Wednesday, July 27, 2005

lederhosed

I got the first estimate from movers today. I suppose it is a good thing for one's heart to take a minute's break from beating now and again. This voyage east is turning into less exciting-intellectual-adventure-tale and more like The Rime of the Insolvent Mariner, with the apartment being my financialbatross. I feel like one of those people who makes an income he certainly cannot complain about but has nonetheless overreached and found himself house-poor, only, in my case, without the house.

Meanwhile, the question of what I should do about my car turned out to generate a lot of opinions from people, even spilling over into the comments field of another blog. As I noted, it is interesting that before, people were telling me how I wouldn't need a car in Cambridge so long as I got a place that was close to campus and/or the Red Line. Then, after I commit to spending more than I had planned to have an apartment that is really close to everything, people are telling me that it would be a mistake not to bring my car with me. Those supporting the latter view know how to make a cogent case, emphasizing especially if I were to ever entertain any aspirations of, say, dating anyone in the Cambridge/Boston area, going there without a car would be about as damaging to my prospects as stapling a gnarly-looking rhino horn to my forehead. Fabulous.

Says Ann: "Close-to-Harvard apartment + car = the belt and suspenders of seduction." What does this metaphor mean? I used to own a pair of suspenders, but I have no idea where they are these days. I just wear a belt. Wouldn't that imply that just having an apartment close to Harvard should be enough? Then again, there is a fairly obvious retort to that, I suppose. But aren't the whole point of suspenders that you don't have to wear a belt? Or, is the idea of the metaphor that they complement each other, so you have a pants-altitude-control-solution for every situation?

In any case, all this makes me think that in my recent post on Song Lyrics That Mean A Lot To Me, I should have included "If you don’t have a car and you’re walking--oh yes, son, I’m talking to you" from TLC, "No Scrubs."

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

i lived in cambridge for 3 years, only a couple blocks from where you're moving and in fact that's where i had my "dating prime"--ie, dated a lot of guys--some with cars, some without, and i would definitely say a car is a great thing if you're going to be dating. as a guy in particular. people date in boston, it's not like madison, so if you're on the prowl you should keep your car. it that's on your mind. besides it will give you the incentive to get out there. kinda like a gym membership.

Anonymous said...

seems to me that belt and suspenders get in the way of seduction...

Anonymous said...

Don't go! Stay here!

Anonymous said...

A couple of points:
People who've been at Harvard usually end up making more money than those who haven't. Now you'll see why — to make up for all the money spent living in Cambridge.
You'll probably lose your 'either/or' mentality soon enough once you get to Cambridge. A year or two of learning to love ambiguity without losing your integrity...

Ann Althouse said...

"seems to me that belt and suspenders get in the way of seduction."

Yeah, those pants-down exhibitionists are picking up ALL the women. Just walk into any bar and wave it around, guys. The ladies will be all over you.

Anonymous said...

Take your car (and do a little packing yourself — )

jeremy said...

Ann: I wish I hadn't read your comment so quickly at first because I probably would have realized you were just being sarcastic. Instead, I have a court date. Know any good lawyers?

jeremy said...

Anon 8:52: I think the Harvard wage premium is reserved for those who actually attend degree programs there, as opposed to doing fellowships. In any case, there is little either/or about the car questions, although it's more like either/or/or/or. But my car either goes to Cambridge or not. Unless I can convince Professor Schrodinger to let me park it in his garage.

jeremy said...

Anon 12:27am: I'm not sure, regardless of circumstances, I could ever use the phrase "on the prowl" to describe myself with a straight face.

Anon 12:41am: That bridge has been crossed long ago.

dorotha said...

ann: seriously, make some effing sense. no one understands what your metaphor means. then you get all "don't wave your dick around" on people who don't understand you.

with each subsequent comment, it becomes clearer what you mean, but perhaps you might try to not be a crazy person on the first go. just an idea.

Anonymous said...

