Monday, October 15, 2007

Key West Ponderings... Part I

For those who don't already know, this past week I went to Key West with some of my closest Duke friends. In addition to all the beach and parasailing and bar hopping fun, we got to meet a bunch of interesting people, and each interaction made me think about some larger issue (shocking, I know ;)). In the order which we met them:

1) Kyle, a waiter/bartender who sat down with our table our first night there and participated in girl talk. He had a good head on his shoulders, had found his way to making decent money bartending/waiting and catching lobsters, as well as enjoying his life. One of our more entertaining conversationalists, he felt comfortable in our philosophical discussions as well as partying key west style, two things we found later to be quite distinct realms. That and he called us out for trying to define acceptability of potential guys on anything other than an individual basis, something we all tend to do to try to make dating a more rational process. In engineer speak, that's like trying to make a nonlinear process linear- it just doesn't work.

2) The band. I don't even remember their name, but they were a rock cover band who got progressively more drunk and indecent with their lyrics (and body movements) as the night went on. Oh yeah, and they also threw out sex toys to the crowd. Watching this bunch of disheveled guys perform reminded me of why every boy growing up wanted to be a rockstar: tons of wannabe groupies and adoring women throwing themselves at the band. Let me be blunt, the majority of these women wouldn't have given any of the band members the time of day normally, but because they were on stage all of a sudden they become attractive and cool. And, for some women, this means using their bodies to get up close and personal, and more. As an adolescent boy, how could this not be your dream job? And as a self-respecting woman, how can you not be weirded out by this behavior?

3) The Serbians. We had a brief encounter with 5 Serbian guys earlier at the beach, and then ran into them later at the bar. All cute and with sexy accents, and one was determined to be our alcohol sponsor for the evening. After a fun evening of flirting and dancing (and a question about whether one of the previously mentioned toys was American or European sized), our drink "sponsor" now overly drunk himself got himself in a little tiff with another customer. As his friends escorted him out, a cop starts questioning him. Alice and I being the worry-warts, decide that it is best not to leave our foreign friends with the police (who seem to be mocking him for being foreign) end up using our feminine charm to calm him down and get him home safely sans police escort or in a headlock from his friends. Free drinks and the power of feminine charm- two of the many reasons I love being a female.

The Serbians get a second point though, that we didn't realize until afterwards. When we compared notes, we all knew what each of them studied or wanted to do for a living. Only one of them bothered to ask any of us what we did (I apparently do "Brain Fucking Engineering" :) ). For being some of the most courteous, chivalrous, and friendly guys we met, the rest didn't seem to care about our careers. In fact, one explicitly told one of my friends he didn't care that she was smart (he somehow intended that as a compliment). Did their chivalry necessarily negate being impressed with female intelligence or success? Does one necessarily rule the other out?

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