Jesse followed her friends into the bar. The place stunk of vomit and stale beer, and the floor looked like it hadn’t been mopped in days. They always brought her to places like this. Why they hadn’t figured out it didn’t work was inexplicable.
Jesse knew from a strictly superficial sense she was an attractive human female. She maintained a proper body weight through careful nutrition and exercise, living in the Greek ideal that a strong body maintained a strong mind. Her hair was a pale blonde, which she was led to believe males enjoyed, although she did keep it cut efficiently short so as not to interfere with her activities.
Her friends had forced her into impractical and tightly clinging clothing and painted her face and nails with various color combinations that were deemed appropriate to attract males. She began counting silently and reached 27 before her friend Emily, a statistically short lady with long black hair and a slightly low body mass index, tried to get her a drink.
“Emily, you know I don’t imbibe alcohol. It lowers body efficiency and mental faculties. I prefer to keep my body at peak efficiency,” she started counting again.
“Let me order you a coke instead,” Emily said, not missing a beat. It took 15 seconds, faster than normal.
As always, Emily ordered when the music was sufficiently loud to drown out her voice. A few minutes later the bartender brought her a drink. A superficial sniff told her she had ordered vodka in the soda. Just like every time. She sighed and handed the drink back to the bartender. “I’m a designated driver,” she lied “no alcohol for me please.” The bartender nodded and took the drink away.
It took 10 seconds less time for Emily to start her tirade. “Dammit Jesse, you’re never going to get a man if you don’t pull that stick out of your ass. I know you want a boyfriend, why won’t you just let loose? “ she placed her hands on her hips, brow furrowed and lips pursed.
“While I do desire male companionship I do not wish to; how do you say it? ‘Get shitfaced and laid?’ I desire an intelligent partner who I can communicate on equal terms. Inebriated males that burn my nostrils with a mix of alcohol and overpriced body sprays are not what I require,” she crossed her arms after pushing her fashionable glasses up on her face. While she may feel appearances are superficial, Jesse understood the need to blend in order to initiate effective communication in order to complete daily tasks.
Tina stood approximately 3.5 inches taller than her and had a BMI that qualified her as slightly obese came next. She had dyed her hair inexplicable pink and had for no discernable reason pierced her lip. That act certainly limited her employment opportunities and hindered communication outside a select social circle. She started her usual tirade “God, Jesse if I had a body like yours I would grab the pick of the men here, instead of the leftovers like usual.” Tina had self-esteem issues stemming from social norms. Such constructs were damaging, and Jesse had long past dismissed them as archaic and damaging. Still, that may be why her fashion decisions made her stand out in other ways. It may be a way to attract certain males, much like the plumage of male birds.
“Jesse!” came the third voice, snapping her out of a complex social dynamic formula that was making sense of what she considered unnecessary things. Annie was equal in stature to her with bright red hair and a conspicuous colony of freckles across her pale skin. Her build was pleasing to males, and along with the fallacy that red hair means they are better lovers, she left earlier than the rest most nights with a superficially handsome man. Inevitably, she would call her the next morning upset the man had left her in the night or chased her out. More proof of her theory that the social dynamics of bars were a poor way of finding suitable mates.
“God girl, can you just try to make nice with a guy this time? You need to get laid something fierce.” she glared at Jesse.
“I have had intercourse many times before and it is not something I have found meets any particular need in my life. I have a positive physical and mental outlook. I do not require a flesh sex toy to make myself feel better.”
Annie threw her hands in the air and ordered shots for her and the other two girls. Jesse watched the clock. It took 10 minutes longer than average for the first male to approach. He had an exaggerated musculature that spoke of someone who spent more time at the gym than required.
He was shorter than her, which would turn off many women, but since she wasn’t interested anyway didn’t change her opinion one way or the other. He greeted with “Heya Babe” which she found to be both intellectually disturbing at the implication of comparing grown women to children and incredibly insulting that he didn’t even pretend to want to know her name.
“I am well,” she said icily and tried to turn away but he was persistent “So what’s a sexy woman like you do for work?” She calculated there was a 75% chance he was in middle to upper management at a company and was looking for an in to brag about his wealth.
