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How to: date a geek

July 7, 2011

I have a confession: I love geeks.

You might call them nerds or dorks. If they like math and science, comics and sci-fi, computers and technology, dungeons and dragons, or hacking of any kind, they qualify.

There’re plenty of reasons why a girl might prefer geeks, but they can be a more difficult breed than other men. In addition to having dated quite a few, I’ve also been fortunate enough to talk about relationships with geeky male friends. I’ve concluded that if you want to attract and keep a geek of your own, you should:

1. Be smart: You have to be able to hold up your end in a conversation, so you should have a good level of general intelligence. If you really want to keep his attention, you should be able to teach him something, and bonus points if it’s a bit obscure.

Not feeling too brainy? You might get away with letting him teach you something, but he’s not likely to stick around for long if you can’t make and respond to arguments based on logic in casual conversation.

2. Be clear: Not that it’s ever a good idea to expect someone you’re dating to be a mindreader, but with thinkers you really have to be clear about what you mean and what you want. Conveniently, geeks won’t make you feel stupid or awkward when you ask questions to get them to clarify what they mean or want, so try to return the favor while they’re figuring out what you’re saying.

3. Get tech savvy: You don’t need to build your own motherboards or anything, but you should know what one is. If you’re starting from scratch, it’s easy to build your geek vocabulary: Just dive in to the science section of your favorite news source, or a tech news site, or subscribe to a geek blog.

4. Be an early adopter: Geeks like gadgets, so if you can get excited about the latest gaming system, social media platform or this show, you’re in good shape.

5.  Get over yourself: No matter the geek’s specialty, I’ve found they all love to throw themselves in to whatever they’re doing with un-self-concscious abandon. This means you need to be more concerned about trying things and having a sense of humour about yourself than sitting at the metaphorical cool table.

Good luck, and happy geek hunting!

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Why Lily should never have a boyfriend

July 2, 2011

I’ve realized that I am a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad girlfriend.

Take this hustler I’ve been seeing recently. Tall, dark and well-endowed, he’s also concerned about my general well-being and whether or not I’m entertained.

These are all good things. But.

He always wants to hang out. He wants my professional input about his business. He wants to take me to his favorite US city to see his favorite soul singer. He wants me to meet his children. He wants to call me up with 10 minutes notice and for me to be ready to go do whatever it is he wants to do on a Sunday morning.

I do not want these things. I want to hang out with my friends and meet new people. I want to not think about work when I’m off work. If I am going back to the states, you can bet I want to go to a city where I actually know people. His kids are fine, I guess, but the last thing I want to do on a Sunday morning is jump out of bed and get ready to leave the house in 10 minutes time!

The problem with having a boyfriend is that it seems to require me to do things other than what I want to do. Maybe that makes me selfish or self-centered. Whatever. Probably the problem is exaggerated by more-traditional-than-I’m-used-to gender roles in the Caribbean. There’s not a thing I can do about that. So.

Sorry guys. Just consider me nice company for a few outings and then move on to a woman who will do all the things you want without regard to her own desires. Meanwhile, I’ll be on the lookout for the guy who wants to know what I enjoy, and wants me to be who I already am. Just in case he exists.

Baby you can drive my car

April 11, 2011

A man I’ve been talking to lately wants to give me a car.

It's a very nice car

Or, to be more acurrate, he wants me to drive his fancy luxury car back and forth to the office everyday.

Now, there are all kinds of reasons this is wrong. Going from cheap taxis and tagging along with friends to suddenly riding in a car that costs more than I make in a year would be bound to start all sorts of rumors about me being “his woman.” I haven’t slept with this man, and he’s possibly only offering because he thinks I am going to — or he thinks this will persuade me. Plus, there’s an ick factor: a little voice whispering insistently that despite all his assurances that he just happens to have this spare car and is concerned about me getting home after a late night at the office, this is fundamentally a move to control where I go.

I politely but firmly refused his offer, but it’s gotten me thinking about a peculiar tendency in this region that I never noticed in the states. Over and over again, the men here seem to be saying the same thing:

“I can take care of you.”

Have I stepped back in time? Take care of me?

I still find it hard to believe, but it seems that is actually what these guys want to do. I’m having a hard time convincing them that it isn’t a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy keeping company with a man who earns a good living, but not because I want to spend his money. It’s because I want to keep company with a stable, grown-up human being.

And hearing that a man wants to take care of me smacks of wanting a relationship with a child. A needy, dependent child.

And guess what?

I am not a child. Hearing a man tell me — albeit in a roundabout way — that he wants to treat me like one is supremely unattractive. Invariably, when I hear this from a man, whatever spark I felt that got me talking to him in the first place flies right out the window.

Because I can take care of myself. After all, as much as I may want a man, I don’t need one.

I didn’t mean to do it: a cheater’s tale

March 19, 2011

I was just talking to this charming man about his work, his two beautiful daughters and how I came to land on the island of his birth. The next thing I knew, we were alone on his balcony with a fabulous view of the ocean and the stars.

