Guidance counselors never anticipate this

“I can safely state,” states the Physics Geek, “that going into physics was far and away the biggest girl repelling thing that I’ve ever done.”

I have a background in chemistry myself, but I never had to worry about that sort of thing: my girl-repelling capacity was evidently present at birth, and has been refined over several decades.

The following quote is all over the Web, attributed to “M. Cartmill,” who might be Dr. Matt Cartmill, professor of anthropology at Boston University. The sciences, it would seem, exact a heavy price for one’s devotion:

As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life, so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls.

Surely there must be some career path for guys that doesn’t cut them off from the other half of the species.


  1. Terry »

    6 September 2009 · 9:22 pm

    Gynecologist. Though some of us would say that gets a guy a wee bit too close.

    I’m not the right one to ask, though. Give me a guy who can change the oil, a diaper, and database user permissions and I’m helpless.

  2. GradualDazzle »

    6 September 2009 · 9:22 pm

    Plastic surgeon, ophthalmologist, heck, even a pediatrician (at least he could take care of our own kids for free)…

  3. CGHill »

    6 September 2009 · 9:23 pm

    Give me a guy who can change the oil, a diaper, and database user permissions and I’m helpless.

    Biggest laugh I’ve had all day.

  4. Lynn »

    6 September 2009 · 9:31 pm

    Often guys will blame career choice (or something even more irrelevant) for their lack of success with the opposite sex to avoid having to face the far more painful truth that they are just simply creepy little dweebs.

    On the other hand, there are certain guys who are inexplicably always on the receiving end of the dreaded, “You’re a really great guy but I just don’t feel that way about you.” In these cases, I tend to blame the woman even though I am a woman myself. Women who utter that phrase usually end up with a guy who cheats on them or worse.

  5. sya »

    6 September 2009 · 9:32 pm

    I guess girl scientists don’t count.

  6. CGHill »

    6 September 2009 · 9:50 pm

    Do women in the sciences have similar problems? I suspect there’s a certain amount of stereotyping, but I’ve seldom heard (caution: small sample size) them complain that their work somehow warded off male attention.

    (There’s that whole bit about men resenting women smarter than they are, but that’s not exactly the same thing.)

  7. McGehee »

    6 September 2009 · 9:57 pm

    In popular culture, the woman scientist is always a “hot librarian” type.

    Well, almost always.

  8. sya »

    6 September 2009 · 10:28 pm

    From my own observations, most of them don’t. But for those that do, their complaints are long, loud and whiny. Which annoys me to no end. As for myself, I’ve pretty much resigned myself for a long life of spinsterhood as I’m seen more as weird geeky friend, obnoxious whippersnapper, or invisible person rather than mate material. Things happen in life due to incompatible personalities and less than optimal circumstances. I just find it pointless to whine about it.

  9. CGHill »

    6 September 2009 · 10:32 pm

    Historically, or perhaps hysterically, I do well with weird geeky friends and invisible persons, less so with obnoxious whippersnappers. (I think this is because I was an obnoxious whippersnapper myself.)

  10. Francis W. Porretto »

    7 September 2009 · 5:31 am

    Sheesh. Career choice and babe magnetism are entirely independent of one another. The same is true of just about all other human traits.

    I am the epitome of the “nerdy type:” short, slight, not particularly good looking, no better than average on charm. My education is in mathematics and physics, and I work as an engineer. Yet I’ve never had a problem with the fairer sex. Now, one data point proves nothing except an absolute and categorical proposition of the form “entities of type X with characteristic Y can / cannot do Z,” but I’m not alone in this.

    Of course, “a problem with women” is a phrase with multiple interpretations. There’s quite a range between “degenerating into a drooling, grunting imbecile in the presence of any double-X chromosome owner” and “unable to get into Angelina Jolie’s panties.” Perhaps we slide-rule types don’t get much play from the cheerleaders’ squad…but who does? On the other hand, the linebackers consistently strike out with the “hot librarians”…well, what else would you expect from a football player handed a baseball bat and sent into a library?…and I can tell you from experience that the latter variety of female is a lot more fun!

  11. fillyjonk »

    7 September 2009 · 8:10 am

    I think the sciences (and some other careers) may ‘cut you off’ from dating opportunities not so much because you turn off potential dates, but because the hours are long and grueling during the prime dating years.

    most of the people I knew in grad school who were married or seriously dating either married their undergrad “sweetheart” at the end of undergrad, or they hooked up with someone who was in another lab. (Hooking up with someone in your own lab felt a bit too much like dating a sibling…or at least a first cousin).

    I don’t know. I wouldn’t be repelled by a physicist or a chemist provided he met my other three criteria: (a) wasn’t consistently rude to waiters or shop attendants (b) wasn’t a user/abuser ( c) had at least SOME standards for personal hygiene.

    But, like sya, I have accepted the fact that I will probably be alone for the rest of my life. That doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it probably should.

  12. Lisa Paul »

    7 September 2009 · 2:17 pm

    Science types, just wait it out. Sure you were the Math nerds in high school and maybe college. But ten years into the real world, Science Geeks are hawk! And women in science doubly so. That’s if you buy into the theory that the brain is the largest sex organ. And the only people you’d want to date do.

  13. Lisa Paul »

    7 September 2009 · 6:15 pm

    Oops. Meant HAWt but the spell check changed it to hawk for me.

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