Single Nerd Male

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Single Nerd Male

14 May 2013 | Written by Maxxum

I'm single, and have been using the dating site OKCupid, as girlfriends come and go, since 2006. My experiences, whether good or bad, usually fall within a baseline that is neither too good, or too bad - either I spark with someone, or I don't. But, occasionally something significant happens that causes me to question myself, and the efficacy of online dating in Washington D.C. - and, I emphasize THIS city because here, and only here have I experienced a disproportionally high number of women who have turned me down after finding out that I was a nerd in the truest sense of the word.

One has to be specific as to the type of nerd in a city that is sensitive to trends. I've seen Washingtonians on OKCupid label themselves a "nerd" because they have the entire series of 'West Wing' on DVD, or for no reason other than that they read 'Harry Potter'. In an apparent recognition of the label bandwaggoning that occurs in DC, one person wrote "I was a nerd before it was cool".

When I say nerd, I mean the kind of person who grew up ostracized by their popular classmates for liking anything to do with science/sci-fi/comics/videogames, who wore white socks with high-water black pants because we didn't understand anything about fashion, who felt too ugly or too different to attend their prom, who was bullied/teased or otherwise attacked for being weak and intellectual.

So, it is with some trepidation that I populate my dating profile with pictures of me essentially nerding out at various cons when on one occasion at a dance club, a woman with whom I'd been dancing ditched me when I non-chalantly answered that I was a nerd when she asked me what I do. And, in a sequence of events worthy of a high school drama show, the woman rushed to tell her friend, her friend told my friend that she didn't want to dance with a nerd, then my friend comes over to me and says, "Dude, why did you tell her that you were a nerd?" Seriously? Ya, like totally.

As frustrating as that night was, and on my birthday no less, it didn't affect me the way a recent exchange had on OKCupid when the subject turned to videogames. As embarrassing as this is, I'm posting the entire exchange. I talked with a few of my friends who do game before reaching this decision, and it was all agreed that this is relevant to anyone who games, or is a nerd. It is my hope that people can learn from this, or, if you're a nerd, can understand that you don't need to feel badly about who you are because this kind of rejection happens to all of us, and it's not worth internalizing negative reactions if it means hurting yourself.

Some quick backdrop... I'd been holding against messaging the woman in this exchange because not only was she a computer nerd with a doctorate, she was strikingly beautiful, and I didn't think she'd respond to me. I'm a nerd, and that's just how we think, yes? Anyway, I finally decided to send a message because Leeroy Jenkins, that's why:


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I've written better openers, but in this case I almost felt like there was too much in common, so I avoided tech-talk as I didn't want to overwhelm her with my nerdtasticness. Surprisingly, she responded:


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I was somewhat annoyed with her response, but the woman was born and apparently raised abroad, so I assumed her blunt, albeit honest answer was culturally inspired. I was reminded of the frank conversations I used to have with people when I lived in what was at the time West Germany. So, not holding anything against her, and seeing an opportunity for a deeply philosophical discussion about art and photography, I responded. I red-lined some of my response since it included a critique and comparison of another photographer's work:


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Her response became the motivation for this article:


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At this point, I was floored, and it occurred to me that her binary way of thinking is simply how she is. Her response was strikingly similar to an if/then statement, with an inferred else if her program condition wasn't met. I should mention that she listed herself as fluent in C++.

A number of things went through my head in the first 30 minutes of considering my response, and I'm ashamed to admit that for a brief moment I considered lying. I play videogames, either for stress release once every few months, or research related to articles, - so would it have been so bad to stretch the truth a little...? A videogame every few months, that's not really playing is it? And, every carnal instinct was telling me that she was so beautiful, that any behavioral concerns I had about her were simply not worth considering. In a phrase, "Dude, she's hot", and how many times has a man or woman said that and ignored all the warning signs telling you that this. is. wrong.

After coming to my senses and accepting that not only has this woman insulted me a second time (she had criticized practically everyone I know and consider a friend) it took me almost 2.5 hours to formulate a response that I felt accurately, and appropriately reflected how I felt. I didn't want to attack her, or be sarcastic, although I did briefly consider responding with a C++ if/then statement of my own, terminating in a "goto hell" one-way transfer program line. Here is what I eventually wrote:


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That's all I have to write for now.

End of line.