Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Nerds Got Game?

 

Perhaps those most hurt by a lack of entrenched social conventions are among the least conventional people: nerds. I don’t mean “nerds” as an insult: the most interesting people I know are nerds. I’m one, too. But we lack the social adroitness that comes to others so seemingly effortlessly.

Nerds are very good at games, as long as the rules are made clear. But, for whatever reason – like maybe, lack of clear rules – we’re less skilled at gaming social interactions. Moreover, when it comes to affairs of the heart, many of us are also handicapped by an embarrassingly romantic nature: we’re interested in finding a soulmate, not merely in playing the mating game to “win” (whether measured in number of conquests or in their social status).

The problem is, it’s hard to sort through all the incompatible people out there to find a soulmate unless you’ve mastered a few “winning” mating-game strategies. For a long time, the only winning strategies I knew about were “be thinner” and “dress nicer.” Important strategies, to be sure. But not, strictly speaking, social strategies: they didn’t tell me how to socialize with potential mates, only that I should try to look nice while doing it. By making some effort to appear more conventionally attractive, I could increase the raw total of men attracted to me. But better looks, by themselves, don’t give you a means of picking out the likely candidates from the many duds and creeps who like your looks.

I was a girl without game – without social skills geared toward attracting compatible dates. And, like a lot of guys without game, I was usually lonely.

PUAThe moral traditionalists among us – if they recognize the term “game” at all – probably find it repulsive, evoking the worst excesses of the hookup culture and skeezy-looking “pickup artists” like the guy on the right.

But should it be?

Seduction skills can be used to bad ends – you can tell that just by the name. But they don’t have to be. My delightfully square, nerdy husband began researching seduction skills once he met me. Not because he wanted to seduce me in the usual sense, but because he wanted to “seduce” me into marriage – and he really didn’t want to blow his chances. Evidently, it worked.

True, he had to ignore some seduction advice, like “If she won’t sleep with you by the third date, forget about her,” but — as far as I can tell — many “seduction techniques” are simply sensible courtship techniques, spelled out so explicitly that even a nerd couldn’t misunderstand them. Since I discovered, much to my amusement, a few “seduction workbooks” hiding in the corner of a bookshelf once marriage gave me the privilege of rearranging my husband’s stuff, I can report that the advice my husband got from the “seduction community” included such gems as, “Don’t try to kiss a girl on the first date,” and “Refrain from molesting your date or coming off as a sex-starved creep!” Basic advice, yes, but I know some otherwise decent nerd-guys who could have used it.

Slightly less basic advice addressed establishing rapport with a girl, including such handy observations as, “If you’re not at all interested in her as a person, she’ll probably be able to tell.” Again, duh. But hardly creepy. More advanced advice addressed how to juggle multiple women at once, which isn’t as creepy as it might sound at first. If a man is dating several women at once and lets her know about it, that actually takes quite a bit of the pressure off her. For one thing, it’s evidence that she’s avoided allowing an exceptionally creepy man into her personal space: how likely is it that a complete creep could convince not just her but also several other women to date him? It reduces the sexual pressure, too: she knows there are other women he can pester for sex if that’s all he’s really after.

By using these so-called seduction techniques within his moral limits, my husband came awfully close to duplicating the old-fashioned “casual dating without casual sex” script, the very social script whose loss moral traditionalists mourn so keenly. Sometimes tradition pops up in the most surprising places!

Perhaps the popularity of pickup artistry among nerdy guys lies in the fact that it gives them a clear script to follow, even if it’s an imperfect one. As another Ricochetian pointed out — whether you resort to augury or scripted social behavior — it helps to have a face-saving way to break deadlocks while making high-stakes decisions in the face of inadequate information. Since dating often involves making relatively uninformed, yet potentially high-stakes decisions (what if this person you know nearly nothing about really is “the one”?), rather than agonizing about the decisions without getting anywhere, why not simply follow a script? Even if the script prompts you into some decisions you may later regret, at least it helps you move forward with life.