Car in Cambridge = good for weekend escapes. Not required for dating in the literal (driving) sense as it's generally more efficient to walk, cab, T to some agreed-upon location -- assuming you're both in the area. (Subsequent dates might involve leaving the city, and are thus another matter.) But, early in the dating game, you'll spend more time parking at meeting spots than it's worth typically. Of course the car = status = attractiveness factor is very real, and your prospects will likely be greater with the car. Though, one has to ask whether those persons for whom no car = dealbreaker are worth your time. I'd probably take the car for the freedom it provides on weekends and for those "subsequent" dates...

jeremy said...

Dorotha: Be polite, or we'll have to put you back in your cage for today.

Anon 11:55am: I don't even want to know why the idea of me having a second date with somebody seems worthy of scarequotes (i.e., "subsequent" dates).

Anonymous said...

nothing intended by use of scare quotes. and, you'll notice i suggest bringing the car for such outings. so, if anything, i'm optimistic. enjoy!

islander said...

If you bring your car,you'll use it and end up getting annoyed with Boston because you drive everywhere instead of getting around on mass transit which is much more convenient for pretty much everything.

You don't need a car for dating - a bizarre suggestion unless you expect to spend a great deal of time at "lookout point." Also, it is much cheaper to rent a car for occassional weekend trips out of the city than it is to own a car - not to mention the hassle of parking and maintaining it, etc.

astrid jane said...

Did you people crawl straight out of Cold War Era suburb, and, if so, how did you all learn to use a computer so quickly? How many women living in large metro areas these days (where most of the adult population--even the middle class professional population-- doesn't bother with the expense and hassle of owning a car) would turn down a date with a man just because he didn't have his own Kia Sephia (or whatever kind of fuel-efficient Econobox Jeremy is presently driving)?

Honestly. Even if the women in Jeremy's intended dating pool are that materialistic and shallow, I should think the "Harvard Prof" thing will go a long way in compensating for the lack of wheels. I somehow can't picture the Junior Law Firm Associate, or Harvard Comp Lit Assistant Professor that Jeremy asks out saying "Aw Shucks, You're a swell fella, Jeremy...but without a car, how can we accept Biff's challenge to drag race out at the old Quarry next Saturday Night? I'm going out with Itchie instead, he's got a souped up 56' Firebird."

jeremy said...

(Just for clarification: I will still be "Wisconsin Prof" at Harvard and just "Harvard Fellow." Also, I didn't realize Kia Sephia was a car, but thought it was the name of somebody in our program.)

astrid jane said...

Okay...its wholly unnecessary clarifications like THAT that are your problem there, champ...not the lack of a car. People from outside Sociology who hear you say you're a "Wisconsin Prof" imagine that you spend your mornings with your arm up a cow's ass out in a field somewhere, no matter what you try to tell them. East Coasters, especially. Never EVER mention the Midwest out there if you can help it. Say you're from Vermont. Don't mention the mashed potatoes with Ranch Dressing thing either. Charm her with tales of going maple sugering with your father on chilly spring mornings. And wear Boat Shoes whenever possible. East Coast chicks really dig Boat Shoes.

jeremy said...

It would be an interesting set of personal ad experiments to compare the relative response to "sociology professor" vs. "bovine protologist" as listed occupations.

astrid jane said...

Dead even, I'd reckon.

Anonymous said...

ah, but when you add in the kia sephia...

sep said...

sorry folks, but jab is right. don't ever mention the midwest. especially IOWA, that is the kiss of death not just for dating but for all meaningful conversating/interacting in east-coast-academia where everyone is either from the Boston-NY corridor or pretends to be.

it's just a whole different ball game out there - personal factoids (where are you from? are you child-less? do you love your mother?) are not discussed, neither are cars.

"do you have a swanky apartment with clean sheets?" that's the question! followed perhaps by "do you prefer the opera or the symphony?" or "are you a post-modernist or a post-structuralist or just a neo-Marxist?"

that was my experience, anyway.

A+ said...

Ah, so the thing that will ensure romantic bliss for Jeremy is not keeping his car, but denying who he is. That's lovely.

Anonymous said...

Boston can be a snake-pit. But, always be yourself. People there seem to have pretty good b.s. detectors. Best to just venture forth as you are and let the chips fall where they may.

jeremy said...

