Houston, we have another problem. It’s goes a little something like this (and before you congratulate me on becoming Date #17’s official girlfriend, I should confess that I took a few poetic liberties with the title of today’s post. “Behind Every Successful Man… is an Unhappy Girl He Met on Match.com” sounded just plain ridiculous so I opted for the more obvious choice of “girlfriend”):
Hey there Date #17, whatcha doin’ tonight?
Date #17: Studying.
Can I tempt you to join me for a little study break?
Date #17: Yes, you could. Easily. But please don’t.
Date #17: Because I have to study!
But I have a gift certificate to Café Spice that’s burning a hole in my pocket. I’ll quiz you on your analogies over garlic naan! We can make flashcards. I’ll bring some index cards and—
Date #17: Kat?
Date #17: They don’t have analogies on the GMATs.
It’s bad enough the Date #17 cares about his job and regularly works 60-hour weeks. It’s even worse that he’s a healthy eater, and that when he’s not otherwise occupied with a certain someone (me) he goes to yoga on the weekends and oh yes, I nearly forgot, he’s also training for a marathon.
But worst of all, he’s scheduled to take the GMAT’s later this month. For the second time. Not because he did poorly when he took the exam five years ago—quite the opposite— and not because he has any immediate plans to pursue an MBA—he doesn’t— but because he’s almost freakishly sensible about his future (he wants to keep his options open, should the opportunity to pursue his MBA arise). And because GMAT scores, just like GRE scores, expire after five years.
This is because America’s Educational Testing Service is second to only the military industrial complex in its money-grubbing lunacy: first there are the SATs, and while most students take these during their junior or senior years of high school, some take them as early as seventh grade to qualify for the “Talented Youth” programs at Johns Hopkins University (not that I would know anything about that). Then, there are the PSATS, or Pre-SATs, followed by the AP or Advanced Placement exams, and finally, once you’ve slaved through four years of college, you’re faced with an array of graduate school entrance exams: the GREs, the MCATs, the LSATs and the current bane of Date #17’s existence (and mine, by extension), the GMATs.
I took the GREs several years ago. The best that can be said about the entire ordeal, which left me sobbing in Fairmount Park after I failed yet another practice-book quantitative reasoning quiz, is that I wore a great outfit to the testing center, and that my university of choice, being a British university, didn’t give a crap about my GRE scores.
Of course, if I decide to pursue my PhD after my GRE scores expire (a likely scenario) I’ll have to either re-test or simply hop back across the pond, where they don’t pander to the ETS. Herein lies the great difference between Date #17 and I: whereas he would rather spend his evenings studying for an exam he’s already taken, just in case he decides to pursue his MBA, I’d rather let my scores expire, eat garlic naan and just go back to London.
I’ve never thought of myself as particularly bohemian (I plan my backpacking adventures in Excel for crying out loud!) but in comparison to Date #17’s wardrobe of carefully arranged neckties— and carefully calculated career moves— I’m a freaking gypsy.
This might explain why Date #17 has a lovely apartment, a closet full of business suits and enough disposable income to take a cab whenever he comes to see me, whereas Yours Truly rents from her parents and relies upon SEPTA.
That’s not to say that I don’t understand where Date #17 is coming from. Even though I didn’t take my GREs very seriously, I worked my ass off in college (when my parents offered to take me to Italy I said, “No thanks, I have a term paper to write”). I respect Date #17 therefore, because he is working very hard to craft the lifestyle he’d like to lead (as opposed to just complaining about his personal and professional misfortunes as past boyfriends have done). I also know that I wouldn’t be enjoying the flowers, the concert tickets and the fancy dinners to which Date #17 has treated me if not for his 60-hour work weeks—it’s all part of the same, rather shiny, package—but this particular package is teetering on the brink of disaster: Date #17 is scheduled to take his GMATs the day after the annual Hoopers Island Black Friday Martini Bar Soiree.
Considering that I couldn’t even convince him to join me for dinner, I doubt I’ll be able to convince him to join me (and my family) for a weekend in the middle of nowhere. And even if I did, he’d probably spend the whole time not snacking. He’d wind up doing yoga and jogging up and down the length of the island instead, and while I always intend to do these, I never quite manage. I guess this is why I need a nice goal-oriented boyfriend like Date #17 but in the meantime, his drive is driving me crazy.