My husband isn’t the only guy who’s used what he learned from pickup artists to snag a wife. Nor is his nice-guy nature exceptional among seduction-advice consumers. Quite possibly, it’s the norm. Most guys probably don’t want an entire harem of hotties (one woman’s typically plenty of work). They just want to better themselves by learning a skill that, these days, is too often assumed to be beyond an individual’s control: “luck” with women. If pickup artists are among the few people loudly advertising that these skills aren’t innate – that they can be learned – is it such a surprise when “otherwise” nice guys buy what the pickup artists are selling?

One final thought: if I’m right about what attracts (genuinely) nice, nerdy guys to pickup artistry, I might also be able to reveal a pattern within the supposed sexual free-for-all of our ever-expanding universe of sexual subcultures. Maybe my fellow nerds aren’t attracted to sexual subcultures because their variety gives nerds license to indulge any random, bestial impulse, but because these subcultures are novel enough that the rules governing them are still made explicit, and skill at following those rules is acknowledged to be learned, not innate. Tedious as it may be for the average person to listen to an enthusiast drone on about the rules governing polyamory or BDSM, at least those “lifestyles” do appear to acknowledge the importance of clear rules, rituals, scripts, and boundaries.

As I said, sometimes tradition pops up in the most surprising places.

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  1. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:My husband isn’t the only guy who’s used what he learned from pickup artists to snag a wife. Nor is his nice-guy nature exceptional among seduction-advice consumers. Quite possibly, it’s the norm. Most guys probably don’t want an entire harem of hotties (one woman’s typically plenty of work). They just want to better themselves by learning a skill that, these days, is too often assumed to be beyond an individual’s control: “luck” with women. If pickup artists are among the few people loudly advertising that these skills aren’t innate – that they can be learned – is it such a surprise when “otherwise” nice guys buy what the pickup artists are selling?

    I’m one as well. I was directed toward some of the smarter pickup artist sites and found — like your husband — that there was a lot of sound advise to be found that could easily be adapted to less sleazy means. And the emphasis on knowledge and skill building was really helpful. There’s also a subgenre directed at married men to help them keep “seducing” their wives.

    For example, many of the books/sites discuss the differences between Alpha (assertive, hyper-masculine, takes-no-crap, etc.) characteristics and their Beta counterparts (supporting, providing, etc). While the dumber, bed-notch-counting types all hailed the Alpha as inherently superior, a lot of the smarter ones pointed out that most men have a natural default and a key to long-term success with women — or, a woman — is to cultivate the characteristics that don’t come naturally. It’s less a matter of changing yourself than expanding your toolkit.

    • #1
    • February 13, 2015, at 5:50 AM PST
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  2. Bob Thompson Member

    This is certainly surprising but fun early morning thought-provoking fare to accompany one’s early morning coffee. Anything I say in response here should be taken as coming from my own life experience and has no professional or authoritative basis.

    I am an extreme introvert and, in my day, I perhaps would have been viewed as something of a ‘nerd’. In high school, although I was never close to being valedictorian, I was selected by my peers as ‘most intellectual male’ in the celebrity couples, a custom of high school seniors in those days. I got a full-ride scholarship (NROTC) based mostly on testing, not so much on grades. In the early sixties, I became a computer systems analyst and assembly language programmer long before this was an everyday occupation.

    I guess I was a pick-up artist and whatever techniques I employed I learned own my on and did not pass on to anyone. I had abundant romantic experiences in the decade following high school up until my engagement to be married to my wife. I was never looking for a soul-mate and I was not looking for a wife. Never even heard the term in those days, that’s not to say it wasn’t around. And I can’t speak to what those ladies on the other side of these relationships were seeking. I can’t even get my wife of almost 50 years to explain to me how she could ever have picked or accepted me to be her husband. But I can say that some strong urge to have a family and the need to have a partner who would value that in the way I did led me to marry her. She was different in almost every way imaginable from all those earlier experiences. But I would not call us soul-mates, at least not in the way I think many use that term. And I will say that I cannot ever recall being lonely or bored, things that seem to affect many, I suspect mostly extroverts who require a lot of social interaction.