Just for the record: while I do indeed know that my humble Midwestern origins can be a liability of certain circles of the heart, I would sooner pretend that I believed in astrology and astral projection than pretend that I grew up any way other than where and how I did.

A+ said...

When I've met boys from outside the midwest, they always think the Wisconsin thing is kinda cute. Of course, they were always the transplants, not me. But still. They think I'm all sweet and friendly and hardworking and stuff, which I guess is cute or something.

jautumn said...

Ang is right at that. I met a guy from Wisconsn in DC who took advantage of our "aww...Wisconsin, how cute" atttude to convince all of his friends, for awhile anyway, that his small town had witnessed an explosion of teens having unprotected anal sex in the bathroom of the local Applebees restaurant. Actually, he maintained that, in the midwest, anal sex in an Applebees bathroom was a time-honored third date tradition.

A+ said...

Hey, that guy stole my line.

Anonymous said...

What's this blog's record for number of comments on a post?

Anonymous said...

i think it was Jack in the Box, not Applebee's...

jeremy said...

As there are no Jack-in-the-Boxes in Wisconsin, that would be an even more impressive lie.

The comments record is 58, from when I announced my December Blogging Hiatus.

Anonymous said...

Trust me. Fellowships DO count (unless you don't want them to). I don't know you personally, but from your blog, I get the idea you are taking an either/or approach to more than just the car now. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's only that Cambridge 'isn't' (and right now we haven't any electricity, a third of a mile from the Square. Bring a flashlight?) Anon 8:52

Anonymous said...

yeesh, jeremy, looks like you can't win for losin', as my mom always says. i don't think you are ever going to get any action again. at least not if you follow all of this advicce at ones. good luck

Anonymous said...

thanks for the lovely time

claire said...

I don't think that discussing Midwestern origin is a liability on the east coast, in the dating world or otherwise. I've always been very proud of the whole Wisconsin thing on the east coast, and, while there are plenty of people on the east coast who look down on me and/or don't like me, I don't think that has anything to do with where I'm from. If anything, the Midwest thing tends to be a conversation starter. I say I'm from Wisconsin, the other person says that he knew someone in Chicago once, I say that I love Chicago...we go from there.

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

I just get sympathy when I tell people that I grew up in Rush Limbaugh's hometown.

Anonymous said...

Cheer up about insolvency. People here (Cambridge) will think you dress 'old money' (instead of 'no money').

jeremy said...

Ang/Claire: Good point. But: it is, of course, possible that being from the Midwest plays better on the East Coast for one gender than for the other.

Anonymous said...

When you get to Harvard, you are not at the 'East Coast'.

jeremy said...

It is a remarkable feature of our nation's coastal-cultural-centrism that one can be corrected for considering Harvard to be on the East Coast but is supposed to grant a definition of the Midwest that stretches all the way from Ohio to Idaho. (And I said Ohio just for sonorous effect; of course, to many, the Midwest is already well underway by the time you get halfway across Pennsylvania.)

Anonymous said...

Wait, does the East Coast end once you cross the Charles River?

astrid jane said...

The East Coast officially begins once you reach the geographic point where anal sex in the bathroom of an Applebees Restaurant chain is considered uncouth. Think of it as a defacto Mason-Dixon line.

Anonymous said...

what's an applebees?

-- east coast guy

A+ said...

Re: Your 12:07 comment. Yeah, I'll buy that. Cute and innocent might play better for women (though I am neither particularly cute or innocent. They impose it on me, and I just accept it). But I still don't think it necessarily has to be a liability for men. You can get mileage out of suggestive jokes about the midwestern work ethic, for example.

the jeff said...

What's an applebee's?

-west coast guy

EGP said...

HALFway across Pennsylvania? Leave Philadelphia, my friend, and you are deep in the heart of Pennsyltucky.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, make know-it-allspeeches: Middle, West, East. Who will listen at Harvard? More to the point: how can you save money!? Yes, dress old/no money. If you opt for being carted around (vs. bringing your car) you can win points by suggesting WHERE TO GO (if you have a car, even better — just go). Start with weekends. Stay out of pricey Boston. Suggest (well, where to start?). Cohasset Harbor for lunch. There's a place you can drive to easily — or pull up to in a boat if you meet such that has. Ocean views. Not expensive for lunch. Not far from Boston. Walk around harbor after lunch maybe go to World's End etc.) Make sure sure you drive along the coast road from Hingham, not 3A. (more to follow).

