May 5, 2010

Glomming.

Reacting to a NYT story about the problem women outnumbering men at various universities these day, Tung Yin writes:
... I went to Caltech for college in the mid- to late 1980s, where the male-female ratio was 8-1. From a social standpoint, it wasn't clear that 8-1 was better than infinity. I learned the term "glomming," which described the phenomenon of 6-8 guys standing around a single woman, usually with only one of the guys actually talking to her, and the rest just nodding their heads.
Glomming... it checks out in Urban Dictionary.

Glom is a funny word. I've always mixed it up with grok. Only grok is a Martian word.

56 comments:

MrBuddwing said...

Only grok is a Martian word.

I thought it was Vulcan.

Word verification: grandayh.

Triangle Man said...

I occasionally confuse Bogalusa and Bogota, despite being aware that Bogota is in New Jersey and Bogalusa is not.

AllenS said...

Feh.

Scott said...

I grok glomming

Titus said...

Thank you George Rekers from Family Research Council for hiring a 24 year old from RentBoy.com to attend a vacation with you in Rome.

No sex, though, NATCH.

campy said...

the male-female ratio was 8-1. From a social standpoint, it wasn't clear that 8-1 was better than infinity.

As my MIT grad daughter used to say, the odds were good but the goods were odd.

Big Mike said...

Only 8:1??? It was way worse than that "north of Green Street" (where the College of Engineering and the Physics and Computer Science departments were located) at the University of Illinois in the 1960's.

The Drill SGT said...

LOL

I applied to Cal Tech in 67. Didn't get in. Went to UC instead. At that point there were 180 Freshmen in the class, and I mean freshMEN. I think there were 6 females in the class that started in 66. You had to be a Nerd's Nerd to get in there then.

As for the NYT story, making schools hostile to boys has its result. You can thank Teachers and liberal Schools of Education for that outcome that will ripple through society...

Big Mike said...

But, seriously folks, with the ratio between undergraduate females to undergraduate males rapidly approaching 60:40, it follows that one third of all women currently attending college will have to settle for a non-college educated husband, or they'll "poach" younger college-educated males from their younger college-educated sisters (kicking the problem down the road but making it worse for the next cohort). Or perhaps one third of the women currently attending college will decide that having a male life partner is more trouble than having a female life partner.

I don't see any other alternatives, and under any of these scenarios I see wrenching changes ahead for a significant number of educated women in the next decade.

SteveR said...

I went to college with a similar bad ratio and we used to say "New Mexico Tech, where the men are men and so are half the women".

Balfegor said...

But, seriously folks, with the ratio between undergraduate females to undergraduate males rapidly approaching 60:40, it follows that one third of all women currently attending college will have to settle for a non-college educated husband, or they'll "poach" younger college-educated males from their younger college-educated sisters (kicking the problem down the road but making it worse for the next cohort).

Isn't the more obvious solution that they poach older college educated (and possibly married) males? Sure they could go after younger males, but would younger males go for them? Some, perhaps, but not many, if the gender imbalance holds up.

The Drill SGT said...

Isn't the more obvious solution that they poach older college educated (and possibly married) males?

The article mentioned the college women in big citis dated local professional men.

Sofa King said...

Gotta love that media template.

Women handily outnumber men at colleges and universities. This is clearly a problem - for women. Those poor, poor women.

I say, fuck 'em.

Salamandyr said...

I say, fuck 'em.

Isn't that kind of the idea...for the college aged men at least?

Big Mike said...

@Balfegor, well if you look around my neighborhood, younger women easing out first wives must be a pretty common phenomenon already.

Out of forty houses in our development, there can't be more than ten where the husband is still living with wife #1.

My house is one of them, BTW.

Big Mike said...

One of the ones where the husband is still married to his original sweetheart, that is.

D. B. Light said...

"Grok" is indeed a Martian term. It was coined by Robert Heinlein for his 1961 novel "Stranger in a Strange Land" and was spoken by Valentine Michael Smith, who was raised on Mars. The Star Trekkers copied the term from Heinlein in the late sixties.

On the more important subject, one may note that historically when a profession or achievement becomes feminized it declines in both status and in rewards. "Secretary" [keeper of secrets] used to be a high status position.

Gabriel Hanna said...

What angers me about the situation is that apparently 57% female is not ENOUGH. It is not enough because of engineering and physics; when they are made 50/50 male/female, by invoking Title XI or something like that ( http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/15/science/15tier.html ) the overall ratio will be even more skewed in favor of women. There is no comparable pressure on English or Womens' Studies be 50% male, no one talks about applying Title IX to them.

