Hey, so I know that since I broke up with Moni I haven't really talked about what is going on with me as far as dating, but that's because I decided to take a break for a bit. Sometimes you just need to simplify your life and get some perspective on what it's all about, ya know? Anyway, so a few weeks ago I met someone new, and we went out on our first date last night. Her name is Sophie, and I have to say that she has really surprised me with how wonderful she is.
When I first met her I really didn't have any thoughts about dating her. On my school website they were advertising that another local school, the University of Greensburg, was looking for research volunteers. Usually I don't go in for that sort of thing, but it was part of some neuroscience study, which is an area that I think will be making really huge breakthroughs pretty soon, and have a hugely positive impact on humanity, so I decided to sign up.
Sophie was running the study. She is not only a professor at UG, but also the chair of the Cognitive and Neuroscientifical Research department. Her main area of research is intergender relations and how various neuropsychological factors play into them. I guess she has sort of broadened her interests since graduate school, but she did her doctoral dissertation on how the scents in various sexual acts in sub-zero temperatures differs from the scents in those same sex acts in tropical climates, and how that impacts our perception of the other person not only as a lover, but also in how it has a profound impact on how we relate to them when it comes to gender. Fascinating stuff.
Anyway, so I went in a couple times a week and they would do tests. Sometimes they'd do visual tests, other times question and answer ones. Like they would ask you something like: "Suppose you had a 12 year old child who told you that they were gender fluid. What color would you suggest they paint their room?" (I answered mauve, fwiw) The visual tests were things like showing you (mostly scantily clad) pictures of all sorts of people, across the continuum of gender identities and preferences, with lots of people sort of in the middle (androgynous or whatever). Interestingly they specifically avoided using terms like "gender possibilities" because, as they said, we don't yet know how many genders there might possibly be. So they took both self reports about attraction to the people, and also kept track of certain physical reactions, including sexual stimulation. I was fairly nervous, but Sophie was very comforting and reassuring, which helped.
So the last day came and I was in her office and Sophie told me about some of the preliminary findings they had come to, how the data collection was going, etc. I was stunned when she said that I was the least sexist person that they had tested, and as far as she knew that anyone in the study had tested (the study is apparently taking place jointly across 100 universities, with about 8,000 total volunteers). I said that couldn't be accurate, but she assured me that the data never lies. She said that while neuroscience wasn't infallible, it was nonetheless what she liked to call unfallible. Anyway, since Sophie was rather impressed, and since I thought she was totally hot, I asked her out, and she accepted.
The date was something pretty special. Her being an educated professor and all, I figured I better step up my game, so I made reservations at Le Pierre and dressed really classy like. I even shaved with a safety razor rather than my normal electric shaver... wanted to get that close, smooth thing going. I don't have a car at the moment so I went by the rental place to pick one up. I mean, I couldn't very well meet her on the bus! And certainly I couldn't let a girl pick me up, I'd be so ashamed if that happened.
So I picked her up at her house and we went to dinner. I didn't really understand what the menu said, and I was sort of embarrassed, but the last thing I wanted was for them to bring me that disgusting French food like snails or whatever, so when asked what I wanted I said with as much confidence as I could muster "Coq au Vin" and the dude said "very good." I'm glad I remember that from Top Chef! Anyway, so he asked what wine we wanted, and I asked what they had available that they would suggest, and so I just ordered whatever he said. Turned out to be pretty expensive as well, which sucked, but then it was my duty to pay for it.
So we ate the 1/4 portions they called a meal, and then tried to figure out what to do next. Museums and fancy stuff like that are a bit too far away to travel to after dinner, so we needed something local. She suggested a spoken word performance based on the poetry of John Greenleaf Whittier that was happening at a small little club in Greensburg, so we went to that. To be honest, while I generally like Whittier's stuff, I didn't much care for the performance itself. It seemed a bit contrived, and lacked the subtlety I had hoped for. However, just being in the company of Sophie was intoxicating, such that I felt almost woozy at certain points. Admittedly the alcohol might have helped.
We talked and talked afterwards about all sorts of people and places and ideas. We discovered a mutual admiration with regard to quite a few things as well, such as JRPGs, geeky girls with glasses, and hedonistic philosophy (though we both disavow the raw or simplistic forms of it). We talked about our hopes, our dreams, and all that kinda stuff. I am very much looking forward to seeing her again. I just don't know how I'm going to afford it.