Thursday, April 26, 2007

Whale Winds.

"Between the coast and the end of the world is what we are here for. Because, here be monsters." Deb has lived in strange place, inhabited by whales. Have a read, I like her non-fiction for the same reasons I like sf. If you like it she's written a book too, it's called The Whale Road by D.K. McCutchen. Now she's raising daughters with my mate Tim.

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Geeks on Dates. How to tell someone that you fancy them.

Four: How to tell someone you fancy them.
(For anyone, including the person from England who hit this blog with that as a search string, who wants to know).

Tell someone that you fancy them politely, do it with your focus on them not yourself, and do it so that they have options.

You may use words or commonly understood gestures. Some people are better at understanding words, others at understanding actions. Many people prefer words that are not a direct discussion of any internal states but instead keep them tacit.

For example:
Not "I like you and fancy you, I would like to dine and talk with you with a view to you becoming my partner. Would you like to dine and talk with me?"
or even "I really like you, would you like to go out with me?"
But instead "Do you want to come by my flat for dinner sometime?"

Other people do prefer something clearer like "You interest me strangely, want to come out for a coffee?" It's difficult to be really clear with either actions or words without being coercive. I've no objection to you being forward, but you need to leave "No, thank you" as an option.

If you use go-betweens or advisors do pick someone who's fond of you and has got it right in their own life sometimes. Reconsider on a regular basis whether you really want your advisor and not these other people you're talking about, it's such an old plot device it must happen for real sometimes.

What to do after you've told someone that you fancy them.
Stop, look, listen, and think.
  • If they tell you that they fancy you back (in actions or words)? Seizing the day and joyfully embracing the person is often appropriate, but do think because there are many circumstances or situations that make that not so.
  • If they turn you down, don't stalk them. No, really. Don't keep asking them out. Don't keep asking them why. Don't show up at their place drunk. Don't show up at their place angry. Really don't show up at their place while they're out, with a friend to tie you to the bed. This is a most important time to avoid being creepy.
If the person is already one of your friends (and who else would you want; one of your enemies?) you might think it would be nice to be able to tell them that you fancy them and yet remain friends if they don't fancy you. This is very tricky in real life.

Alcohol may help you tell a friend you fancy them without rejection repercussions (but don't be creepy). The way that works best seems to be to act like it never happened and you always were just friends. Both people have to want to remain friends, both people have to determinedly act in a merely but thoroughly friendly manner. I repeat, do not stalk people who've rejected you, it will do nothing positive.

If you rejected one of your friends in the past and you'd like another go, start at the beginning with some nice clear signals, be polite, with your focus on them not yourself and make sure that they have options. Lots of people don't want to be wanted by people who didn't want them first off.

If you were rejected by one of your friends in the past and you'd like them to reconsider I'm afraid there's really nothing you can do. I've tried being creepy (sorry), I've tried politely re-asking at intervals, I've tried being obvious, subtle, and secretly holding a torch for ages. Nothing worked.

(Though rincewindtvd said that asking someone's sister out seemed to make the rejector reconsider although he was busy with the sister by then. And now I think about it, I sort of was interested in someone and he didn't seem at all interested in me and so I went off and did other things, coincidentally one of which was his brother, and then some years later the rejector was interested in me for a week or two. But using Sibling B's desire to create desire in a Sibling A would not be treating Sibling B as an equal and therefore it is bad strategy.)

To retain a friendship after rejection both people have to want to be friends. Some rejectors think that you having had any sexual thoughts about them defiles the friendship they thought they had with you. Some rejects don't want a friend who doesn't want to jump their bones. Alas.

What to do after someone tells you that they fancy you.
Choose whether to even think about going for them in return, do you fancy them, like them, and treat them as an equal?
Work out whether you're up for a relationship at this point; they involve a bit of time and taking someone else's feelings into account in some of your decisions, they're often fun and usually interesting.
Take a moment to be grateful that you don't have to worry as much about rejection as they do.

Once you know what you want, say (or demonstrate) "Yes, please!" or "No, thank you!"


Monday, April 23, 2007

Geeks on dates. Does a geek like you?

Three: Does a geek like you?
(For geeks and non-geeks who are wondering whether a geek likes them).

Animals have various methods of attracting mates. We geeks, like the rest of you people, are animals. The peacock who wants you to want him will shimmy his tail, the firefly who wants you to want her will light her gorgeous green abdomen. We geeks might fancy the socks off you and not say or do anything unequivocal, but we will focus on you, give you our ideas, take your ideas seriously, and display our charms.