The ratio is even more skewed in favor of women in graduate school.

No amount of "equality" is ever enough. It is not enough that women outnumber men in academia overall; they must be at or over 50% in every discipline. Only then do we have "equality".

ricpic said...

I've never heard glom used without on to: glom on to: grab hold of: appropriate to oneself: steal: glom on to his idea.

Robin said...

Among readers of romantic novels, the term 'glomming' refers to the act of reading or re-reading all the books by an author in a row. Example, "I am glomming Nora Roberts this weekend."

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

Here in N.Y. if you glommed something,you stole it. At least that's how it was when I was a kid in the olden days and still today,I think.;-)

Hagar said...

All college "educations" are not created equal.

Eric said...

I don't see any other alternatives, and under any of these scenarios I see wrenching changes ahead for a significant number of educated women in the next decade.

The alternative is for successful men to marry multiple women. Oh, we don't do it all at the same time, like they do in some other countries, but I don't see a huge practical difference between official polygamy and men who have two or three separate families in succession.

Pogo said...

"Men not getting college educations; women hardest hit."

edutcher said...

I think 'glom' goes back to WWII, meaning knowing a good thing when you see it and trying to take advantage of it.

As, John Kerry will always glom onto a rich widow.

As for the male/female disparity, I would suggest a copy of "Roughing It".

Big Mike said...

@Robin, you must be one heck of a speed reader to glom all of Nora Roberts in a weekend.

Zach said...

By the time I went to a very similar college, the ratio had fallen to 3:1. The women's college across the street made the ratio much more bearable.

The women who were there had all gotten fantastic financial aid packages, too, and had their pick of the super-elite tech colleges they wanted to attend. We wanted the school to recruit women harder than men, because that unbalanced a ratio really sucks.

This is the part that humanities students just don't get about trying to even the ratio in the sciences. The men are trying to get women there. 3:1 is a 3:1 improvement. It's just really hard to get women to step up to the plate.

Pogo said...

Can't men see how much they hurt women by being outnumbered by them at universities?

Is there no end to the maliciousness of males?

Pogo said...

I thought 'glomming' was the sound you made when chewing my mom's rubberized meatloaf..

glom glom glom

Zach said...

As a followup to that last post, I'm always surprised that the super competitive college admissions process never got more girls to apply to places like Caltech. You see people completely killing themselves over distinctions that I have no conception of -- do you have any idea off the top of your head whether Brown is better than Bryn Mawr? -- when a place like Caltech, one of the top two or three diplomas in the world, is desperate to admit more women.

campy said...

a place like Caltech, one of the top two or three diplomas in the world, is desperate to admit more women

As Barbie famously observed, "Math class is hard."

Balfegor said...

By the time I went to a very similar college, the ratio had fallen to 3:1. The women's college across the street made the ratio much more bearable.

Mudd and Scripps?

Lawgiver said...

I've always mixed it up with grok. Only grok is a Martian word.,

Last night during a discussion with my son about reading I said you can grok a novel but you can't really grok text written in teh internets. He had no idea what I was talking about.

Maybe I was wrong.

Anthony said...

Like the guys are going to complain about skewed distributions. Of course, they'll end up failing out because they're too busy servicing the females.

Wandering Geologist said...

Yep! I just graduated from Caltech, and the word "glomming" is still in use, even though the ratio is more like 2:1 these days. I hope the word becomes mainstream because I accidentally use it all the time around my non-Techer friends, along with "n+1?" (used when you want to sit down at a table or couch that already has a lot of people).

Steven said...

It follows that one third of all women currently attending college will have to settle for a non-college educated husband

Which is fine, since at least a third of those women aren't going to have a college education, either. A degree, sure, but that's not actually the same thing.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Balfegor-

My daughter will be starting at Mudd in the fall.

victoria said...

Grok is from "Stranger in a strange land" Robert Heinlein. The main character was named Valentine Michael Smith. How geeky is that. I actually read the book when I was 13, in 1966, did not understand one word of it. Read it later,understood.


Vicki from Pasadena

MadisonMan said...

Doesn't glom come from agglomeration?

Balfegor said...

My daughter will be starting at Mudd in the fall.

An excellent school. It is my alma mater, in fact.

Christy said...

Synchronicity! After reading this post, I was listening to the wonderful Jonathan Lethem's Chronic City wherein he uses "glom."

I hate Stranger.... and find grok the ugliest of words. Don't ask me why I own 3 editions of the novel.

Zach said...

Yeah, it was good ol' Harvey Mudd. Your daughter will really like it there, Ignorance. There aren't many places in the world with that kind of energy, where brilliant people will do crazy things just for the joy of doing them.

