Some people I knew made lists of the personal traits they were looking for in members of the opposite sex. I was philosophically opposed to such lists. To me, people were too complicated to pigeonhole, and I regarded the whole exercise as dehumanizing and reductionist - terms, incidentally, I actually used back then, owing to being in college where such terms were de rigueur (another college term) if you wanted a good grade, at least in the arts.

I know what you're thinking and you're wrong. You think my contempt for the trait-listing activity had nothing to do with philosophy. You think that as a typical, garden-variety male, I was simply unable to come up with any traits, that if a woman was willing to say yes to my entreaties that that was trait enough. Au contraire. I'm sure I could have made a list if I had put my mind to it.

I've also heard about people making pro/con lists. Apparently, the idea is to list all the pluses about an impending decision on one side of a piece of paper and all the minuses on the other, total them up, and arrive at your conclusion. This struck me as too much like math, which I didn't take in college because you could say "dehumanizing" and "reductionist" all day long and it wouldn't matter. You still had to actually do something to get a good grade, like come up with a correct answer to a problem.

In the arts, on the other hand, you had to prove that there was no correct answer. That I could do. And that, it turns out, is precisely the problem for the pro/con list. Pros and cons are not equal. They have different values. (There we go with the math again.) As a result, you can always prove that the pros and cons, when subtracted from each other and pi squared and exponentiated to the nth power, result in one undeniable conclusion: I dunno, what do you think? Very artsy, but not very helpful.