Anonymous said...

Re 6:22's suggestion: save more by taking picnic — same locale. Get basket and food from Trader Joe's,

Anonymous said...

stay out of pricey Boston? Boston is pricey, but you'll save no money hanging around Harvard Square/Cambridge...

A+ said...

Are you kidding that you don't know what Applebee's is, or... Well, if you're being serious, Applebee's is a Midwestern version of those TGI Friday's-style places, where the menu is like 600 variations on prepackaged chicken, and there's all sorts of 1920s garage-sale crap nailed to the walls. Unlike Friday's, the servers there don't have to shtick as much ("flair," I believe it's called). Also unlike Friday's, they have nice, spacious bathrooms.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:44 PM
Harvard Sq.: Iruna's (Spanish). Grendel's, Hong Kong, Dolphin (very fresh seafood) and LOTS of other places — not pricey. Food at Grendel's is half-price for a couple of hours, with a full-price drink (starting at 5 PM). Dolphin's menu reduced c. 10% at certain hours.
Close by at Inman Square, the good eating continues. Also in East Cambridge, some marvelous Portuguese restaurants. Up on Mass. Ave. towards Porter Sq.— some very good inexpensive places. Good places near MIT/Central Sq. (can name some pricey places too — if you'd like).

claire said...

Re: your (Jeremy's) comment. I don't think that gender really makes a difference here. First, the evidence suggests otherwise--I know lots of male Midwesterners in New Haven, and many of them have had plenty of dating success. I have heard all kinds of bitchy, shallow reasons that east coast women give for rejecting men, and I have never, ever heard anyone mention place of origin.

And second, in my experience, the east coast is generally much less prone to region-based judgements than I would imagine. The east coast--esp. around universities-- is full of people from all over the country and the world. While mild geographic stereotyping remains (i.e., "you're from Wisconsin! people are really friendly there!"), regional identity becomes less helpful for making initial judgments and people soon discard it as a means of doing so. I mean, anyone in my freshman dorm would have met, living there, at least six people from Ohio. The Ohio people didn't have all that much in common, and anyone living in the dorm would come away with a view of Ohioans (is that a word?) that was at least somewhat multidimensional.

I find that, when I'm at school, it's me who spends all this time reflecting on my regional identity. Especially when I first moved, I assumed that my Midwestern personality was, for example, the reason I didn't get along well with certain people. I used this as an excuse to sulk and not try, and in the meantime, the alleged Midwest-hater would be happy with her new best friend from Minnesota. I mean, some of those people were probably bad personality fits for me, but it wasn't because I was from WI--it was just that our personalities didn't click.

So anyway, I just don't think this could possibly be a problem. I think that, really, place of origin is a conversation starter at this point, and doesn't play that much more of a role in the getting-to-know-each-other game on the east coast.

Anonymous said...

Well said. And JF is going to be a Fellow. My experience with Fellows and Visiting Scholars is that they WANT to met each other and DO a lot of socializing — much of it informal and often spontaneous.

Anonymous said...

You posted a map showing where you'll be living. So maybe it's not too personal to ask: what sort of a fellowship? Society of Fellows?

jeremy said...

No, it's not Society of Fellows. It's an interdisciplinary (sociology, political science, economics) program on health policy sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson foundation.

Anonymous said...

Closing in on the record number of posts. Could Jeremy's travels be more thought-provoking than Jeremy's temporary hiatus from blogging? What suspense!

Anonymous said...

New Haven's not Cambridge.

shakha said...

You don't need a car. There is no damn parking anywhere in Boston. Join zipcar.com. You can rent a car for a couple of hours/a day. They have loads of cars in Cambridge. It's easier and cheaper than having a car, espeically if you're not going to use it that much. Plus you don't have to worry about parking.

