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¶ wanted: mathematician friend
When I was in college, a lot of the girls I met wanted a gay friend. The logic was something like they wanted someone who could understand and empathize with all the things they were experiencing and feeling, who wasn't susceptible to many of their weaknesses, and would have absolutely no romantic attractions whatsoever. In essence, about as perfect a platonic friend as you can get. Of course, this is a vast overgeneralization and a stereotype worthy of condemnation, but that's the way it was. A few of them joked about hunting down gay men just to befriend them, but I'm not sure if they ever followed through.

The last few years, I've been thinking, "man, I sure could use a mathematician friend" You know, someone you can go skiing with and while you're on the lift be like, "so what's the deal with normed vector spaces anyway?" I always get lots of these little annoying mathematical questions that I don't know offhand how to resolve myself, don't know where to look, and assume that my hypothetical mathematician friend would hear it and be like, "oh! well the answer to that is XYZ!" When I first showed up in grad school, one of the first things Larry (jokingly) told me to do was to befriend a mathematician. For a while, I played ice hockey with a really great guy named Thomas who was doing his phd on combinatorics (IIRC). During the car rides to the ice rink, I managed to quiz him a few times on abstract algebra, but eventually he graduated and is teaching at Harvard now.

So uh... any mathematicians out there that like playing hockey or setting things on fire? =P

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