This isn’t even really a date story, but more proof that match percentages are not an exact science, even for making friends.
I had been talking to this guy (a 96% match) for maybe two or three days. Nothing tremendously deep: red pandas, Seattle weather, board games, Game of Thrones. All things I like (okay, I haven’t seen or read Game of Thrones, so I don’t technically know that I’ll like it, but enough people have told me that I will that I’m fairly confident). He asked me out (his words, not mine) for coffee or drinks or whatever for the weekend, but I cringed a little at the suggestion. I’m mostly looking for friends at this point, and I’m not generally comfortable enough to meet people after only a couple of days of conversation (unless it’s a snowy week in Seattle and I’ve done nothing but send messages and wonder what the outdoors looks like), which I told him. Instead, because he expressed interest in game nights, I invited him to one my sister and I were having over the weekend. He claimed to be on the same page in the friend department (a little odd after he’d asked me out, but perhaps doing some face-saving), and agreed to join. I’m glad I came up with this alternative, because otherwise I might have had to spend a few hours alone with this man.
Of course, he drove up to our house first, as I was digging through my car for a deck of cards with my ass sticking out of the open door. Not really the ideal way to meet anyone. I’m not great in caught-off-guard situations. They usually lead to more of my rambling. I mumble some words and lead him into our house. Luckily my sister’s in the kitchen and ready to do some talking. We played the “where are you from where did you grow up what do you do” game. He works in pharmacology, but the business aspects, not the actual drug making. He recently graduated with an MBA. I tend to get matched up with math folks, scientists, computer geeks, teachers, and occasionally creative types, so this was a new one for me. I now know why. I’m sorry if you are a business-type person – I’m sure some of you are genuinely nice people. But really, who wants be involved in the pharmacology business? I can see wanting to be the person in the drug store, filling prescriptions. That’s an important job! You’re helping people to stay or get healthy. You can go home feeling pretty satisfied that you are doing good for humanity (though unfortunately often must overcharge for it). But the business side? The drug business is a messy, gross world, with chemical compounds being priced up in impoverished countries, and with drug companies squeezing as much cash out of the patients they know rely on their products as they can. And I didn’t getting the impression that he’s a “get into the system so that I can help fix the system” kind of guy. He talked about hitting up an MBA friend to use his discount for a $1000 suit. Your potential suit costs about what I make in a month. Do you…want a cookie?
I was relieved when other people arrived, people I’ve met before and actually like. We could stop talking about suits and Sephora discounts. Our interactions took a downward turn from there. He picked on my sister for talking to my hamster. “Who talks to hamsters?” he asked.
“So…you can talk to dogs, but not hamsters?”
“Yes. Hamsters don’t have the brain capacity. They can’t understand you.”
“Well,” I said, “dogs don’t speak English.” Yes, many dogs can understand and follow certain commands. But if you have conversations with you dog, she can’t understand that you’re telling her how badly you want to strangle your boss, or how your friend needs to stop hitting you up for cash. We don’t expect them to. We talk to animals, to dead people, to objects – we’re not crazy. It’s just our nature.
Then we got into an argument about superman. I say that he’s one of the more boring superheroes (come on, his power is strength, and his weakness is…a rock?). He didn’t contest this, but further criticized Clark Kent’s lifestyle choices. “That’s not a very glamorous job, being a reporter,” he said.
“Really? That seems like a pretty sweet job if you can get it these days. It’s not an easy world for writers. And he gets to be aware of stuff that’s happening before the rest of the world,” I argued.
“Eh. Boring. And how can he live off that?”
“It’s…a legitimate job. Especially when Superman first came out,” I said. I grew bored of the argument. He clearly has little respect for jobs that don’t earn the big bucks.
Later, I was explaining that my undergrad university had “first years” rather than “freshman”, and he lashed out on that one, too. “What kind of stupid feminist thing is that?” he asked.
First of all, I consider myself a pretty strong feminist. I get frustrated when people (frequently menfolk) confuse feminism with feminazis, or with man-hating. We’re not a group of bra-burning, ball-busting bitches whose only goal is to emasculate men. And sometimes there are…gasp…feminsit men! His comment dissolved into a lot of eye rolling, face-palming, and sighing from the group (mostly me, I’m sure). While I agree that changing the name probably didn’t do great things for feminism, I recognize that language is both a powerful tool and litmus test for our biases. If we don’t like things, the words for them are negative. It’s not rocket science. Also, he clearly doesn’t understand the “I can make fun of my family but you can’t” rule. I know my school was sometimes teetering on the ridiculous side of liberal, but I have to defend it when others attack it.
He said a few other things over the course of the evening that generally turned me off. Philly is all a giant ghetto, while New York is the center of high culture. Don’t get me wrong – I love New York. It’s easy to navigate, it’s energetic, it’s got pizza. But Philadelphia’s not a bad place to be either. Yes, some parts of it are dangerous, and not great to look at. But some parts have art, music, theater, and general awesomeness. Also cheese steak. This just seemed like another snobby comment that was completely unnecessary.
And then he said something really, really stupid. Someone else joked, after I said a few particularly weird things, that I should see a psychologist. He asked, “which is the one who can prescribe stuff?” After I answered, he said, “oh, well that’s the important one, then.” Um…what? I’m a school counseling grad student. I’m essentially being trained to be a therapist. He was basically telling me that my job isn’t important because I can’t prescribe drugs. It was probably best, for his safety, that there were other people around, otherwise I would have strangled him. Does he know anything about the mental health field, or the purpose of therapy? Obviously not. So shut your mouth and only pipe in when we’re talking about pharmacology, Penn Sate fraternities, and expensive watches. Thanks for playing.