Wednesday, October 26, 2011

There's a boy in my office

A male grad student is rotating in my lab. We haven't had a full-time male in the lab since Alex, the PhD student who graduated two years ago. Sure, we have my boss and a few undergrads, but my boss has his own office, and other than the one new undergrad who comes in on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, the other males are computer science people and hole up at home. My lab is dominated by females-a Master's student and three female undergrads who have had run of the lab for three years now.

Having a male student in the lab full time is a HUGE adjustment. While it's nice to have someone else to talk to, it offers certain hardships. For example, I no longer feel comfortable putting on my makeup after I get to work. Unzipping my knee-high boots for some relief with hairy legs also seems less appropriate. Picking wedgies, burping... all of these time-honored practices in our office area have to be stifled, not to mention virtually half of the conversation topics we normally cover. Discussions focused strictly on a male's physical characteristics (ok, so sometimes we're a little shallow) now evokes a frown from one member of the room. Comments such as "a MAN probably came up with that" and "ugh, boys!" also tend to be received with some disdain. And forget our complaints about a visit from our "Aunt Flow" or "Aunt Dot"!

Despite our necessary sacrifices, it hasn't been all bad. Our new lab member makes darned good soup, and likes to share. Being an entomologist, he can also also identify many of the dead bugs that we tend to find in lab supplies that remain unmoved for months (years) (decades) on end. Now if we could just get him interested in shoes, I think we could deal.

Title inspired by Gilmore Girls episode Red Light on the Wedding Night:

[Max is asleep while Lorelai lay awake staring at the ceiling.]
[Rory is sleeping. Lorelai walks in and sits on her bed.]
RORY: What? What is it?
LORELAI: Oh nothing. Whatcha doing?
RORY: Taking back Poland.
LORELAI: Oh, good luck with that.
RORY: Mom.
LORELAI: I have a boy in my room
LORELAI: So I have a boy in my room.
RORY: It's Max.
LORELAI: I know.
RORY: You like Max.
LORELAI: No, uhh, yes, I do, but it's weird. We've never had a man in the house like this up there.
RORY: He's your fiancé.
LORELAI: Very true.
RORY: So all you need to do is adjust. It's like that time you got the green stripes in your hair.
LORELAI: I hated those green stripes.
RORY: Well, I'm tired. I can think of a better example tomorrow.
LORELAI: No, wake up, wake up. We've not properly talked about this.
RORY: About what?
LORELAI: About having Max in the house. About the effect on you. Don't cover up anything. Let's get it all out in the open.
RORY: I don't have anything to cover up. I like Max.
LORELAI: I know you do, and that's good. But you know, once we are married, nothing will ever be the same again.
RORY: I know.
LORELAI: It won't just be the 'me and you secret special clubhouse no boys allowed' thing anymore.
RORY: It will be different.
LORELAI: Not just different. Our lives as we know them will be over.
RORY: Mom, we're not dying.
LORELAI: No, we're not dying. But the life we had is gonna morph into this like mutation that we could never possibly have conceived.
RORY: Like the giant ants in "Them"?
LORELAI: Metaphorically speaking, yes. And I don't want it to be like giant ants, so that's why I'm talking about it now.
RORY: I am in no way anticipating being attacked by giant man-eating ants because Max is living here.
LORELAI: Good. Good.
RORY: Weirdo.
LORELAI: You know, you can't walk around in the buff anymore.
RORY: I don't remember ever walking around in the buff.
LORELAI: I know one time you did.
RORY: Was I three?
LORELAI: Somewhere around there.
RORY: Does he hog the bed?
LORELAI: No. He's a very 'stay on his side' kinda guy.
RORY: Good.
LORELAI: He's cute. He wears pajama bottoms.
RORY: Stop.
LORELAI: Not funny ones. I hate funny bottoms.
RORY: I'm gonna call you Funny Bottoms from now on.
LORELAI: Nuh uh!
RORY: Aren't you happy?
LORELAI: Yes. I'm happy.
RORY: Well, then it'll be fine. You'll get used to it, having Max there.
LORELAI: I know. You're right. I will. I will get used to it. [closes her eys]
RORY: Mom.
RORY: You're falling asleep.
RORY: You need to be a big girl and go to your own room.
LORELAI: Okay. [pretends she can't get up] Uh, uh...
RORY: Fine, ten more minutes
LORELAI: Thank you.

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