Friday, January 21, 2005

Saran-wrapped girls got nothin' on this math book

Today was the annual Polar Bear Run--Chicago's version of the traditional mid-winter streak across campus. While waiting for the bus in the Reynolds Club, Jenn and I (both fully clothed) noticed we were standing near several girls wrapped in Saran Wrap, clearly just done with the run, who were attempting to transition from plastic wrap to regular clothing in time to catch their bus. This was, needless to say, quite a spectacle. And then, standing behind us, was a man (I'm guessing--just guessing--a grad student) very intently reading a book, which Jenn, who got a better look than I did, determined was math or similar. There were naked girls like four feet in front of him. And he did not look up. And no, it doesn't matter if he was gay (which, given his sweater, I highly doubt)--nudity is nudity, you see it, you look up, especially if everyone around you is in full winter gear, waiting inside for the bus because it's too cold to go out and check if one is on its way. But the dude just keeps reading. This was by far more interesting than the naked girls.


Anonymous said...

Nudity is, in most situations, just not very aesthetic. Mathematical formulas, on the other hand, are just beautiful, at least in those situations where nudity is not attractive. This guy has simply realized this.
- Jochen

Jennifer said...

umm i think we forgot the hilarious conclusion to that story!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

So, my first thought is that he's being polite - he glanced, up, ohh, naked girl, but doesn't want to just stare, so goes back to his reading, willfully keeping his eyes down, maybe glancing up occasionally. But you seemed pretty sure he wasn't looking up, even for half a second, so now I'm imagining you surveilling him constantly, totally absorbed in the question of how this man reading can completely disregard the snow-be-damned nudity right in front of his face. 'Is he gay?, you wonder, but looking him over you decide that no man wearing such a horrible sweater could possibly be gay. So you strain your eyes to make out the text of the book, and decide it's math or physics or somesuch.

Except, what's this? Now you're ignoring the naked girls yourself completely ignoring the naked girls. So, if people watching someone's reaction to nudity can overcome the draw of nudity itself, surely doing a little work so that you can maybe get out in 5 or 6 years rather than 7 or 8 could, no?

Just in case the narrative excesses of the argument threw you off, I should admit I'm a math grad student. And there's more to this story, I hear?


Anonymous said...

Nope. If he did in fact look at them, I'm sure there would be a condemnation of him and his lecherous ways.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...


Here's a mathematical answer for you: There were two of us observing the girls/grad student, my friend Jenn and me. So between the two of us, we were able both to watch the amusing nudity and to make sure that the still-more-amusing grad student hadn't stopped looking at the book.

P.S. Were you the "book-guy" in question?

Anonymous said...

But the dude just pretends to keep(s) reading.