Max Patch, off the AT

[Close Encounters of the Awkward Kind]

And other adventures in several Southern cities. Being the personal blog of an introspective, green physicist.

Today is [February 21, 2010]

[invisibility rant]

Sometimes you know right away when you're not a person who matters.

And that's okay, because it's not like you're going to be the center of attention all the time, as I've tried for years to explain to an otherwise good friend of mine from elementary school.

But yeah, sometimes, you might as well be invisible. Like when you're at an APS meeting, hanging out with the girl you met over email and are rooming with at the conference hotel to save money, and hanging out too with some random guy she met on the way. They are laughing and talking about things you love talking about, things that, this being the American Physical Society, are engaging and interseting, and yet, as far as random guy is concerned,you do not exist. No eye contact, no acknowledgement of conversation input. The girl is trying to talk to you and him equally, but he is sidetracking, every time, back to her.

Is she oblivious?

Not if she thinks about it, I bet: girls, being socialized to be socially savvy and all, are usually pretty perceptive about these things.

Does she care? Not really. She's not single and isn't shopping for a life change. She'll take the attention though, as would most people who are human.

Why do I care? It's not like I'm looking, either.

I dunno, it's just one of those things, and it happens to me quite a lot. Or rather, there seem to be certain girls that the reverse happens to, and I'm often the witnessing sidekick: guys these girls don't know at all are drawn to them, and will ask them out after knowing them for no more than two hours. The girl gets to be flattered but inform her suitor that sorry, she already has a boyfriend. Yes, this happens even at American Physical Society meetings. Maybe especially so.

It's not that I fail to understand this, because human attraction is one of those endlessly interesting things. It's just that this has never happened to me, not once, and like anybody else, single or not, sometimes our egos get bruised. Not enough make-up, boobs aren't big enough (the father of an ex-boyfriend of mine actually told his son that, about me, and the ex-boyfriend decided that was worth telling me), too much acne, not outgoing enough, I don't know. That was my entire high school friendship with a girl who went through more boyfriends in one year than I can count on two hands; that was my observation, (perhaps understandably), of some of the female staff and female visitors of Boy Scout Camp. There are certain girls, and I don't understand what it is about them, but males who would otherwise be strangers throw themselves in their path in a manner that is depressingly transparent.

I don't really want that kind of attention, or at least, there are a lot of practical reasons not to want it. Exept when I'm trying to have a conversation with two strangers at a bar at the American Physical Society meeting, two people whom I'm destined to spend the next three days with, and one of them happens to be male and not interested in sharing his conversation with anybody in the room but one person. It's also highly annoying when a male friend of yours starts doing this, especially when you're trying to talk to him.

On a slightly-related sidenote, you hear people talk about how girls always overlook the geeks to go after the handsome jerks, how the geeks would make great life partners because they are kinder and sweeter and more understanding.

But it's not like the sweet and sentimental male geeks aren't salivating equally over that package of beauty and femininity that we're all so willing to promote and try to morph ourselves into. They success of such fake video game dating services in Japan attests to this.

Black Mountains