“I am a Pharmaceutical Chemical Engineer working in gene therapy. I am contractually obligated to not share more due to company trade secrets,” she said mechanically. Usually, this answer scared them away. However, the diminutive man seemed to think he had a chance.
“That’s cool, I like smart broads, they know how to do everything. Me, I’m in upper management. Got a sweet ride and a big apartment in the heights. Maybe I can give you a lift over there sometime.” he grinned in what was meant to be a pleasant smile but muscle patterns in his face showed it for the act it was.
She sighed and turned back towards him. “Let me tell you this simply. I am here for the companionship of my friends, not to be driven to an expensive apartment to be used for cheap sex. In any case, my car is efficient and safe, and I don’t find expensive cars an appealing trait. I own a townhouse uptown, in the steeplegate gated community. As a head researcher, I make far more a mid level manager like yourself could possibly make. Please take your diminutive self out of my presence and find someone less mentally secure and more inebriated who will find your car attractive.”
“Damn you’re an icy bitch,” he growled and wandered to the next group of women.
“Damn you’re stone cold,” said Annie. Her tone suggested it was not the response she was desiring of her.
It took 5 more men before word got around she was a bitch, a nonsensical insult, as it essentially was calling her a female of a different species, and given all life is equal in science the comparison meant nothing to her. After she was sure her friends were drunk enough and no men were going to bother her she slipped a sheet with a complex chemical equation on it out of her purse. She had been working on it for weeks. If she could find the correct carbon isotope it could lead to one of the first effective gene therapies for Multiple Sclerosis.
She sat pondering and making notes in the margins. Carbon-13 made the most sense but the math didn’t add up. She scratched a complex equation down and plugged different isotopes of carbon, and even nitrogen but nothing worked out.
“You have a mathematical error in line 324 of your proof,” came a voice from behind.
She spun, annoyed, and saw a tall, thin man with a receding hairline. He seemed uncomfortable in his tight pants and sexually explicit shirt. “First,” she said, voice deep and forceful “this equation is proprietary information of Pzitgener Pharmaceuticals,” she took a breath “second, I have studied this equation for over a month. I would have noticed a base mathematical error.”
He shrunk back, obviously a very timid person. “You transcribed moles into milliliters,” he said in a shaky voice.
Annoyed, she looked and saw he was correct. That changed everything. She began muttering calculations and started a fresh page. He interjected at points and she found him to be sharp and intellectually her equal. They moved onto discussing a few unsolved equations and their favorite fractal calculation. He worked in Mechanical Engineering and while bored one day created his own fractal equation, which he showed her on his phone. They discussed the patterns created and the idea of chaos hidden in order.
As 2 approached they both tried to outdo the other in reciting pi to as many places as possible. While he argued tau made more sense from an equation standpoint, he still got to an impressive 30 digits. She beat him by 4. They laughed about it when the bartender yelled for last call.
“I would like to continue our conversation at a later date, perhaps over coffee or a meal,” she said, voice quaking. She had never asked anyone to meet again doing anything.
He look shocked then grinned “That would be enjoyable. Do I have to wear foolish clothes like this?”
“No,” she replied “I prefer practical clothing to these binding garments designed only to attract superficial males.”
“That sounds great,” he said “how about Thursday? I have an opening between to meetings discussing the development of an automated construction robot. We hope to shave 25% off our production time,” he flushed, obviously thinking his work would bore her like many others. In actuality, it sounded fascinating to her.
“I can take an hour around 1. It’s my usual exercise time, but I look forward to our discussion so I think I can miss it for one day. Your work sounds fascinating.”
The bartender yelled for everyone to leave. Annie had left hours ago with the muscular man who tried to pick her up. The other two were completely inebriated, but Tina was still coherent enough to say “So bars are an ineffiecient means of meeting people of sufficient intelligence to hold a conversation, huh?” That Tina was her friend, but lacked her mental faculties. That she could repeat the line drunk must mean she was predictable as well. As she dragged her friends to a cab, she alternated from thinking about the man she had traded so much information with, and a social equation to prevent people from being able to predict her conversation choices.