It was somewhere around 7th or 8th grade that I decided I should probably get a girlfriend. It wasn’t really a lusting thing, or any sort of emotion-related thing at all. I simply saw my friends getting girlfriends, and I decided, yeah, I should probably get a girlfriend too. It seemed to be expected of me. I didn’t know what I would do once I had a girlfriend.
I didn’t know what kind of girlfriend I wanted. So I started doing a behavioral analysis of all of the girls in my middle school, gauging them on personality, attractiveness, and intelligence. That’s how you’re supposed to do it, right?
It turns out that my middle school really did not have a lot of girls worth going for. There was your typical normal distribution in terms of attractiveness, but personality and intelligence were both traits that often did not live up to my expectations. Intelligence implied insanity, good personality implied unattractiveness, and attractiveness implied neuroticism. If I hadn’t been in 8th grade, I probably would have done some sort of correlational analysis, but 8th graders don’t really know how to do that, so I saved that for high school.
I quickly realized that my methodology was very different from most other middle schoolers, so I talked to my friend Evan for a second opinion. He said that my analysis was one of the more rational things that he’d seen a person do. That didn’t necessarily make it effective, but seeing as I was simply getting a girlfriend for the sake of getting a girlfriend, effectiveness didn’t really matter to me all that much.
Evan started doing his own minor analysis. At this point I had basically narrowed it down to three girls, and Evan agreed with my research’s findings. His analysis was similar to mine, though I dare say it wasn’t quite as thorough. But it turns out that thoroughness mattered just as little as effectiveness.
Because, you see, when two people are both looking for the optimal girlfriend, it turns out that those two people are both going to select the same person.
Further analysis required.
So me and Evan met up one day, exchanged our data, and yup, goddammit, we had both narrowed it down to the same girl. So it was… a race? This doesn’t seem like how it’s supposed to work. Race wasn’t really the right word. It was more a matter of who had the balls to ask her out first, followed by the stroke of luck in her accepting your approach.
Now there’s the next problem. As an 8th grader, “asking a girl out” was a concept that didn’t really make sense to me. You just walk up, say, “Do you want to go out with me?” and then… go out? Go out where? I’m thirteen. I’m not going to take you out to a nice restaurant. Maybe instead I could just tell her that I was “into her”? But that was kind of a lie, wasn’t it? I guess I was sort of romantically interested, but the only reason that I was asking this girl out was because my Excel spreadsheet told me to.
I suppose that Evan was having a similar problem, because he didn’t ask her out either. Maybe he was just going to sit back, watch, and laugh. I’m sure it was funny to watch me fumble through my algebraic equations in an attempt to account for variables, probability of success, and other nonsense that no human should have to worry about when asking a girl out.
As time wore on, I suspected that other people in my school had performed their own statistical analyses. Peter was showing interest in this girl. Alex was showing interest in this girl. Even Greg was showing interest. I told Evan about what I was seeing, and he nodded and said, “Of course other guys will go for her. You said that she was the most optimal girl.”
We made a list. A nefarious list. We called it The Scheme.
The Scheme assessed all of the possible threats. Number One was the guy that the girl seemed most interested it. Alex. Number Two was the second biggest threat. Peter. Number Three, I soon realized, was Evan himself. On Evan’s list, I was Number Three. Number Four was Dallas, who wasn’t really a threat at all, because all he did was hide behind the school and smoke weed. I don’t think that I even knew what weed was back then, and I still could tell that he was botching his chances. Number Five was Greg. We didn’t have to worry about Greg.
Number One ranked high in terms of personality and intelligence. Meanwhile, Number Two really only had attractiveness going for him, because by all other measures he was a goddamn lunatic. Number Three was Evan, so there wasn’t really much left to assess about him. Number Four had attractiveness and literally no other positive qualities. Number Five was a joke. He wasn’t going anywhere.
Throughout 8th grade, the list kind of shifted around. I think Numbers Two and One switched places at one point. We considered moving Four up to Three, but Evan and I were so used to referring to each other as Number Three that it would kind of take some of the fun away.
There’s the problem. This was all about fun at this point. The Scheme was a meaningless analysis. Despite the fact that I had five other threats, none of them were making any sort of moves on this girl. I was just enjoying assessing all of these people in my middle school. Sure, I didn’t have the balls to ask this girl out, but I also didn’t want to let all of this analysis go to waste. Honestly, you can tell in how I write this story that the girl has been mentioned very infrequently, in exchange for stupid ranking systems.
It wasn’t until the very end of 8th grade that I actually got around to asking the girl out. In terms of the list, I was somehow the first person to do it. Not even Number Three got around to it. So I go up to the girl, in probably one of the last weeks of school, and I tell her that I’m “into her”, and she says that she’s into somebody else.
Soon after, we all graduated and went our separate ways. It could’ve been Number One. But it was probably Number Two. Or, I guess at that point he had shifted to Number One anyway. But whatever. It doesn’t matter.
None of it mattered.