Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Re-engineering the Glass Heart

By garbanzo in Culture
Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 02:21:36 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

HD 64760 wrote a very nice article about involuntary celibacy. I know my urge to kibbitz is an unfortunate character flaw, but even though I have no professional insight to bring to the matter, I still feel compelled to comment, to add my unprofessional insight. In this case, the comment got so long I decided to post it as an article instead. Like his story, mine is personal.


Introduction

I'm not celibate (voluntary or otherwise) but I also came to dating pretty late in life and I think I may understand part of the cognitive mechanisms behind the problem, having fought my way free of some of them. I do have at least one friend who I'd likely describe as involuntarily celibate, but it has been some time since we spoke and he may have changed. Although if he was the same at 38 as 18, one begins to despair for him.

Assumptions

I think from the way HD 64760 writes his piece (and I think it well written) he is framing it up as a problem, a source of some dissatisfaction with life. It is not clear that he has decided whether he should change or whether society should change. He brings up good questions and points to some interesting resources. He brings it out of the closet for examination, non-judgmentally.

So here, let's be judgmental. Let's assume for my article that you have the same problem and you want to change. Let's further assume that you are a male. Because I am a male and I'm not going to try to advise women on this problem, which I think might be different from their perspective. Though they are welcome to take any value from it that they can. Also, my apologies to the gay reader: I have, for simplicity's sake (and not for any judgemental reason) assumed that the object of romance is "she" since is "she" who interests me--please substitute whatever other pronoun you prefer for that pronoun.

Defining the glass heart problem

I think that a large part of the problem stems from early and excessive escalation of the emotional stakes placed in a given relationship. Let's call it (for entertainment purposes only) Emotional Premature Ejaculation. To quote HD 64760:

"It's pretty much true that I fall in love first, then start dating the desired person, and find that I don't really know how or when to express my feelings without scaring the person away. I guess the notion of casual dating is foreign..."

Actually, casual dating is the rule, not the exception. It is by casual dating that people figure out if they want to proceed to not-so-casual dating. Going out on a first date with someone you are already in love with is, statistically, the rare exception. I like to think that Darwin's hammer is the cause of this effect. It is such a devastatingly bad way to approach dating and relationships that people found a better way.

I'm quite aware of the devastation it causes because I have been guilty of this approach myself a time or two (especially back in my college days) but I broke myself of the habit, basically by reengineering myself, by challenging erroneous assumptions and correcting some cognitive errors I was making habitually:

  • I'm worthless
  • No one could possibly love me.
  • Dating is too much pressure and stress.
  • She will freak out if she finds out how I really feel.
  • This relationship is my last chance...

Those assumptions (to use a UKism I've always liked) Were a Lot of Bollocks. A buncha hooey. Errors I corrected in my head. Here's how I did it.

Step 1

Decide which statement is true: either your attention, efforts, affection, and love have no intrinsic value or else they do have intrinsic value.

Relationships are transactional. We bring attention and effort to them and in return we get attention and effort from someone else. If, at your core, you don't value your effort in a relationship, you should not try to get into one. For my part, I found during my problem years (on self-examination) that I was devaluing my own contribution and overvaluing my partner's. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: a partner will begin to agree with you, perhaps against their own first impression. Once your partner agrees that you are worthless, the relationship should soon finish dissolving.

This intrinsic value (like bloody everything else) is subjective. That is, not everyone will place the same value on you. You need at least one person to decide you are really worthwhile and that person is you. You have to decide to be your own friend if you want anyone else to be a friend to you. If you can't do that, keep working on it and go no further.

Until you achieve this, you are as to relationships as an addict is to a drug: dependent. You will not ever achieve a balanced relationship until you value your own contribution to it as much as what you take from it. Further, you will be an emotional drain on the other party and she will shed you quickly, if she has any sense. Why? Because you require constant reassurance of your worth: "Do you still love me? How about now?"

The reason the Stewart Smalley sketch was funny on Saturday Night Live ("I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me.") was that clearly Stewart had not yet learned to believe his mantra. Whatever your inner cheerleader is chanting on your behalf, you need to believe it before you proceed.

Step 2

Do the math!

By this, I mean consider the great gulping volume of humanity that is out there. Billions. Woo! Some of them are like you. It might not be a big slice, but the pie itself is very large, so it is likely your small slice contains thousands of people, at least. Some of those thousands will like you and value you. And some of those are women. It is pretty probable that you will reciprocate with one of those women. Bingo!

Unfortunately, humanity is not yet indexed in a relational database. "SELECT * FROM People WHERE People.AttractedTo = 'me' ORDER BY People.HooterDimensions DESC" does not return any rows. We have to search for them by actually meeting them, one at a time for the most part, unless you are suggesting something outre. Not easy, but also not impossible. For one thing, people like you may hang out in some of the same places you do. Although it can also be useful to go looking in other places.

Okay, I realize that some of what I am saying you have to take on faith. It can be boiled down to the cliche about there being someone for everyone. But: if you don't believe that there is someone out there you can have a balanced relationship with, then you are right to go no further.

I date quite a bit more now than in my misspent (that is to say, unspent) youth. I had more dates last month than in my senior year of high school. Okay, kick junior and sophomore years in there too. Unfortunately, that is still not a large number of dates, though I do fine and have no complaints. In my experience, I find that finding someone you'd like to spend your twilight years with is rare but finding someone you can enjoy dinner with is very do-able. Finding someone to sleep with, if that is what you want to do, is also pretty do-able.

Step 3

You need to mentally decompress the dating situation.

Remember that most dating is casual dating, even if the end goal is not casual. It is fine to have a long-term objective of finding someone to build a life with, but accept that achieving this will take some time and experimentation. A lot of time and a lot of experimentation would be pretty much par for the course. Consider the divorce rate (somewhere around 50%) as Exhibit A. You can consider the amount of dating I do to be Exhibit B.

Well, but no programmer expects his program to run without errors on first compile. No scientist expects his theory to be conclusively supported and embraced by the world after his first experiment. Not unless those folks are quite naive. No, we debug. We experiment, change variables, try new things. Anything worth having will probably require some work and effort and will take place in incremental steps. The truth is that these incremental steps can, in and of themselves, be enjoyable too. If you can stop them from being pressure cookers.

The way you decompress the situation is by (tada!) casual dating. You start small and you start early. Don't wait until you fall in love to ask a woman out. Consider the question: what's the worst that could happen? If the date is casual and it goes poorly for you or for her, well, that's okay. You figured it out early and there was not too much skin in the game for either of you. By contrast, if you are deeply in love with a woman and the first date goes badly, it will devastate you. If she realizes that is what has happened (and if she is also a decent human being) it will devastate her too. Nobody worth dating likes to break hearts.

If every date is fraught with great import, you need to redefine "date." To quote HD 64760:

"If the game you are playing is a no-win one, stop playing, rewrite the rules."

I couldn't say it better myself, and I have said nearly those exact words many times to myself. The purpose of courtship is to enable mutual discovery, and also express mutual interest, starting small, but maybe growing over time. By waiting until you are in love to start dating, you escalate the stakes of that game to a virtual one-roll-takes-all crapshoot. Remember the math: she's probably out there, but you will not meet her right away and you have to survive, emotionally, long enough to discover each other.

Women and men, ultimately, are people, not strange aliens or inimical beasts. We are more similar to each other than we are to other species. A helluva lot more similar. Treat this like the advantage is truly is. Do things you like to do and invite someone who might be interesting to you along to do them with you. Lunch is nice. Movies work. Coffee is great. Lectures, theater, shopping in a used book store, etc. Remember this: if you are ultimately looking for someone to fall in love with, well, it would be real convenient for you both if you liked to do some of the same things. Casual dating is one way that we find out what other people like to do.

Step 4

Be honest and disclose your interest earlier rather than later.

If the invitation you are making to someone is something you think of as a date, make sure they realize where you are coming from. Not all surprises are good. Completely casual friendly meetings or lunches are great for prospecting, but if you want to ask someone on a date, use the word "date" so they know. If that word (or any plain-spoken declaration) is too heavy for you to utter, try dropping obvious hints: bring flowers.

Side note: Start with inexpensive flowers! Do not lead off with a dozen long-stem red roses. In fact, wildflowers are a good place to start because they are personal, something you picked especially for her. Long stem roses are nitro-glycerin. Remember Step 3, Decompress! Use LSR's only when truly appropriate.

Some people will think that flowers are a cliche that makes stereotypical assumptions about women and what they may like or dislike. Okay. Except that I don't know any women (even my most extremely feminist friends) who don't like flowers. If you think flowers are politically incorrect (the dying, dismembered sex organs of oppressed plants, after all) substitute something more correct. Make a chrysanthemum out of tofu. Think of something. The important thing is express your interest unambiguously.

Flowers (and their tofu analogues) are a pretty unambiguous hint--if you are meeting your buddy for lunch, you don't generally take him flowers (unless he is a botanist and they are specimens). If she asks if you are romancing her, don't deny it. At least say "maybe" but don't be afraid to say yes. It is, after all, the simple truth and (Remember Step 1!) It's Nothing To Be Ashamed Of!

This is not always going to lead to romantic success, but if she knows your intentions early (before you let your own emotional stakes escalate) she can let you know if the attention is unwanted before it is a big fat hairy deal.

Oh no! Rejection. Yes, rejection. Two things about this: first is that it is inevitable. GM does not sell a car to everyone who visits a dealership either. Second is that rejection gets easier to handle with time, particularly because it won't happen every time. Sometimes, she will be flattered and interested.

Actually, almost everyone will be flattered to find out that someone, anyone, even a geek like me, finds them attractive. We all like to be liked.

Rejection is the cost of risking acceptance. You must pay the piper. Think of it as debug. With time and practice, you will get better and spend less time there. The important thing is to accept it when it happens and regard it as situational. That is, you were rejected for this one thing, but not for all things. Remember Step 1. You are still worthwhile to yourself and to someone else, somwhere else. But not here. No biggie, accept it and move on. Because it really is not a big deal. Don't make it into one.

Step 5

Pace yourself.

This builds from Step 1. If you are worth having, you are worth working for--so don't give yourself away too cheaply. Don't give your heart up too fast. For one thing, remember that you are still getting to know this person. Take some time about it. Again, this gets easier with practice, but if your ultimate goal is a robust, enduring relationship, take some time to build it right. Have some idea of what you are looking for and what you are looking to avoid. Match this person against both lists. It doesn't have to be a list, by the way, but remember that there are thousands of women who might be right for you. Don't bet everything on one person who is wrong for you, just because she actually likes you. It is possible, no, likely, no dammit it is certain that someone else will like you too.

At the same time, don't be afraid to risk things with one person either. Sadly, this advice is like what my Dad told me about riding a bike without the training wheels on it: useless until you have done it. Then you get a feel for it and you know.

Step 6

Don't be afraid to abandon a hopeless cause.

This goes right back to Step 1. If you are a valuable, lovable person then you don't have to put up with shabby treatment. If your car was a lemon, would you say: "Well, the manufacturer is a better person than me and deep down, I really deserve a crappy car that doesn't run well."? No. Assuming you successfully negotiated Step 1, you'd realize that not everything will work out. Sometimes the best way to fix the program or experiment or machine or relationship is to start over. From scratch. With someone else.

How will you recognize a hopeless cause? One way is when she tells you, in plain language: "This is hopeless." Believer her when she says this. Love (most especially unreciprocated love) does not conquer all.

Not everyone will speak so plainly. If she does not want you to touch her, if she does not return your phone calls (no matter how many messages you leave--oh, another side note: stop leaving messages at 1 or 2 at the most. Three or more messages on the phone is not cute, it is clingy), if she dates other people and sleeps around, these are all symptoms. I remember when a geeky couple I knew in college broke up: she refused to hold hands with him or allow any display of affection for a month ahead of time. And he was still surprised when she finally broke it off!

Here's a real simple way to recognize a hopeless cause: loving someone will involve pleasure and pain, but when the pain consistently outweighs the pleasure, think about breaking it off. At the very least, think about communicating that pain to her so things can change. Or think about seeking professional counseling.

If you can't take care of yourself, you can't expect anyone else to do it either.

Step 7

There is no Step 7. Nor are there steps 8 through 12. It is only a six step program. This is not self-help bloatware, buddy. But I'll let you know if other steps come up.

Conclusion

This is what helped me get out of those particular woods. If it does not apply to you, well cool. If you like it in the woods and want to stay there, that's cool too. As some of the comments in the article that inspired this one have noted, not everyone sees this as a problem. When it was me looking at myself, I did see it as a problem. It all seems like common sense to me now, but there was a time that I didn't get it. And I was not happy with myself or my life much back then either. If this describes you and if what I've written helps you I am glad to have someone to share it with. Good luck and good hunting.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
When I think of my past romantic oppourtunities I...
o ...am glad I dodged them. 5%
o ...kick myself for blowing them. 31%
o ...wish I had grasped them. 20%
o ...handled them just right. 11%
o ...wish that I had some. 31%

Votes: 115
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o very nice article about involuntary celibacy.
o Also by garbanzo


Display: Sort:
Re-engineering the Glass Heart | 101 comments (86 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
New weapon in development? (3.40 / 5) (#5)
by sasseriansection on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 08:39:34 PM EST

Long stem roses are nitro-glycerin. Remember Step 3, Decompress! Use LSR's only when truly appropriate.

