I have a career problem. Not with the career. It’s great so far. But it wreaks havoc on my dating. Heck, its even bad for not dating. I was at circus school the other night and a happily married classmate asked me what I do.
“Scientist,” I said vaguely.
“Oh wow,” he looked stunned.
“You?” I asked, keeping it friendly.
“Well, now I don’t want to say,” he hesitates. “I’m just an intake nurse at the hospital.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“Well, it’s not a smart.”
“So what? It’s a good job and you’re still way better at lion-taming than I am. That’s not going to change how I see you.”
The thing that bugged me about this exchange was that I’d given him my “beer” answer. I was trying to be non-intimidating. What’s a girl to do when her “beer” answer is also a “no-beer” answer?
Here’s how it goes. If a girl is in a bar and a guy comes over and asks what she does, she can give one of two answers: the “beer” answer, which will hopefully lead to further conversation and him offering to buy her a beer; or the “no beer” answer, which will make him suddenly recall urgent business elsewhere. This is purely theoretical for me, as I never get approached in bars, since I’m not generally in them. But the idea still holds: the turn-off answer, and the not-so-turnoff answer.
When I came across this idea, I asked my companions, a preschool teacher and a librarian, what their “no beer” answers would be. After some deep mulling, the preschool teacher answered “Early childhood development specialist.” The librarian didn’t miss a beat. “Librarian,” she said promptly.
Like the librarian, my beer and no-beer answers are essentially the same. Which I find troubling. What on earth is a girl to answer if people back away slowly from the lite version? A lie?
…then again, it sure is fun to whip out the no-beer answer. “I’m a microneurobiologist specializing in intracellular organelle funambulism. But that’s boring. What do you do? Hey, is something wrong?”