Nerd Dating

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This is the final part of my nerd trilogy. We have talked about nerd-guys and nerd-girls. This post asks what is to be done with them.

The traditional places for meeting people seem to favor more extraverted types. Bars, clubs, and larger parties are all good hunting grounds. A cynical introvert would say this is because those mean (and more numerous) extraverts set the rules to favor themselves. A gamester theorist might theorize that the rules are set by the most socially dominant; bars and clubs are popular because that is where the “cool” people go (and everyone else wants to be like them and be with them). While there is merit to both arguments, I think the answer is that these venues offer a desirable mix of, lack of ambiguity, plausible deniability, and some degree of anonymity.

Lack of Ambiguity

Everyone knows what everyone else is looking for. When a conversation starts between a man and woman, both parties are clear where it might end. The man will not approach if he is not attracted; the woman will not continue if she is not attracted.

In other situations, either party might consider the conversation just polite chit-chat. Such mix ups lead to embarrassment.

Plausible Deniability

Nobody wants to explicitly admit to not having someone. So the girls head out to “dance and have fun.” The guys head out to “have a few beers and be with buddies.” This allows everyone maintain the fiction of disinterest. If you go home alone, you can always remind yourself of the stated reason for heading out (“dance” or “buddies”), and ease the pain of failure.

Some Degree of Anonymity

While not perfectly anonymous (your friends know you) any failure is less visible than other places. There is a lot of activity and most people are more concerned with themselves than you. Next time you go, there will be different people that will not have seen (and judged you on) your earlier failure.

But What About Those Introverts?

Now compare the types of places introverts might meet (or be advised to try). They will less crowded, may feature an existing social set, and will probably center on something other than meeting people (e.g., lectures, book clubs).

The problem is these situations have high ambiguity: is he talking to me because he interested in my views on the lecture or because he is hitting on me? Is that an IOI or is it just interest in my opinion? It is not clear what are polite conversations and what are seductions.

While seduction is implicit in the bar and club scene, at some point it must be made explicit in the conversational scene. At some point one or other has to make their intentions clear. This where the potential for discomfort arises as there is no plausible deniability. Once seductive intentions are out in the open, the third disadvantage becomes obvious. Any failure is more public. Next week the same people will be here, an approach to someone else may now look like desperation.

So the question remains: Introverts, what will we do with them?

Speed dating probably comes close. Although far from ideal, it does offer lack of ambiguity and some degree of anonymity. It badly lacks plausible deniability. The structure does rely less on immediate glib charm and thus gives “deeper” types a better chance (normal rules of attraction still apply, of course). Perhaps there is a better alternative.

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11 Responses to “Nerd Dating”

  1. Matt Savage Says:

    It is quite a dilemma as part of being introverted is being comfortable out of social situations, so the question of where the nerds can get together and hook-up is a good question.

    I think one solution could be the online dating realm, and though not idea, it does allow one to initiate the attraction and seduction process from the comfort of your own home. Of course, you still have to eventually go out into the public to meet these people, but at least a lot of the pressures of things like cold approaching are removed.

  2. Default User Says:

    @Matt Savage
    The only problem is the potential for disappointment. It is very hard to match the idealized picture of a person a remote “courtship” or flirting can build.

    I remember having a nice flirtatious relationship with someone sight-unseen. It was work related so not really a pickup attempt. It just happened that through phone and e-mail we developed this flirty back and forth.

    When we actually met, it was a disappointment. It was not that either one of us was particularly unattractive to the other; we just had built an idealized picture. Had we met first, it could have all worked out. Of course, the mysterious unseen other was probably part of the fun.

    Anyway, the flirty thing died out after that. Our relationship became more professional. It was still friendly, but without that flirty edge.

    I know that online dating has photos, but they do not tell the full story even if honestly presented.

  3. brightstormyday Says:

    I think a number of decent girls don’t go to parties to go home with someone, they go because they seriously want to have a good time.

    Meeting people is bound to happen, but most agree (even the extraverted types) that parties aren’t good places to meet people.

    Seriously, no one wants to be hit on/grinded on by the creepy drunk engineer, who’s so creepy, everyone who has ever met him officially added the prefix “creepy” to his name.

  4. Default User Says:

    @brightstormyday

    Seriously, no one wants to be hit on/grinded on by the creepy drunk engineer, who’s so creepy, everyone who has ever met him officially added the prefix “creepy” to his name.

    I certainly don’t.

    Is there an autobiographical point to that? :)

  5. brightstormyday Says:

    Yes, there is. Goodness gracious.

  6. Default User Says:

    @brightstormyday

    Yes, there is. Goodness gracious.

    Goodness gracious indeed. Creepy drunks FTL.
    [I presume he was a social awkward type made braver but not more aware by alcohol.]

  7. Hope Says:

    Glad to see you back and posting. :)

    I personally was doing the online thing. There is obviously potential for disappointment, but it is the best thing nerds have going. I met my fiance while playing an online game, so there was also no “pressure” like dating sites tend to have.

    The wedding is end of this month! :D

  8. Default User Says:

    @Hope
    And I am glad to see you posting. What good is change without Hope?

    Congratulations on the wedding.
    <obligatory PUAsphere joke>
    I trust you two have all that pre-nup stuff sorted out. :/
    </obligatory PUAsphere joke>

  9. Vincent Ignatius Says:

    Running a speed dating event is a great way to meet chicks.

  10. Default User Says:

    @Vincent Ignatius

    Running a speed dating event is a great way to meet chicks.

    Hmmm!

  11. Linkage is Good for You: Premature Congratulations Edition | In Mala Fide Says:

    [...] User – “Nerd Dating“, “Why Alpha [...]

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