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Creative Writing major completely infatuated with a Physics Grad student

  1. Apr 20, 2010 #1
    So, I’ve talked to most of my friends about this, but since all of their solutions involve excess drinking and random hookups in attempt to forget about this guy, I've decided to turn to what I hope is a more logical and mature group of individuals! Also, the fact that I am currently procrastinating on a paper due tomorrow morning may or may not affect my willingness to spend time on the internet. So here goes! Oh, also, I apologize in advance if this is long and excessive, but I can’t help it, it’s in my nature to be wordy. ;]

    I am a Junior at a large, public university who has basically spent the entire quarter in love with my Physics TA. What is a Creative Writing major doing taking a physics class, you ask? It's to fulfill a science GE requirement that everybody has to take, and in picking between geology, biology, and physics, I went with physics. MISTAKE.

    I'm a complete disaster at math (read: I had issues with estimation as a small child), and while this class is essentially dumb-humanities-people physics, I've been struggling with even the basic problems we've been assigned, much to the amusement of all of my engineering friends with whom I've been trading paper editing in exchange for homework help.

    Anyway, so this class is awful, taught by a little, accented man who is abysmal at conveying class concepts, and even worse at acknowledging that he may be difficult to learn from. After this, I've vowed to donate my graphing calculator, and never step foot near the science buildings again. The homework is incomprehensible. This class is at 8 AM three days a week. And yet...this class is without a doubt, my favorite class this year. I have never been more attentive and presentable at 8 in the morning in my life, even though I get back to my apartment and immediately go back to sleep until 3 when the rest of my classes are. I’m really not myself - all of my writing has taken on a strange, sci-fi/romance twist, I find myself browsing physics forums, and I am going to be absolutely miserable when I no longer have to struggle over velocity and the impossibility of special relativity. Why?

    My TA. He's a grad student, whom I believe is going to start work on his post-doc next year. He is, without a doubt, the most intelligent and patient person I have ever met in my life. He is the best listener I've encountered since my kindergarten teacher, and when I ask him questions, he nods thoughtfully, and looks at me with these warm, brown eyes that I can't stop thinking about. When I feel like an idiot for not understanding the most basic of math concepts, he sort of half-smiles at my ridiculous attempts, and then just with a good-natured grin, kindly explains what I'm doing wrong.

    He does the most endearing things. In the discussion section he leads, he likes to go off-topic about the scientific community, and it was honestly the CUTEST thing when somebody provoked him about particle physics and he went off on this long, animated tangent about sensationalism and trivialization of science in the media. I can’t help myself, but I love the way he puts his hand on his chin and goes, "Humm" before he answers a tough question. He's really nerdy, fairly shy, and not physically attractive by any means. He wears glasses. He's pale. His jeans don't fit him. He wears running shoes as everyday footwear. To my count, he alternates between a grand total of 4 nearly-identical t-shirts.

    And yet, when he explains math, or does problems on the board, or starts doing any damn kind of physics, I can’t help it, I sit there and get really, really, really turned on, and ALL I can think about for the entire class is how best to JUMP HIM and do him by the chalkboard.

    I am so ridiculously frustrated I can’t even begin to describe it. I’ve been talking a lot with him after class, but I’m trying to be reasonable and not delude myself. He’s got a PhD in theoretical physics while I’m a Creative Writing UNDERGRAD. While I’m a scholarship student/honors program and all that, there is just no way I would never be able to understand what he’s working on. I even made the mistake of mentioning that I’m in a sorority, which you can bet I’m kicking myself for, because great! Like he needs another reason to view me as a stupid, vapid moron.

    Basically, this sucks. I can’t stop thinking about him, and yet I can’t really flirt with him, lest he think I’m just after a better grade (which I’m not btw, grades have zero impact on the profession I’ve chosen to enter, and actually, our advisors have told us not to put our GPAs on our resumes as it doesn’t make the slightest difference to employers).

