Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Playing by the rules

“If you really like the company, but only a third of what you intended to buy,” said my good-on-paper rational investor buddy.

“And why is that?” the stock virgin in me wondered. I was taking lessons from him in the stock market, having noted that this was a good time to join the fray, and wanting to learn from the best.

“For example, X may be a good company, but market sentiment is weak in the near term, so you might see quotational loss,” he explained.

“Hmm…interesting logic,” I said, “Almost sounds like rules of the dating game”

“Ummm… I didn’t quite get that,” said he.

I explain. “If you really like someone, show only a third of your interest. Else you are unnecessarily inflating value and market sentiment.” His face changed colour.

“You do have a point there. You know, I always have trouble hiding my interest. In fact, I’m too simple in matters of the heart, I tend to show my eagerness too soon. Thank god, at least I’m a rational investor,” he sighed.

I found it interesting that for someone who was really good at the logical game of finance, there was a kind of naivety when it came to the dating game. But it’s not just him.

I have been there too, and have always had friends or near and dear ones at any given point, who have had trouble “getting it right”. May be I can see it clearer now that I’m out of the game.

The signs are many - the commonest ones are rapid-fire messaging, missed-calling, being available for a booty call at midnight, constantly readjusting your life to coordinate with the other person, frequent inclusion of said person in your Facebook status updates, incessant tagging and commenting on said person’s photos and walls, slow dancing, kissing, doing shots, hi-fiving, and the whole shebang.

So relationships replete with status messages like, “X is so thrilled that Y is coming back next week” or “X just can’t wait to meet Y” are entering danger zones. As are talks of trosseau and wedding details when there hasn’t been so much as a proposal.

There’s also something to be learnt from the rules of poker here - a game I’m not very initiated in, but I know that it’s defined by the logic of ‘it’s not what you have, but what others think you have.’

So if one of the duo makes the other believe that he/she is the best thing that happened to her/him, well, it’s easy to start believing that.

Coming back to my savvy-in-money-but-not-in-love buddy, we have a deal now—he will teach me money, and I will teach him dating moves. Together we may both get somewhere, although I am not sure either of us will make a killing. But then, you never know.

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