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The Physics Male: A High School Ethnography

This is my first piece of writing that garnered a real response. The first draft of this, written when I was a junior in high school, was passed around, ripped apart, crumpled up, thrown in the trash, retrieved, flattened out, and taped to the chalkboard. I’m posting it here because a number of high school friends have asked whether it still exists.

In order to understand this, you need to know three things: (1) the west wing of my high school housed the arts and sports, (2) my physics club ran the concessions for the high school as a fund raiser, and (3) you don’t mess with angry, articulate high school girls. A number of us contributed to this, although the final writing should be mostly my own.

And yes, the guys all read it. Thoroughly.

The Physics Male

The physics male is a strange and hitherto unexplored species. As so little in known about his habits, habitat, and distinguishing characteristics, this has been written to enlighten on the subject of this occasionally interesting creature.

Characteristics
Physics males are most easily distinguished by their condescending attitude toward members of the opposite sex. This is displayed by patronizing behavior exhibited to the same. They are chauvinistic and seem to feel that females are neither smart enough nor strong enough to be of any use. For this lack of understanding, these physics males must be pitied.

They are also characterized by their low mentalities. This is not to say that they are unintelligent–not most of them. But, while few physics males are actually tenth graders, the predominant attitude is one of sophomoric glee.

It is easy to recognize a physics male on the basis of vocabulary alone. It consists mostly of long technical words, which when looked up, do not mean anything similar to what their context suggested, and sexual innuendo with little or no redeeming social value.

Although physics males vary greatly in plumage, fashion tends toward “conservative nerd” (with one or two exceptions). This nerd look covers much territory: anything from suit and tie to the more traditional “plain bad taste”.

Habitat
Physics males are generally to be found in the east wing of the building. As a matter of fact, aside from one semi-notable exception, most refuse even to be “caught dead” in the west wing. These specimens tend to congregate in an area called “the shop” between periods. Many remain far into their next class. (How this is explained to their other pedagogues has yet to be discovered.)

There are two trains of thought concerning this all-important “shop”. The first theory is that this area is a ritualistic “testing ground” for the young physics male. In this area, they exercise their ever-maturing attitude problems in seclusion until they have become full-fledged.

Still, others hold to the belief that this “shop” is actually nest. Here the still immature physics males find a sort of haven from the “tough world out there”. Most experts agree that it is a nesting response that draws them to this area. This nesting response is believed to be triggered by the realization that if such behavior as mentioned in the section on characteristics persists, these males will have a tough time finding someone with whom to build nests of their own.

Care and Feeding
There are only tow main points to be remembered when caring for a physics male. The first is to be sure not to upset his delicate ego. These are quite fragile and bruise easily. Such a bruising can cause the over-excitable physics male to go into strange convulsions (more widely known as temper tantrums). The second is to not overtax the physics male mind. This requires great care, as is most simple to do and can result in a bruising of the aforesaid ego.

Feeding is one of the rare things at which a physics male is quite adept. Given a few quarters and a rather simple pop/candy machine, the average physics male can procure a “highly nutritious” meal. This will consist mainly of the fifth food group–junk, represented most often by Choco Mints, and either Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper.

Play Habits
According to experts on the subject, much of the play in which physics males take part is actually behavior necessary to their well-being. This theory is validated by the regularity with which the physics males repeat so many seemingly purposeless activities. Included in these are three main “sports”.

The first of these appears to be the favorite. It involves making lewd remarks to or about any female within sight. The goal of this seems to be to surpass one’s fellows in reaching new heights of rudeness.

The second ply is not far behind the first in popularity. It is the ritualistic “money counting” which is discussed in more depth further on.

The third activity most closely resembles the play of normal human children. This is the constant tinkering with so-called “toys”. These are, in reality, sometimes complicated and occasionally expensive physics equipment. The theory concerning this particular aspect of physics male play is that this tinkering is an attempt to replace some vital but missing part of the physics male’s childhood.

Work Habits
I have searched diligently for any information on this topic. Aside from much talk on the part of the physics males, none has been found. As far as can be determined, physics males do not work in the presence of others. Although it may be that their religion imposes such strict secrecy, it is highly unlikely. Therefore, it seems safe to assume that physics males do not work.

Mating Habits
Here, too, there is little available data. Although the subject is one the physics males themselves discuss at great length (see below), there appears to be little or no practical application. As this situation is so comparable to that of physics male work habits, it is surely not necessary to point out the rather obvious conclusion.

(Physics males live in fervent hope of sharing a physics female–or, for that matter, a chemistry female, choir female, phy. ed. female, etc. However, they take either no, ineffective, or inappropriate action. To ease their frustration at this pursuit, they often resort to creating fantastic stories regarding their amorous adventures. These stories, of course, fool no one but other physics males.)

Common Fallacies
Physics males put a lot of stock in many untruths. Most of these concern females and/or sex. One of the most widespread is the belief that money equals power equals sex appeal. For example, they believe that the one most closely related to the money has the most power. This is shown by the attempts of those with no legitimate connection to the money-counting ritual to “suck up” to the head physics male. One notable example has been quite “successful” (by his own standards) with this method. He feels himself the second in command. One would merely have to look at this person to know that in this case, power is not equal to sex appeal.

Another common fallacy among physics males concerns the way they view themselves. Some feel that they are God, while others, more humble, feel instead that they are merely His gift to the Earth or more specifically, all the females on it.

Perhaps the most common fallacies held by these specimens are reflected in their attitudes toward women. Most feel that women were put on this early only to serve them, that they are inherently less smart, and that they truly wish to be pampered and insulted by turns. T
his is one of the few groups (as a group) that still clings to these beliefs. Whether this is because they feel to threatened to acknowledge the presence of an equal–potentially greater–life form, or because they are too busy tinkering to notice the same, or both is a subject which requires further study.

(Any conclusions to be drawn from this study are left to the individual reader.)

Comments

  1. says

    LOL! In so many way you can just eliminate the term "physics" from this and it still applies to males for, oh, about the next ten years of their lives as well! Luckily, many of them do grow out of it.Now, please explain again why you didn't become a sociologist?

  2. says

    Steph,I laughed from start to finish. I was more of the Drama Male in high school but this even summed up many of us back then.I kept picturing this a a narrative over video a la "wild nature" or some other documentary. Picture Sir David Attenborough reading the text and that's how I read it.Totally creative!

  3. says

    George, the really funny thing I find in rereading this is how generically it pokes at male adolescent fear while pretending to be very specific. I can't tell you whether I did it on purpose, but there's a fair chance I did.

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