If a geek likes you then we'll

Pay you attention:
  • inventing elaborate ruses to be where you are
  • looking at your shoes when other people are talking
  • googling you, looking you up in the white pages, looking at your house by satellite photo, finding the party photos someone posted from before
  • teasing you, fucking up and insulting you, and then over-apologising.

We'll give you presents (note: ideas and kindnesses are as good as goods to geeks)
  • lending you stuff
  • bringing you odd facts from the internet
  • extending your understanding of our favourite things
  • suddenly embarking upon our favourite rant when conversation flags
  • emailing you mp3s (we used to make you mixed tapes but times have changed)
  • doing stuff for you; fixing your computer, changing your fuses and proof-reading your essays.

We'll take you seriously
  • quoting you online and in conversation
  • linking to your website
  • arguing hard
  • teaching you how to do stuff yourself

We'll show off our smart maths brains, our clever words, we'll make up castles in the air and do our tricks for you. We'll display our every bizarre talent
  • doing magic tricks and sleights of hand,
  • playing mumblety-peg with our pens and breathing fire,
  • spinning discs and doing back-flips,
  • climbing trees, rocks, and statues,
  • inventing doggerel on the spur of the moment,
  • quoting entire Monty Python skits,
  • amazing you with our trivia,
  • astounding you with our google-fu,
  • making up possible worlds for your enjoyment,
and then we'll dither dither dither dither dither dither dither dither dither dither, and possibly suddenly come alarmingly to the point:
Philosophy Geek: "You've not been on the bbs lately."
Computer Geek: "Mm. I've been spending more time in the real world. Would you like to do something sometime?"
Philosophy Geek: "I rather like sex."
Computer Geek: "Oh. Ah. Um. I'm a virgin."
Philosophy Geek: "Do you want to be?"
Computer Geek: "No-oo. I guess not."
but probably not.

So if there's a geek all over your email, dislocating their shoulders at will, helping you out with stuff and arguing hard with you, take a moment and work it out; do you fancy them, like them, and think they're an equal (or better)? Because that geek could probably be your geek if you want.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Last Great Snail Chase.

Edward Lynden-Bell made a movie called The Last Great Snail Chase, and I saw it on Tuesday and I think it's good. It's got interesting people, they have their lives of beauty, pain, and laughter, and they happen to be living at the end of the world. They live in Wellington, New Zealand; turns out that's a place of vast and beautiful skies, wooden houses clutching mountainsides and some magic.

Morgue liked it too; he also likes my Geeks on Dates, so his taste may be impeccable. I don't know when you'll get to see it, but if you're going to Cannes this year it's going to be on there. Edward is my cousin and I'm proud of him.


Geeks on dates. Not being creepy.

Two: Not Being Creepy.
(For geeks wishing to start relationships with geeks or non-geeks).

Okay, so you've met someone somewhere and you fancy them, like them and you want them to be your partner.

Oh, come on, be honest; that is what you want, I know that you can't lose if you don't play but you know that you can't win either. How about we put it this way: you would be really pleased if it turned out that they would like to be your partner. Remember that bit about letting the other person make their own call about their own stuff? Okay.

Have you talked to them yet? Do so. Pretend, for a moment, that their very presence does not turn you into a craven worm. Pretend they're not the sunshine of your love. Come on, work with me here people, you've role-played at least once, right? Pretend that the person is a person and you are already friends with them and you like listening to them talk. Great. Now talk to them. Say "Hi, I'm Susan." Don't say "I've looked your house up on the city council website, is that a shed or a sleep-out out the back?"

Don't sidle. Don't touch your penis if you have one (not even a little bit). Don't talk about primary or secondary sex characteristics. Don't do their half of the conversation (no matter how many times you've done this scene in your head). Showering is good (before rather than during), and wash your clothes every so often.

Compliments and observations about the world are best delivered briefly and with sincere enthusiasm. The first moment of interaction is not a good time to compliment people's body parts or complain about evils you have suffered.
"Great boots!"
"Great talk!"
"Isn't it a fabulous day!"
"Aren't the little potato-top pies just the bees knees?"
"Wow! I've not seen the Nelson Lakes from the air before."
You may tell the other person what you see in them, why you want to get to know them better. But it might be wise to wait a few minutes. For now, just have a chat. If it helps, you can even imagine you're typing (but keep your fingers still if you can).