My view on the mid-west thing: it won't get you a first date (but the Harvard-Professor combo will), however it will increase your likelihood of a second date. How? You'll seem more wholesome, honest, and kinder than most folks (which, as it turns out, is true).

As for anal sex in Applebee's: I've got to say, once you try it you'll never wnat to have anal sex anywhere else.

astrid jane said...

As the person who originally suggested that Jeremy pretend to be from Vermont so as not to be sex-iled by his Midwestern roots I should probably point out here (for our sarcasm-impaired readers) that I was joking.

I do find it amusing that so many of you seem to believe that recent residence in Wisconsin has the same impact on one's dating capital on the East Coast as a full body herpes infestation and a giant goiter, however. Young people who live in major cities are generally migrants from other regions-like this one.

I was not kidding about Applebees, however. I am deadly serious about Applebees. I think Shaka is right. Its the characteristic roominess of an Applebee's bathroom stall that really makes the place so special to us in the heartland. We're big people, midwesterners are, descended from sturdy German, Polish and Scandinavian farmworkers and fed on copious amounts of meat and dairy. Not just any theme restaurant bathroom stall can accomodate even one of us comfortably, let alone two of us...and in the throes of Mexicali Chicken Sizzlin' Skillet (TM) and Fudge Brownie Sundae-fueled lovemaking, no less. You certianly wouldn't want to watch two Midwesterners having anal sex in a MacDonald's, Long John Silvers, or even Friday's bathroom stall...not nearly enough room to manuever and caress, to take one's sweet time. It would just cheapen the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

jab, your use of the term "sexile" is incorrect. Properly used, the term refers to the banishment from a shared room when one's roommate is engaged in an athletic rendition of the wild thang.

Anonymous said...

...with sexile generally instigated by an earlier "bone call".

islander said...

My comment was too long for the comments section, it's on my blog, the third attempt.

jeremy said...

Ah, suffice it to say that I hadn't anticipated such an interesting and, um, informative comment thread when I wrote this post.

As for Anon 10:10am, take heed: Don't mess with Claire, or I will hunt your anonym-ass down.

nina said...

I do so wish anonymous commenters would take a dive somewhere in blogger hell and enjoy a turn at shooting each other down.

On the subject of NHaven v. Cambridge, I would like to ask where is it written that they are one and the same? They appear to be even spelled differently. And I think one is in CT, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Calm yourselves, sophomores. The blogger we address is not an entering freshman.

Lots of car rental places, yes... but sometimes hard to find a car on a special weekend -- plan ahead.
Parking not a problem where the professor tells us he is going to live (just be careful of twice-a-month street cleaning days -- they tow rental cars, too -- so ....).
No Applebees in Harvard Square. You'll find them in strip malls, next to Holiday Inns, Taco Bell, KFC, mass-produced burger places ....

Anonymous said...

You're only in Cambridge for a year or two, that hardly seems worth the hassle of a car. One of the things that East Coast cities have to offer is pretty decent public transportation, and Boston is one of about three cities in this country that are walkable. It seems like you should enjoy that before returning to the car-as-a-necessity situation of the Midwest. This whole thread about needing a car for dating seems very old-timey, esp the claims (sometimes implicit) that as a man you particularly need a car for respectability. This seems kind of sexist, but to the extent that these comments come from sociologists, it is entirely consistent with some of the other CHARMING CONTRADICTIONS about sociology that you've identifed in the past.

Anonymous said...

Explore New England. Watch out for heavy summer/early fall Sunday night, miles and miles of traffic from the Cape (only two bridges) and at toll booths from the North.
Good places to visit and avoid these bottlenecks, Ipswich, Cape Ann (Halibut Point, polo games in Hamilton, Crane Beach etc. etc.). Or go south to Plymouth area. Hug the coast coming back till Hingham..
Or take the boat to Provincetown, rent bikes and explore the dunes).
In Cambridge, Mass. Ave., near you: West Side Lounge is a nice, medium range restaurant (in the midst of lots of other good places to eat).
Same block: little Evergood Market's popular with neighborhood singles who want to pick up small amounts.

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