Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Love Among The Economists

From the New York Times' Style section (got a problem with that?):

Whimsy Just Doesn’t Show Up on a Spreadsheet
I have a soft spot for economists. I fell for a number of them and was fascinated by their thought processes, which struck me as so efficient, how they sized things up and appraised value with one glance. Their minds seemed to operate in ways mine never did.

Growing up as a daughter of a Korean immigrant grocer, I found economics a begrudging part of our daily lives. My father used to stage ad hoc math sessions at our store in Brooklyn, on car rides and at the dinner table, posing questions on percentage changes and profit margins.

We would race to compute the answers in our heads, with me trailing far behind my siblings. After dinner he would sit us down with a copy of The Wall Street Journal to teach us how to read stock quotes.
My father was a sharp man with a short temper who seemed to lose patience with my stream of nonsensical questions. After a while I stopped asking, just as I stopped answering his. There hardly seemed a point in trying when I could not keep up.

I met a newly minted Ivy League M.B.A. through my running club, and one night we went out for drinks. I had ended a long relationship (with a non-economist) and was rusty after several years out of the dating game. I had last been single at 28, a woman’s “peak,” according to some. We’re warned to lock it in before 30. I was almost 32.

I started to look at myself through his eyes: I was four years past my supposed prime. I would no longer fetch “peak” prices at market. And I was a freelance writer and adjunct professor with no benefits. I hardly felt like an attractive prospect. Suddenly (blame the bourbon) I was blurting out these anxieties to him, in his own terms: “I feel like my stock’s going down.”

He didn’t run away, but he also didn’t disagree, conceding that, yes, from a societal standpoint it may be that way for women, just as men had it the opposite. You could almost see our two lines crisscrossing on the graph: me on a declining slope with him on the rise. And then he put his hand on my knee....MORE
HT: The .Plan: A Quasi-Blog

Possibly also of interest: P.G. Wodehouse' Love Among The Chickens