    Never thought of it as a game. Doesn’t mean its not. What to me is really a game is the whole political and economic structure many here at Ricochet would like to see change.

    P.S. My guess to the unanswered question is that she saw some potential and thought she could fix the defects and maybe that worked to some extent.

    • #2
    • February 13, 2015, at 6:14 AM PST
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  3. Mike H Coolidge

    I knew when I saw polyamory lit up it was going to be that post. Scott Alexander is awesome. Poor guy is becoming too popular for his own good. That’s an interesting insight into nerdiness and sexual subcultures. I think I was starting to connect those dots as well. They do seem to be inherently nerdy don’t they?

    I remember reading a comment on a YouTube video of this women who gave somewhat kinky sex advice, asking why was she so into this when she was such a nerd. The response was classic. “Who do you think comes up with all those interesting ways to have sex? Bimbos?”

    • #3
    • February 13, 2015, at 6:16 AM PST
    • 1 like
  4. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    I’m one as well. I was directed toward some of the smarter pickup artist sites and found — like your husband — that there was a lot of sound advise to be found that could easily be adapted to less sleazy means.

    As my husband observed, he couldn’t follow all the advice he found: too much of it was contradictory. He followed the advice that he believed would give him the best chance at getting what he wanted, which I imagine is what most men would do.

    “The Rules”, a dating guide for women, though controversial in some circles, probably wouldn’t strike a moral traditionalist as alien – perhaps simply because it’s a dating book for women, and also a fairly marriage-oriented one. I read it not too long before meeting Mr R. I found parts of it extremely helpful (though other parts, like “dress nice” and “make an effort to stay slim” were things even I had figured out). Mainly, it impressed on me that courtship is work. Some people naturally enjoy putting themselves out there, but not enjoying it is, alas, not an excuse if you want a spouse someday.

    • #4
    • February 13, 2015, at 6:16 AM PST
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  5. Mike H Coolidge

    When I hear about all the trouble extreme nerds have in the dating arena I sometimes question my nerdy bonafides. I have all the nerdy tendencies, but when I was growing up I actively suppressed my nerdiest inclinations.

    I had plenty of trouble knowing what to do around women, but when I look back, I am surprised by the number of women who were at least at some point interested in me. Sometimes I kick myself for being too chicken to take advantage of most of these situations. Often was the feeling they were “out of my league,” both in looks and social standing, which was obviously true because I didn’t know how to handle the situation. Still, it’s a little bit of an ego boost when I think back at all those close calls with some really cute girls.

    God, I really hope this doesn’t come off as braggy…

    • #5
    • February 13, 2015, at 6:38 AM PST
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  6. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Mike H:That’s an interesting insight into nerdiness and sexual subcultures. I think I was starting to connect those dots as well. They do seem to be inherently nerdy don’t they?

    I suppose some might react with, “Well, of course those subcultures are nerdy. Clearly, they’re for people too abnormal to enjoy erotic love the way normal people should.” Along with other assorted disgust-reactions, and shock at the general sinfulness of it all.

    But reacting in simple disgust makes it easy to overlook that the formation of these subcultures is also an attempt at problem-solving: if you believe, as many traditionalists clearly do, that modern mainstream dating is itself fraught with problems, is it any wonder that problem-solving people look for alternatives?

    • #6
    • February 13, 2015, at 6:55 AM PST
    • 1 like
  7. Ed G. Member
    Ed G. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Mike H:…..

    I had plenty of trouble knowing what to do around women, but when I look back, I am surprised by the number of women who were at least at some point interested in me. Sometimes I kick myself for being too chicken to take advantage of most of these situations. ….

    But you’re happily married now and building a nice family, so don’t kick yourself too hard. Right?