I need to contact my congressman and tell them that I would like protection from LSR's as well as ICBM's under the Missile Defence Shield.

Good use of the acronym to describe a highly volatile and offensive weapon:).
------------ ------------

TLAs (none / 0) (#53)
by wagemage on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 08:32:16 PM EST

Yeah, the HooterSize was good for a giggle, but it was the LSR bit that drew a laugh... but I don't think I'd actually want to be protected from LSRs... though it's all a matter of how much kinetic energy they're packing.... a barely-sublight LSR is probably a planet killer

<shuder>Stem Stabilized Discartable Rose... SSDR... sounds ominous

WageMage



[ Parent ]
if only... (4.33 / 3) (#13)
by /dev/trash on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 10:04:56 PM EST

If only we did have this:

"SELECT * FROM People WHERE People.AttractedTo = 'me' ORDER BY People.HooterDimensions DESC"

Life would be so much easier.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site

People.HooterDimensions? (3.00 / 2) (#15)
by delmoi on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 10:56:59 PM EST

"SELECT * FROM People WHERE People.AttractedTo = 'me' ORDER BY People.HooterDimensions DESC"

I dunno know man, there are some fat women with huge tits.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Modification to SQL (3.66 / 3) (#22)
by ferret dude on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 02:47:00 AM EST

Perhaps it should be SELECT * FROM People WHERE People.AttractedTo = 'me' AND People.Gender = 'Male' ORDER BY People.HooterDimensions DESC Guys with large ManBoobs are not an attractive prospect even for gays :)
Life is short and hard like a body building elf - Bloodhound Gang
[ Parent ]
LOL...and a story (4.00 / 3) (#24)
by Erbo on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 04:23:31 AM EST

I cracked up when I saw that SQL query. Of course, I've been spending the last 2 days at work translating SQL Server scripts into Oracle, so I may be at a vulnerable spot for database humor...:-)

In many respects, I lucked out in the mating game; the woman who is now my wife was interested in me almost from the start. (When we first met, she was dating a coworker of mine; this coworker wound up quitting and moving to Indiana to study church music, and he encouraged her to pursue me.) Even with that advantage, I came within the ace of blowing it entirely; if I had waited any longer to follow through with her, she would probably have moved to Boston. Fortunately, I had two good friends, both female, who gave me a kick in the ass at the right time. It took us about three dates to come to the mutual realization of what was going on, after which she started moving in with me. That was 1996; nearly four years later, we were married, and that was nearly 2 1/2 years ago.

The hell of it is, were it not for the fact that I do have a marriage, I would be in the same position as the authors of these two recent articles: alone and completely paralyzed by the prospect of trying to remedy the situation. And I find that my attitudes in that respect are basically unchanged from 7 years ago; I still get the cold chills and the screaming meemies when even thinking about the prospect of approaching a woman to ask her on a date. (At least my wife can feel secure that I have essentially zero chance of cheating on her!) Needless to say, if something were to happen to my marriage, it would no doubt be devastating to me, and would probably be enough to take me "out of the game" permanently.

So kudos to the people who wrote these articles, and more granola snacks to the poeple who voted them to the front page. Even if I can't benefit from the advice therein, I'm sure there are people out there who will.
--
Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996. http://www.electricminds.org
[ Parent ]

Makes me rethink my situation (4.00 / 4) (#16)
by King Salamander on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 11:45:37 PM EST

It seems that I always become friends with the girls I'd like to date first. I also went about a year without meeting many girls. Now that I've taken on Linguistics on top of CS, that's changed a little. So, becoming friends first can probably work out as a good thing, but it also increases the stakes of dating. For the past month I've wanted to go on a date with a friend in one of my classes. But the subconscious fear of losing her friendship if she rejects me has been keeping me from doing so even though I am pretty sure that she would like to go out with me.

During the fall of my senior year in high school I considered a girl as my best friend. She and I went out a lot. That December, I told that I loved her. This scared her away. It's been 2 years and 4 months since we've spoken. I tried to save our friendship but failed. I was also suffering from severe depression(diagnosed that January). This has left me too scared to try to escalate a relationship with any of my female friends.

I have also remained friends with another girl since middle school. At first, I kept in touch with her because I thought she was a great romantic prospect. In part, I still do. But now it is mainly that she has been a good friend. I have spent a lot of time keeping in touch with her and would regret losing her too. Now that I think I might have the confidence to start dating her, she lives far away studying flute at Oberlin. I've only seen her twice in the last year. Both times in Houston visiting my parents. Last summer, I went to Houston because she had a free weekend. It was fun, but I don't know if I want to go back to Houston at all this summer. We still talk a lot though.

These past two articles on the subject have really make me reconstruct my attitude on dating. If I am going to be successful in any romantic prospects, then I must become more used to casual dating.


Your SQL query was excellent by the way. I was laughing for about 5 minutes. It is in my sig files now.


In a very real sense, *anyone* who makes a public issue out of the fact that they are involved with Linux in any way is seen as an advocate. (Derek Glidden)
Linguistics and CS major? (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by xtremex on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 06:00:47 AM EST

That was MY combo. I majored in Comparitive Linguistics and CS. I read CHomsky and studied clauses in Eskimo. Women are in Linguistics. Men are in CS. Thems the breaks :)
I'd like to talk to you off K5. It's great to see another linguistics major let alone another DUAL major as mine was!

[ Parent ]
same here, sorta (none / 0) (#47)
by infinitera on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 06:43:17 PM EST

But I'm actually planning to do just cognitive science. Still read Chomksy, though. ;) I'm just more interested in how people learn to think, what the structure of thought is, etc.. modeling it. What I find fascinating is that CS and linguistics are based on the same exact math fields.

[ Parent ]
CS == Computer Science for me (none / 0) (#54)
by King Salamander on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 08:38:42 PM EST

just in case you were thinking i did cognitive science.

In a very real sense, *anyone* who makes a public issue out of the fact that they are involved with Linux in any way is seen as an advocate. (Derek Glidden)
[ Parent ]
no, i understood (none / 0) (#55)
by infinitera on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 09:36:56 PM EST

I was using CS as computer science. Cog Sci is ling + comp sci + psych + philosophy.

[ Parent ]
more clarification (none / 0) (#56)
by infinitera on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 09:49:18 PM EST

What I meant is, at one point, I had considered doing computer science + linguistics, then decided that cognitive science had both of those anyways, so why bother with the double major, if I'm more interesting in thought anyways - though, I do want to get a master's degree in comp sci, with a concentration on AI. But for now, I'm aiming for a B.S. in Cognitive Sciency & History.

[ Parent ]
linguistics (2.00 / 1) (#57)
by infinitera on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 10:02:34 PM EST

Honestly, so much of it is fun, I can't decide what I like more. Phonemics. Syntax. Semantics. Morphology. S'all good. Currently in a semantics class, doing predicate logic:) This was on my midterm last week (translate into english), and I found it hilarious (yes, quite a geek):
∃x[linguist(x) ∧ ∀y[¬respect(y,x) ⇒ fool(y)]]

[ Parent ]
I love Linguistics (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by xtremex on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 01:20:04 AM EST

I've always loved the "fringe' languages Like Eskimo (Inuit), Georgian and Navajo (very much like my love of "fringe" comp languages) and my "fringe" taste in music. I love languages. I even translated Green Eggs and Ham into Eskimo when I was 16 because I was bored (E?e'e'e'he'ana'lihv ?kwa'a'anoo-o'hiee? Ha'amonto)
If my job hunting situatio doesnt work out in a couple of months, I can always move to Africa and translate the Bible into Sesotho :)

[ Parent ]
ya toghe (none / 0) (#60)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 01:38:01 AM EST

One of my plans is to design my own language (yes, another artificial one :P). Features include: Case morphology [And the resultant free word order]. Head-final. Roots constructed as in semitic languages, with vowels inserted to change meaning [I figure this will reduce accents artificially]. No irregular forms. Mechanisms to verbify anything, nounify anything, etc, and not look like an idiot. ;) Basically, the goal is something that provides the best options for a poet/writer, and the least influencing of thought patterns [as per Le Guin's Disposessed]. Comments? Extra brownie points for guessing the language of the comment title. BTW.. I love Dr. Seuss. :) Did ya make it rhyme in Inuit?

[ Parent ]
book (none / 0) (#62)
by edward on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 02:21:21 AM EST

The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin, is the last book that I read that was not by Alvin Toffler that had quite an impact on me. Thanks for reminding me about it. Perhaps it's time to read it again.

[ Parent ]
Re: Ya Toghe (none / 0) (#67)
by xtremex on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 07:19:33 AM EST

Klingon..did you know Klingon is based on Amerindian Languages?
No..I didn't make it rhyme...I wish I could have....I didn't know it that well ;)
Actually, the quote
E?e'e'e'he'ana'lihv ?kwa'a'anoo-o'hiee? Ha'amonto
is Navajo..not Eskimo. I DID do it in Eskimo too...
maybe I'll dig up all my Dr Seuss translations and post them on my site... A cool new project!

[ Parent ]
NLP (none / 0) (#64)
by King Salamander on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 03:49:04 AM EST

I am fascinated with natural language processing. I am about to start writing one as a kind of research project. Though I could study others, I think that this is a good excersise for me to work with.

I was writing too much here, so I think its time I start a diary here.


In a very real sense, *anyone* who makes a public issue out of the fact that they are involved with Linux in any way is seen as an advocate. (Derek Glidden)
[ Parent ]
looking forward to it [nt] (none / 0) (#65)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 04:10:35 AM EST



[ Parent ]
the problem with nlp.. (none / 0) (#66)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 04:18:17 AM EST

is that the syntacticians can't agree on a lot of things, and you can't have semantic interpretations without first building a syntactic tree. So like, you gotta do the parsing with unscientific guesses. That is, you can't prove that a particular syntatic representation is correct, empirically, but you use it because it generates the correct [as defined by people] semantic input. Of course, I'm just rambling, cause I'm an undergrad, and have no real knowledge of current NLP. So take that with a grain of salt. :P

[ Parent ]
Yep. (none / 0) (#75)
by ambrosen on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 06:03:09 PM EST

There's nothing a bit of statistics won't solve. That and choosing a good problem domain.

--
Procrastination does not make you cool. Being cool makes you procrastinate. DesiredUsername.
[ Parent ]
My (limited) insights (4.00 / 3) (#72)
by Garath on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 02:28:24 PM EST

I have tended towards the wanting to be friends first with a girl I'm interested in, and then been too scared to escalate things. Looking on things from hindsight now that I'm in a fairly stable relationship, the biggest suggestion that I can make is let her know that you're interested in her early on. Admittedly, it's something that I always have had a hard time getting up the curage to do, but if you let her know that you might be interested in her as more than just a friend before you both settle into thinking of each other as "safe", things will be less awkward. Well, that's my $0.02, anyway. Fnord, Garath

[ Parent ]
i object.. (3.66 / 3) (#17)
by infinitera on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:19:07 AM EST

to the SQL query ordering. What does bust size matter? I'd order by something like.. isCompatible(People.Personality, me). Or something along those lines. Generally, my standards of beauty are very much consistent with apparent or known kindness, barring physical deformities, but I don't know that for sure, as I haven't had the experience.

See, I thought it was hilarious (4.33 / 9) (#18)
by pietra on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:28:30 AM EST

and that's as a woman with a fairly average HooterDimension. Yeah, it's shallow. That's the point. If we really could index people, I bet we'd promptly go for equally stupid criteria. We'd also try to find FunnySweet and GoodInBed and NotObsessed and AwesomeTasteInMovies and MakesGoodDrinks and a host of other qualities, but we've got to start somewhere. Deep down, everyone's got at least one inane qualifier for that initial "Ooh!" response. Granted, we often realize that Redhead or NiceButt does not necessarily complement the GoodToBeAround qualifier, but that comes later. Such is life.

[ Parent ]
good point (4.00 / 3) (#19)
by infinitera on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:35:11 AM EST

Mine's MystifyingEyes.

[ Parent ]
it's uncanny (2.00 / 1) (#37)
by butterfly on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 02:27:01 PM EST

that's an incredible coincidence... how about meeting up in barnes & noble? ;)


"an eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind"

[ Parent ]
sorry.. (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by infinitera on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 02:42:38 PM EST

I already have eyes to gaze into, very lovely ones. :) But if you wanna discuss books and debate, I'm there anyways. ;)

[ Parent ]
shucks (5.00 / 1) (#41)
by butterfly on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:43:24 PM EST

hehe, lucky for you - there's something truly wonderful about looking into someone's eyes and seeing something intelligent, sharp, and caring looking back. (my first love had the most amazing pale grey eyes... absolutely beautiful)

probably would have been tricky meeting in a barnes & noble anyway, as i can't remember having seen any in london... perhaps i could have received points for improvisation by suggesting borders instead, i know we have a few of those ;)

as for books & debate, i'm sure you'll see me posting on both those topics - i've always loved both. actually, i have been thinking about organising a UK-based NaNoWriMo group come november, heh. a deeply silly/charming idea that seriously appeals!

anyway, be seeing you. i look forward to future posts. ;)



"an eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind"

[ Parent ]
no no... (none / 0) (#83)
by Yer Mom on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 11:26:15 AM EST

I subject. Me object.
--
Smoke crack. Worship Satan. Admin Unix.
[ Parent ]
Wow (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by midnightrunner on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 02:34:13 AM EST

Wow, this article and the first article that it is in response to really seem right on the money to me. Both when I think about how I am, and when I think about what I should do about it... Thanks!

