His friends warned him about Sophia, but he just wouldn’t listen.
“What’s wrong with being ‘too logical’?” he asked. “I just don’t get it. It’s actually quite attractive for a woman to be too intelligent. Sophia is super attractive already, so her intelligence only adds icing on the cake.”
“No, that’s not what I meant,” Adam said, shaking his head. “Of course, she’s very intelligent, but more than that, she’s just too logical.”
He laughed at them. “Again, what on earth is wrong with that?” he said. “That’s better than being, um, illogical, right?”
They shook their heads in unison.
“You don’t get it, but you’ll see what we mean,” Rory said.
“That’s right. You’ll see soon enough,” Gerry said.
“Don’t say we didn’t warn you,” Adam added.
So he courted Sophia and right away he understood what they meant. She was indeed very logical. During their first date, they drove around the city for two hours trying to decide where to eat. She was very analytical. She compared and contrasted the merits of each of the restaurants they passed by. They discussed in great detail the pros and cons of Thai food, Italian food, Greek food, Chinese food, and German food. She was also very particular about her taste. She didn’t want food that was too salty, or too oily, or too spicy. They finally decided to try Japanese food when his stomach let out an involuntary grumbling sound. Their meal lasted for more than four hours because not only did it involve discussions about Japanese cuisine, it also included topics like Japanese art, Japanese history, Japanese culture, Japanese music, Japanese religions, Japanese folklore, classic anime, and miscellaneous Japanese trivia. His contribution to the total volume of their conversation was about 5%.
But this did not deter him at all. He liked her very much in spite of her tendency to deliver long lectures during each of their dates. After all, he never finished college, and each day that he spent with her felt like a semester inside a classroom. He couldn’t imagine “forever” without her. She was simply too beautiful, too intelligent, too articulate, too unique, and too interesting to let go. It would be insane to toss back to the sea a catch this big! He persisted for seven long months until one day he decided to take her on a tour out of the country.
“Oh, France! How delightful!” Sophia exclaimed. “How perfectly delightful.”
“I’m so glad you like the idea,” he said.
“Like it? I love it. Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I left home?”
“Yeah. I was born there. My mother is French. I thought you knew.”
For some reason, he assumed she was half-Norwegian.
One particularly cold night, as they stood in a park that faced the great Eiffel Tower, he suddenly exclaimed, “Oh look, my shoe laces are untied.”
He bent down to tie his shoe laces, and as he looked up at Sophia, he popped the question, “Sophia?”
“My dear Sophia?” He was kneeling now and he had something inside his jacket pocket.
“My dearest, loveliest, most beautiful Sophia….” and he revealed the ring. It sparkled so brightly against the Parisian lights. “I am not a very romantic and eloquent sort of guy, so allow me my love, my life, my joy, to express this deep, most ardent, most profound desire of mine (he looked these words up in the dictionary that morning), through these most simple and sincere of words…”
“Will you be my wife?”
She covered her mouth with her hand and tears immediately poured down her face. He couldn’t tell whether she was smiling, frowning, or gritting her teeth. Her shoulders rose and fell as she sighed and cried. These were the most suspenseful 30 seconds of his life.
“Mon dieu, mon dieu, mon dieu.” She uncovered her mouth and with great relief he saw that she was smiling. “Oh, Michael. Oh, Michael. Oh, Michael. A proposal!”
He nodded sheepishly. “Yes.”
“Oh, please stand up.” She wiped the tears off her cheeks. “Oh, how lovely, how lovely, how utterly lovely. The ring, it’s so beautiful, Michael. It’s so… magnificently pretty.” She was at a loss for words. His heart swelled with joy and gladness. At that moment, he was the happiest man in the world.
“Tell you what,” she went on. “A proposal is very much like an argument. That’s a technical term in logic and critical thinking. By “argument” I don’t mean a “quarrel”,” she chuckled. “No, no. Rather, by “argument”, I mean a set of claims, statements, or propositions one of which is the conclusion and the others are the premises given in support of the conclusion. The conclusion in this particular argument or proposal is, “You should marry me, Sophia,” or “It’s a good idea for you to marry me, Sophia,” or “Therefore, Sophia should marry Michael.” Did I understand you correctly? You may, of course, phrase the conclusion in a way that best expresses your preference. Anyway, here’s what I want you to do, Michael.”
He stared blankly at her lime-green eyes.
“I want you to go back to the hotel right now and write your proposal or argument in standard form.”
“Standard form?” he asked, half-dazed, half-stunned.
“Yes,” she said. “I want you to identify your conclusion — and we already did that — and its premises. At this point I don’t really know what your premises are. They seem to be implicit or suppressed. Write them down in a piece of paper. Then, support your premises. I’ll give you a tip. One of the requirements for a good argument is that the premises have to be plausibly true. So make sure they are so. Support them with reasons, evidences, and if necessary further arguments. Finally, write your argument as a persuasive essay, and tomorrow morning, over breakfast or brunch, I’ll take a look at it and see whether your argument satisfies the Logic Condition and the Truth Condition — that is, whether or not your conclusion really follows from the premises and whether or not the premises are indeed plausibly true and are warranted.” Her smile was filled with life. “Oh, Michael, you’re so cute.” And she proceeded to pinch both of his cheeks as if he were a baby. “You adorable little thing.”
Michael locked himself up inside his room and cried himself to sleep. It was still dark when he woke up. The room was quiet and cold. He glanced at the clock and immediately jumped up from his bed. Frantically, he took a pad of paper, a pencil, and Googled “How to win a girl’s heart using logic” on his laptop.