J’s high school friend, Mark, sent me a Facebook message, urging me to write about my experience with dating a Pisay graduate (for anyone not in the know — that’s the Philippine Science High School). He requested it as a reply of sorts to another blog entry, “Date a Pisay girl.”
I had my reservations about writing an entry because it was written in the “Date a girl who reads” template, which in turn was a response to Thought Catalog’s “You should date an illiterate girl.“ Last year, exasperated by the spinoff blog posts, I wrote a spoof entry, “Date a girl who eats,” which became a lot more popular on Tumblr than I had wanted it to be because people didn’t know I wrote it as satire.
Plus, I initially thought our high school backgrounds were irrelevant; I met him at 22 — he was 25 — and we were both at the start of our careers as an editor and a pilot, respectively. I wondered, what would I have to say about being with from Pisay, the ivory tower of Philippine high school education, when I met him almost a decade after?
By the time I met him, he no longer wore thick glasses. He certainly didn’t look like a skinny nerd: he’s built like a jock, barrel-chested with muscular arms. There was little reason for him to show off his arithmetic skill, save for the times he helped out my siblings with their college homework at lightning speed. So what if he went to Pisay?
Then I realized that J’s educational background did matter. Here’s why:
1. You’re dating a nerd
You need to accept that you’re seeing someone who is willing to debate — down to minute details — about the sustainability of life on earth after centuries of abandonment just because you watched ‘Wall-E’ together. Believe me, there will be some scientific trash-talking. It dooms you to a life of being kept on your toes during trivia night because his friends know the table of elements by heart. You will not always get their jokes.
2. You will be subjected to extreme scrutiny
You can bet your life that at one point or another, a high school buddy will scan through your Facebook page to pass judgment on your mental capabilities and pop culture references. So should you decide to date someone who attended Pisay at one point or another, you may want to consider deleting that “Math sux” update on your timeline.
3. You will hear about exes
I went to an all-girls Catholic school and dated guys from the all-boys Catholic school beside our campus. Pisay kids, to us, were altogether a different breed: non-secular (“What? You don’t carry a rosary in your pocket?”), overly immersed in math and science, and in their own special way, academically snotty. No one held soirees with Pisay students — they didn’t need soirees, it was a co-ed school. Consider this:
High school hormones + co-ed school = Checkered history of relationships long before you came into the picture.
So if you’re new to the group, be forewarned: There will be moments of awkwardness. Remember that every wedding you go to and every reunion you attend with your date will contain someone he/she’s locked lips with at one point or another.
4. Your future children could possibly be a mild disappointment if they don’t get in
I’m just hazarding a guess, because we’re not talking about children at this point. But if your future children aren’t academically inclined, old people will whisper and blame it on you — yes, you who didn’t go to the exclusive science high school.
1. You’re dating a nerd
Even if you’re not mathematically savvy (I’m not — I graduated with two journalism degrees), your boyfriend/girlfriend will be used to being around smart people. I never felt small or stupid around my boyfriend, and even if we occupy entirely different spheres of intelligence, he always holds his own in a debate. Plus, he tolerates my own bouts of literary snootiness (“What, people really think Paolo Coehlo is a good writer?”)
I’ve met men who prefer dating vapid women who don’t challenge them. Chances of that happening with a Pisay grad aren’t impossible, but are considerably smaller.
2. They understand the importance of academic excellence
The academe isn’t everything. I’ve heard that often enough from flunkies who like thinking that schools held them back from reaching their potential. For some people, that’s true, but in many cases, it’s just an excuse. I once dated a musician who wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, and was constantly skipping classes or spelling “you’re” as “your.” I was too besotted to care at first, but I gradually couldn’t look past things as time went by. J wasn’t happy with the idea of a long-distance relationship, but knew why I badly wanted to go to Columbia. I spent his 28th birthday working on my J-School application. Not everyone would have been cool with that.
3. It’s easier to be yourself
In my experience, anyway. You don’t have to pretend to be cool and head out for a night on the town when you know your boyfriend/girlfriend is pals with people who enjoy a good night of playing “Magic: The Gathering” and marathon screenings of “Tron.” Chances are, they’ll be more understanding of your addiction to the Game of Thrones series and will not sneer when you turn up in khaleesi’s costume for Halloween.
If your idea of a good Friday night out is squeezing yourself into a dress two sizes too small for you, spending on overpriced drinks, and throwing up cheap vodka at the crack of dawn, run away. The Pisay graduate is not your demographic.