Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Can engineers be 'Touchy feely'?

I remember the incident - I was in a restaurant, and one girl in our

group was especially charming. So I, like any other male, tried to put

on a wooing act. You know the routine, a nanosecond extra eye contact, a

few more nods to whatever she says, and attempts to throw in those

one-liners which you know you wouldn't if she weren't there.

And it seemed to be working. She leaned forward when she spoke to me,

and every now and again, we'd have a small conversation of our own,

separate from our group. She laughed at my approach with the fork and

knife, and I teased her about her hair band, which had little teddy

bears. Yes, we were flirting. A while later, she asked me the question -

what did I study? I said engineering, without any particular me ani ng

attached to it. And then like a cold metal rail, she went stiff.

My jokes weren't funny any more. Her eyes wandered to everyone else.

What was it?

Why? Why? Why?

Two days later, I still couldn't get over my great start that had

dissipated listlessly upon mentioning my education. Engineer? What was

wrong with that?

My mom had wanted me to become one since I was five! I had to call her.

'So what happened to you that day, hot and cold, missie?' And then she

said, trying to be nice, 'Well, it's just that I am skeptical about

engineers as friends. I don't know, they can be, you know, very logical

and everything...

not very touchy feely'.

Not touchy-feely. Now what the heck did that mean? Well, she obviously

did not mean it literally, since girls don't really suggest that sort of

stuff, certainly not in the first meeting across the table. I guessed it

was something to do with feelings, sort of having an emotional side. The

stereotype being, the nerdy guy who sees relationships like laws of

physics, to whom love is just a bunch of chemicals going crazy in your

brain, and getting to know a person means obtaining their bio-data.

It's time to set the record straight.

It's true that a lot of what engineers study (and they end up studying

quite a lot), has to do with formulaes, laws and numbers. No matter how

hard we try, some of the vocabulary we read all day gets into our

language. So when my mother said, 'Are you getting married next year or

not?' I was liable to say, 'Well, at this moment in time, the

probability is relatively low,' and felt it was completely normal to say

it. And when my sister went sari shopping and couldn't explain the shade

she wanted, I told the shopkeeper the percentages of pink, orange and

red in the sari.

Yet, ladies, I don't think we're bad at relationships, love and getting

to know people. We too, can be touchy-feely, as that is part of our

education as well. The reason for this is that most engineering students

live in the ultimate educator - boy's hostels. Now, let me explain how

this plays into this 'touchy-feely' thing. Relationships. Imagine

eating, sleeping, brushing your teeth, bathing (ok rarely this one) and

partying with the same people all the time. So, when you are kicking

that bathroom door down for the tenth time, or when you stand in line

for 'gulab-jamuns' in the mess, and when you are done with the vodka

bottle and sharing all your secrets, you know it is good practice. Yes,

hostels maketh the man.

So, next time you are in a flirtatious situation with the techno types,

go on, flirt a bit more. Of course, I am biased towards my kind, but if

you find the conversation turning too geeky, just ask them, 'So, what

were your hostel days like?' and chances are, you'll see a heart behind

the calculator. Coming back to my missie, I thought of what would make

me win her over. Flowers... too cheesy. Music... don't know her taste

(nor trust mine). Teddy bears... don't even go there. Desperate for some

good lines, I just turned it right back at her. 'Yes, I know what you

are saying about engineers. The thing is, unless people with depth like

you start hanging out with us, we won't get any better. Can you meet me

some time for some touchy/feely... oops, I mean coffee/tea?'

She giggled. When they giggle,you have won.

Hence proved.

1 comment:

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