When Lori and Drew both ended up with copies of The Geek’s Guide to Dating, a brilliantly insane idea struck. While they both love books and are self-professed geeks, their lives are otherwise almost diametrically opposed: Boy vs girl – check. Young twenty-something vs late thirty-something – check. Recently single vs long time couple – check. No kids vs kids – check.
And so a read-along was proposed, with a running email conversation, as they delved into one man’s guide to love in the time of geek.
In this installment, Chapter 2 – new technologies and falling in love online. (Read Pt. 1 here at TNBBC!)
TNBBC: I was thinking about this the other night when my friend and I were on the phone chatting away on our drives home from work. Technology has totally changed the way most people interact. Introverts can become internet extroverts. Gamers and D&D’ers can let their geek flags fly in MMORPG’s. Book nerds have more and more literary events to attend – whether because we never knew how to discover them before the internet, or whether the internet has made MORE of them is up for discussion. I mean, CELL PHONES, right? When I was initially dating, in High School and College, no one really had cell phones. You wanted to meet someone somewhere, you planned ahead. If they were running late, you had to wait it out till you got bored of waiting and just went back home. And you wondered the whole time if you were stood up, if they got into a car accident, or if they walked into a store and lost track of time browsing for something to buy for you in there. There was no texting to say “I’m running late”, no minute by minute sports updates, no insta-book buying gratification, and NO APP FOR THAT.
In the world of dating, the internet has made so many things possible that might never have been. Your soul mate who lives 5 states away? 20 years ago, you would have never known she existed. Today, you create a Tumblr, or join a Fantasy Anything Team, and voila, you’re chatting with her online and next thing you know, you’re engaged and telling everyone the story about how you met online.
RB: I love everything that you’re saying about tech and the way it has changed us as human beings. I’m really the last of those who’ll remember a time before all of it – even my little sister, who is only two years younger than I am (well, 2.5) has a radically stronger connection to technology than I do, in a way,even though she just gave up her flip phone for an iPhone and I’ve had three smartphones (Palm Treo, Palm Pre, iPhone). But it has absolutely changed the way I consider dating and dating-stuff. God, I used to do stupidly romantic things for girls in high school (even in middle school – I mean, by middle school standards, of course) and there was that waiting. That sense of “oh god, did they get it do they hate me will my friends make fun of me when they find out I won’t know until I walk into the room oh my god oh my god” doesn’t… it doesn’t really exist anymore. THAT makes me sad.
On the flipside though, there probably is something to be said for the internet allowing folks to be themselves openly. I’m an introvert and a full believer in the power of introversion but it’s an increasingly extroverted world – which often makes it ever harder, I think, for me to deal with traditional dating sites and stuff. I can get up on stage and do absolutely anything and feel fine about it – but put me in a room (virtual or otherwise) where I have to pitch myself and I’m shy and awkward and I much prefer the bookstore pickup. Which I’ve never actually had, but ’tis a preference nonetheless. But it does happen – I mean, I suppose it’s like READY PLAYER ONE (which Eric references and that made me so happy). If you haven’t read it, I won’t spoil it (it’s an excellent novel) but to say that an online romance develops and for the first time in my life I genuinely understood how that could happen in that MMORPG world. Foreign to me still but I at least can now say “ohhh, yeahhhh, I get it.”
TNBBC: Yea so to pull it back to C2 and the whole MMORPG thing, Eric talks about falling in love with a fellow Guildie? So that is truly a thing? I mean, is that the equivalent of me crushing on an author? This is a foreign concept for me, too.
Eric also plays with body language – how to read whether a girl is into you through eye contact and movement mimics? I kinda sorta buy into that. A chick, geek or not, will totally stand closer, face you full on, maybe play with her hair or lips if she’s feeling you. But people can get too hung up on that and then things run the risk of getting all rapey. Misreading someone’s normal tics and habits (such as licking their lips or rearranging their hair) can give a guy a massive case of courage muscle and cause things to disintegrate very quickly and uncomfortably. For example, I was hanging out at the bar of a club, back when my hubby and I first got married, waiting for him to come out of the bathroom. I wore glasses at the time (didn’t have contacts yet) and always took them off when we went clubbing so I was blind as a bat, just staring around the room, twirling my hair around my finger out of boredom, sipping my drink. This dude approaches and gets all “I saw you looking at me. What’s a cute girl like you doing alone at the bar” and wouldn’t leave me alone till my hubby sauntered over. No matter what I said, he thought I was being coy cause he read the signs wrong.
And how many times have we heard the claim “She/He wanted it. She/He might have said no, but she/he was showing all the signs”. Ugh. Right?
RB: Loosely following what Eric lays out as the moves for a bar pickup has, I’m stupidly proud to say, worked for me before – eyes across a bar, then more eyes, then “okay those are definitely eyes” eyes, turned into a few hours of chat and a phone number. But anymore that’s all so… for lack of a better term scary. It’s like the ridiculous and overblown controversy about Blurred Lines this past summer. The song was damn groovy but it became such a cultural sticking point and it made me realize that there are a lot of people, possibly the majority, who… don’t get it. Who only see a part of the signal and think they got the whole thing.
The niceness of Eric’s tone in the whole book so far though makes me think that, hopefully, any aspiring geeks who go out with plans of a bar pickup in mind will hear him gently chiding them to play it cool – to actually read the signs and, if she’s not into it, game over and that’s okay.
(This read-along is made possible by the fine folks at Quirk and the lovely Lori at TNBBC. Watch TNBBC for Pt. 3 tomorrow and tune in here for Pt. 4 on Friday!)