    Unless by “take advantage” you were referring to sex more than courtship. Well, then those nerdy sex subcultures might have more advice concerning kicking yourself than I would.

    • #7
    • February 13, 2015, at 7:02 AM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Guruforhire Member

    Yes, the attractiveness of the game community is that they are telling you the rules of the actual game. Most of the unhappiness and disillusionment is built upon the fact that the rules on the box are lies. Pablum told to people to be nice.

    Allow me to repost:

    http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/08/31/radicalizing-the-romanceless/

    • #8
    • February 13, 2015, at 7:18 AM PST
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  9. Mike H Coolidge

    Ed G.:

    Mike H:…..

    I had plenty of trouble knowing what to do around women, but when I look back, I am surprised by the number of women who were at least at some point interested in me. Sometimes I kick myself for being too chicken to take advantage of most of these situations. ….

    But you’re happily married now and building a nice family, so don’t kick yourself too hard. Right?

    Unless by “take advantage” you were referring to sex more than courtship. Well, then those nerdy sex subcultures might have more advice concerning kicking yourself than I would.

    I was really religious, so the sex thing was off the table. I basically just wish I would have dated and kissed a few more girls, but I wouldn’t change anything about where I ended up. It’s the same type of kicking you do for anything you wished you did differently, so no, it’s not “hard” kicking, just an occasional reminiscence.

    • #9
    • February 13, 2015, at 7:20 AM PST
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  10. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Mike H:

    Ed G.:

    Mike H:…..

    I had plenty of trouble knowing what to do around women, but when I look back, I am surprised by the number of women who were at least at some point interested in me. Sometimes I kick myself for being too chicken to take advantage of most of these situations. ….

    But you’re happily married now and building a nice family, so don’t kick yourself too hard. Right?

    Unless by “take advantage” you were referring to sex more than courtship. Well, then those nerdy sex subcultures might have more advice concerning kicking yourself than I would.

    I was really religious, so the sex thing was off the table. I basically just wish I would have dated and kissed a few more girls, but I wouldn’t change anything about where I ended up. It’s the same type of kicking you do for anything you wished you did differently, so no, it’s not “hard” kicking, just an occasional reminiscence.

    I would agree on that. Looking back I am often amused with myself both for the missed opportunities and the totally bumbled situations where I imagined opportunity and embarrassed myself utterly.

    • #10
    • February 13, 2015, at 7:23 AM PST
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  11. Guruforhire Member

    If you are trying to have a harem, it is to be large enough to be self-managing. Solomon gifted with the wisdom of god, had thousands of wives and concubines. Large enough to be a self-managing enterprise.

    • #11
    • February 13, 2015, at 7:24 AM PST
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  12. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Guruforhire:If you are trying to have a harem, it is to be large enough to be self-managing. Solomon gifted with the wisdom of god, had thousands of wives and concubines. Large enough to be a self-managing enterprise.

    Heh. Is that a warning?

    • #12
    • February 13, 2015, at 7:29 AM PST
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  13. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: Nerds are very good at games, as long as the rules are made clear. But, for whatever reason – like maybe, lack of clear rules – we’re less skilled at gaming social interactions. Moreover, when it comes to affairs of the heart, many of us are also handicapped by an embarrassingly romantic nature: we’re interested in finding a soulmate, not merely in playing the mating game to “win” (whether measured in number of conquests or in their social status).

    Perhaps this is why they/we tended to perform so much better in life in the old days of buttoned-down problem-solvers at places like I.B.M., Kodak, and NASA, and why even a soulless ginger like Archie Andrews could get the richest girl in town to go on dates.

    • #13
    • February 13, 2015, at 7:30 AM PST
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  14. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Ed G.:

    Mike H:…..

    I had plenty of trouble knowing what to do around women, but when I look back, I am surprised by the number of women who were at least at some point interested in me. Sometimes I kick myself for being too chicken to take advantage of most of these situations. ….

