“I Don’t Know” Isn’t A Bad Thing


One of the chapters in the book “Think Like a Freak” talks about the 3  hardest words to say, in the English language:

“I don’t know.”

And they talk about how it gets worse the more educated a person gets.  One study had something like 96% of the respondents with post-graduate degrees who thought they knew more than they actually did about a subject.

Why does this happen? Well, they make many speculations – but the biggest thing?  There is a perceived cost for not knowing something – that not knowing has more to lose.  This leads to worries about reputation – not wanting to look stupid – etc.

I was reminded of this chapter while I was watching a video done by Mayim Bialik where she talks about Open Relationships.  While most know Mayim from the TV shows Blossom and The Big Bang Theory, Mayim also has a Ph.D in neuroscience.  I have enjoyed her website GrokNation where she writes about a lot of different subjects.  Even some of her videos have been very good.

But this one, about Open Relationships?

She should have just said, “I don’t know.”

And to be fair, she does start out saying, “I don’t get open relationships.”   I get that. I do.  Not everyone “gets” open relationships, but they are not for everyone.  That being said, she could have (and should have) stopped there.  Or she could have continued while talking to someone and asking that person about open relationships in order for her to gain an understanding.

But she doesn’t.

Instead, she goes down a very frustrating path.

She tries to justify her not getting it by making it a biological problem, a problem because it doesn’t exist in nature, and a problem because it’s just an excuse to have promiscuous, unprotected sex whereby someone is going to get that super gonorrhea.

Her arguments seem to “lean into” stereotypes such as “men will always want more sex than women, so women who believe they can have sex like men are not leaning into their biology”.

Also troubling is how many times she switches from open relationships to poly and back again.  But then again, she describes monogamy as not very nuanced from relationship to relationship which, if she is hung up on the biological roles of men and women in relationships – she clearly isn’t understanding that relationships are unique: monogamous or polyamorous or non-monogamous.

And the shame she gives out about having multiple sex partners.  You thought that super gonorrhea comment was a joke? I really wasn’t.  Hell, I know monogamous people who contract an STI from being a serial monogamist.  You can only do what you can to protect yourself – and even in monogamy, you may end up with the wrong partner who cheats and brings home an STI.  That has nothing to do with monogamy or non-monogamy.

In the end, she declares herself an old fashion girl who just will never get it.

Oh, Mayim, it’s clear you don’t get it – and it’s clear you didn’t do any research – and it is even more clear that you are not comfortable with the words, “I don’t know”.

I suggest you start there.

Let’s say it together: “I don’t know”.


Now, defer whatever questions prompted you to answer this question in a video to someone who does know.

You do not need to be an expert at everything.

In fact, I’m going to defer you to this woman – she kinda knows her shit.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sam says:

    I also love that site but I have found some posts are like that. She is very conservative and should stick to what she *does* know. Sigh.

    1. emmyrtws says:

      She is definitely more conservative than she leads on that she is. And that’s fine – she just needs to stick with what she does know as you suggest!

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