Mark frantically coughs up an apology, trying to make her stay, she says she now needs to leave to “study” (trying to make a polite exit). Mark retorts that she doesn’t have to study, she insists she does so she can leave, he says she doesn’t again, she then asks why he keeps saying she doesn’t, and he insults her one last time:
Mark: “Because you go to BU.”
Erica: I’m sorry you are not sufficiently impressed with my education.
Mark: “And I’m sorry I don’t have a rowboat, so we’re even.”
Erica: “I think we should just be friends.”
Mark: “I don’t want friends.”
Erica: I was just being polite. I have no intention of being friends with you.”
(Now I sense what you’re gonna say, “See, at the beginning he didn’t want to be friends, and at the end he’s changed”, but I propose this line of dialogue has subtext. Mark is being defensive, and to quote Robert McKee from his book “Story”, -“Self-explanatory dialogue convinces no one.” This is why every writer should “show, not tell”, because actions speak louder than words, as I know you already know. Mark tells us he doesn’t want “friends”, but all his actions in this scene, and before this scene even started, show otherwise. Now you may still think he’s a be-er, and I agree there is a little of this, but overall I still feel/think he is a do-er. Mark’s doing external actions to achieve his desires thoughtout the film from start to finish.)
Mark tries to get back to the date like normal, making an excuse hoping to brush everything off, but Erica has had enough and gets straightforward with him now: “Okay, you are probably going to be a very successful computer person. But you’re gonna go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a nerd. And I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an asshole. (She’s trying to put the focus on his need, because he needs to do this in order to get everything he wants. And at the end of the film, he does get everything, but “like-ability”.
Maybe I didn’t clarify enough that his desire for like-ability in his mind is attached to being popular/friends/love, but because he’s a narcissist he views these as power/status, and all the lines are blurred.
Please let me know if I answered your questions.