J. Brad Hicks (bradhicks) wrote,
J. Brad Hicks
bradhicks

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Too Good to Be True

becka_kitty sent me a link to Sunday's Dilbert cartoon with the exasperated question, "Why is my life like the comic strips?"

Silly girl. Allow me explain, as I did to her in email, for the benefit of anybody else who identified with the female character in that strip rather than identifying with Dilbert and Wally, as I did. Sociologist Larry Davis wrote a briefly famous book a few years back called Black and Single that, in passing, summed up the basic concept nicely as "romantic market value." His original point was that for a lot of people who were complaining it was hard to find someone willing to date them, the real problem was that they had an unrealistic idea of who their romantic peers were, and were trying to get dates with people who would never, ever, in a million years settle for someone like them.

Except for very briefly at the end of the dot-com bubble, flabby mildly autistic nerdy social outcasts have had a very low romantic market value. Which means that when we're approached by someone who appears to have a high romantic market value, it normally means that one of two things have to be true. Either there's something non-obvious wrong with her that lowers her romantic market value, and we don't know what it is yet. Or else she's up to no good, out to take advantage of our lower-status position.

That's not to say that miracles never happen. That's not to say that there aren't some gorgeous women out there, even women gorgeous by society's (both literally and figuratively) narrower standards, who are seriously enough into smart, nerdy guys to look past general unattractiveness or non-standard social skills. But no nerd in his right mind survives to my age, let alone Wally or Dilbert's age, without learning not to take that for granted. (Me, I hope for the broken ones. I'm willing to put up with, and even enjoy, a certain amount of insanity. I've only had the "out to get me" thing happen once.)

(As an aside: I'm continuing to update the list of courageous versus cowardly American newspapers in yesterday's journal entry, just FYI. And it's wearing out the finger I use for the scroll-wheel on my mouse doing so, I say with a wry grin.)
Tags: humor, personal history, philosophy, sex
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