Three things: First, a few people indicated in a Facebook thread that they would enjoy being depicted in a QvD comic, so here’s the first one. You may recognize Laura from that one time she modeled my merchandise. Actually, she’s been featured in this blog twice, but the first time she was wearing a welding mask over her face, because she’s that kind of person, so you probably wouldn’t recognize her from that.
Second, I was thinking about gender, because that is something I think about. All. The. Time. Specifically, I was thinking about the interaction between heteronormative men and every kind of woman, and the Rabbit’s running commentary about the men who force her to interact with them on the Bart and the Oakland/San Francisco ferry, and about some of these dudes on Reddit who seem to willfully not to get it. So let me lay it out slowly: the odds that a woman with whom you briefly exchanged glances on public transit is very excited to meet you are low. Extremely low. This situation that I’ve drawn is a no-brainer. Note the woman’s posture: she is turned away from you AND leaning away from you AND she has her legs crossed away from you AND she has her arm protectively around her leg AND she clutching her purse on her lap AND she’s reading a book. She is doing this because she wants to reduce the number of times in a given day random strangers hit on her.
Your interest in her is not special; more interesting men than you express interest in her. All. The. Time. She is overtly demonstrating her lack of interest in you, and her desire to maintain her perimeter. There is a 100% chance that if you try to talk to a woman with this posture, you are annoying her. There is a 50% chance that she finds you actually threatening. I don’t care that you’re a “nice guy.” If you can’t understand this, you’re not a nice guy. Like I tell my stepkids, just wanting something doesn’t mean you get it. No matter what you think, she is not playing hard to get or sending you magical brain signals about how much she wants you. This human being is interested in reading her book without being disturbed for her entire commute.
Which leads me to the third thing, which is that although Laura does some modeling work and often looks like a model when she’s dressed up, Laura is not a model. Laura’s profession is actually metallurgist. She has a degree, I think, in materials engineering. This is the thing that drives me crazy about men who address random strangers with the idea that if a girl is attractive to you, she must be interested in you: they almost never approach you with the idea that you might be smarter than them, and if they do, they usually don’t have any way to use that knowledge except as a compliment. So if random sweatsuit wearing subway guy plunks down next to lovely bookworm girl and asks about her book, he’s going to be way out of his league if she actually starts discussing differential equations.
I should point out that I know nothing about differential equations, having barely passed my requisite math classes in high school. I copied this one from the internet because I liked its shape and its name: it’s the Anger Equation, and I carry a lot of anger. But I don’t enjoy talking with human beings in general, so I rarely start conversations with strangers in public and will not likely be embarrassed because someone wants to talk about differential equations.
I should also point out that this comic must have been in some way inspired by the classic Gary Larson strip, Same planet, different worlds.
Also, I hope Laura has a good sense of humor about me putting her head on someone else’s body to make a point about not objectifying attractive women. At least I’m not a random stranger.