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Saturday, October 23, 2004

Super Achieving Young Women and the Obsolescence of Men

A few years ago The Atlantic published an article on education that noted, conventional wisdom aside, that girls were doing better at school than boys and, in fact, it was the boys that were being left behind. This was based on a set of national studies. A quiet and steady reversal of gender in the highest achievement categories has happened in the last decade. When I read this article, safely ensconced in the male-dominated corridors of power, I asked myself: could this be true?

After this year, I am no longer a doubter.

I personally met three outrageously smart young women. Women who are in their twenties, extremely attractive and sexy, socially well-balanced, highly accomplished, and as technically smart as anybody I've met. If they got together, these gals would be the Charlie's Angels of super nerds. They'd kick the asses of all male geeks on the planet, and if they couldn't dominate us with their sheer brilliance, they'd seduce us to our doom. And as they threw us into the eternal flaming pits of mediocrity, we'd be happy. (And this isn't even counting Paulina!)

I'm not kidding: after meeting these women, I recalled the common theory that the human species doesn't really need the male, or Y, chromosome any more, and I was afraid. Sure, without us, gals can't make more males (perhaps a blessing in disguise), but with only X chromosomes you can happily make females until the end of evolution. At best we're like a genetic free-loader, the chromosomal version of the chip-eating, beer-guzzling, television-glazed, couch potato; at worst we're a genetic viral plague.

So in theory those gals don't need us men for breeding, they don't need us for protection (we made them pepper spray, TASER, neutron bomb), they don't need us to buy them things (they can work themselves, obtain credit, use Amazon), and they don't need us for pleasure (think recreational drugs, media, and the Sybian).

The last fort we men have been valiantly defending: male GEEKS to make their life-improving devices or to program their learning remote control.

But now I've met the women who can do it themselves; women who can out-geek the geeks.

Shit! Just when male geeks were rising in power and influence, just when it seemed that being captain of the football team no longer got all the women, just when brains seemed to triumph over brawn in the course of human events... well, now it looks like the male geeks have arrived just in time to watch the doom of all men. It's almost enough for a male geek to despair, to consider throwing oneself off the Eiffel Tower, a fitting cenotaph to obsolete technical achievement.

So there I was, depressed, planning my trip to the Champs de Mars, when suddenly it came to me: There is Another Way. A waning opportunity, but a Last Hope for men everywhere:

We male geeks must mate with these superwomen.

Yes! We must seize and exploit the only weaknesses they have: their genetically-programmed desire to mate with genetically attractive men, their youthful inexperience and desire to exercise their power, and their youthful hormones. Men of wealth, power, and education must seduce them. Men who are providers even beyond what they can provide for themselves. Leaders. Mentors. Older men. Successful men. Smart men.

I sat up straighter in my chair. I would bravely volunteer to do this task. Yes, I, Sigmund Fuller, future savior of mankind!

So let's look at the dossiers:

JILL MONROE

I heard of "Jill Monroe" in a strange way. I was in an adversarial negotiation with a large multinational. We were at the stage of playing "friendly shark", where we circle around each other smiling, showing our teeth, and snacking on nearby smaller fish. At a dinner we start trying to one-up each other on conversation. I bring up recruiting, and how many smart people we have hired. My counterpart rises to the task and starts talking about this amazing girl they've been trying to recruit for two years, all the resources they've spent recruiting her:

Jill is twenty two, originally from Estonia where she won first prize in the eastern European pan-national scholastic high school competition in an unprecedented three different technical subjects and second prize in another. Then she went to Cal Tech graduating at the top of her class, won several national awards, and had just started at Harvard taking a PhD and a law degree at the same time. My counter-shark had even sent a team to Estonia to woo the family, and he said that she was going to sign up for an internship.

I couldn't resist, especially after he mentioned that her sister was a model and television celebrity. I had to meet her. And so I did, on her campus at a coffee shop.

And after our first three hour meeting, she signed up as an intern. My counterpart was livid, of course, but it was sweet justice, especially since that deal fell through.

Jill was very attractive. She was a willowy girl, with a body style that matched her passion as an amateur dance instructor. Her bared midriff, loose blouses, tight pants and short skirts drove the men at the company crazy. And yet the women in the office liked her because she was sweet, and smart as hell. She was a hard worker, took direction well, and absorbed knowledge and skill like a sponge. Within two weeks she was doing the jobs of three full time people at 20% of a single person's pay. She was a one-woman India outsourcing outfit. And mostly alone in town...

KELLY GARRETT

I met "Kelly Garrett" while advising a Global Fortune 500 Asian company where she is the youngest senior executive in their history. She gave me a highly technical presentation with a senior scientist nearly three times her age. I was so distracted by her sexy but innocent presentation style that I had to force myself to stare at my notes.

Jill is twenty-eight years old, raised in Asia, and received her PhD at CalTech at the age of twenty-four. At the lunch following the presentation I found out that her father, a successful executive, was the next-door neighbor of a former business associate, and I had spend several nights next door to her, although she was probably in high school at the time.

She had published several papers and worked on a startup in Asia. She is nationally famous in her country and is a national government advisor, among other things. She is fiercely private and eschews media attention, yet she is very cute. Short hair slightly unkempt as befits a geek, great poise and posture, medium height, a lean tennis player body, a killer smile, and a very sexy innocence matched with a brain like a supercomputer.

Of course, succeeding in Asia as a woman isn't that easy. So I had to spend some one on one time learning from her. She was slightly shy initially, but an awesomely technical woman with a great head for business strategy. A little uncomfortable teaching me at first, but we hit it off well, and soon she was opening up and asking for all kinds of advice. An open dinner invitation and I'm all set.

SABRINA DUNCAN

When I met "Sabrina Duncan" she was the CEO of her startup at the ripe age of twenty six, having ousted the previous 50 year-old CEO she had hired. She was in a top medical school after having received her masters degree in biophysics at the age of twenty three from Yale. Her father was extremely wealthy, but she had done it all without daddy's money.

I was asked to advise the company by a Fortune 100 CEO, who told me that she was somebody I should meet. Sabrina was entrepreneurial, full of fire, and exceedingly charming, not to mention attractive with her long, dark raven hair, wide eyes, and a proud Roman figure. She stood out in a crowd at six feet in height, nearly two-thirds of which was leg.

Sharp, smart, and taking no guff, she had driven her company through financings, hiring, firing, product development, and first sales, while at the same time she was attending medical school. She needed less than six hours of sleep per night to be fully functional, and was clearly putting those extra waking hours to use.

Our first meeting went exceedingly well. She was a copious emailer, which was convenient for me, although a bit taxing to keep up with. She was a good social drinker, and I had a standing invitation for dinner and drinks.

THE MISSION

My mission, should I choose to accept it, was to seduce these superwomen. To demonstrate a vulnerability that could be man's Last Hope for survival. To be the Chink in their armor, since, after all, I am Asian…

Dinner invitations in hand, I was ready as I would ever be to represent man in this final battlefield...

(To be continued)

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