Thursday, March 13, 2008

Question Regarding the Female Mind

Judging from the tremendous number of comments I usually get, I don't think this blog has much readership. But let's assume that it does, and let's assume that a good portion is female - or, "opposite person of the contradictory gender", as Basil Fawlty would put it.

Disclaimer: The following is a fictitious scenario. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead, especially any resemblance to me, is purely coincidental.

I, umm, had this dream the other night. There was this guy with this huge crush on a colleague of his. They don't really know each other, though. Anyway, one day he musters up enough courage to walk up to her cubicle to ask her whether she might be interested in a cup of coffee, or something. He then sees many other colleagues standing in the immediate vicinity. Not being quite as smooth as James Bond even at the best of times, he walks back to his cubicle, and takes the safe option of doing the asking through Internet Messenger.

To cut a long story short, he finds himself opposite the girl in the cafeteria a day or so later. Ok, the hard part is done, you might think. But you see, he doesn't know her at all. In the previous paragraph, I pointed out one area where James Bond has a lead over this guy. In this paragraph, let me tell you where he ends up second best to, say, Oprah Winfrey. He's not much of a conversationalist. And he doesn't know anything about her.

10 minutes of staring at his lap. And then, all of a sudden, inspiration strikes, "Say... where're you from?" "... (some city)" Now is the time to acquaint you with this guy's shortcomings in Geography. (I don't know whom he ends up second best to, here; Christopher Columbus maybe? But wasn't he the guy who set out to discover India and ended up on an island on the exact opposite spot of the earth? How about Marco Polo then?) Anyway, I digress. Point is, he didn't know too much about the city. He wasn't even sure which state it was in. He thought it best not to end up with a foot in his mouth by saying something stupid about a place he had no idea about, except sagely noting that a former colleague of his was also from the same city. She nods, but has that unmistakable air of one who is thinking, "So what?"

Some more silence. A bit of small talk maybe. He doesn't really remember. He's getting desperate - and a little bored. But you see, he really likes her. So, "You a movie buff?" Everyone likes movies. But while she talks about some, she isn't that interested. She is even mystified when he tells her about his huge collection of DVDs. Why would anyone want to waste so much money on DVDs, she wonders. How about F1? A definite no. Books, then. The trouble is, his tastes lie firmly in the pulp fiction region, and hers in non fiction. And he hadn't read any non fiction since his college-text-book days. But she does talk about this book that she's reading. And so the evening wore on. He has trouble remembering exactly how much time passed. Somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour-and-a-half would be his guess. He doesn't even remember most of the stuff he talked about. Nothing embarrassing, he hopes.

Not much contact between the two for a few days - not for his want of trying, I might add. You see, he still likes her. He doesn't really know why, though, as they don't seem to have much in common. He sidles up to her cubicle. Conversation as follows,

He:   "So, did you have a good weekend?"
She: "Yes."
He:   "Oh, erm... that's nice. That book you said you were reading - '...' - how's it going?"
She: "Yes."
He:   "Umm... I see. That's nice. I think I'll... you know... heh heh... well, I'll be right... you know... right over there... in that... in my cubicle... in case you need me."
She: "Great."

So, the question for the female readers of this blog is, was he right in concluding that there is a slight possibility that she may not have much interest in him, and that it was better to give up the whole thing as a lost cause?

By the way, even if this were not a hypothetical scenario (which it very much is), it still happened a long, long time back - when the guy in question was working for another company, I might add. No need to bother with questions like, "So, who's she?"

Ok, as long as I'm asking questions, I have this one other question (general - men can answer, too). MOVIE SPOILER alert. If you haven't seen "Casablanca", stay away! You've seen "When Harry Met Sally"? Well, they have a conversation at the start about "Casablanca". Harry says Rick did not want Ilsa to stay. She wanted to stay ("Wouldn't you rather be with Humphrey Bogart than the other guy?"), but he didn't want her to. That's why he put her on the plane. Sally says Rick did want her to stay, but she'd rather be with Laszlo, and become the First Lady of Czeckoslovakia, than be with a guy who runs a bar in the middle of a desert. ("Women are very practical - even Ingrid Bergman.")

Neither of which is what the movie strongly implies - that Rick and Ilsa wanted to be with each other, but gave up their love for a noble cause. ("The problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world".)

But as Harry and Sally grow older, they change their tune. Sally even says she couldn't have said what she had said about the ending. Is there some sort of subtle subtext here? I mean, apart from something stupid like, "Young people are too cynical and not romantic enough." Because if there is, I don't get it.

Sometimes, I wish I were the drinking sort. I could use a drink right now.


ak said...

Not a guru myself, but my two paisa on this - By the looks of it the conversation was heading nowhere. Common interests help but having few things in common is actually a good thing in a way (your friends should serve the purpose of sharing things in common). Hypothetically you should have tried a little harder to break the ice by finding likes/dislikes she has. Humour is an amazing thing to break nervousness and akwardness. Last but not least please be a little nicer :-)

Rohan said...

Hypothetically, yes... :D