Simpler "resolution" to problem (4.40 / 5) (#23)
by bolthole on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:16:30 AM EST

Here is a much shorter breakdown of "the problem" and resolution thereof:

Problem synopsis ("I" is generic "I"):
1.0 I'm "single"
1.1 I'm lonely
1.2 I REALLY want to not be lonely/single
1.3 It is difficult to find someone I'm really interested in, to fix the problem

Resultant issues:
2. When I find someone I'm interested in, its really rare, so I feel extreme pressure to try to make things "work" between us
3. I dont handle social pressure well. In fact, extremely badly.

Solution:
4. I'm not going to date. I'm not going to go LOOKING for dates. I am instead going to do things I like, some of which involve interacting with other people. Ideally, if male, the "interacting with other people" activities will NOT be activities dominated by people of the wrong gender. Then if there happens to be someone of the appropriate gender that I end up doing stuff with, I will simply continue to do stuff with them.

The good news is, you have a guaranteed, straightforward solution to the problem in this little post.
The bad news is, it's really REALLY difficult to follow through on the solution.

Note that if your complaint is "I dont want a relationship, I just dont want to be a virgin any more", well that's what prostitutes/barflies/sorority girls are for.

I wish it were that simple (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by Locando on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 04:35:14 AM EST

Solution:
4. I'm not going to date. I'm not going to go LOOKING for dates. I am instead going to do things I like, some of which involve interacting with other people. Ideally, if male, the "interacting with other people" activities will NOT be activities dominated by people of the wrong gender. Then if there happens to be someone of the appropriate gender that I end up doing stuff with, I will simply continue to do stuff with them.

The good news is, you have a guaranteed, straightforward solution to the problem in this little post.

Wonderful, you make it sound easy to find activities dominated by people of the "right" gender. :-P

The rest of what you said sounds like common sense. Surely I can't be the only one with this problem. I don't know many people, even just on the level of talking to them regularly. Thus I feel stuck.

People are strange.
[ Parent ]

You're sort of right. (4.20 / 5) (#30)
by xtremex on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 05:49:46 AM EST

That's why I have only 2 friends. 2...and 1 of them is new. No one to relate to. But when I was in my "fucking" years, I didn't want to meet people to TALK with...I wanted to get laid. If you're so repulsive or so socially inept, I suggest going to a bar at 3 AM and hang around and offer the drunkest chick a ride home.
That's why I had to lower my stadards. I said " I will not meet many people on my level, so when I'm in Rome, do as the romans do".It's hard enough meeting a MALE who I can relate to, let alone a FEMALE I can relate too. Getting laid and finding love are 2 mutually exclusive things. 9 times out of 10, love will lead to sex, bit .0001 times out of 10 will sex lead to love. Some people CONVINCE themselves they're in love. If that's what makes you happy, more power to you. But when I was young, I was looking for sex...THAT'S it! Love was too much work. When I was ready to find love, I was ready to work for it. It normally doesnt fall in your lap. If you stay home all day, I guarantee she won't knock on your door (unless you strike up a conversation w/ the Mail Lady or the Jehovah's Witness and start doing innocent flirting and ask them to coffee). I used to strike up conversations w/ people in the supermarket. Just say Hi, or complain about the prices (even if you HAVE no complaint, it's called smalltalk), if they want to continue talking, the conversation may lead to more than the weather. Just be a friendly person. A persn peopl will WANT to talk to.Make yourself approachable. There may have been women who wanted to talk to YOU, but you may not have seemed approachable. Go out abd practice. Honestly. Go to a mall in a town you don't live in and strike up a conversation with the person standing in back of you on line. NOTHING bad will happen. if you think you acted like a fool, at least u will never see them again :) I knew a guy who went to the supermarket and asked an older woman how to tell if tomatoes are ripe. The woman's daughter was single and figured he would be a good guy for her daughter. So she set them up! Stranger things have happened

[ Parent ]
Wow. (2.00 / 1) (#32)
by steven on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 10:55:21 AM EST

I think you just described my position better than I could have done myself.

[ Parent ]
OMG (3.72 / 11) (#26)
by auraslip on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 04:41:17 AM EST

FINALLY AN ARTICLE TELLING ME HOW TO GET LAID!!
SWEET JESUS K5 HAS EVERYTHING
124
Flowers of Evil (4.42 / 7) (#27)
by Blarney on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 05:28:33 AM EST

Start with inexpensive flowers! Do not lead off with a dozen long-stem red roses. In fact, wildflowers are a good place to start because they are personal, something you picked especially for her.

If you're dating a Chinese girl, don't bring her yellow or white flowers. Especially don't do it if you've argued in recent memory. These are funeral flowers, and you can expect a hysterical fearful response. I'm still living that one down.... Do plenty of research on Google before you buy the flowers for any particular person.

Another flowers issue: if you're having trouble with your girl, and you bring flowers over and you find she's out with "friends" and isn't home to receive them, that pretty much spells trouble. I don't know why, but it does.

I'm never buying the fucking things again.

My experiences (3.71 / 7) (#28)
by xtremex on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 05:31:48 AM EST

I agree with this article whole heartedly. When I was in college, I fucked like I was going to die the next day. I screwed anything that was willing. (There are MORE willing than you realize, especially in college) I was not looking for a wife. They weren't looking for a husband. Did I feel bad when we were done and I just left? The first time, but when I saw a NEW guy with her not even 10 hours later, I didn't feel bad anymore. The best way I learned to meet people was to just walk up to them. If they rejected me, I just went to the next one. It was the law of averages. I had a good sense of self-worth. (I gained it slowly). I saw rejection as a fault of theirs! They don't think I'm good enough? Their loss! Just SAY that to yourself. It works. And I never belived in love at first site. How can you LOVE someone if you don't even know them yet?? You may LUST them, but please do not confuse love with lust. I LUST after Brittany Spears, but I in no way love her. Not even close. I bet if I met her, I might dig her, but I havent met her, now will I ever. I love my wife.I've loved ex-girlfriends. (Not all of them, and not enough to marry). I've LUSTED alot more. When I was a teenager, I was a horndog. Now that I'm older (33) I am no longer a horn dog, meaning, I won't activley try to screw every pretty woman I see. When I was in college, I had NO standards. I used to joke and say "Have a pulse? Let's go!" Then I met a girl in my sophomore year who I actualy LIKED. We dated for 3 months before we did anything. We dated my whole sophomore year (she graduated). It took 30 woman before I found one I liked. She wasn't a beauty queen by anyone's standards, but that's how it happens. Looks are what causes that instant attraction. You become friends, and things take their course. How can anyone honstly have a relationship with someone you met an hour ago and have now slept with them? Liek that Anddrew Dice clay line: "Will u respect me in the morning? I dont respect you now!!"
I admit, my methods arent for everybody. But I was having fun. I seriuosly doubt any of those women are still thinking about me. They wanted the same thing I did. When I was ready to meet someone, I changed my methods. No more bars, no more clubs. That's where you pick up a piece of ass, not a future wife (my mom was right).
In NYC, there's a club called Webster Hall. Go there every weekend for a month. You'll get a different viewpoint of "the hunt".No wedding bells there. If you're looking for LOVE, go to places where YOU enjoy going. I've met all my REAL girlfriends from acquantainces from work or by going ot a coffee shop , reading a book in barnes and noble, etc. Don't be afraid of the personals. I met my wife of 3 years thru an ad in the paper. We hit it off IMMEDIATELY. The first time any of us either responded to or wrote an ad. (I wrote the ad, had 3 REALLY bad dates. Complete psychopaths.Then I got a call from this woman. We agreed to meet at Barnes and Noble. We closed the place. It's been 6 years since we met).

Paragraphs? (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by DodgyGeezer on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 11:40:01 AM EST

Would it be too much to ask for you repost that with smaller paragraphs and gaps in between them? I'd like to read it, but it's too much effort. Sorry.

[ Parent ]
Paragraphs (4.25 / 4) (#34)
by xtremex on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 11:47:30 AM EST

I agree with this article whole heartedly.
When I was in college, I fucked like I was going to die the next day. I screwed anything that was willing. (There are MORE willing than you realize, especially in college)

I was not looking for a wife. They weren't looking for a husband. Did I feel bad when we were done and I just left?
The first time, but when I saw a NEW guy with her not even 10 hours later, I didn't feel bad anymore.

The best way I learned to meet people was to just walk up to them. If they rejected me, I just went to the next one. It was the law of averages. I had a good sense of self-worth. (I gained it slowly).
I saw rejection as a fault of theirs! They don't think I'm good enough? Their loss!
Just SAY that to yourself. It works.

And I never belived in love at first site. How can you LOVE someone if you don't even know them yet?? You may LUST them, but please do not confuse love with lust.
I LUST after Brittany Spears, but I in no way love her. Not even close. I bet if I met her, I might dig her, but I havent met her, nor will I ever.
I love my wife.I've loved ex-girlfriends. (Not all of them, and not enough to marry). I've LUSTED alot more.
When I was a teenager, I was a horndog. Now that I'm older (33) I am no longer a horn dog, meaning, I won't activley try to screw every pretty woman I see.
When I was in college, I had NO standards. I used to joke and say
"Have a pulse? Let's go!"
Then I met a girl in my sophomore year who I actualy LIKED. We dated for 3 months before we did anything.
We dated my whole sophomore year (she graduated). It took 30 woman before I found one I liked.
She wasn't a beauty queen by anyone's standards, but that's how it happens. Looks are what causes that instant attraction. You become friends, and things take their course.
How can anyone honstly have a relationship with someone you met an hour ago and have now slept with them? Like that Andrew Dice Clay line:

"Will u respect me in the morning?"
" I dont respect you now!!"
I admit, my methods arent for everybody. But I was having fun. I seriuosly doubt any of those women are still thinking about me. They wanted the same thing I did. When I was ready to meet someone,
I changed my methods. No more bars, no more clubs. That's where you pick up a piece of ass, not a future wife (my mom was right).
In NYC, there's a club called Webster Hall. Go there every weekend for a month. You'll get a different viewpoint of "the hunt".No wedding bells there. If you're looking for LOVE, go to places where YOU enjoy going.
I've met all my REAL girlfriends from acquantainces from work or by going to a coffee shop , reading a book in barnes and noble, etc.
Don't be afraid of the personals. I met my wife of 3 years thru an ad in the paper. We hit it off IMMEDIATELY. The first time any of us either responded to or wrote an ad.
(I wrote the ad, had 3 REALLY bad dates. Complete psychopaths.Then I got a call from this woman. We agreed to meet at Barnes and Noble. We closed the place. It's been 6 years since we met).

[ Parent ]

thx (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by DodgyGeezer on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:18:23 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Beautifully put (4.16 / 6) (#29)
by Quixato on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 05:48:04 AM EST

I must admit, your article struck a nerve with me. I try to keep reminding myself, but in our uni-centric conciousness, it's hard to remember that there are other people out there going though the exact same shit as me. Your article just ripped me right back to reality.

I, (like others I guess), have never really dated. I'm not a virgin, but I don't count drunken one-night stands with other backpackers a healthy loving relationship. At this point in my life, I almost loathe sex, just because I desire a steady relationship so much more. You are right though, and this is the hard part to accept, that dating should be casual at first, an experiment if you will. Everytime I get in a situation where a girl is giving me (possible - I'm no goddamned expert) signals, I freeze up and let the awkward moment slide. I start running through scenarios in my head, judging them by my own preconceptions of them, and in the end just do nothing at all, as its so much easier.

Like others as well, I've been in relationships with girls that start out as friends, but then (for me at least) evolve into a more affectionate almost obsessive state. The horror story of that other guy (King Salamander) is exactly the reason I have never spilled my guts to any of them... my fear of losing a friend OVERWHELMS any need to take a friendly relationship to the next level.

I've taken what you've said to heart, I'm going to try some of that shit out, and see where it takes me. It makes sense on paper, it makes sense in my head, why shouldn't it makes sense in RL? Anyways, I'm done. Just wanted to thank you.

"People are like smarties - all different colours on the outside, but exactly the same on the inside." - Me
"Learn to question, question to learn." - Sl8r

Learn from those who are successful with women (4.00 / 5) (#35)
by labsuit on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:04:54 PM EST

Okay, I'm going to suggest something here that's been working for me.

As unpalatable as it may be, a good way to figure out how to attract women and form relationships with the ones you want, is to look at the habits and methods of guys who are able to do that. Yes, I'm talking about that guy who always has tons of women hanging around him and who can get any girl he wants; a "playa," if you will. I know, I know: Aside from the women, that guy doesn't have a personality or life that you want to emulate. Me neither. But he knows something we don't.

He knows how to talk to women confidently as soon as he sees one he's attracted to. He knows how to excite her and make her attracted to him -- without giving her gifts, doing favors for her, or pretending to be her friend when he wants to be her lover. He doesn't have to use the word "date" when asking a woman out, it's quite clear how he feels. Other things aside, this guy almost always gets the women that he wants, and certainly always has interesting women around him.

What I am beginning to discover is that this ability can be learned. However, it is not done by taking the advice your mother gave you about how to treat girls. It is done by presenting the exciting parts of your personality, with a confident attitude that says you know your own value, even if she isn't fortunate enough to see it. You act cocky and funny, not sensitive and "nice." Done properly, this is not a pretense -- it is confidence based on genuine self-esteem.

