The year was 1987 and I was beginning my second year as an undergraduate Physics student at the University of Toronto. The first year had been stressful beyond belief. The U of T Physics specialist program was the toughest in the country. It attracted the top physics students from across the nation, piled us into a single room, and let us stew in our nerdly social awkwardness. Our marks dropped 20% each, many of us lost our scholarships, and competition between students remained heated, heightened by our inability to relate to each other.
Complicating it further was the sad fact that there were only two girls in the entire program, neither one of whom I would call my “type”.
So there we were, a bunch of depressed, suffering and sexually frustrated Physics nerds about to face a whole new year of fresh Hell. I and my friend John (who had foolishly transferred in from Engineering) sloughed into the first class of the scary new course in Quantum Mechanics and deposited ourselves in the front row. I looked around. Yep, once again there were no girls in the class.
The professor began his bit. He was Scottish and sounded a LOT like Sean Connery. “No one understands Quantum Mechanics,” he said. “Well, maybe two fellows back in the 1930s did. But no one alive today really understands it. So this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to pretend that I understand it, pretend that you understand it; and, after a year, maybe you sort of will understand it.”
I groaned internally.
Just then, two of the sexiest 20-something girls walked into the class, clutching their books fearfully to their ample bosoms. For the first time in months, I was hopeful that this eternal sausage party would be coming to an end. One asked the professor, “Excuse me, is this French 201?”
My heart sank.
“No it isn’t,” our fake Sean Connery answered. “This is Quantum Mechanics.”
“We’re in the wrong class,” the first girl whispered loudly to the second. “This is auto mechanics.” And they left.
Hot AND dumb. Damn.