the Greek ideal of developing mind, body, and soul, will tend to clean up with women, because there are few things that women find more attractive than a man who can dominate them and others both physically and mentally. However, mental dominance isn't as readily apparent as physical dominance, which is why this takes us back to the "chicks dig jerks" theme. A smart asshole doesn't hesitate to exert his mental dominance, whereas the average smart nice guy will do everything in his power to refrain from demonstrating it in any way. Needless to say, women will be attracted to the former, not the latter. Think of the "apples" scene in Good Will Hunting. That is a clear demonstration of mental dominance driving attraction; it may not be as much of a turn-on as a physical beat-down, but make no mistake, it's a beat-down and it's going to turn on most woman who witness it, especially if they happen to have any brains of their own.
It's not that women are any more interested in football games and motorcycles than physics and philosophy, it's just that they usually can't understand the latter.