This just fell in the tip jar from an anonymous guy who saw the email on his frat listserv, and we had to publish it immediately.
What you're about to read is what happens when a sophomore fraternity guy at Vanderbilt emails a "pretty cool but also very respected" econ professor in order to apply the class's lessons to the pursuit of a "top-heavy blonde bombshell." The econ professor, who has been described as "at least 65," to his credit obviously put some time into thinking out the costs and benefits pertaining to this sophomore wooing the young lass. But regardless, it's still a ridiculous idea to email a professor like this. Brilliant, but ridiculous. We've put the prof's comments in bold italics.
XXXX, I found your analysis interesting. But the reasoning could have been a bit tighter and, given the potential rewards, I would hate to have you make a bad decision here. On the other hand, perhaps the benefits of learning from a bad decision would far outweigh the benefits received right now from a good decision. See my comments below in [bold italics]. I am glad that economics is helping your love life.
Hey there Professor,
My name is XXXX and I'm a sophomore in your class. I have been keeping up with the readings, participating in class and taking the self-quizzes. I feel like I have a strong grasp of the concepts that we have discussed. So, in order to get ready for our test on Friday, I have decided make some economic decisions in the real world.
I was hoping that I could get your feedback on my reasoning in this situation that has come up. If the girl that I am talking to starts playing hard to get, is that a bad economic decision on her part? [If she knows that you will put forth more effort and the ultimate benefits for her are significantly greater, it is rational for her to play hard to get.]
I know the first thing that you need to know is: how does she look? I'll refrain from adding any attachments, but if you take my word for it, she's a ten. We're talking top-heavy blond bombshell - certain back trouble in her future. The problem I see though, is that she is making the costs of me pursuing her. I have to invest a lot more time into the relationship. [As stated above that may be in her best interest. Even if she loses you.]
My attention span is an elastic good. Between class and house parties and intramural softball, my time has a very high opportunity cost. [Give your opportunity cost, perhaps continuing to pursue her is not a rational action.] Also, I don't know if you've noticed, but there are a ton substitute goods in this freshmen class. [Good point. That should put limits on your willingness to pursue.] I know we haven't covered incentives yet (the potential rewards of staying with her), but is the supply of my time spent on this female expected to decline? [Yes, there are diminishing returns. But just because they diminish does not mean you should stop pursuit.] Were these last few weeks just a sunk cost? [And yes, absolutely! They are sunk. Don't continue just because of past efforts. However, to complicate things-- just a little more effort may pay off in a big way. And pursuit of a new target may cost a lot more than continuing this pursuit for just a bit more.]
It'd be great if I could get your feedback before the tailgate on Saturday. [Does all that help or hurt? What should I tell her, if she sends me questions?]
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