    I’d even do the whole email-him-after-finals thing, but I just feel really disheartened. It would be the smart thing to do to forget all about him, and just try and be content with boys my own age. But I am so sick of frat boys, and this guy is thoughtful, and funny, and simply…wonderful. Sigh.

    Where’s that tequila after all?!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 20, 2010 #2


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    Yea, iono if you can really do anything until after your course is done lest he thinks you're just doing it for the grade...

    In any case, tequila+lime+salt=awesome. =D
  4. Apr 20, 2010 #3


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    So what?

    So what?

    Finally, some logic.
  5. Apr 20, 2010 #4
    It is highly possible that the differences between you are only an issue in your mind. You find him to be a good listener, and, if you think about it, a good listener is always an essentially unprejudiced person. Bad listeners are the ones riddled with preconceptions and personality edges. If he likes you it will be for all the same sorts of textural reasons you like him. You're not impressed by his PhD, it's the way he listens, the way he dresses, the way he does this or that. If he feels attraction to you, it would be based on the same sorts of personality traits, and not on whether you understand what he's working on.

    I have no idea if this situation will go anywhere, but I would recommend you not assume he would keep you at arm's length for essentially superficial reasons. Just let go of all the ideas you have about what might be standing in the way.
  6. Apr 20, 2010 #5
    At my university, few physicists and mathematicians there who had inter university relationships did so with other people that studied physics and mathematicians.

    I've personally never seen this as a big issue at any point, the people I've liked I've had more of a common ground with on the view of art, and then above all more what we both didn't like than what we did like.
  7. Apr 20, 2010 #6
    Just because you're a writing undergrad doesn't mean that he would think any less of you. Most people in the sciences dont have any problems dating people regardless of academic backround, doing so would honestly just be conceited.

    If you like this guy as much as you say, just wait the two weeks until exams are over and send him an email asking to go for coffee or something.
  8. Apr 20, 2010 #7


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    Wow, sounds like the kind of guy I'd be attracted to.

    GO FOR IT! When the class is finished, ask him out. You can even use the excuse that you managed to survive the course and would like to have him come celebrate it with you.
  9. Apr 20, 2010 #8
    You watch Big Bang Theory? Just curious.

    Sounds normal to be attracted to him. He has qualities you admire. What's the problem?

    I don't think you're attracted to the nerdy part. Sounds like you are attracted to his passion that he has for physics (could be a passion about anything), and his good natured personality.

    I tend to notice girls get attracted to guys who are passionate about things in life. It's not surprising since people say that those who have passions in life are generally happier. (Facebook and Texting are not passions.)

    "If you want to be successful in a particular field of endeavor, I think perseverance is one of the key qualities.It's very important that you find something that you care about, that you have a deep passion for, because you're going to have to devote a lot of your life to it."

    George Lucas
  10. Apr 20, 2010 #9


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    @OP: go for it as soon as the course if over. He sounds like a nice guy. My wife works for New Balance, so running shoes are everyday footwear for me. Every single day is jeans day, too. I have more T-shirts than the TA, but that's because the vendors gave me a lot of them when they wanted to have contests at my blues-jams and get people to drink the beers they were promoting. Most of the good beer shirts (like Chamberlain Pale Ale) are long gone, so I have to settle for biker-themed shirts most of the time.

    When I was in Engineering school, my main squeeze was an Art History major. We never thought of it as "opposites attract" either. It never came up.
  11. Apr 20, 2010 #10


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    fictionftw, that was a great post, made me laugh.

    It may not be ethical to date your TA, so either get a new TA or wait until the class ends. Then go for it! You know you'll regret it if you don't!

    Just promise us you'll post again, and let us know what's happening :smile:.
  12. Apr 20, 2010 #11
    me too!
  13. Apr 20, 2010 #12
    Just to keep myself updated on the story, and wish you a beautiful ending.
  14. Apr 20, 2010 #13
    Wow! I'd just like to say thanks to everybody for all of the feedback, I wasn't expecting so many replies, and so for that - you guys are awesome!! :]

    So let me try and tackle this, person by person.