The best starting point is the the FAQ for alt.seduction.fast. This is the document that woke me up. Pay particular attention to the questions about "one-itis" (the "I need to have this one girl" syndrome) and supplication. Much of the rest of the FAQ turned me off, but I could not ignore these parts. For a more level-headed view, check out the archives of David DeAngelo's mailbag, and his book. His advice, more than anything else, has helped me form a more positive attitude in my mind. If you act toward women in a way that is consistent with your own desires, and if you do it with the right style -- this formula spells attraction.

To go even further, examine all the content on fastseduction.com. In many cases, this material is advice from utter bastards. Keep that in mind. Don't be a jerk to women, don't use them up and throw them out, and don't treat them like less than human beings. Don't screw it up for both of you by making sex your only goal. And don't be a whiny wimp who hopes that she'll eventually see the good in you, somehow. Go out and get the women you want, and say "next" to those who aren't smart enough to be interested. Cut back on, or swear off, porn and masturbation -- use your natural drives as impetus to get real women instead of dissipating them in fantasy. Constantly talk to women, any chance or excuse you get, as practice. Move through a constant stream of women like shit moves through a goose. Keep trying new things. Ignore your failures, concentrate on your successes and keep doing what works. Fear prevents action, and action prevents fear.

Most importantly, don't spend your day sitting on your ass thinking about what you should be doing instead of doing it! Unapplied knowledge is equivalent to ignorance.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to pick up the phone and follow my own advice.

==
Monkey sleep! Monkey eat! Monkey boogies to the beat!

Speed Seduction is a known Scam (3.50 / 4) (#44)
by BlackTriangle on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 05:30:56 PM EST

Don't waste your time thinking "but maybe it works, so I'm going to read ALL about it!" Trust me, I've already gone through Frankenstein's (you'll know what I mean if you see his picture) web site, so I'm just trying to save you time.

Moo.


[ Parent ]
I don't doubt it (2.00 / 1) (#52)
by labsuit on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 07:33:04 PM EST

I agree about the "speed seduction" stuff. It looks very corny, sounds very unnatural, and would be a lot of trouble to go to even if it did work. I wouldn't be surprised if it is a scam.

However, note that so called speed seduction is only referenced in some of the materials I mention. In particular, David DeAngelo doesn't use it or the theory that it's based on, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming).

==
Monkey sleep! Monkey eat! Monkey boogies to the beat!
[ Parent ]

Heh. I just *had* to reply. (4.25 / 4) (#45)
by gromm on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 05:57:26 PM EST

However, it is not done by taking the advice your mother gave you about how to treat girls.

Instead, you should do what I did when I was about 13 or 14. Take the advice of other women. Listen to what they have to say when they start sentences that start with "You know what I hate about guys?" or "Guys are such (pigs, idiots, immature twerps)." And don't be the person in this sentence. Yes, it's a stereotype. Yes, there's a reason for that stereotype. The rest of it is up to you and you can be anything you like just so long as you don't fit that stereotype.

Myself, I'm a geek pervert to the Nth degree. I'm terribly scrawny, I wear terribly outdated glasses, my fashion sense is at best utilitarian, and most people would think my sexual desires are "weird" at best and "freakish" at worst. My girlfriend^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H fiancee (dammit, I still have trouble remembering that. ;) absolutely loves this because she thinks that smart guys are sexy, that I have a great butt (I had no idea, but I guess biking to work will do that) and that sex is fantastic because it's wild and creative. These are all traits that I was absolutely certain would never even get me laid by the way. :) She also thinks that I'm not like other guys. Among other things, she says I'm not someone who thinks that sex is the only reason to get involved with women, and thus acts out a phony persona using the things they think attract women to get them into bed.

Also, some women would think I'm wierd. Or dorky. Or too skinny. That's fine with me because I think these same people are too boring, or too shallow or too stupid. I wouldn't be interested even if I hadn't already found the perfect girl for me. Just remember that those things that you think are keeping you out of the dating game could very well be exactly the things that drive some people wild, you just have to look at those qualities from a different angle. (at least so long as you take reasonable care of yourself - but this is something that can be easily changed, unlike your basic personality)
Deus ex frigerifero
[ Parent ]

exquisitely timed, thanks (4.33 / 6) (#36)
by edward on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 01:18:26 PM EST

I have had these sorts of problems for many years. While I was intellectually aware of most of what you said in your article, keeping such nuggets of knowledge in my mind while actually trying to court someone has been very difficult. Given that a few weeks ago I crushed myself under the weight of my own emotional self gone haywire while starting to casually date someone and ended up making that relationship go down in what seemed to me to be a giant ball of flaming sulpher, your article is particularly helpful and a pleasant read indeed.

Thanks very much,

edward

me too (3.50 / 2) (#42)
by calimehtar on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:43:52 PM EST

Worth it's weight in gold. Geeks give the best advice to geeks, I guess.

+++

The whole point of the Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret.


[ Parent ]
ROFLMAO (4.40 / 5) (#38)
by r00t on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 02:28:10 PM EST

...."Unfortunately, humanity is not yet indexed in a relational database. "SELECT * FROM People WHERE People.AttractedTo = 'me' ORDER BY People.HooterDimensions DESC" does not return any rows".....

....This made me laugh my ass off. I guess I truly am a geek!

Great article by the way. I think many K5ers feel this way and that is why we are always on our computers chatting with eachother and not socializing in the real world. Emotional retards if you will....

-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov

I kept thinking of how to optimize the query... (4.66 / 3) (#46)
by prolefeed on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 06:35:18 PM EST

For example, the query is being used to see the number of rows returned, so SELECT COUNT(*) FROM People WHERE [...] would return a single datum, and thus be faster. Better still would be to use an EXISTS predicate, so that the query would return as soon as a row is found where AttractedTo = 'me' is true (ach, string comparisons over a several-billion row table.) I'm not sure how to do that on this schema without a join. Anyone?

[ Parent ]
Denormalization (4.33 / 3) (#50)
by prolefeed on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 06:58:10 PM EST

Sorry to reply to my own post, but this whole thing could be sped up a bit by separating things out into a People table and a PersonalAttractions table, with sids for each person. So we could index on numerical values thusly: SELECT * FROM People WHERE People.Name = 'me' AND EXISTS (SELECT * FROM PersonalAttractions WHERE PersonalAttractions.AttractedTo = People.Sid)
The added benefits are that one person can be attracted to many people (the old schema was innacurately designed and wouldn't scale) and we've cut back on the string comparisons for complex AttractedTo queries. Anyone with other ideas?

[ Parent ]
Just wanted to say... (4.25 / 4) (#43)
by HD 64760 on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 04:48:10 PM EST

Thanks to you and to everyone else who's posted insightful comments here or on my story.

It's time we got this out in the open where people don't feel so bad about talking about it.

Reunite Argo! Down with Carina! Down with Vela! Down with Puppis!


Sound and Wise Advice (4.80 / 5) (#48)
by johnnyc on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 06:43:26 PM EST

I wish I had been able to read something like like this when I was 20 - maybe things would have been different. I'm happy now, but I spent many years feeling I was 'the only one', and it turns out I wasn't. Not only that, but there are people who've come out if it and can give this kind of advice. A great article that sums up what it took me too many years to figure out.

There's nothing like self-belief - not just thinking you've got something to give, but knowing it. I was 33 when I figured it out, and that's when it happened for me. It seems so simple I often wonder how it could have taken me so long to figure it out. But why is it so easy for some and harder for others?

A life long friend used to tell me, "Johnny, it's all about confidence. When you have it, things'll happen for ya'. That's what happened to me...". And he was right, but what the hell did I know about it? It's more than confidence, which seemed in some ways more like a sales pitch than a state of being. It's self-belief and knowing what you have to give. Sure enough, the moment I figured that out was the moment my life changed.

I'd also add that if you have any bitterness built up from too many years of emotional isolation and rejection, exorcise it. Be it a professional listener or a good friend of the opposite sex, get it out of your system. Don't be a victim - I used to feel that way at times and it was utter bullshit. I was my own worst enemy, looking back. Yet I thought I was the victim of some conspiracy against me.

I really enjoyed this "How To". Ok, some may argue that you can't reduce things to such simple steps. Yet we can reduce things to 'first principles', as it were, and these are very sound first principles.

You've done more than a professional could ever do. Perhaps you'll save someone a trip...



N00b has questions ... (_extremely_ long) (4.44 / 9) (#58)
by Anonymous 7324 on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 11:24:33 PM EST

As a not exactly disinterested party, I've read with great interest both HD 64760's original article, and this one. The articles themselves and the resulting comments have been very pertinent to my situation as well ... The general picture of What To Do(tm) seems clear: relax, mingle, relax, look nice, don't smell, be self-confident, mingle, and relax. (At least I think I got that right?). But the actual mechanics of what I'm supposed to do eludes me. Completely. Frankly, I need a Guide to Girls for Total Idiots: the Total Retard Edition.

It's perhaps one area where I can somewhat finally understand the cluelessness of the general public when it comes to [ Computers | Physical Sciences | Biological Sciences ] (all of which I'm adept with, at the least): I'm an equally clueless luser with no idea where to begin when it comes to social behavior. This is a large problem (duh):

An analogy serves: I know enough computers so that although some subjects are foreign to me (i.e. much of *nix), I have no doubt that I could pick it up with almost trivial ease. I know where the books are, where the mailing lists are, and I know what the designers were thinking (unless they're from Microsoft...) In short, I know where to start to learn! By that virtue, computers will serve me for the rest of my life. With minimal maintenance, I can always be at, or ahead of the curve of the general public, if not anywhere near the level of the Unix guru or the CS professor. It comes effortlessly, as it does for many of us.

I think the flip side of the analogy is obvious: in terms of social stuff, I have no clue where to begin. Whatsoever. The basic protocol of what guys are supposed to say to girls to even express interest, and what the responses mean, elude me. Where to find this info, eludes me. (I understand that "I love you, will you marry me?" is not considered a good pickup line?) Essentially, I don't know how to learn at this point, much less what. And trust me, I've looked on Google, but I haven't found any RFCs, much less ANSI standards. :-( (Bad non-standard hidden interface designers!)

Consider my specific problems: I am a prototypical 21-year old geek. I'm average looking, and like everyone else, I could use some work (which I'm doing...). I'm also not Caucasian (does the specific race matter these days? I've not kept up...)

I have no exposure to popular culture, and frankly, little desire: the only television I used to watch was select portions of VH1 and MTV (the parts that had _videos_, not the gangsta-interviews), and parts of Cartoon Network ostensibly targeted at 8 year olds. I've stopped watching music television altogether, and I've even dropped by Anime habit somewhat lately. My musical tastes are esoteric, and many of the bands I like don't exactly tour or make MTV/VH1.

I have no normal hobbies: aside from reading up on the biological and physical sciences (I am double majoring in a discipline from both), I assemble, twiddle with, and overclock my own computer. I program in Perl and Java, and consider learning Python (but never do so).

I also assemble, twiddle with, and tweak out a high-performance audio system (the two crowds are not dissimilar at all in everything from the elitism and arrogance down to the knowledge and skills :P ). I am learning woodworking (buidling own speakers from scratch). I enjoy silly anime like Slayers.

My last movie was LoTR, and before that, Phantom Menace, but I can't even _remember_ what I saw before that. I listen to an incredibly specific selection of music, and indulge in very little mainstream at all with much secret shame and guilt. (Hey, it's who I am!)

I have moral compunction against drugs/smoking(and although I have no problem with others getting stoned/high to hell and back, I don't think I'd like to interact frequently with such a person), and an intellectual compunction against ethanol (hey, I use it in the lab every day to wash out tough stains on my glassware. It dissolves stuff -- I don't expect it to do any less than that to a bag of cells called a _human_!)

I don't like sports (how surprising, and yes, I've tried them), and my musical instrument is the ever popular and trendy accordian (my roommate promised to kill me slowly and painfully if I played it -- he's a real Tae Kwon Do black belt and I've seen him in official competitions: I'm not taking him up on the offer! :-) ) The fact boils down to this: I engage in activities that are acceptably male and extremely male-dominated, but with no female interest. Without tooting any horns, the fact remains that even if I had even Less social skills than I do now, if I were anywhere nearly successful at football or basketball, hordes of girls the size of Canada would be hunting me down.

Worse, I've not exactly had much interaction with girls: 'never been kissed' might be a perhaps ah, apt, description. At this point, the only things really going for me are that I'm not especially ugleeeeee, and that I'm only 21 (only! hah!). I'm starting to suspect that being intelligent definitely counts against me. Is this true?

After that long rambling section: what do I do? I don't believe many girls are interested in talking about the physics of music woofer drivers and electromechanical systems, and that even less are interested in hearing me rant about reforming copyright law.

Even in terms of casual dating, is my job at this point to brush up on popular culture by watching lots of SNL and Comedy Central and endless Arnold movies with numerous explosions and many naked women? I don't even know where to go to meet any of these people, and I'm not sure that I'm terribly interested in the classic Valley Girl(tm) either. (That said, beautiful co-eds majoring in theoretical quantum mechanics and computational genetics aren't exactly common-place, and for the few out there, the classic problem of them gettig hunted down by legions of geeks the size of China always exists). My college is frat-dominated, and it's definitely too late to rush: and I can't exactly go to random events! So one of the most important questions (always) is: where do I go to meet girls? Especially those that might have even the slightest interest in ppl of my type? And who I might even *gasp* be interested in?