    But you’re happily married now and building a nice family, so don’t kick yourself too hard. Right?

    Unless by “take advantage” you were referring to sex more than courtship.

    For me, “taking advantage” would have meant being able to recognize when guys were attracted to me, so I could use those scenarios to calibrate my social skills for later courtship leading to marriage.

    Developing courtship skills takes practice – and I spent too much time believing I wasn’t even allowed to practice, because casual dating seemed to mean casual sex, and being a “good girl” seemed to mean entering a long-term, monogamous relationship (with, again, eventual sex), where practicing those skills on other guys would be viewed as cheating.

    Of course it worked out alright in the end – which is a great blessing. But I wouldn’t want my daughter to believe the nonsense I believed at first, not the least because it helped me attract exactly the wrong kind of attention from men. My cluelessness seemed to bring out men’s creepiness, which is never a good thing.

    • #14
    • February 13, 2015, at 7:30 AM PST
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  15. Ed G. Member
    Ed G. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Midge, through the Adam Carolla podcast I started listening to the Ask Women podcast (I’m not sure it’s still around, I stopped listening awhile ago). The host is a woman in or on the fringe of the PUA community. I was struck the same way: aside from the insanely immoral, amoral, and bad advice being given for why you should pursue women and then what to do once you are able to meet them, I thought there was great value to be found in the techniques and advice offered for how to meet people (strangers) in a way that leads to further interaction and the do’s and don’t’s in the beginning.

    Some, as you say, is in the duh* category. Be fit, wash yourself, groom yourself, get out of the house and go where other people you want to meet are likely to be found. Other advice was more technical: scripts and methods for starting conversation, keeping up conversation, how to leave them wanting more, how to indicate interest without coming off as creepy.

    * Maybe it’s just when and where I grew up, but it seems like “duh” used to be a much bigger thing than it is now. For one, it was always “u-duh” and said with great exaggerated sneering and a big production of movements indicating exasperation. Perhaps we can thank the internet for ending that practice; no one would have the patience to even embark on that long dance or stand there the seemingly-two-hours it would take for the person to finish the insult dance. Weird.

    • #15
    • February 13, 2015, at 7:31 AM PST
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  16. Guruforhire Member

    skipsul:

    Guruforhire:If you are trying to have a harem, it is to be large enough to be self-managing. Solomon gifted with the wisdom of god, had thousands of wives and concubines. Large enough to be a self-managing enterprise.

    Heh. Is that a warning?

    The bible offers useful advice is all…..

    • #16
    • February 13, 2015, at 7:33 AM PST
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  17. Ed G. Member
    Ed G. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    However, there are just some things we have to learn on our own, and the most important is: what exactly is it that I’m looking for right now? Why am I stalking this particular woman, do I want to get to know her or do I just want to get with her? If it’s the second and you don’t have much of a moral compass then your task becomes easier by being able to sprinkle manipulation into all phases of interaction. If you’re interested in more than that, though, then your job is doubly difficult since you now not only have to learn the meeting techniques you will also have to find some way to tamp down the libido so you’re able to keep your eyes on the bigger prize and execute the technique well.

    So the biggest thing to learn? When you’re meeting people and having the first interactions of a relationship, comport yourself as if sex is not a possibility that night and that you’re ok with that fact. That does not mean to act as if you’re not interested sexually, but it means that you have to reign in the impulse to say to yourself “Yeah yeah, we said hello already so when we gonna knock boots already?”

    • #17
    • February 13, 2015, at 7:34 AM PST
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  18. Son of Spengler Contributor

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:I spent too much time believing I wasn’t allowed to practice, because casual dating seemed to mean casual sex, and being a “good girl” seemed to mean entering a long-term, monogamous relationship (with, again, eventual sex), where practicing those skills on other guys would be viewed as cheating.

    Like like like like like

    Our culture, even the parenting culture, all too often views teen (and young adult) dating as an exercise in sexual exploration. This is bad for both boys and girls, because of the dynamic you mention.