Being creepy won't help but not being creepy won't solve everything. I'm afraid there just are people who don't fancy or even like you. And worse, there are people with other problems with the obvious progression of your relationship toward Happily Ever After, for example,
  • Some people only want to know people they already know.
  • Some people will sit there making conversation like a ping pong rally and rejecting all comers until their perfect partner drags them off by the hair and even then they're dubious about the whole thing.
  • Some people don't want to meet people wherever it is that you are or under the circumstances that you met.
  • Some people have a system or rules they expect courtship to follow. They want a male to ask a female out at least five days in advance, they don't want to have sex until the nth date (where n is some value assigned by a formula and less for the male than the female), they want anniversary gifts and things to happen that look like the movies look. They don't want geeks; if we wanted stringent and contrived rules in our personal relationships we'd have been popular in our teens. We have our computers to programme if we want rules followed.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Iris swam today!

She dived down and swam through the water, she came up, face alight with pride. After her swimming lesson she swam right to Hazel, doggy paddle, a stroke that probably has a romantic fascination for this small dog lover.

Yes! One more risk of death diminished, one more source of health and happiness given!


Friday, April 13, 2007

Geeks on dates. Choosing whether to even start thinking about going for the other person.

This is the first part of a project I've been mulling over since January. I was in a bookshop and I picked up a book while I was in the queue to pay and it said that if the man didn't call back by Tuesday he just wasn't that interested and I thought "Well that's not true for geeks!" and since then I've been considering writing about geeks on dates, for geeks on dates, and for non-geeks who fancy geeks.

One: Choosing whether to even start thinking about going for the other person.

(For geeks considering potential partners).
  1. So, do you fancy them? If you don't there's no point. Oh, you don't know how to tell if you fancy them? Well, how are your palms? Hairy? Ah ha ha. No, the more relaxed you are the dryer your skin is and so the higher the skin's electrical resistance, when you're stressed (or excited) your hand sweats and the resistance goes down. Go on, build a Galvanic Skin Response Sensor and work it out. Or, if you're not sure you're in a social situation in which lie-detectors may be whipped out without causing offence, merely pay attention to your physiology for a moment. If someone you fancy pays attention to you you'll have sweaty palms, a raised pulse, fast breathing, and your face will feel hot and may look flushed. Does being with them turn you on?
  2. So, do you like them? Listen when they talk, pay attention. Does their company make you happy, do you like listening to them talk, does having them along make most things more fun, or at least less bad? Do you want to know what they think about stuff? Are their mistaken opinions still interesting?
  3. Only go for equals (or betters). Not necessarily people the world defines as your equals but people you treat as equals. This might not be about IQ, age, or experience, but it might. Watch your behaviour. Are you doing stuff to them that would feel patronising and annoying if they did it to you? (For example: those mistaken opinions, are they interesting or do you just want to fix them?) If you're being patronising you aren't treating them as an equal or better. Oh, and if you're an adult only go for adults. What's an adult? Oh, y'know, someone who's an equal. (If you think you're considering going for a better it's nice if they think you're a better too.)
  4. It is up to you to decide or notice whether you want the other person. Let them decide whether they want you. Yes, let the other person make their own decisions! It's respectful and a sign of equality. Of course you, being a geek, are good at analysing situations dispassionately and can make a recommendation about your abilities and desirability as a partner but it's only fair to let them have the fun of the choice. Besides they might be wanting something out of the ordinary that you hadn't factored in. Maybe they are weighting stuff differently than you. If you're thinking "I don't think that person should want me," you're making a choice for them not for you, probably out of cowardice (yes, fear of rejection is a form of cowardice, face it).
  5. Yeah, fear of rejection, and fair enough. Rejection is scary, it can make you feel like an earthworm caught out on a sunny day, and if you do go for the other person rejection is a real possibility. Fancying someone, liking them, and treating them as an equal doesn't enforce reciprocity; and even if they do fancy you, like you, and think you're an equal they might decide against going for you for strange reasons of their own. You may have to suck it up and get over them.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

So are they all, all reasonable parents.

Summary Offences Act 1981
Offences Against Persons or Property
[10B Leaving child without reasonable supervision and care

[10BLeaving child without reasonable supervision and care

Every person is liable to a fine not exceeding [[$2,000]] who, being a parent or guardian or a person for the time being having the care of a child under the age of 14 years, leaves that child, without making reasonable provision for the supervision and care of the child, for a time that is unreasonable or under conditions that are unreasonable having regard to all the circumstances.]