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New Jersey is the land of big hair, hormones, and chromatography by Barbara Dexter

New Jersey is the land of big hair, hormones, and chromatography by Barbara Dexter

This became only too real when while attending a seminar on gas chromatography troubleshooting, a young woman walks into the auditorium with hair pointing northward at least six inches of her head pointing straight up into the sky.  Even though I don’t have an engineering degree, I find myself marveling at this structure that lasts through today’s thunderstorm without even a suggestion of frizzing. Yes, New Jersey is definitely home to big hair.

Then there is the one man chromatography shop owner. I wonder how much tenacity and networking is required to pull that feat off? He has to compete in an extremely competitive industry that regularly conducts business in the billions of dollars. This must be one of his networking opportunities, as he is dressed in a power outfit of a button down oxford and khakis. His posture is one of total comfort, though you know his heart is racing for the next big deal.

The natives are getting restless. We have been here for at least forty five minutes after the expected, published start time. The coffee with yogurt and granola are no longer or cannot possibly live up to anyone’s expectations. It is just about this time that a man walks in sporting unsightly facial hair. His chest hair is peaking out of the collar of his polo shirt. He is definitely hairy. I know for certain that my younger sister would find him attractive.

The middle aged man in the suit is next to talk. We discuss retention times and solubility in isocratic and gradient separations. Well I say that times are fast. The theory of theoretical plate counts on the columns is discussed. I day dream and wonder why I need to know the formulas? I only care that I have the ability to separate compounds of interest from cutting agents and diluents.

Yes it happens even here. The old man with the comb over has just walked in carrying his plate of food and coffee. Instead of just taking a seat in the back, he walks in front of everyone to the middle of the first row forcing the speaker to wait until he is seated.

The hairy man has now pulled up a piece of floor and is typing away on his laptop, while the suit is busy taking. I hope he is not sharing “the suit’s” information without permission.  The all of a sudden I can sense his eyes staring at me as I attempt to look away.

Yes, finally something to look at. Eye candy on two legs has just walked through the door.  He is now actively typing on his laptop next to the hairy man. “Mr. Eye-candy” is now perusing the crowd. Will he come over and introduce himself to me I wonder? Alas I must make due talking about self-tightening column nuts and ordering information with the hairy man.  What a missed opportunity.

Then there it is my opportunity to talk with “Mr. Eye-candy”, when he approaches me to ask directions to the airport. He states that he is flying home to California.  My hormones are telling me, just sneak into his luggage he will never notice. As I imagine the California coastline, I calmly explain how to get to the airport and wish him a safe trip.