The Moons of Jupiter

Chaos in Print

Who could forget Galileo? He was the great early Italian scientist who discovered the moons of Jupiter and was persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church for teaching that the Earth revolves around the Sun. It is not as well known that he was almost blind at the time of his death. This was because he focused his telescope on the Sun in order to learn more about it. We make great sacrifices to learn more about the world around us.

Now, while I’m no Galileo, I do tend to tackle things with the mind of a scientist. I have these degrees in physics and math, you see, and it has blessed and cursed me with an analytical mind. One of my physics professors once stated that physics is “the master science that underlies all. Once you know physics, you’ll be able to pick up any science textbook and immediately get a grasp of it.” And he was right. On good days, I’m like Neo in The Matrix. When I stare at a problem long enough, I’m able to see the swirling mass of equations that governs its behaviour. “Mathematics is the language in which God wrote the universe.” Galileo again. But, for most of my short life, I have been surrounded by one problem that Galileo did very little research on.

I first became aware of this problem in my first job after university. I worked in a grocery store, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the vast majority of grocery store employees are female. I thought to myself, “Boy! I’ll never work another job again where I’m surrounded by women!” But then, I went to teach English in Japan. I was the only man in the office until the only other male employee – a part timer – came in at 5pm. I laughed this off. Now, though, I am a student in my freshman year of Radio and Television arts. 30 students. 9 boys. 21 girls. 21 fine young women with dreams of becoming the anchor on some large market morning news show. And through this all, I have been perplexed. The puzzle, if it’s not blatantly obvious by now, is womankind.

Women. They are a puzzle wrapped in an enigma wearing a tight sweater that gives me funny tingly feelings. Women. No matter how long I stare at them, no equations form. They simply…exist. And I am drawn to them. They are a strikingly beautiful mystery. And I do so love a mystery.

But remember the degrees. My analytical mind comes into play and says, “Now, before you go doing something stupid, do some research on the subject. Don’t get into anything until you know everything about it.” So, somewhere along the way, I resolved not to start dating until I knew and understood women. Sadly, this tactic has proved…impractical. I’m well into my 20s and…inexperienced, if you know what I mean. (And you probably do. This is college, after all.)

But learn I must! We must approach this scientifically and logically. One of the best ways to gather information about a subject is to ask an expert in the field. Thanks to my analytical mind and innocent ways, women tend to view me as non-threatening, so I have managed to gather several female friends. And they have been invaluable sources of information! Many times I have asked them, “So, really, what do women want?” and I’ve always gotten different answers. My favourite has to be, “Most women don’t know what they want.”

However, this method has cost me one friendship, as I asker her one day, “So, what do you want in a boyfriend?” and she interpreted this to mean that I wanted her as a girlfriend. She still doesn’t speak to me because, based on that one question, she feels that I’m now just another horny male who wants into her pants. So, first lesson learned about women: if you have one that’s just a friend, make sure the boundaries are clearly defined.

Luckily, I have some friends who are more secure as to what our boundaries are, and there’s one answer I consistently get when I pose the question, “What does a woman look for?” Lesson #2: Chicks dig confidence. That seems to be one thing everyone agrees on. As one put it, “When you and she are alone, don’t just sit around talking in circles. ‘What do you want to do?’ ‘I don’t know. What do you want to do?’ ‘I don’t know. What do you want to do?’ That’s OK when you’ve been together for years, but if you’ve just met, it turns her off.” Bottom line: I’ve got to take the initiative a little more. OK, cool, I can do that.

Lesson #3: Be considerate. That seems like a no-brainer, but with the state of things in the world, one’s not too sure. Actually, as soon as I was told this by a female friend, I got the prime opportunity to practice it. We were riding on the Tokyo subway, and I’m sure you’ve heard the tales about how crowded they are. Well, the stories are true. My friend got pinned in the corner, so whenever the subway car rounded a bend, she would be squished against the wall. So, since she was short, I placed my hands against the wall above her and tried to absorb the majority of the crowd’s impact. When we arrived at our destination, she said, “Right there! Perfect! If we weren’t just friends, that would have really impressed me.” Which leads back into lesson #1.

The fourth lesson I’ve gleamed is, again, a rather simple one: give them their space. Again, being as…inexperienced…as I am, I often wonder what it is like to be half of a couple. Upon expressing this wonder to a female friend, she smacked me upside the head and said, “NEVER say that to a woman!” Somewhat baffled, I said, “But what about all that stuff about commitments that you see on sitcoms?” She said, “Yes, we do want to commit, but we don’t want it to be our identity. There’s a difference.” Noted and logged.

And the fifth and final lesson I’ve learned is, deep down inside, every woman wants to be the princess in the fairy tale. Now, I, personally, don’t put a lot of stock in this one. I brought up my thirst for knowledge on my radio show one night, and an anonymous woman called in and said, “We all want to be the princess. That’s all you need to know.” Under such circumstances, I find this data to be somewhat dubious, but I’ll list it anyway until it’s disproved.

That’s pretty much everything I’ve learned, or all my female friends have cared to share. But I know that there’s still so much more! For example, why do they go to the bathroom in groups? I used to think that this was just a sitcom thing, but then, one day, I was hanging out with two female friends, and they always went together. And at the dinner table, that did make me somewhat nervous, when they always left together and left me there alone. I mean, according to sitcoms, they take advantage of this privacy to talk about the men they are with. But since I was the only guy, were they talking about me? They weren’t saying.

I have reached the limits of what can be learned by simple observations and inquiries! A new strategy is required. It is time to wade out into the waters start dating. Theoretically, the best way to figure out what a girlfriend wants is to get one and ask her. The time for research is past. Experimentation must begin.

So this is my declaration! Women of the world! I will very shortly make a complete ass of myself by approaching you and asking you if you’d like to get a cup of tea sometime. Yes, I will be embarrassed. Yes, you will be embarrassed by me. But it is all part of the sacrifice that must be made for knowledge. True, I may go blind, but I will have at least discovered the moons of Jupiter.

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