In all my years, I've met two girls who are truly awesome(tm): I tried hard both times, and flunked with flying colors. I'll admit that with the general tips I've read, I might have done a bit better, but my encounter rate is just low. How do I improve this, given the type of person I'm obviously looking for?

And very basically: what do I say? What are acceptable proposals for activies for a first date? How do I express my interest? And most importantly, how do I learn about all of this?

Use the Music (3.83 / 6) (#63)
by doctordank on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 02:39:47 AM EST

My musical tastes are esoteric, and many of the bands I like don't exactly tour or make MTV/VH1
Theres a golden opportunity to meet like-minded people: go to these shows! Whenever bands you like tour, grab a ticket and a buddy and hit it up. Get drink from the bar (if thats your thing) and mingle about. You never know what might happen.... Best of luck!

[ Parent ]
Speaking of drink, and other stuff (3.00 / 1) (#78)
by mindwoven on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 09:03:00 PM EST

"Get a drink from the bar"

Now I realize you said that you do not drink, but I think you should develop a taste for it, because your social skills should improve (unless you have to much :-)) - increased confidence and humor etc. I have been known to be a little miserable/reserved during the day, but if I'm out at a bar and I do open up a bit.

And it's not just about you drinking, but being in a place where girls are drinking.

Some ideas for places to meet, here are a few ideas that I thought might help.

    - Join some evening class, something arty perhaps - Ride the bus, there might be a nice girl on it -
I can't think of any more, and I almost just cancelled this post because I'm in a similar situation so I know nothing :-(

[ Parent ]
Where to start (4.60 / 5) (#68)
by myschae on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 10:52:02 AM EST

Since you seem to like reading books to learn about subjects, one set of books I can recommend are any of the Mars/Venus books (written by John Gray). They are mostly geared for people in relationships all ready but they do shed a lot of light on the different communication styles between men and women and might help you to ensure you get off to a good start and bypass some of the usual misunderstandings. But, some misunderstandings are inevitable, and it's important to realize that not every encounter could or should lead to something.

I would recommend against boning up on the latest popular culture unless you're really interested in it. Frankly, one of the biggest turn ons for any gender is to have someone who is willing to listen to you. An activity that can put you together with people (not just women, but other guys who might have sisters, friends, etc to introduce you to) is tutoring. With your knowledge of sciences and computers I bet you could get a job or volunteer to tutor at your University.

Tutoring is about listening. It's about troubleshooting - finding out what a particular person doesn't understand about a subject and then finding a way to communicate that in a way that is both effective and doesn't make the person feel like a complete failure. It can really enhance your communication skills. Most importantly, it can enhance your listening skills.

And, tutoring allows you to meet people in an environment where you're all ready a confirmed expert. As you meet people, a good tutor will notice strengths about each person. While your client may not be good in say, math, she might know everything there is to know about who's who in the college. And where the trendy nightspots are .. what's in.. what's out. And trust me, she'd probably love to tell you all about it. I'm female and I've used this approach to keep my finger on the pulse of the workplace (who's single, who's marriage is in trouble, sexual preference's, etc.) You'd be surprised how much information about people some people can gather. Also, befriending a person like that and letting her know you're available is kind of like putting out a personal ad. Just remember.. what she tells you about everyone else is the same thing she tells everyone else about you ;) Oh, and there are male gossips out there too... in fact you might have better luck locating a male gossip than a female gossip as there seems to be some loyalty along gender lines. Either works. If I were you I would studiously avoid having a relationship with your source.

Good luck.

[ Parent ]
People are from Earth, Mr.Gray is from outer space (none / 0) (#98)
by sserendipity on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 06:22:35 PM EST

>Since you seem to like reading books to learn >about subjects, one set of books I can recommend >are any of the Mars/Venus books (written by John >Gray). They are mostly geared for people in >relationships all ready but they do shed a lot >of light on the different communication styles >between men and women and might help you to >ensure you get off to a good start and bypass >some of the usual misunderstandings. But, some >misunderstandings are inevitable, and it's >important to realize that not every encounter >could or should lead to something. YMMV, but, Mr. Gray's books emphasize generalizations, stereotypes and other behaviour conducive to total failure in overcoming the issues being discussed. He has acheived popularity by pandering to the assumptions and beliefs that people bring in to relationships, rather than by providing any constructive insight into the process of gender relationships. Most of his advice involves the man listening to women and agreeing, rather than focusing on why misunderstandings occur, or how to bridge the gaps between two people's perceptions of an issue between them. Besides, none of them will tell you how to actually meet and woo women, which is really the whole cause of the problem in the first place :>

..bIz...


(.(*.......*).)
. .groovetronica.com. .
_(.(.'"'"'"'.).)_


[ Parent ]

I think you may be on to something (4.75 / 8) (#69)
by garbanzo on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 12:16:21 PM EST

When you use open standards as an analogy. It would be nice if there was a consistent API for people (men and women). The best we actually have is rough similarities. We are all a little (or a lot) different. So any system (mine, anyone else's) won't be universal and must be adapted.

Contrary to your assumption, you sound like a guy that many girls would be interested in. You are intelligent, eloquent (esp. if you can talk like you write) and you have reasonably diverse interests. You're also not having to deal with any physical issues that give other people pause. You are right in that not being caucasian is generally not a big deal (depending on your locale, alas) And your black belt roommate has not killed you yet, so you probably have more social skills than you credit yourself with. I'll go out on a limb here and assume that your social skills problem is not with talking to people in general but talking to people you don't know, especially if they are attractive. In my experience, this is pretty common. Hollywood treats it as a stereotype and they know stereotyping better than anybody.

In other words, if you seem nervous when you ask someone out, that won't be as big a deal as you think. Women are nervous too. You are not alone. Most importantly: it is not a reason to not ask someone out.

How to go about it? Get your grain of salt and maybe you can adapt the following to your situation.

First step might be to decide what kind of woman you are interested in. This will shape your approach somewhat but it will definitely dictate your hunting ground. By the way, just because you decide what kind of woman you are interested in, never avoid a target of opportunity. What you start after and what you eventually get and become happy with are often not the same thing.

Second thing is to realize that you need to communicate availability to the females around you. In a non-desperate way. One problem with geek social behavior to non-intimates is that it is socially distant and inaccessible. Respectful, businesslike, yes, but also remote. I think it comes from the treatment we got growing up and the treatment we often continue to receive from people. Most men have problems remembering not to be jerks (no public farting, etc.) but geeks have to learn to lighten up and open up.

Here's a joke that I've always liked. Q: How can you tell if a geek is an extrovert? A: When he's talking to you, he stares at your shoes instead of his own.

So: you need to open some ports and listen on them. Relax some of your firewall rules. Eye-contact is a good start. Body language (open your front to the people you talk to, avoid hunching shoulders, crossing arms, etc. Relax your speech patterns. Be friendly rather than respectful. Your demeanor should invite interaction and not just serve the function of exchanging facts. You are not a modem, nor are you looking for one.

Non-desperate is not so hard either. Think about what you say in this regard and run it through a "does this sound desperate?" filter. "I wish I dated more so I could get out of this lab once in awhile, but it's so hard to meet people" is not desperate. "I haven't had a date this century and I'm going to go nuts if I don't get laid soon." is a little on the desperate side.

You probably also need to try this in other venues besides, say, the computer lab. The other replier to your post mentioned your musical interests and that is spot on. Another problem geeks have is that they open ports readily to other geeks but not to strangers. A bunch of guys with the same problem, hanging out and reinforcing it with each other. The camaraderie is great, but if you find it a thin substitute for having a girlfriend, you have to extend your network.

It is unfortunate that your chosen instrument is accordion and not electric guitar. Every lead guitarist I've ever known has had no problem with girls just running up and introducing themselves. I hang out in Texas and the accordion is not so strange an instrument here (essential for a conjunto band, and for zydeco down in south Texas, where it basically replaces the lead guitar). Joining a band is one sure-fire way to meet women, though.

Another way to meet people is to volunteer. Find a cause or organization that could use your help. They will not turn you down. There will probably be women there.

So, you're in the CD store or at a band show or somewhere where there's interesting women. Look for a reason to strike up a casual conversation. If she's looking at a CD you like, endorse it. If she's looking at a CD you've never heard of before, ask her if that band is any good. At a show, talk about the show. Casual conversation is acceptable and innocent. It is normal. And if the conversation goes on long enough (i.e. you don't get the brush right away) you may have an opportunity to ask her out. This is the hardest part, I won't deny it. But it does work, eventually. If it is too much pressure, I recommend you try online personals. They are also pretty normal behavior in response to the meeting people problem. I can tell you they definitely work from personal experience, especially for people who are not in school anymore. It is the only place where you will get to run those funky SQL queries we've been giggling at.

Okay, so now you're doing all this behavior change and you're actually meeting women you haven't met before and some of them are interesting. Ask them out! As a good friend of mine says it: put some lead in the air. You can't hit targets if you don't pull the trigger. My advice would be: start early (don't fall, then ask) and fire often. You will never run out of ammo, after all. Don't wait for things to work out (or not) with one before asking out another, unless you are both clearly and unambiguously falling for each other. Casual dating by definition means dating more than one person at a time. It is also, a sign to anyone observing that you are Not Desperate.

Ask them out to low pressure situations (dating is not just pressure on you, after all) like coffee, lunch, or a movie and one of those. The purpose of the first date is to talk to someone, find out what they like and don't like. Discover deal-breakers early. If you have problems talking, ask the questions and listen at first. Find out where she's from, how she got where she is, etc. Ask about her. Not so secret fact: most people's favorite subject is themselves, followed by the things that interest them (hobbies, majors, etc.). "Movie-and-coffee/lunch" is easy because after the show, you can talk about the movie if nothing else. Avoid first date movies that are emotionally intense. "Saving Private Ryan" is not a good first date movie. When in doubt about who pays, I'll save you some trouble: it should probably be you. Offer to pick up the tab but don't fight over it if she won't let you. This is another good reason for a cheap first date.

What will happen as a result? Sometimes, you will find that this person is not right for you. Enjoy the coffee, beer, whatever, and move on. Sometimes you will find that you are not right for this person--they won't warm up conversationally, they will find excuses not to go on a follow up date, etc. Again, enjoy the coffee.

Sometimes you will find mutual interest: open posture, long and engaging conversation, date goes longer than it was planned for, etc. Woohoo! You've done it. You have established contact with someone interesting in a dating milieu. Keep up the good work.

Ask her out again. Keep talking and trying to figure out if she's right for you. Watch body language carefully: does she sit closer or farther, is her posture open or closed, etc. You are trying to figure out if she wants you to touch or kiss her. Oh, yeah, if you experience incidental contact (bumping into each other going through doorways, etc.) note that. It might be incidental, but it might not be. Seriously. That is what many women think of as "opening ports." Seriously! I got that from a psych class, I'm not making it up.

If you are in doubt as to whether to kiss a girl at the end of a date, you can always ask her. No shit. It can be that simple. You might just go ahead and go for it if it is pretty obvious from her posture that she's expecting that (date is officially ending but the goodbye is lasting a long time, she's standing close and watching your face carefully, she is leaning towards you, etc.). That is how it works in the real world, away from official PC campus policies. If trying for a kiss will get you thrown out of school because of political correctness, consider asking first to be sure.

The last thing is that you should expect to go through all this more than once. It is supposed to be fun and with practice and exposure, it probably will be. Don't expect to meet The One as your first girlfriend. Sadly, it is just damned unlikely. But it is practical experience (dating and having girlfriends that don't work out) that will enable you to know her when you see her, if that is what you want.

I'm not going to tell you exactly how young you are at 21 because in a few years, you will tell yourself that. Please always remember to laugh when you do. I will tell you this: college is a wonderful opportunity to meet people that I (and many others) wish we had taken advantage of. If you think it is hard to meet women at 21, wait until 31.

But also remember this: it is never too late to start.



sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

[ Parent ]
Touching (4.00 / 4) (#70)
by spiralx on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 12:41:48 PM EST

Oh, yeah, if you experience incidental contact (bumping into each other going through doorways, etc.) note that. It might be incidental, but it might not be. Seriously. That is what many women think of as "opening ports." Seriously! I got that from a psych class, I'm not making it up.

Sod incidental. Touching is an important way to generate closeness and you need to use it as another tool in your arsenal. If you're going out with a woman, make sure you can sit next to her rather than opposite, and make sure you use body contact - nothing heavy or obvious, but do things like briefly touch the back of her hand, or her arm or back when say showing her to her seat. You can tell a lot about what she thinks by how she reacts to this.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Touching, and other fun stuff... (4.50 / 4) (#73)
by taiwanjohn on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 03:42:07 PM EST

Hey, spiralx, nice to see you! ;-)

You reminded me of a couple anecdotes from a woman I broke up with a while back. One was about our first date, and how excited she felt when, for the first half-hour of the movie, I casually arranged my arm on the armrest in such a way that my fingertips lightly rested against her thigh. Actually, I can't claim full responsibility for "arranging" it so much as not bothering to move my had away when she shifted her leg and bumped into it. The thing is, she didn't pull away either!

One reason why this not-so-incidental contact was tolerated was because I'd spent the early part of the evening building up gradually from courteous, formal contact to more friendly, intimate contact. One end of the spectrum, is light touches on the arm, shoulder, or back, such as when opening doors, etc.. The other end of the spectrum is hand-holding and beyond... And every step of the way is an opportunity to get feedback on your advances.

