Brief Talks With Men in Bars: The Med Student
by Karina Briski
The Med Student Dude is special for his intense prowess and belief that, since he got into med school, he should have no problem getting into anything else he wants. Within the setting of a bar between the hours of 12–3 a.m., the place of his desired entrance is, unsurprisingly, girls’ panties! But because of culturally legitimated education, he’s been conditioned to behave along appropriate social norms, masterfully avoiding “creepiness.” He’s also distinguished from other types of students or science dudes 1) by his pursuit of an esteemed professional degree, 2) his slightly advanced age, and 3) his graduation from the use of pick-up lines involving references to his “A in anatomy.” The Med Student Dude will approach you on any number of conditions, without much or any pretext. Typically, you’ll find yourself in conversation with an MSD after accidentally bumping up against his back, arm, or leg; or, if he overhears you telling your table mates about a concerning possible condition or recent visit to the doctor’s office, your sick relative, or any story in which he detects the semblance of the word “doctor,” “medical,” or a third-world country lacking proper health-care infrastructure.
Med Student Dude: So what are you drinking?
You: Oh, just a whiskey ginger.
MSD: Whoa, that’s pretty exotic.
You: Oh, is it? I don’t really think of it —
MSD: I’ve NEVER met a girl who drinks that. But I guess I just don’t go out much. So what’s your name?
(You exchange names, you give your first only, he gives his first and last and sometimes a suffix, too.)
MSD: You seem really interesting. What do you do?
You: Oh, not much. (Here you describe in as few words as possible “what you do”, to which, as long as you are not a med-student also, he will always respond in an incredulous tone.)
MSD: Wow! That’s so interesting. I’m in med-school, but I’ve always been amazed by people who do [whatever you told him you do]. Like, how did they just decide to do that? It’s so amazing to me.
You: Well, I don’t know. It’s really not that amazing, but I mean, you’re in med school, so that’s —
MSD: Yeah, I’m in med-school. (Here he tells you what year of school he’s in, which schools he applied to, which ones he got into, and which ones his parents wanted him to go to, but he didn’t. Subtext: I’m a modern day James Dean. Sub-sub-text: I’m a rebel with a cause.) But what really made me want to commit was the semester I spent giving vaccinations to babies in the Congo (or other third-world nation). I was just so blown away by the people there, and their fortitude and everything. But anyway, you don’t want to hear about it I’m sure..
You: No, I mean, that sounds like a really wonderful experience. My friend actually lived there for a while and she said that —
MSD: What no one here realizes about the people there is that they need our help! They’re just not getting our attention like, you know, through the Red Cross commercials and other commercials and stuff like that. It’s messed up.
You: Yeah, it is…. (ready to make your departure.)
MSD: So what are you drinking? I’ll buy you another one. And yes, even though I’m in med-school, I can still afford to buy a pretty lady a drink! Bet you thought you had us pegged, right?
Karina Briski lives in Seattle and wants to marry a doctor.
Photo via USF