    • #18
    • February 13, 2015, at 7:40 AM PST
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  19. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Ed G.:Why am I stalking this particular woman…?

    Was stalking a problem for you? ;-)

    • #19
    • February 13, 2015, at 7:42 AM PST
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  20. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Misthiocracy:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: Nerds are very good at games, as long as the rules are made clear. But, for whatever reason – like maybe, lack of clear rules – we’re less skilled at gaming social interactions.

    Perhaps this is why they/we tended to perform so much better in life in the old days of buttoned-down problem-solvers at places like I.B.M., Kodak, and NASA, and why even a soulless ginger like Archie Andrews could get the richest girl in town to go on dates.

    On the nonromantic side of life, a more fluid business culture may actually be a net plus for nerds. True, some nerds thrive in big, hierarchical companies. But others do not (negotiating the company hierarchy might require social skills, after all).

    Romance, though, is an area of life where awesome nerd skillz are fairly guaranteed to not impress the person you’re trying to impress in the way you want to impress her. True story:

    In college, my husband tried to impress girls by factoring their phone numbers in his head. You can guess how well that worked.

    • #20
    • February 13, 2015, at 7:58 AM PST
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  21. Merina Smith Inactive

    I think contemporary interaction between the sexes is brutal. In part this is because, as Midge suggests, there aren’t enough rules–and I think it isn’t only nerds who need rules–but the prevalence of casual sex makes it deeply brutal. It is a recipe for exploitation even if both sides consent. You really do not know if the most intimate of all acts means to your partner what you think it means. It almost certainly doesn’t. The bad scenarios are endless. And yet the gurus in this arena are loathe to denounce this brutality except by declaring much of it rape. Maybe they need to acknowledge that there is no such thing as casual sex.

    And what has happened to the fine and delicate art of flirting, that time-tested way of showing interest without committing yourself? This is decidedly an art that eludes most nerds, but it is also something that can be studied and taught. A few pointers in this arena are very, very helpful to the clueless. Bring back serious flirting as an alternative to one-nigh-stands. And let the books that instruct nerds in the art of flirting proliferate.

    We should acknowledge, though, that some people find nerdy cluelessness endearing. I have wondered if the popularity of Big Bang Theory might be an indication that we are living in a nerd moment… If we are, it is probably because, in our brutal age, nerds seem somewhat genuine at least.

    • #21
    • February 13, 2015, at 8:00 AM PST
    • 1 like
  22. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Son of Spengler:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:I spent too much time believing I wasn’t allowed to practice, because casual dating seemed to mean casual sex, and being a “good girl” seemed to mean entering a long-term, monogamous relationship (with, again, eventual sex), where practicing those skills on other guys would be viewed as cheating.

    Like like like like like

    Our culture, even the parenting culture, all too often views teen (and young adult) dating as an exercise in sexual exploration. This is bad for both boys and girls, because of the dynamic you mention.

    Yes, there is often a pressure on young men too to not be aggressive, advice which all too often comes across as “Don’t even approach a girl you potential molester you.” I had these stupid notions drilled into me that even admitting to interest in a girl was tantamount to unwarranted aggression, and that good girls would not approach guys either – how are you supposed to get anywhere with that advice? So very very glad to be hitched now.

    The hard part now is trying to figure out what to tell my own daughters. My eldest is now 14 and it is just dawning on her that dating might be a possibility. Have to tread carefully here to build up her confidence and not let her mind be filled with conflicting notions.

    • #22
    • February 13, 2015, at 8:01 AM PST
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  23. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    On the nonromantic side of life, a more fluid business culture may actually be a net plus for nerds. True, some nerds thrive in big, hierarchical companies. But others do not: negotiating the company hierarchy might require social skills, after all.

