If the Social Sciences Were Guests at a Party

by F.

You arrive at the party, say hello to your host, and mingle for a few minutes. On your way to the table with the cheese and crackers, you bump into a number of the Social Sciences:

Economics is clean cut and dressed in an oxford shirt and Dockers. He has glasses and is drinking a club soda with a lime in it. You talk with him a while and are impressed. He’s smart. Really smart. Wow. Then he tells you about his comic book collection and about how Green Lantern Issue #40 contains a fool-proof, “first-best” plan for what to do in Iraq. You laugh. He doesn’t.

Psychology looks like Steven Spielberg. He’s drinking beer in a plastic cup. He’s nice. Really nice. In fact, he’s so nice, and so interested in you that you figure he’s after something and is probably a pederast.

Education is a short overweight woman with big ethnic jewelry who smiles easily. She’s had a few chardonnays already and is talking loudly about how Bush is a moron and Al Franken would make a great president. She seems fairly dumb and doesn’t finish her sentences, expecting you to do so.

Geography is athletic looking and wears cargo shorts and a t-shirt. He’s sitting in a corner, by himself, playing with the host’s border collie.

History is highly articulate and has a great vocabulary. She’s captivating, charismatic and wears a turtleneck. She’s drinking scotch neat. You can’t get a word in with her, though, and it hardly matters since you have no idea what she’s talking about (the Carolingian Dynasty? Or the show “Dynasty?” Or both?) You walk away, embarrassed by your ignorance and vow to read Gibbon. Well, maybe an abridged version.

Law is a lot like economics: clean cut, tidy, and extremely clever. He’s drinking a gin and tonic and lets you know the host didn’t have Bombay Sapphire. Somehow, he mentions three times that he’s “above average looking.”

Linguistics is thin, tall, and wearing a vintage Che Guevara t-shirt. He’s drinking beer from the bottle and excuses himself so he can go talk to one of the female servers, who appears to be from a foreign country. After a moment, you hear him conversing with her fluently in Dutch.

Political science is slovenly and looks like he hasn’t washed in a few days. He’s smoking American Spirits, drinking a beer, and talking about his next planned trip to to Chile, which he pronounces “CHEEL-eh.” He also mentions at least twice how he just got back from Kenya, which he pronounces “KIN-yuh.” You ask him where he works and he says “Whole Foods.”

Anthropology isn’t there, says Political Science. Apparently she’s doing field work in Belize.

Sociology is a French exchange student who’s studying in America “just to see what it’s like.” She has glasses and is drinking wine from a paper cup. She seems smart enough. She talks fast and and gesticulates a lot. Seems quite passionate, which makes you uncomfortable. You have no idea what she’s saying, not so much because of the accent as the abstract nouns she frequently uses. She mentions that she forgot her Prozac that morning and then asks if she can borrow a tampon.

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