Some general tidbits I wish I'd learned about 20 years earlier:

  • Eye contact! I'll argue with spiralx a bit on this one... if you sit across from her, it's easier to maintain eye contact. And if you choose a place with small, intimate tables (coffee shops are good), you still have plenty of opportunity for incidental touching.
  • Incidental touching! If you don't talk with your hands a lot, start! Incidental touching is easiest when it's a simple extension of your normal hand gestures. (The chip on the shoulder, the reassuring pat, the playful swipe, etc...) And it breaks through the touching barrier early-on in the process. (In the above anecdote, I'd already been "incidentally" touching her thigh now and then for 15 minutes as we chatted, waiting for the movie to start.)
  • Listen and learn! Don't make the mistake of thinking you have to "entertain" her all the time... Of course, you need to be able to hold up your end of the conversation, but your primary goal in that regard is to keep her talking. This helps you learn about her history, interests, passions... If you listen with an open mind, and with your full attention and intellect, you will find something to ask her about... or some angle or idea where you might be able to share something of interest to her. (Eg: childhood stories are good fodder...)
  • Look and enjoy! Getting back to eye contact for a sec... During the listen-and-learn stage, be sure to spend some time looking and enjoying too! Take a few minutes to just study her face... look into her eyes, even if she's not looking at yours... watch her lips dance as she talks and smiles... Not only is this a nice way to spend time, it signals your interest to her in a fairly non-threatening way. It also gives you an almost microscopic view for reading her body language.
My ex's other anecdote is a good illustration of that last point. She recalled another date a few weeks later (but still several weeks before our first kiss) where we chatted in the food-court of a movie theatre. We sat side-by-side in the booth, but it was one of those half-round seats, so our posture was naturally "open" towards each other. The body-language was definitely looking good; we were sitting close, chatting quietly, with faces close. I noticed her watching my lips "dance" as I spoke, and I knew she wanted to kiss me... and I told her so! She denied it, of course, which led to more incidental contact, as I ribbed her about it a bit more...

Months later, she confessed that I was dead-right: she was feeling exceedingly horny at that moment!

Note: I am NOT recommending that you plan your evening around trying to arrange your arm on an armrest at a movie!! Such plans never work out just right. Instead, just get in the habit of talking with your hands more, and try to get used to being a bit more toughy-feely about it. The object is not to seduce someone so much as to just get comfortable with them. If you're not used to it, it may just seem like going through the motions at first, but part of the magic of touching is that tactile feedback is a damn effective learning mode. Even just going through the motions will help you get accustomed to it. Eventually it may even seem so natural that you don't have to think about it.

Anyway, this is one of the obstacles I've had to overcome... Perhaps the above will be useful to someone out there...

--jrd

PS to spiralx: any news yet on the resurrection that other website? ;-)

[ Parent ]

Reply (4.00 / 2) (#77)
by spiralx on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 07:26:00 PM EST

Eye contact! I'll argue with spiralx a bit on this one... if you sit across from her, it's easier to maintain eye contact. And if you choose a place with small, intimate tables (coffee shops are good), you still have plenty of opportunity for incidental touching.

Right, fisticuffs at dawn! Heh, no I'd say that you can manage eye contact no matter where you sit, but that contact and closeness is the most important. And yes, low-pressure venues are the way to go for the first couple of dates, that way either of you can back out without any significant investment, and both of you will feel more comfortable.

Listen and learn! Don't make the mistake of thinking you have to "entertain" her all the time... Of course, you need to be able to hold up your end of the conversation, but your primary goal in that regard is to keep her talking. This helps you learn about her history, interests, passions... If you listen with an open mind, and with your full attention and intellect, you will find something to ask her about... or some angle or idea where you might be able to share something of interest to her. (Eg: childhood stories are good fodder...)

Yup. Women (well everybody really) love to talk, and by doing very little other than listening to what they say and then using that to prompt for further questions you can leave the impression that you've made a connection with them.

Look and enjoy! Getting back to eye contact for a sec... During the listen-and-learn stage, be sure to spend some time looking and enjoying too! Take a few minutes to just study her face... look into her eyes, even if she's not looking at yours... watch her lips dance as she talks and smiles... Not only is this a nice way to spend time, it signals your interest to her in a fairly non-threatening way. It also gives you an almost microscopic view for reading her body language.

I'd disagree somewhat here... look by all means, but keep it reasonably brief - look at her, hold it for a few seconds and then look away. You don't want to look like creepy staring guy! :)

PS to spiralx: any news yet on the resurrection that other website? ;-)

No news so far... DJ said he was on it a while back, but no news since then.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Eye contact, etc... (none / 0) (#81)
by taiwanjohn on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:06:01 AM EST

Right, fisticuffs at dawn!

Rapiers or pistols? ;-)

Heh, no I'd say that you can manage eye contact no matter where you sit, but that contact and closeness is the most important.

I guess it depends a lot on the situation. Some people think it's a little weird to sit two-on-a-side, when there's a whole 'nuther empty bench across the table, where it's easy to chat without craning your neck. In that case, attempting to sit on the same side might be interpreted as threatening. If you've got a good rapport going already, go for it. But if she asks you to sit on the other side, don't argue and make a big deal... just say, "Yeah, that makes sense," and get on with the conversation, without missing a beat.

OTOH, if you're at a little table in a coffee shop, it's easy to scoot your chair around closer as part of the conversation, especially if you're showing off family photos or some other conversation piece that's easiest to "share" side-by-side.

Anyway, I agree completely that physical closeness is essential. But it has to be non-threatening. Obviously, there's no single right answer for all situations, but in general, sit next to her if possible; if not, at least be close enough to maintain eye contact and incidental touching.

I'd disagree somewhat here... look by all means, but keep it reasonably brief - look at her, hold it for a few seconds and then look away. You don't want to look like creepy staring guy! :)

Yeah, that was poor word choice on my part. I don't mean drop everything and stare for a few minutes, more like enjoy this opportunity to see her up close and personal. If you've gone to the trouble of asking her out, and by some miracle she said yes, don't waste ALL your time staring to the table-top! (...or your drink, the wall, her elbow, etc.)

Of course, it's natural to look around the room while you're talking as well. In fact, it can be great fodder for conversation... ("Check out that couple in the corner!" [tee-hee]) But do so less often while she's talking. If she's telling you a story, it's only natural that you should look at her... so do it! Don't just stare at the table with occasional, furtive glances at her face. That sends the signal that you are nervous and uncomfortable, and will tend to make her feel the same way.

Just look her in the eye, nodding and smiling, so she knows you're just enjoying her story. You're not trying to stare her down... just let your eyes "enjoy" naturally. You can't really look at both her eyes at once, so you will naturally flit from one to the other, then to her lips for a while, eyes again... look away to take a sip of your drink, or whatever, but let her know that you're still paying attention by nodding, saying "Uh-huh" etc..

This kind of "flitting" eye movement is a clear signal that you are interested and engaged in the conversation. It gives her a little ego-boost, which helps her feel more at ease (remember, she's probably feeling a bit nervous too!). And chances are that she will reciprocate, when you pick up on her conversation and offer up a little anecdote of your own...

When you're telling her a story, it's okay to look around, look at the table, etc., as long as you look at her frequently enough to maintain eye contact and rapport. This gives her a chance to "study" you as you talk, without having to look you in the eye, if she's shy about that. (So, for f*ck's sake SMILE a little!! ALL faces look best when they're smiling, including yours!)

And always, after you're finished with your little anecdote, if she doesn't immediately respond with one of her own, ASK her! (Avoid simple yes/no questions. Ask who, what, where, when, why, and how, instead.) Eg: you've just told her some silly childhood story... don't say, "Do you have any silly childhood stories?" (Duh! Who doesn't?) Say, "What's the most trouble you ever got into when you were a kid?"

I guess the point I'm trying to make with all this is, it's important not to avoid eye contact, no matter how nervous you are!! On the contrary, eye contact is the best antidote for jittery nerves. Furthermore, it gives you more info about her, more to talk about ("Where did you get those ear-rings?").

Oh, and if I mention "childhood" stories a lot, it's because they're excellent icebreakers. They bring up lots of pleasant associations -- playful, curious, innocent, cute, lovable -- and they're easy to relate to.

HTH...

--jrd

[ Parent ]

Thanks for (3.00 / 2) (#71)
by Anonymous 7324 on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 01:09:18 PM EST

the starting points! You've made many points that I'll have to put into practice. Together with some of the other helpful links I've been given (including the absolutely shameless but quite useful A.S.F. faq), I think I understand the mechanics. At this point, the only thing left for me, is to actually go out there and start swinging away! :-)

Thanks again.

[ Parent ]
More places to look... (4.33 / 3) (#74)
by taiwanjohn on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 04:59:29 PM EST

I agree heartily with garbanzo's and myshae's excellent posts!! I especially agree with the point they both made, that it's more of a process than a quest. Learn to enjoy the process, and you will naturally get better at it. What's more, you will get more confident about it, and as others have pointed out, confidence makes a HUGE difference in your success rate. Also, if you approach it as a process, you can "practice" it all the time...

For instance, if you get in the habit of chatting up the clerks at the bookstore (all of them, not just the cute chix), it'll seem natural to do so when that one with the gorgeous eyes is behind the counter... And if you're in the habit, you will also be chatting up that waitress at Denny's, and others as well... As I said in my other post, look for questions that will give her an opportunity to talk and share something... opinion, expertise, etc.. (Obviously, avoid chatting people up when they're busy! That's just annoying...)

Another good thing about treating it as a process -- or perhaps a hobby -- is that it encourages you to be patient. You don't want to be constantly lurking around the bookstore for days on end, waiting for the magic moment to pounce, because you're just sure she's the one... (Bzzzzzt: desperate!) If you're in the habit, she will be just one of many "prospects" you're checking out. If you chat her up more than once or twice, she will notice! ...especially if you avail yourself of the opportunity to make some eye contact.

Most importantly, if it's a habit, you no longer have to look for opportunities, they just fall in your lap! For example, you might not visit that bookstore very often, but if you succeeded at exchanging even just a couple of choice sentences the last time, you will have an automatic entrée this time... even if it's been several months.

In addition to garbanzo's and myshae's good suggestions, here's a couple of my own:

  • On body language: there are scads of books on the subject in any mall bookstore. If you're like me, you'll probably find some ways to 'shape up' your posture and mannerisms a bit.
  • On joining activities, volunteering, etc: another good place to look (for students, at least) is in class. Maybe not in Calc-III, but you surely have some electives and "gen-ed" requirments to fill; if possible, avoid the "cattle-call" offerings, and look for courses with smaller class-size, where you have a better chance to get to know people, or perhaps work together on projects. For example, most universities have a foreign language requirement; join the French (or whatever) Club... ;-)
  • On invitations: if you do anything creative on a regular basis (eg: I DJ at a local pub on Wednesday nights) these are good opportunities to invite someone to. It doesn't have to be a "performance" per-se. (In fact, that would make it awkward to chat and establish eye contact.) But anytime you can "share" something that you did, this is a Good Thing[tm].
  • On money: as garbanzo said, offer to pay, but be willing to go Dutch if she prefers. Choose inexpensive, low-pressure activities at first, so she won't feel "obliged" to you by accepting an expensive treat. This makes her less likely to object, and if she does, you can just say, "Why don't you pay next time..." (If she agrees, you know she's at least interested in a repeat...)
As an example of all this, there's a woman I've known for several years now. I first met her when I was shopping for a SCSI card... I was poking around several shops in the local computer-market ghetto, and found one with an attractive lass behind the counter and a reasonably priced AHA-2940 in the window. I've been a regular customer for years now, and have had many pleasant chats with her. Unfortunately, this never led to much beyond simple friendship and trust, but what the hell... these turn out to be exactly the qualities you'd want in a hardware vendor!

When I had trouble with my ORB drive, she got it replaced for me, no charge. I can tell she's not exactly interested in me, but she appreciates my business and my company, and she's damn fine to look at... given the choice, why not choose to buy from someone I enjoy looking at? In the end, it just gives me more practice and confidence in dealing with all the women I run across...

Well, I'm rambling a bit now... Hope this is useful...

Cheers,

--jrd

[ Parent ]

Advice from an actual girl (4.50 / 2) (#76)
by pietra on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 06:17:37 PM EST

who has dated many, many geeks:

The most important element of any first-date activity is its later application for conversation, i.e. further interaction. This is why movies are often good, particularly if their plots lend themselves to endless dissection (i.e. Memento, The Usual Suspects, The Sixth Sense, etc.). Movies involving lots and lots of sex are not necessarily good first-date affairs, but depending on the person and her tastes (or if the movie is a very silly comedy), it may not be a bad idea. As you've mentioned that you haven't seen a lot of movies recently, I'd recommend spending some of your spare time acculturating yourself with some movie rentals. It's entertaining in and of itself, and you can make mental notes about stuff that might be good to talk about with someone else.

Plays are good too, and universities always have dramatic events going on. You can cheat and read the play in advance. Fiction readings of various kinds are good, and have the added benefit of a built-in geek audience, depending on the material. I attended a Neal Stephenson reading for Cryptonomicon that had hordes and hordes of women who would have been delighted to have a nice long conversation about prime numbers.