    I’m not convinced that’s true. The true nerds are still the workhorses who do the actual work, while the social butterflies still dominate the executive ranks. The only thing that’s changed is that the social butterflies get to call themselves “nerds” simply because they can quote lines from The Simpsons. Just look at all the suspiciously-attractive “non-coding developers” who make it big in software.

    • #23
    • February 13, 2015, at 8:01 AM PST
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  24. Ed G. Member
    Ed G. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Ed G.:Why am I stalking this particular woman…?

    Was stalking a problem for you? ;-)

    No, I never had a problem with the who women stalked me. All good fun.

    Seriously, though, to clarify: I meant that in a “I have my sights set on that particular bogie” kind of way and not in a “she won’t notice me peeking into her window kind of way”.

    • #24
    • February 13, 2015, at 8:02 AM PST
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  25. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Misthiocracy:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    On the nonromantic side of life, a more fluid business culture may actually be a net plus for nerds. True, some nerds thrive in big, hierarchical companies. But others do not: negotiating the company hierarchy might require social skills, after all.

    I’m not convinced that’s true.

    You may be right. There are pluses and minuses either way.

    • #25
    • February 13, 2015, at 8:04 AM PST
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  26. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Merina Smith:And what has happened to the fine and delicate art of flirting, that time-tested way of showing interest without committing yourself? This is decidedly an art that eludes most nerds, but it is also something that can be studied and taught.

    As far as I can tell, pickup artist skills are exactly geared toward showing interest without committing yourself.

    This lack of commitment is often presented to men as a way to get commitment-free sex, but the sex is optional.

    • #26
    • February 13, 2015, at 8:10 AM PST
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  27. Mike H Coolidge

    Merina Smith:Maybe they need to acknowledge that there is no such thing as casual sex.

    I’ve been convinced, for some (quite small) portion of the population, there literally is such as thing as casual sex. It may only exist in some of these nerdy enclaves, but it’s there.

    But your point is taken. It’s too risky for most people because emotions are so often intrinsically tied to the physical. Even if you think you’re engaging in casual sex, there’s no way to tell how your emotions are going to react.

    • #27
    • February 13, 2015, at 8:16 AM PST
    • 1 like
  28. Great Ghost of Gödel Inactive

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:But reacting in simple disgust makes it easy to overlook that the formation of these subcultures is also an attempt at problem-solving: if you believe, as many traditionalists clearly do, that modern mainstream dating is itself fraught with problems, is it any wonder that problem-solving people look for alternatives?

    Ding ding ding ding ding!

    Post divorce in early-90s Silicon Valley, I tried to get my church to discus post-divorce dating; I tried to get them to do a Bible study on the Song of Solomon that wasn’t all just “the sex is a metaphor.” It didn’t work. So I had to figure it out for myself. The results fall into the “wouldn’t unhave the experiences for my life, but son, don’t do what I did” category in spades.

    So I’m right here with you. Human beings are ritual-forming animals, and if you don’t provide healthy rituals you give up the right to even be surprised when they come up with unhealthy ones.

    • #28
    • February 13, 2015, at 8:29 AM PST
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  29. Great Ghost of Gödel Inactive

    Merina Smith:We should acknowledge, though, that some people find nerdy cluelessness endearing.

    Like my wife, thank God!

    • #29
    • February 13, 2015, at 8:33 AM PST
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  30. Merina Smith Inactive

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Merina Smith:And what has happened to the fine and delicate art of flirting, that time-tested way of showing interest without committing yourself? This is decidedly an art that eludes most nerds, but it is also something that can be studied and taught.

    As far as I can tell, pickup artist skills are exactly geared toward showing interest without committing yourself.

    This lack of commitment is often presented to men as a way to get commitment-free sex, but the sex is optional.

    As I define flirting, sex is not involved. It’s about showing honorable sorts of interest. When it becomes about sex, it’s playing–hence dishonest and brutal because it stems from pursuing prey and not a genuine interest in the person for honorable reasons. Though I admit it’s an arena of great confusion.

    • #30
    • February 13, 2015, at 8:36 AM PST
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