    Matterwave: Yup, that's why the next month or so is going to be torrrrturous. I not only have to wait to take the Final, but I have to wait until grades are posted so that there are no academic/professional repercussions for either of us. Meanwhile, I'm overthinking, overanaylzing, rethinking, worrying, contemplating, blahblahblah, because right now is just an absolute waiting period. Also, YES, lime+salt is the only way I can get tequila shots down. I hate bothering with all of that mixed drink crap, it's just better to get it over with - like ripping off a bandaid! Tequila is nasty, but... just so good at getting the job done.

    Borek: Well, my concern in pointing out the Writing undergrad/Physics grad difference, is not even so much the difference in mindset, but our difference in age. The age difference is actually pretty serious - we're at least 7 years apart. (Now, while my parents for instance are themselves 8 years apart, they actually started dating when my mother was 30, and I feel like it makes less of a difference as you get older.) I'm in my early 20s, and he's in his late 20s, which I feel could really put him off. What if he thinks of me as a little kid!? So you see my problem there. What if he thinks I'm really immature? He's probably really over the whole 'undergrad' scene while I'm still very much immersed in it.

    Zoobyshoe: "It is highly possible that the differences between you are only an issue in your mind." You have no idea...I really do make a conscious effort to not overthink things but it's such a challenge. But what you said is actually quite comforting! I do like his personality, and you're right, he definitely doesn't seem like the kind of person to make superficial judgements. Unfortunately, he only sees my 8 AM personality, so that may not actually be working in my favor, hah.

    Kajahtava: That makes me feel better, too. I guess I just have this nagging image of a close-knit physics community, in which there is rampant inter-university dating. I have friends who are in the Marching Band, for example, who describe band as "a close, incestuous family", and if you've ever hung out around band people, they all have an extensive array of inside jokes, and all they ever talk about is band. I guess I imagined the science departments like that, and I worried about fitting in.

    anubis01: Interesting. Actually, I make it a policy NOT to date other Literature students. There's just...way too much instability. I also take Film classes, and the guys in there are even worse. You have never seen so much arrogance in your life until you get a bunch of film kids talking about Citizen Kane! The amount of ego most film guys have is unbelievable. But that's good to know, that he wouldn't be immediately off-put by my wildly different major.

    I dunno, I just feel that it would be an issue because on some level, wouldn't you want to be able to convey what you're doing/studying? I can rant about characters/plot and he'd be able to understand it, but then if he started talking about *insert difficult physics concept here*, I'd be at a complete loss. Wouldn't that just get really frustrating?

    Evo: Haha, he's not my normal type persay, but his fumbling/awkwardness is strangely...appealing. It's madness! The coffee thing is a good idea, though. Although email is a little impersonal, it really would be the only way to contact him during the summer.

    Norman.Galois: I do not, actually, but I've heard about it!

    I think you bring up an insightful point about being attracted to somebody's passion...In this day and age in which 'Facebook' is considered an acceptable hobby, it is refreshing to see somebody actually care about something of actual substance. :]

    turbo-1: Lol, I didn't mean to offend anybody with that description. Well, clearly I like him despite the way he dresses, but what I meant when I brought up the 't-shirt, jeans, sneakers' description is not so much the items of clothing themselves, but the way they fit, etc. If I've learned anything from watching TLC's "What Not to Wear", it's that while everybody's clothing style can completely different, there are simple guidelines of fit that everybody should follow. My personal view?

    1) Unless you are at the gym, you should not be wearing running sneakers. Period! If you are at work, you should be wearing dress shoes, or if the attire is relaxed, then nice loafers or something casual, but still not 'athletic'. It doesn't hurt to look more professional. And, if you are in college, you should at the very least stick with something neutral, like slip-on Vans. It's surprising, and perhaps unreasonable, but women pay more attention to shoes than most guys would realize.

