Thursday, 7 February 2008

Learning a New Vocabulary

The vocabulary of being single has always fascinated me: from a distance of course. I have always enjoyed watching people flirt, snog and pair off (I'm _not_ saying that i am obsessed with porn, by the way) - but I have never had a clue how to do it myself. Now I find myself again at the point at which I need to understand this grammar, this linguistics - but haven't a clue.

For example.

Today on a course I meet a very nice woman, who wears no jewellery. In my pisspoor vocab banks I assume this means something. Accordingly I flirt with her, laugh and enjoy her company: she seems to like me, and asks about other stuff about me. Later our eyes meet across the crowded room, three times (c. star struck lovers of various kinds) - and afterwards, her first two words?

"My" and, appallingly, shockingly, "boyfriend."

Fucking hell. I see no way I could have predicted this, unless I was reading the grammar entirely mistakenly; unless I was giving wholly wrong values for x. So what was the problem? Was the equation quadratic, instead of linear? Did I screw up the manipulation of negative numbers?

What had she been saying, and how? Had she, indeed, been saying anything at all?

I vaguely remember all this from the 24 years before - and now I find myself exactly where I was then. What are people saying and what does it mean when they touch you, or doesn't mean, or would mean if you wanted it to mean, or might mean if you were also thinking that it meant, or could mean if you made it mean that?

I am told, by certain of my friends, that "men" apparently do, regularly, seduce "women" (I am told that there are various other permutations but I have no idea about these at all): how do they do it? What do they have to be to do it?

If we took x as being "a man, of variously unattractive appearance" and y as being "a woman, of uncertain, even irrelevant appearance" then how do we make x=y?

As I see it, it works something like this:


where k=appropriate conversation
and m=appropriate twinkles in eyes.

But if I reckon it correctly, this gives

x2 + kx + xm + km = y

which is fair enough, except that I simply cannot provide km. And as for x2, that is just bloody awful.

If you suggested that the equation needed a further variable, ie p, where p="looks"*, then it might look something like this:

p(x+k)(x+m) =y

which I simply cannot provide at all, I am afraid. Ie - the equation holds true for x=0 and only x=0.

*=and where "looks" are defined as: not being a slob, not being bald, not being short, not being a bit boss-eyed, not having sloping shoulders and not walking funny.

I started this pile of old horseshit by talking about grammar and ended with equations. This reflects my utter disenchantment with the eternally ambivalent world of the humanities, and my wish that I was good at something real, something either true or not true, ie maths.

Fuck me I need a drink. But it's late and I've got work tomorrow. Damn. Piss and wind. Bollocks.

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