As far as meeting women goes, you have to go where the women are. Women are frequently found in dance classes, and they inevitably lack dance partners (or partners of other sorts). Learning how to swing-dance, in particular, will ensure lots of enthusiastic female company for the rest of your life, if only in 5-minute increments. Many humanities classes are also heavily skewed towards the XX chromosome-bearers. If you want to get into dangerous territory, take a feminism class. You'll likely be accused of taking it just to meet chicks, but hey: they're there. Something outdoorsy is also often good--hiking, rock climbing, etc. Just generally consider all of the various places other people are, and try to figure out what you'd like to be doing while you meet people. The main benefit to doing things that you don't ordinarily do is that *all* of your horizons will be expanded. Finding someone to date is just one of them.

[ Parent ]

been there dude... some things to watch out (4.00 / 1) (#80)
by KiTaSuMbA on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 11:57:20 PM EST

Unless you live in a real-life implementation of hollywood ( ;-) this should probably help:
You begin with an error of evaluation: you think girls are just "Yikes! He's a geeeeeek!!! get away!". WRONG! The fact that you are not a complete moron dropping pop corn all over the place, drinking beer while watching (and yelling) the latest football final is actually an advantage. What women usually hate/get bored of/are afraid of is the geeky talk. You don't have to talk about how *kewl* is perl handling arrays, the insightfulness of the latest superstrings paper and your latest RT-PCR analysis in the lab. From what you describe yourself, I bet you are pretty versatile on your way of thinking, anti-conformist and ready to make serious discussions. Girls (ok, ok, SOME girls) find it wonderful to talk about culture, social and philosophical issues. As pietra said, take a course in the humanitarian field, broaden your culture and start talking... ATTENTION: don't let that geek come out of you! Always leave room for your co-talkers to say their way, don't stuff them up with the technical info (yes, even the humanitarian field has its own jargon): don't try to straight forwardly IMPRESS them (this is not a freaking exam, it's a friendly talk, remember?). So here come the specific suggestions I promised you:
1) When a girl enters your "target" don't make a war out of it. You probably feel this is like a Comand & Conquer game but it ain't. Chill out, this might be an interesting person and it might not... Find a way to approach her, take your time: the opportunity will come over (either overhearing a discussion and interventing in a friendly way, asking some info, a common friend in the courses etc.). The best relationships come out of unexpected situations. If you go on the war thing instead, you are showing everybody (beleive me it really shows up) you are "starving" and that's not good. Girls will come your way because they like you, not of pitty. Plus you give them a rather risky impression of yourself: thoughts and, even more, discussions of the type "if I ever date him, who knows what happens, he seems not to be with a girl for ages" and "*why* hasn't he been with a girl so long? something is fishy..." do not build the right kind of "mystery" around your personality.
2) Once established a "communication channel", get on with it. If you waste time "being friends" this might be the very impression you will give and changing that in a sexual contest can be even harder than starting from scratch. Express yourself without fear even if you feel completely paniced. Most girls cope well with guys being nervous but cope really poor with hypocricy, double-faceness (as in friends-but-i'd-like-to-bang-you) and the rest. ATTENTION: don't overdo it! Sorry, no candle-lit dinners and LSRs (hahahah, nice acronym!) on first date. And DEFINATELY no "I love you more than my life!" stuff even if you do feel like that: you scare the sh*t out of them because if you continue on this relationship, they should be supposed to share such strong feelings while they just plain like you. They won't take the pressure and flee, trust me on this one! I used to flood the girls with my emotivity and blowed things up myself. Take your time developing the emotions instead. The candle-lit, LSR "love you"s will come your way eventually.
3) if the case blows, don't worry. Nobody died after all! You will have other chances so get over it ASAP. Even if you felt in love, please consider that with time it will pass anyway and that unilateraly loving a person doesnot oblidgew you to keep a vow of castity.
4) if things work out, lucky you, and get ready for the hard part, which is at least *trying* to understand what your partner communicates, compromising, finding common fields, discussing and resolving diffuculties and all the beauties that come with a relationship. But on this particular issue I can't help you much. I'm trying to find it out myself, considering that my relationships never last over a month with the negative record being of approximately 18 hrs (YES, it was a fully emotional relationship not a one-night-stand but ended in a rather unfortunate way as her not-so-psychologically-stable ex-boyfriend rushed against us in a park with his car, and she couldn't take it!!!!).
Hope this helps
REALLY!!!
;-)
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
stop being right, just pay attention (3.00 / 1) (#82)
by speek on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 08:32:07 AM EST

Stop learning up on everything so that you'll know what you're talking about. Learn to be wrong and laugh. Learn to listen to someone say stuff that's not right and stop yourself from correcting and instead, ask anothing question.

It's all about paying attention to the other person, not to the facts of what they or you are saying. Is she happy? Is she enthusiastic? Is she waiting for something to happen? What is she wearing? Why did she choose to wear those clothes, in that way? How has she done her hair? What might that be communicating (use your instincts here - if her hairdo is making you want to kiss her neck, well, that's probably essentially what she was trying to communicate).

Oh, this stuff is really, really hard. So, forgive yourself for the endless stream of mistakes you'll make. You will keep forgetting to pay attention, but keep reminding yourself, and you'll get better at it.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

A suggestion for ridding yourself of shyness (4.50 / 2) (#84)
by dasunt on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:28:57 PM EST

First and foremost, this is not my idea. A friend of mine used this idea early in his life to get over his shyness (and he's about 60 now).

Every employee that you meet, talk to! Most are women, which is a bonus. They are a perfect stranger, but you have a reason to talk to them, and they are used to being approached by customers all day. Go to the supermarket, ask the deli clerk what she recommends. Talk to the checkout girl, ask her how her day's been. Be interested in their answers, don't just ask as an exercize, but value their opinions. The chats are short, you get plenty of practice, and sooner or later, your shyness will disappear.

Just one final note: Don't flirt with employees. They have enough men each day trying to get their numbers.



[ Parent ]
Information about mechanisms (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by epepke on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:33:20 PM EST

It's difficult to get information about this, because already knowing the information is one of the tests in the game. That's what "romantic" means. You aren't supposed to try to think. Either you already know, or you suck wind. It's a feedback cycle. So, a certain orneriness is appropriate here and, no matter what anybody says, don't be afraid to use your brain. The idea that you're somehow worthless if you don't automagically get it is part of the bill of goods. Reject it.

Be wary of advice given directly to you from heterosexual women. It's a bit like being a coal miner and asking advice from the owner of the company. Advice from women to other women is OK and works for men too, and, there are a couple of very good books: How to Attact Anyone, Anytime, Anyplace by Susan Rabin and Guerilla Dating Tactics by Sharon Wolf. It's almost spooky, but I can't find the Wolf book on amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com, and I remember just a few months ago these two books were sold as a twofer. I did find a reference to the Wolf book in an old USENET posting (though I remembered it as Sharyn), so it isn't a figment.

The Johnson Smith catalog (johnsonsmith.com), despite containing mostly goofy (but fun) stuff, has some good stuff too. The Attracting Today's Woman video is mediocre in its advice, but it's a good place to start. They used to have another video that had much better advice, despite being so cheesy it was almost impossible to watch, but I can't find it. 50 Secrets of Picking Up Girls is excellent, though the title is misleading--it's really about flirting. There are a couple of other sources there, but I don't recognize them. On the other hand, I found the good stuff simply by getting everything I could and making my own decisions--you could do worse than to follow that algorithm.

For basic information about the psychology involved, there's an old textbook called Interpersonal Attraction. I don't remember who wrote it, and the results of my searches of used books online don't ring a bell. Some day, I'll shell out the money just to get one, but I haven't. Anyway, it takes a lot of the good behavioral and cognitive psychology work done in the 1960's and makes a fascinating read. On the more artistic side, try "Find her Finer" by Frank Zappa and "The Barbara Song/The Song of Yes and No" by Brecht/Weill in the Three Penny Opera. Recent translations into verse aren't so hot; try getting a German copy with a translation of the libretto. (Another plus is that you can learn the words to Mack the Knife in German and sing them for kareoke [sp?] when you feel like doing something weird.) Both songs have unexpected truths in them. So does "Stand Back" by Stevie Nicks, but that one may seem a bit cryptic right now.

There's another book that you should not get called something like The Bartender's Guide to Attracting Women. It's just an alpha male show at the reader's expense. I also dislike the "speed seduction" material; though there is some good stuff involved, a lot of it is excessively elaborate (and, despite the name, not very fast). You don't really need those elaborate language patterns, as most of flirting is nonverbal anyway. Of course, YMMV.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
close but... human interaction for complete idiots (3.50 / 2) (#87)
by anon868 on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:27:06 PM EST

I was going to reply to this article, but you took the words right out of my mouth. I too am looking for the book, but thought it might be more aptly named- 'Human interaction for complete idiots'.
Our similarities are too numerous to mention, other than I watch more TV & listen to mainstream music- trust me it doesn't help. Neither does being intelligent, that especially, CAN be a major hanicap.
I'd never though of your analogy to someone who knows nothing about computers. I'm the same as you, intelligent enough about computers that I'm confident I could learn whatever I needed, but the moment I read your analogy, I finally understood what goes through someone's head when they sit down infront of a blank computer screen and have NO CLUE what to do. (you mean I have to plug it in??)It's the same thing that goes through my head when I've been dragged to the bar with some friends & people I don't know. Total and utter cluelessness.
The single time I was able to break out of this was on a trip to Europe in high school, I was totally and completley out of my element and not myself. I met someone who I just completley clicked with and we spent the whole time hanging out together. Unfortuatley we lived about 1000 miles apart & I've never seen her again(7 yrs) (we only kissed, it was high school). I'm 24 years old & have just described my whole romatic life....

Thanks to everyone who's submitted advice, but if you haven't been through this, you are completly un-qualified to give advice. (IMO)
Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.
[ Parent ]

actually... (5.00 / 1) (#92)
by garbanzo on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 08:45:14 AM EST

...I think most of the advice is coming from people who have been through it. The problem with assessing the value of that advice is one of perspective, I think. To someone on one side of the problem, who has not pushed through it, it sounds too easy and sometimes like the adviser could not possibly understand. That is how I saw it when I was there. Easier said than done is always the truth. On the other side, we're saying to ourselves: that's all? it was that easy? shit, I wish I'd done that 10 years ago...overcoming the self-conciousness (if you're like me, it was the unseen audience of self-reproach that was much harder to face than real people) and the fear that it causes is the trick. Learning to fall down and get back up again. Again, easier said than done, and not everyone will make it. Not everyone would be happy doing what worked for me. But if you are unhappy with the way you are, then change or get used to it are the choices you have.

sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

[ Parent ]
I feel for you but there is hope for everyone (4.00 / 2) (#89)
by techphilerasta on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 08:34:12 PM EST

Yes as someone who lost my vriginity 2 weeks ago at 28 I can tell you that most of the people that are giving Mr. Glass heart advice are missing the mark. For men (usually men go through this) they know all the things about relax let nature take it's course make your move quickly waiting too long turns you into a friend. Touch women be bold and all those other things. Unfortunately we all know this and being told this does not solve the problem. There is something in our heads that makes it hard to approach people in general and women in paticular. To the young guys out there I have to tell you that there are women out there who would be interested in you. And you will eventually find one. Even the forty year old virgin though youy are starting late you cn find someone WHO WILL BE GOOD FOR YOU. As for me I met a girl last spring who seemed to be really into me I really liked her but was so unused to women being interested in me that I did not know how to deal with it. It seemed that we were getting closer after I tld her that I liked her (I actaully loved her very much) then she changed her mind suddenly. I suspect that race, culture, religion, family and friends may have come between us. I never even kissed her though many times I wanted to all that I did was hold her hand but my friends thought that she was my girlfriend. I was thinking how sorry am I that other people get a real relationship and here I am at 28 with a "friend" I tried to tell her that I wanted her as my woman from the begining but I feel that if I had been able to at least kisss her when she really seemd to be into me we might have still been together. Even though she introduced me to her family she has no romantic interest in me but she told them all about me and they have been very curios about me. The whole thing not working out has made me feel very sad since she is the only woman that I've met who I felt very comfortable around and she understood me so well. Even now when she says somethings I get into an emotional whirlwind since I feel so close to her. after going thru 6 months of hell over this girl I said to myself that I should just get laid and hopefully I will be able to get over some of my hangups and feelings. So I went to a swinger's party the people were vewry nice to me even though I was shy and I slept with 3 women that night though I found more fun to touch and kiss them. This was not how I really planned on loosing my virginity I would have prefered to meet a nice girl who understood me and who I could love. I would also say that b4 when I was younger I hd so many personal problems that I could not deal with my own sexuality let alone someone else's To the guys out there I say keep trying be true to yourself and find someone to talk to about these issues. The best person will be your men friends and maybe a counselor about your problems communicating and realting to people. I wish you all luck guys and I'm rooting for you and I'm sure that you will all find happines and some nice lady who will appreciate you

[ Parent ]
I hate to shit on everyones parade but... (3.00 / 1) (#91)
by mindwoven on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 08:26:15 AM EST

Hemingway once said "Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."

[ Parent ]
Re: Interface (none / 0) (#97)
by Majromax on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 10:07:59 PM EST

eludes me. (I understand that "I love you, will you marry me?" is not considered a good pickup line?) Essentially, I don't know how to learn at this point, much less what . And trust me, I've looked on Google, but I haven't found any RFCs, much less ANSI standards. :-( (Bad non-standard hidden interface designers!)

