After getting out of a physics class, my father let me know that my grandpa is in the emergency room and may have had a heart attack. Deeply concerned, I rush to get there and spend the rest of the morning with him. His pains were severe but he seemed to be fine for the time being. I was there with my grandmother, father, and great aunt. Eventually we’d been there all morning and were all getting hungry. Nothing much was going on and grandpa assured us that it’d be fine to go grab a bite to eat, so we went downstairs to the cafeteria. We got our food and sat down next to a table of younger nurses, roughly between the ages 25 to 35. This is where things get interesting.
Sitting just a few feet from them, I could overhear their entire conversation. My father was talking with my great aunt and grandmother, but I wasn’t very involved so I instead focused in on what these young women were discussing. Apparently two or three of them were single and looking for love. So, for roughly an hour I listened to these women discuss their preferences in men, their frustrations, and other things of that nature.
Everything they desire in a man can be summarized as follows:
1) Is he cute?
This seemed to be the primary factor in their selection process. So and so was so “hot”. “He is really good looking”. And “He was so hot”. Yeah, they said that a lot.
2) Does he have a job? Does he make a lot of money?
This was the second thing I heard stressed, over and over. Some men were sexy but they didn’t have good jobs. Others less so, but they were more reliable and brought home the dough.
There was a lot of talk about guys and their incomes with intermittent bursts of randomness stating their food preferences, television shows they like, and people they’ve met who are “weird”. Also, the younger women were assured by the older women at the table that if they wait to get married, their prospects would greatly diminish and they’d be left dating a lot of “weird” guys.
I silently stared at my grandma as I pretended to pay attention, all the while pondering this insider perspective into what the average woman my age is like. All I could think about was how I spend my days studying philosophy, thinking about the deep questions of life. I think about the sciences, the nature of consciousness, and the universe. Internally I struggle with issues of free will and whether or not a man and woman can truly love one another. Is any human love genuine or is the universe just going on its own? I think about vasopressin receptors, serotonin, and oxytocin. I struggle to define love, whether it is an act of will, a passion, or something else. How does that tie to the love of God? I think about unconditional love. What is beauty? And my mind goes on and on each night, pondering and thinking.
And then… it dawned on me… This… This is what 95% of women are like. They want a sexy man, with dark hair, and a muscular or athletic build. He needs to be adept at inane conversation regarding a wide myriad of useless things which are pretty much random in nature. And most of all, he has to earn money — the more the better. That is what most women want.
It’s like I was run over by a big truck. This is the world I live in. I’m superficially judged as a sexual object and then these selfishish creatures come at me. Before long I’m inside their minds and I can feel their thoughts. “C’mon ladies, maybe I won’t have to work anymore! Wish me luck! He’s kinda cute too!” That must be their line of thought.
Then I almost started laughing to myself. “Oh, you think the guys you’ve met working around here in the hospital are weird? Just wait until you spend an evening with me, talking about parallel universes, the nature of the self, quantum physics, and neuroscience. Baby, I got all kinds of weirdness that will put them to shame!”
But I shouldn’t have even played with the thought. The universe quickly responded and the situation got tense. These ladies’ conversation drifted to guys in the room and then eventually to me. They were interested, they discussed approaching me, and estimated my age to be 25. I was judged “cute”, or something to that effect. Oh nooo. How was I going to get out of this one? No. Geez. No, they are NOT talking to me. No. No way.
What do I do? Time to engage conversation with my great aunt. What do you talk about with an eighty year old woman? I don’t know, but it was time to talk, and about anything! It didn’t matter. My mouth needed to be moving, fast. Somehow we got to talking about her children, how her son has a PhD in chemistry and teaches at a university near here. Then she invited me to go fishing at her place where they have a lot of land and a big pond. She went on and on about all the fish and I thought, “Yes, keep going! Bass, cropie, blue-gill… Uh huh. REALLY! That’s great. I may have to stop by some time.” “Oh your grandsons fish there all the time? Must be nice out there!” Blah blah blah.
Was it working? Sort of. The other women had to go back to their shifts, but the interested parties were actually waiting behind. On no. No… Noooooo. There they were and I could see them from the corner of my eye. They were waiting, like jackals, hoping to make eye contact. They were even cute. Most men would’ve been all over that, but not me. I wanted out of there.
Then a miracle happened. Grandma finished eating and I needed to help her into her wheelchair. And who was the designated wheel-chair pusher? Me! I’m FREEEEEEEeeeeeeee! Silent cheers erupted as I slowly wheeled Grandma Ruth into the hallway and back to Papa upstairs in ER. Surrounded by a protective cloud of my great aunt and father, I narrowly escaped. Thank goodness!
You know, things could’ve went differently had they just had real love in them. I waited to hear a woman in their group say, “I’ve always wanted real love. You know, find someone to grow old with. We see so much death here in the hospital. Life is fragile.” Another could have joined in saying, “I’m so typical… I’ve always wanted to find prince charming. Come sweep me off my feet!” Then the older women could tease them, tell them fairy tales don’t exist but then encourage them, “Well, it’s something worth striving for, isn’t it? Keep at it. There’s someone out there.” I was waiting to hear respect and appreciation, both for themselves and the men, but I never heard any real affection of any kind.
I was waiting to hear one of the older women say, “Things weren’t perfect when me and Jared got together. We were both young and we didn’t have everything set in order. But stick with it! Work with one another. Don’t let minor set backs tear you apart. You’ll get through them. It gets better with time.” Stuff like that. It never happened.
I would’ve actually stayed and talked with them. Who knows, something could’ve happened between us. But as they were? No way. They came across to me as money grubbing, selfish twits.