Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bad Date a Couple Days Late

The last time I was bemoaning my sheer lack of luck in dating, we were right smack in the middle of a dinner date that more or less resembled the Mad Hatter's tea party. Paul, my "date" was halfway down the table, chatting and buzzing and socializing with just about everyone EXCEPT me. I had had a conversation with some puffed up self absorbed dude who, as far as I could tell, did NOTHING. And did I mention (once or twice?) that everyone at this dinner had a PhD. Except me.

So after my conversation with the economist ended on a sour note, I looked to my right and left and struck up a conversation with the two girls on either side of me. Let's call them Amelia and Bedilia.

Amelia had a PhD in art history. (This dinner took place before my trip to Italy when I realized that if I had majored in art history, I could have traveled to Rome on an internship and could now be giving tours of the Vatican, looking at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel every day and getting paid for it!) This dinner took place when I heard "art history degree" and thought "useless"! Of course, Amelia did nothing to change this point of view.

Amelia worked at the Museum of Fine Arts.

"Oh, wow!" I said. "So, do you, like, put together exhibits?" No.

"Compose those plaques they have on the wall explaining the paintings?" No.

"Give tours?" No.

Amelia worked in the gift shop and behind the admission desk.

(Amelia and Bedelia had exchanged a knowing look over my head, like "she doesn't know how competitive the world of art history is") Hey, competitive or not, I was duly unimpressed. My friend's mother worked in the gift shop and behind the desk at the MOFA. As a volunteer. In exchange for free admission to the museum for herself and family members. No degree needed.

And what the heck was Bedelia doing, acting like she had an in on the inner workings of a museum? Her PhD was in something like marketing. (can you get a PhD in marketing? Or am I remembering incorrectly?) Anyway, Bedelia worked for some apparently super-famous person who I never heard of. And it was really really exciting. Because she made all kinds of contacts with other super famous important people.

"And what sorts of things do you do for your work?" I asked her.

Bedelia, the PhD graduate, got coffee and picked up dry cleaning for some super famous person. She got her car washed and bought birthday presents for her employer's neices and made appointments for manicures and hair cuts. Bedelia was a personal assistant.

Again...does this require a degree?

Why was everyone at this table so self absorbed when they were so boring?

Why hasn't one person at this table asked me what I do for a living?

And where the hell was my date?

I finally found Paul right around the time we were divying up the bill. (He paid. I figured it was the least he could do) And on the way home, he went on and on about how amazing this group of people were and wasn't I glad I got to meet them?

And then he asked me when I was going to go back to school.

Right around the time of our next date.


The Singlutionary said...

Wahahhhhhhhaaaa! I can so relate to this. As a future PhD myself, I find it odd that PhDs are so socially disabled. Last Fall I went to three PhD dates and it was awful. They were all nice but SO socially inept and kinda a big bummer. And ever since I started considering getting a PhD, I've been looking at my professors in a new light thinking about what it would be like to be their friend/colleague.

If you have a PhD, you've spent most of your life in school -- if they went straight through -- they've spent all of their life in the ivory tower. This can result in having little real world experience and ALWAYS being an authority of some kind.

This leads to some simple minded arrogance.

If/when I get a PhD, I will be 40 and I know that I won't really belong to the clique.

There are some really awesome PhDs. Special K (do you read her blog?) is one and then one of the Onelys has either a PhD or MFA.

But STILL. I know exactly what you are talking about -- an inability to talk about normal things or relate to anything outside of intellectulaism.

Anonymous said...

So, I guess the benefit to a PhD is that you can work a menial job and yet, somehow, feel superior? Cool! ;)