Chicago: His intellect was truly frightening. On our first (and only) date, I was stunned into an awed silence as he scribbled game theory equations on a napkin, attempting to explain an article he had just published in an economics journal. Frustrated by my lack of mathematical competency, he changed the subject to Raoul Berger's constitutional interpretation. I stammered a few pathetic monosyllables in reply. He began to check his watch.
To be perfectly honest, his brilliance was all that attracted me to him. He was arrogant and cold; locks of his brown hair were always falling over his eyes, as he apparently could not cease reading long enough to get a haircut; and he was far too thin for my taste. Still, I made out with him later that night, only to be dismissed from his presence at precisely eight-thirty. "I need a book from the law library before it closes," he said as he avoided my pleading gaze. By the time I returned home that night, I already had a voicemail message from him, telling me that it just wouldn't work out.
Northwestern: Much more attractive than Chicago. His black hair was always neatly clipped, though not too short, and his cheeks were an adorable rosy color. He liked to describe himself as a "down-to-earth Midwesterner," and when he wasn't at the office, he usually wore sweatshirts, perhaps to cover up the fact that he was slightly stocky. (But he did look stunning in a suit.) Though he was almost as intelligent as Chicago, he was not as academically inclined, preferring to devote his intellect to more practical pursuits. I think he really liked me, but his professional life was so hectic that he eventually asked me if we could "take things slow, maybe sort of put commitment 'on hold' for a while." My feelings for him were too strong to allow such torturous uncertainty, so I reluctantly called it quits.
UIUC: I suspect he had a lower-paying job than Northwestern, but you never would have guessed it from the way he wined and dined me at the best restaurants in town. I only surmised it from the way he sometimes looked a bit anxious when he pulled out his wallet to cover our hundred-dollar tabs. Still, he earnestly rejected my every offer to pay the bill or split the tab. After a few weeks of courtship, he began to press me for a serious commitment; but for some reason, my instincts advised against it. I tried to let him down easy, informing him that he was just "too nice" and that I didn't want to "ruin the friendship." But niceness was never really the obstacle; after all, if Northwestern had only been nicer, I would have been the happiest woman alive. At any rate, UIUC lived too far away.
Notre Dame: I suppose I had no real reason to draw out this relationship as long as I did. After all, ND was not as brilliant as Chicago, or as handsome and worldly as Northwestern, or as generous as UIUC. Still, he had been there for me long before any of the others, and he had a certain je ne sais quoi that kept me coming back. The Irish eyes, perhaps? My parents had actually heard of him, and said that he came from "a good family." We used to have totally geeky discussions of Aquinas and Grotius' natural law theories on our way to church. But big city life eventually sucked me in, and I just didn't know if I could go back to rural Indiana and be a good Catholic wife.