    2) Jeans are absolutely fine, but my main gripe with jeans is the fit. Opt for a darker wash, and ones that are not super baggy. They should definitely not be skinny jeans by any means, but paying a little more attention to cut and color can really go a long way.

    3) T-shirts follow the cut/color style thing as well. They don't need to be Ralph Lauren polos, but you shouldn't be wearing really oversized/baggy t-shirts. A casual, graphic tee does the job really well, doesn't have to be anything fancy. :] Although, I'd personally love it if every guy wore the long sleeve, button up collared shirts, those are usually so flattering and attractive.

    In general, it's just about looking put-together, which doesn't require anything drastic, only maybe paying a little more attention when you're shopping. Although you have a wife already, so you must've done something right! :]

    lisab, rootX, kof9595995: Haha I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'll definitely be posting to let you guys know what happens. :]
  15. Apr 20, 2010 #14


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    I certainly wasn't offended. All my life, I have been "casual geek", and since I was a long-distance runner as a youth, running shoes were my shoes of choice. I often ran or jogged on a whim when I had some distances to cover, like 3 miles between HS and home. As for the wife, it's only been 35 years now, so I might still be on a trial basis. :tongue:

    When I was working in private consulting and in sales, I had to wear clothing that I hated. Dress slacks or chinos (at a minimum) button-down shirts, jackets, etc. When it became painfully affair that I couldn't fly any more due to health reasons, I gave all those clothes to Goodwill, and went back to "weekend mode" (casual geek).
  16. Apr 20, 2010 #15


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    Are there any members on this forum that haven't had this happen to them at least once a week? And do all of them wonder when they'll find a woman that appreciates their mind instead of thnking of them as just a sex object?

    The pilot episode of Gilligan's Island is a perfect example. I imagine your TA's style of dress is just a rebellion of the stereotypical physics professor that wears his shirt unbuttoned down to his navel.
  17. Apr 20, 2010 #16
    Wow, 35 years, congrats! Haha. True, the internship I have requires me to be in scratchy blouses, annoying hose, and generally painful heels. I sometimes wish I could go to work in pajamas myself. :[
  18. Apr 20, 2010 #17


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    Like I said, the 35 years mean that I have to keep options open.

    I hate wearing anything more formal than jeans and T-s, and when I gave away all my suits and ties, I also gave away all my polo shirts and chinos. Gone!!!

    Guess what? When I was working back-office in "casual-geek" clothes, I earned way more than I ever did dressing more conventionally. There were times that I'd meet clients that I had dealt with for years, and when they traveled up here and saw me in jeans and Ts, they would glom onto me immediately. I'd have to leave a message to my wife at her work so we could hook up at a nice tavern when she got out of work and have appetizers, local brews, and a nice meal. When I was a consultant for pulp and paper, I always paid for my clients' entertainment. When I was working in antique militaria, I couldn't manage to pay for a thing.
  19. Apr 20, 2010 #18


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    Buwahaha. :biggrin:
  20. Apr 21, 2010 #19
    Lol. I try my best not to objectify men, but you know how it is - calculus is such a popular aphrodisiac among women, that there's not much I can do to resist the gleam of dirty clothes and skinny physique of my underwashed and overworked TA.

    You know, I should probably skip this whole end-of-semester-coffee-email idea altogether, and simply proposition him for sex after the next class. It's probably what he's expecting, and really, why bother with all of that relationship crap?

  21. Apr 21, 2010 #20
    That's really unexpected. In my personal experiene, I've found I get better treatment when I'm in flats and a cute dress, than when I'm in sneakers and Yoga pants, with my hair in a ponytail and sweaty from a treadmill. :/ I can guarantee you that if I started dressing in 'casual-geek' clothing, aka baggy jeans and ratty hoodies, I would find myself treated much differently! I'm glad it's worked for you though.
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