Monday, 29 July 2013

Outwitting El Zorro

          While I was away visiting friends over the last couple of weeks, I met a guy -an acquaintance of one of my friends- who gave me plenty of opportunities to practice all these skills we've been discussing for the last few months. I have quite a lot to write about him -since he was such an interesting case- but for now I'll just tell you about this one incident.
          This guy joined us for a weekend away and made an entrance that reminded me of a man with a cape dashing in on horseback. Not that he literally did that but that's the image he conjured in my mind. I have noticed for the last year how new Ns I've met all seem to make this sort of entrance: noisy and creating a centrifugal force around them, almost like a tornado. I now think this is a trick designed to create a distraction so you believe their image of a "hero" when in reality they're a villain in disguise. 
          One day while we're all having breakfast he blurts out:  "There are no women geniuses, men can have that mixture of genius and madness but women can't".
          Remembering T Reddy's DH's tip of asking clarifying questions, I say:

"Why do you say that?"

He replies:"Women can give birth to children, so they couldn't have it all. So no, they can't be geniuses as well."

"Define genius" I say.

He fumbles with his phone and googles it. Then, looking ominous, he says: "you can't define genius" and then reads from wikipedia's article: "There is no scientifically precise definition of genius, and the question of whether the notion itself has any real meaning has long been a subject of debate."Still, I insist that there are no women geniuses."

I say: "How did you come up with this idea? Is this something that you've come to the conclusion of or have you actually read about it somewhere?"

Don Diego -we might as well call him by the name of el Zorro ;) - replies:

"Simone de Beauvior said it" 

I say: "Do you know why she said it? Did she do a study on it? Did she offer any backing for that assertion? Because really, unless you have any empirical proof, that statement is sort of moot."

He looks at me slightly confused and says:
"The only proof that I will give you is that if you think about it long enough you'll realise that it's true."

"That's not proof. In any case, you know very well that women throughout history have not had the same opportunities as men."

"They do now and there are no women geniuses"

"Nor there are men. Name a contemporary genius."

Silence. He can't come up with one. He's sinking lower in his chair. "But Simone de Beauvior said it."

"Just because someone says something, doesn't mean it's true, unless you have any real proof of this, it'll will just be your opinion but not a fact".

He goes back to insist that if I think about it long enough I'll change my mind but he's looking down and not at me while he says it. I realise that he's saying this more to convince himself than to convince me. I have disabled his argument and he knows it. 

A day later he pipes out: "I have to admit that you're the closest thing to a genius I've ever met in real life..." 

El Zorro -0, Kara and friends -1, and two, three, four... We lost count in the end of how many times we beat him. The guy didn't know what hit him. He's a good looking, well dressed, suave sort of guy who quite clearly impresses most women; he was not used to women who would challenge his assertions and not take his every word as fact.

And for the record, we weren't mean or horrible as we beat him: we simply counteracted his arguments fairly and squarely, which is more that I can say about the way he treated waiters... (and there's enough material there for a whole other post :P)