31 May 2009

Men--vain or illogical?

Why are men so damn vain? But before we ponder this, here's a GRE math question:

Marsha, a half-time student who works full-time, does not have a lot of free time. She told her friend Fred that she did not have time this weekend to do dinner, because she was studying for exams. Which of the following activities would Marsha most likely agree to, if Fred were to ask her to join him?:

a) A study-break that involved getting frozen yogurt on campus (~30-40 minutes)
b) a casual dinner at a Thai place (~1-1.5 hours)
c) formal sit-down multi-course dinner (3+ hours)
d) dinner and concert or opera in the city (~6-7 hours)
e) Going to see the Ring cycle

But to return to the question of vain men who think d is the answer. . .

Ok, it's not that I'm not interested in you. But I have too much going on right now to have the energy to pursue this. People really don't seem to understand this. Really it baffles me, b/c my gender seems to get the whole "sorry, I'm too preoccupied to hang out right now" thing. I sure as hell get it. If someone-- friend, love interest, etc. told me, "hey, I'm going to be busy these next few weeks and might not have time to hang out much", I'll call or email to check up on them-- maybe invite them for a quick tea or something, but otherwise, give that person space, until they are done with whatever they need to do. But guys. Eh. Why do you people not get it? Also, if I don't have time to do dinner with you, why, why, why do you think I have time to go see a 3-hour opera with you? In the city? Really. I DON'T UNDERSTAND YOUR GENDER. Because you're not the first guy who has done this-- which might mean that I'm being too subtle. But I think I told you very point blank, that I'm going to be preoccupied till my classes are over and that I'd have more free time mid-June-ish (which is now a lie, b/c now, I'm scrambling to move).

It's flattering and endearing and all, but I just don't have the time/energy for this right now. And ok, maybe I'm also slightly not as into it either, b/c if this were Mr. Guy-I-have-a-mad-crush-on, I'd try to find some time. For dinner, though. However, as I've mentioned, I'm juggling school and work, am trying to move in less than a month and now, I'm sick and miserably behind (to the point that I'm blogging). And we've already established that my brain cells can only handle two things at a time and I'm currently doing 3.5.

I don't mean to sound ungrateful or curmudgeonly (though of course, we all know that "I don't mean to do X is a signal that X will happen. . ..), but I don't understand how we went from "Sorry--I'm kindof tied up for the next few weeks till mid-June; but I'll have much more free time to hang out and stuff once classes are over" to "Wanna go do opera and dinner in the city with me?" If I weren't dealing with a move, and the end of the quarter and finals and final problem sets, then the answer would probably be a yes. But I tend to be very one-track-minded about my time and things that need to get done (studies, learning choir music, etc.) and get protective about my time, especially the more people pester me about it.

Or maybe I'm commitment-phobic, b/c he was fine when he was just another dude in my Tai Chi class. (Note: it may or may not actually be a Tai Chi class. But this internet is a small world, thanks to the power of Google, so if I write Linda's Pole-Dancing Studio, there's probably a higher possibility of someone in my class actually landing here. So pole-dancing, Tai Chi. . . it's all the same. Oh, except the partnering up thing doesn't quite work with Tai Chi. Hmm. Well, no matter. Just humor me.) We partnered up a couple of times and got along, so we exchanged emails. I should've figured out then that that was a sign of interest. Again, it's not that I wasn't interested in him, but if I'm taking classes, I hate that I'm like this sometimes, but the class and learning the material pretty much trumps everything else in my life--including even work.

Anyway, he asked me out to dinner a few times, and actually, each time, I legitimately couldn't, either b/c I already had plans or 3 out of the 5 nights a week (1 night a week, we go to the Tai Chi class, which leaves me one night a week to leave open for dinners, etc.), I actually have to work really late, to make up for the time spent in class. Then weekends? I hate when people start asking me minute details of my schedule, but I can honestly say that most weekends I've spent 80 percent of it working on school work. One weekend I played in a BANG, which meant staying up till 3 a.m. every weeknight to finish enough of the problem set so I can play guilt-free for six hours, and another weekend, I went out of town to see my friend's newborn, and 2 of the weekends, I helped a friend who was moving into her new house--but other than those aberrations, my life revolved around problem sets and exams. But I didn't want to keep saying no, so I finally had coffee w/ him one evening after Tai Chi class so I could tell him I'm-not-not-interested-but-I've-got-too-much-going-on-right-now; why-don't-we-revisit-this-in-3-weeks sort of thing. I thought he finally got it, b/c the every-other-day emails finally stopped. But no. I don't have time for a local dinner, so now, I suppose I have time to go to an opera and do dinner beforehand in the city.

Men. Sigh. Why are you people so damn illogical?


Danny Liss said...

Because it's a nothing-to-lose proposition. And if you happen to only like, say, grad students or accountants, there's a potential for a high payoff in the end.

Granted, I know enough not to ask super-busy girls to go an hour away for an opera, but if there's a concert I think she'll like, I'll let her know, and then when she can't do it, I'll ask someone else. She only has to be in need of an escape once for it to work. Meanwhile, I'm doing my Griselda routine so that once the semester is over, maybe we'll go out then.

Of course, I'm smart enough to know that this routine doesn't lead to relationships. (And the only relationship that ever did result from it a.) was mediocre to begin with and b.) ended right on schedule on September 8.) However, my persistence has paid off in many friendships that I wouldn't have if I'd just "gotten the hint." And yeah, there are certain times of year when I don't get to see them, but I still enjoy spending time with them when we both have the time.

So it's only vanity to the extent that believing that anyone would want to spend time with you is vanity, and it's only illogical if you've set an unattainable goal.

[I can't speak for Mr. Pole-dancer, though; only myself. But since the topic is "Men: Vain or Illogical," I figured I'd show the work for one man.]

Danny Liss said...

P.S., the only thing I like more than asking out girls that have no free time is answering other people's rhetorical questions!

anzu said...

Ha ha. Thanks for your thoughts. I still think that it's illogical to ask someone who already told you that you won't have time for another 2 weeks--whether they want to go see a 3 hour opera in the city--which, let's face it, is never just 3 hours. But you do this with people you already sort of know, yes? Or people you just met at your pole-dancing class?

Danny Liss said...

Actually, I do it with people I meet at parties or bars or whatnot, and I used to do it with people I met at the test center. I'm not big on Pole Dancing (though maybe next May I'll give it a shot).

Sator Arepo said...

Hi anzu!

Is it stupid to point out that passion is, by nature, not reasonable? Danny's solution, while elegant, supposes a logical motivation for such actions. Whatever rationalization is done to make them seem reasonable is but a patina over the passionate kernel of the action, which is very sweet but inconvenient for you at this time.

Eh, an alright problem to have, as problems go. Nice to "see" you,

anzu said...

Passion might not be logical, but one can go about pursuing it in a way that yields him/her the most gain. If I tell you I'm mired with exams and don't have time to do dinner for the next 2 weeks. . . you're probably not going to get far, if you then come back and ask me if I want to spend 6-7 hours to go watch opera. (Opera itself is 3 hours or so, but the time it takes to go, find parking, come back adds 3 hours, if I'm going to SF. . ..