Actually, the interface is largely standardized and fully documented. Take a look at any basic anatomy text for reference -- Gray's Anatomy is even posted online at Yahoo.

The problem is that the communication protocol is illogical, hidden, and often considered a trade secret.

[ Parent ]

One word: emotions (none / 0) (#99)
by twh270 on Sat Apr 27, 2002 at 10:38:46 AM EST

It sounds like your background may be like mine. When I was young I was, for the most part, completely unaware of my emotional state. This made for a serious imbalance in my life, for emotions (or feelings) are a big piece of you regardless of whether you're aware of them.

Anyway, I was great at doing "stuff"... but I absolutely sucked at human interaction. Why? Because I was completely unaware of the emotional component, both within myself and within the person I was talking to. I was able to speak in a very knowledgable, mature fashion on an intellectual level, but I was unable to communicate on an emotional level. I was unaware of my feelings, and I was also unaware of the other person's feelings. My lack of social/interpersonal experience also made me unaware of the "meta" level of interpersonal communication -- what goes on beyond the exchange of words and ideas.

My suggestion is to learn about yourself emotionally. Spend some of your book money in the self-improvement section of the bookstore, focusing on books that help you discover and deal with your feelings. Two that have helped me are the original Emotional Intelligence book and a related book, Raising Your Emotional Intelligence. One that I recently bought is The EQ Edge. I haven't read all of it yet, but so far I like it. Follow this up with books about interpersonal and social interaction. There is a natural, healthy flow to a good interaction with someone which has nothing to do with what you say or what you're talking about. It's about being connected to the other person at a deeper level.

If you frequently find yourself saying, about other people, "Why the heck did s/he do that?" or "That doesn't make any sense" or "That's stupid", the part you're missing could be the feelings, or emotions, that are driving them to do this. Also, start looking at how people interact, with an eye towards understanding why they behave a certain way, or say something at that particular point in the conversation.

Whatever you do, I strongly urge you to stay away from answers that are phrased in language telling you what to do -- how to behave. Focus on how to be, and the rest will follow naturally. You can fake your way some by behaving in the "correct" manner, but that's not the right approach.

And don't worry. You'll do fine, it just takes time.

[ Parent ]

In General (2.00 / 4) (#61)
by tlaclair22 on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 02:06:54 AM EST

What would you all advise in regards to my tin foil hat?

Advice (2.00 / 1) (#79)
by Wulfius on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 11:32:00 PM EST

Stay indors, never leave your house. The satellites will get you.

Change the tinfoil hat to a baking pan hat.
Much more effective.

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]
When you're buying more... (2.00 / 1) (#88)
by fencepost on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:48:29 PM EST

Avoid this product.
--
"nothing really says "don't hire me, I'm an idiot" quite as well as misspelling "pom-pom" on your resume." -- former Grinnellian
[ Parent ]
Well... (4.00 / 2) (#85)
by tadrith on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:38:44 PM EST

I've been following both of the articles closely myself, mainly because I find much that I can associate with in them. Both of these articles are very well written, and I enjoyed reading them a great deal, but as someone who is in the same sort of situation, there's a couple things I'd like to say. (Side note: I'm 21, male, never dated. This is also my first posting to K5. :))

These articles both present very logical solutions and suggestions to the problem. What I've found, however, is that finding the solution hasn't been the problem. I've known the solution myself for a very long time. The problem is actually putting that solution into effect. I understand that I have to relax and learn to talk with people, but it's the feeling inside my head that I can't get away from. The idea of actually doing what these articles suggest cause me to freeze up in fear.

My first thought was that I need to force myself to do this, and that I was simply afraid and needed to get over that fear. Several times, I've done exactly that. But each time I've done it, I've seriously regretted it. It's not that I had a bad experience or it backfired... it's simply that the act of forcing myself to do such a thing left me so emotionally unbalanced that I was very upset for quite a while afterward.

Maybe this clarifies things a bit for everyone, though. It's not necessarily finding the solution that's the issue, it's finding out how to get there.

Have you tried therapy? (none / 0) (#101)
by Shajenko on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 01:15:35 PM EST

I'm serious. You might suffer from an anxiety disorder, and therapy + medication might help. That's basically what I've done, and it's helped me a great deal.

[ Parent ]
start by touching people (3.00 / 1) (#90)
by techphilerasta on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:10:56 PM EST

One thing that many invcel people have is that they are not used to touching people or being touched. Hence we may be unconsiouly be sending people the message that they should keep away.

One thing that I did to get over my shyness is that I dance alot this is how i started to learn how to approach women. My friends have told me taht the way i dance turns women on and it did help me get lucky with one woman.

The other thing is remain friendly and don't let your inability to connect to people keep you from being nice and open to people. You must still keep trying but start with small things like saying hi to strangers making a comment to the woman in the line. all this will make you feel more at ease and you will eventually learn to communicate with women and will have someone in your life you can sharfe things with and sleep with too.

another big thing is touching. I am just learning this now. I wish I had learned how to feel comfortable touching women (and men ). I am beginning to learn that by touching people you show them that you feel close to them and want to be initmate. If you are not used to it start by shaking hands and touching their hands eventaully it will seem natural and women will respond in a way you like.

Knowing some of this now is painful since I failed to keep a girl interested in me partly I think because I did not touch her enough though Iw as beginning to do that (may be she it was nothing that I did) I told her how I felt and a first she seemed happy to know that i felt that way. but I say do the small things first to be more comfortable around people you will find taht most peopl are really freindly and do weant to be close to others I wish all you invecel guys luck since we ar e all in this together.

Lastly it's not just about finding someone to sleep with we could all go to prostitutes ;-( or swinger ;-| if that was the case but most of us are really looking for how we can feel like we are part of the human family.and relate to the opposite sex. If you can't relate to the gender that you are attracted to it can be really hard.

Another good rsource on ways to deal with this problem was posted by Bill Chapman at his ner resource page you can find a link to it here for when his site is back up

http://inity.junik.lv/nerdlinks6.html

graveyhead before he was graveyhead (3.50 / 2) (#93)
by graveyhead on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:34:50 PM EST

This is a really late comment, and few folks are likely to read it, but if it helps even one person I guess it is worth it. I'd like to take a moment here and describe my first time having sex with a woman. I don't mean in a dirty cheesy romace novel or penthouse letters kind of way, I really want to describe the events that led up to it, how I reacted afterwards, and how my life changed after I was mature enough to understand my (and partially her) emotions.

I wasn't really that attracted to my first girlfriend, and it was a relationship of convienience, so we never really had sex, although we did play. My romantic life didn't get very interesting until my second girlfriend, and my true love, or so I thought at the time.

Junior year in high-school, I was sent off to boarding school because I had a rebellious attitude and parents who had money and didn't want to deal. Late that year, I began to get letters from a cute girl that I had known only briefly from my time the year before in public high school. She was a cute hippie girl with this spiky handwriting that I can still remember clearly today (15 years later). I only ever wrote one letter in response, and it was filled with your basic high-school nonsense like "parents and teachers suck", etc. The smartest thing I put in that letter was the fact that I wanted to see her when I got back for summer school.

I remember being so un-confident that I was still not sure that the girl was interested in me in a dating relationship. When I asked my little sister if she thought Kathie liked me, her response was "Duh, yeah. What are you waiting for?"
So I embarked on a relationship. For the first month or two, we never had sex. We attempted it once, but were unceremonously interrupted by a mutual friend who was at that party. It was around this time that I lied to her to boost my own confidence. I told her that she wasn't my first and that I'd had a bad-boy style relationship (a total lie, I was and am a total nerd-geek) with a girl at boarding school. I even made up explicit details... jeez I have an overactive imagination.

Anyways, a few weeks later, the opportunity emerged again. My dad was away for the day on business, and we had the house to ourselves. The biggest thing I had been nervous about was my own performance (or lack thereof) and her perception that I was an experienced bad-boy. As it turns out, I was exactly right. I was finished after about three minutes flat. It didn't matter though, because we both had fun.

Now, I began the classic dumbass move: confusing lust with love. Shortly after this episode, I professed my love for her. I scared her to death with talk of marriage and kids. Needless to say, the relationship didn't last long after that. That's putting it mildly, though... it must have been one of the worst breakups in history.

A little bit of background: I have been a casual drinker and occasional pot smoker since early in high school, and I still endulge in both to this day. I have a strong belief that I can lead an exceptional and productive life, and who the hell cares what I do on the weekend. Anyways, my parents (and Kathie's) didn't feel this way, and together they made a serious blunder: they put us both together into the same drug outpatient therapy group. Kathie was a much more manipulative person than I ever could have imagined, and of course everything "bad" that we had ever done came out in front of this group. In the end, she was telling her parents and mine that I was forcing her to give me blow-jobs regularly (a lie... I wasn't even old enough to think of that)

When it finally did end, I wasn't even smart enough to realize that it was really over. I hugged her and told her I would see her again in the parking lot of that damned therapy group. I never did see her again, but in retrospect my denial of the situation is clear as crystal.

Although it wasn't until a couple of years later, I realized that no matter how bad a future relationship becomes, it could not even hold a candle to the emotional distress that relationship held. This thought gave me the confidence to really start dating and meeting women. I have to be thankful to cute-hippie-girl-kathie because without that pain, I may not have had the confidence I needed to ask my wife to marry me :-)


What works for me (3.50 / 2) (#94)
by toganet on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 11:47:59 AM EST

I think the author has the right idea here in many ways -- and this is an area where we geeks need some direction (that's part of what makes us geeks, after all).

I'm a geek, at least most of the time, though I've always seemed to be the 'social geek' among my fellow geeks (with exceptions). I've often found myself as the only one of my geek friends with a girlfriend -- and the one they turn to for advice on how to "get chicks."

I'm no ladies' man, really more of a "serial monogamist". However, I have found myself wanting to give the same piece of advice to geeks more often than not -- and it is something that helps in interacting with others in general, not just women:

Learn to Listen.

Make eye contact with the person speaking, or look at their mouth (this helps at concerts or in bars) Pay attention to your body language while they are speaking -- give them their time, and don't interrupt. At least appear to be interested in what they are saying. Nod your head and say 'uh-huh' and such at the right times. Knowing when to nod, when to shake your head -- this comes with practice. When talking to a woman, pay special attention to her body language, especially her eyes. You often miss the real meaning if you are not sensitive to this.

These are things women do naturally when speaking with each other. Men tend not to be as good at picking up on these cues -- but if you pay attention to them, they rise to the surface, and bring a whole new dimension to conversation.

I know I'll never understand women. Luckily, I don't think they want us to. If they wanted to date someone who thinks, feels and acts like a girl, they'd be a lesbian. This doesn't mean you can't try to understand what she is saying right then and there.

Psychologists have a term: "self-monitoring." Actors, salespeople, politicians, and "playas" are "high self-monitorers." Geeks, for the most part, are "low self-monitorers."

Paying attention to how you are perceived by others is the first step in influencing how others perceive you.

toganet

Johnson's law: Systems resemble the organizations that create them.


Aural Factory (none / 0) (#95)
by MoonVine on Thu Apr 18, 2002 at 12:42:42 PM EST


Excellent advice!!-

-high self-monitoring girl


[ Parent ]
Vicous circles can be unbreakable? (3.00 / 1) (#96)
by Marcus Brody on Fri Apr 19, 2002 at 10:43:30 AM EST

I was on this "involuntary celibacy" trip most of my life. I'm sure - like most others - it started in the teen years. I was quite normal, popular, good looking and had female admirers. But the object of my desires was allways a grade-A bitch. Needless to say, I got off to a bad start. I got hurt. I lost confidence.

And that's when it all started. I lost confidence with the opposite sex. And that stinks. You can smell it a mile off and it does smell bad. Start the VicousCircle.

Yes, all the advice from garbanzo is very true, and I was well aware of it - relax, have fun, dont worry about rejection. But I found it impossible to break out from that feeling of loneless and worthlessness. No amount of good advice ever could help. At 25, being a virgin, I felt like an outcast. I was just some /. geek number 24843203. I was going to die a virgin.

And then - contrary to all the good advice above - I won the lottery. Figuritevely speaking, of coure. A bolt from the blue, a large chunk of good fortune that had been missing from my life all these years. To cut a short story even shorter, we got togethor almost immediatly. She's beautiful, stunning and intelligent. The sex is great. The conversation stimulating. But most important, we are very, very different. She has confidence. It was her that pushed things along, and she was not scared of my lack of confidence. Maybe love can conquer all......

up-front-ness is tough. (none / 0) (#100)
by blacklite on Thu May 09, 2002 at 11:32:19 PM EST

This is a really great, well thought out little how-to article. It was detailed and it didn't sound horribly pedantic (most people would, with such a topic) and it made me rethink my situation(s) in my life, too.

I don't presume that I know anything about relationships, but I do try already to do about half of the steps mentioned. But I really like the theme of self-value that was kept through everything. And it doesn't even sound corny. It's just a simple message, "you don't suck, we're all people, and no matter how amazing she seems, you're still important." Very good advice.

The hardest thing, for me, is the up-front date thing. My friendships and relationships seriously blur into each other, and when I'm considering something a little more involved, I just tend to do things more often and more varied with that person. Maybe it works for me because of that blurring of the boundaries, though. Relationships are strange things.

On the other hand, maybe it isn't working for me.
If you'd like to e-mail me, don't laugh.

Re-engineering the Glass Heart | 101 comments (86 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!