Two recent suitors have prompted me to examine some of the complexities of dating within science.
Let me first put out this little fact: Of all of the female professors I know right now, each one of them has a mate who is also a professor. They are hired in tandem, usually in different departments, although not always. There are two who have husbands who are high school science teachers. My fellow PhD officemate is married to an archeaologist. The list goes on. It is one big inbred family.
It would seem that although women have climbed the academic ladder a little bit, they are playing something of a 3-legged race to the top.
So, as a woman dating in her early 30s it would seem that the best path forward is to find a man in academia as well. I did – Mr. Faraway is an academic, in a very similar discipline. Kirios is a PhD student in a similar discipline. And the cute Brazilian who tried to pick me up last week (codename Kalo) on the academic path.
It is obvious why I’m attracted to men in my field. I have almost always dated guys who do something similar to what I do. It is sexy to be passionate about the same thing. Doing a phd requires almost exclusive passion for your topic.
Next: these guys seem to be attracted to me as well. Many guys in my field get kind of gooey when we are talking science. It is a turn on for them, too.
In the end, though, Kirious and Mr. Faraway and now Kalo all have the same thing in common – while they like my brains and ideas in the beginning, after a little bit it is really hard to tell whether a guy likes you for your original ideas or for you. I mean, the me that isn’t modeling some crazy physical process. Mr. Faraway has gone so far, in his lowest moments, of saying “I just wish you were an English major.” My smarts are intimidating, but also a turn-on. So what to do? If I play stupid, I lose. If I reveal my intellect, I lose. It is a catch-22.
I’m sort of flattered that I’m “worthy” of their intellectual curiosity, but it is a cruel trick that my intellect just can’t keep a man, it seems.
Kalo invited me to his birthday party, which was fun and spiritual and lovely. We *almost* were making out by the end. But the next day I got a text asking about a reference we had spoken about, and that was that. Oh, and he wanted to introduce me to his advisor. What??! Seriously?
There are new ships on the horizon – a new bus seems to arrive every couple days like clockwork – but how to negotiate the intellect problem? Where is this nice secure man for me? Is it just a game of chance or can I have a say in the outcome?