Hucbald said...

My undergrad years were spent in a music school. What chicks were there were unfathomably weird, intractably stupid, or both... high ratio of cuteness though.

Doug said...

Around here glom is used commonly enough that I always knew what it meant, although I always assumed it was slang. According to this guy, I'm right again, as always.
http://www.word-detective.com/2010/03/04/glom/

blake said...

Christy--

SIASL is one of those books I wanted to throw against the wall. I think thereafter (and possibly for some time before) Heinlein cemented his practice of taking a good story and destroying it with weird sex.

Hucbald--

Huh. I undergradded in music, too. Lotsa cute, not really so much weird. At least among the girls.

Tom Grey said...

"Glom onto you" is what cool chicks do NOT want the nerd just met getting drinks to do at a party.

Even almost cool guys don't like when a social negat gloms onto them at a party.

Do you grok glom yet?

Tho maybe glom is getting more acceptable as fanzines proliferate.

Milwaukee said...

The Onion got it right recently: Men have won the gender wars. Men are still getting laid frequently, and women are doing most of the work. But, men who believe they should be the primary bread winner earn more than men who don't. But they have to find a cooperative spouse. And how many of the recent female best actor Oscar winners have seen their relationships blow-up? Quite a few. Women can't have it all their way: that isn't a fair game.

Women in veterinary science are putting our food supply system at risk because they don't want to stick their arms up a cow. (Vets have gloves which go all the way to the armpit.) Women prefer to be "personal companion vets" while men are more interested in large animal care. Men will get up at 2 am to save a calving heifer, but men are being crowded out of vet school. Female dentists retire earlier, and work part time more than their male counter parts. Replace 100,000 male dentists with females and have a shortage of dentists. The list can go on. Men fixated on their careers work longer at their professions than women. We do have a problem, and I don't see a way out.

D.B. Light is correct: On the more important subject, one may note that historically when a profession or achievement becomes feminized it declines in both status and in rewards.

sbk said...

The "Glomerata" is the Auburn University yearbook which is affectionately and probably more widely known as the "Glom." It is a derivative of the word conglomerate. We've used the word glom for years to mean attach or stick to. ex: "I can glom on to the idea of more guys than girls!"

Callahan said...

common collocation with "onto". It's also found in the regular dictionary. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/glom

"I like spending time time with Judy now and then but she has a tendency to glom onto me, which really creeps me out."

Port Tack Start said...

campy: And someone at the USAFA put a song to those words...

The Falcon Love Song

Gordon R. Durand said...

If I may take an OED approach, the word appears in The Barbarians: A Soldier's New Guinea Diary, by Australian writer Peter Pinney, about his wartime experiences. Pinney includes a glossary at the end of the book to help his American readers sort out Aussie slang. So, in 1943 anyway,

GLOM: see

The relevant passage is this:

"I ain't even seen a sheila in a month. Glom her ornamental plum -- like a coupla monkeys fighting in a sugarbag!"

Assistant Village Idiot said...

"Glom" was used by my mother to describe a sullen, unsocialised male: "you look like a glom in that shirt." Everyone else used it to describe attaching oneself or sticking on to something - glomming on to. Given my heritage, I concluded that the meanings were related to the Swedish word for oatmeal. I have been unable to find any authority who thinks this even remotely possible. However, a similar word roughly equivalent to "gloomy" was reported to me by a Norwegian.

If I had to push my guess beyond provable limits, I would relate it to PIE *ghel, melancholy, rather than Proto-Germ. *klamm, stuck together (clamp, clam).

Jum said...

Well I'll be. I had always assumed I was the only person in America who was so hopelessly uncool as to confuse the two. So I went over 35 years avoiding both.

But now, thanks to you, Ann, I glom the difference, and I'll grok onto them tightly.

Oh...wait...

Ann Althouse said...

"Women in veterinary science are putting our food supply system at risk because they don't want to stick their arms up a cow."

Especially unfortunate given that the cows prefer female arms.

jamboree said...

That's funny. My aunt - now a senior - referred to the dweebs at her high school reunion as "gloms". I had never heard the term. I don't think she would know of this exact meaning.

Casey said...

The word is even older than that. IIRC, Richard Hooker used it in his second novel, MASH Goes to Maine, in the older sense of "grab onto," or "lay hold of." Merriam-Webster online presents a similar definition dating back to 1907.

Hooker's three original MASH novels, by the way, have pretty much nothing to do with the movie or the TV show. I suspect the (metaphorically) real Hawkeye Pierce would kick Alan Alda's buttocks just for the fun of it.