Trust me: If you could have seen it with half a bottle of wine in you, you would have slept with this married man, too.

So that’s that rule broken.

At first, I didn’t feel guilty about it. After all, I didn’t break any vows. I’ve made no promises of fidelity to anyone. Plus, I tend to think marriage is pretty much bullshit. What’s so sacred about living and sleeping with only one person “as long as you both shall live” when your promises to each other, god and your parents get broken half the time in divorce? We’re just two adults doing adult stuff that happens to be adultery.

But.

I see photos of Mr. Married’s family when we hang out at his house. They seem quite nice. I don’t want to be involved in them getting hurt, which they undoubtedly would be if they ever found out about us. Then there’s the more conservative Caribbean laws. I’m no lawyer, but it’s entirely likely that I and this man could wind up in front of a judge on infidelity charges. Worst of all, there’s the sneaking. No matter that I’m no monogamist, I’ve still never had to hide anything I do. Me and Mr. Married can’t really go out in public because people who know the family might see us and assume (correctly) that we’re fooling around.

Maybe it’s only guilt by association, but knowing what could happen makes me feel anxious, which is far heavier than the intellectual knowledge that I am, in fact, not doing anything wrong.

So, when by complete coincidence I lost Mr. Married’s number, I decided not to bother looking for it. When I ran into him last week at a crowded bar, he seemed not to expect an explanation.

Lily has left the desert

February 21, 2011

I never thought it would happen, but I have left my beloved desert.

The powers that be offered me job in — of all places — the Caribbean. I heard it was pretty nice, so I came down a couple of months back. I’ve been busy getting settled, island hopping and just generally having a pretty swell time.

At first, I thought I’d let the blog fade further into internet obscurity, but lately I realized that in addition to acquiring some new watersports skills and a nice tan, I’ve got some new stories to share.

So, same old Lily, new locale and new adventures. Stay tuned.

Don’t ask why, guys

August 2, 2010

This weekend I had one of the most awkward conversations it’s possible to have as a single girl: the “why I don’t want to sleep with you” conversation.

A bit of background on this guy: I would have been wiser to shut down the flirting months and months ago when it first started. I have no excuse, other than going along with and escalating the flirtation seemed like a good idea at the time.

But anytime things move from flirting to something a bit more serious, I put on the brakes. And this particular character has got it in his head that he wants to know why.

At this point in my life, I don’t feel particularly obligated to answer this question. I’m a grown-ass woman. I do what – and who – I want, and I don’t need to justify my decisions to anyone.

This time I did give an answer. I was honest without going into detail: Dude, I’m just not that into you.

He wouldn’t let up: but why?

Attention men: you do not actually want to know why.

If I do tell you why, you will argue with me, get defensive, get offended and finally (probably) piss me off. 

What you actually want is what this character eventually* admitted he wanted: tips and tricks to help you try to change my mind. 

I don’t change my mind about this kind of thing. Very few women do.

My very smart girl friend describes it like this: women have two ladders for the men they know. We meet someone new and almost right away put them on either the friend ladder or the romantic/sexy ladder. You can have some say over how high you go on the ladder – rescuing me on the side of the road will get you higher up, blow off plans with me and you go down a few rungs.

But here’s the thing: you can’t control which ladder you’re on, and you can’t switch ladders. In my life, I’ve only turned a friend into a boyfriend once, and that was in high school.

Guys don’t understand this because they only have one ladder. Pretty much every woman they meet is a potential partner. I’ve even heard dudes admit that the reason they’ll keep a female friend around is on the off chance they’ll get the opportunity to sleep with her.

I hate rejection, too. I’ve had dudes go from flirty descriptions of their penile piercings or gushing about how glad they are to have met me to complete radio silence with no explanation at all. I could kill myself trying to work out why they’ve lost interest, and I occasionally indulge in a bit of sleuthing.

The results have never once been satisfactory.

The only reasonable thing to do is to acknowledge that I don’t want to be involved with someone who isn’t interested in me and move on.

I hope my dudes can come to this realization, too. And really hope they stop asking me why I don’t want them.

*but not before arguing with me, getting defensive, getting offended and kind of pissing me off

How to: meet new people

July 29, 2010

There is a woman who works in my office who asked, when I told her that I pretty much never have a problem meeting men when I’m about town, whether I have some kind of man magic.

Of course I told her I do. She didn’t look as surprised as I thought she might have.

But really, there’s no magic to it. In fact, it’s really, really, ridiculously easy to turn people you don’t know into acquaintances and from there, well, the possibilities are open. Here’s how:

1. Forget what your momma told you. Not all of it, but that part about not talking to strangers has got to go. If you can’t talk to strangers, you’re hosed in the meeting new people department. Sorry, very sorry, to the anxious and uber-self-concious, who deserve to meet folks as much as the outgoing girls, but I can’t help you. Try therapy.

For everyone else, this is easy math. You already know all the people you know, and everyone else is a stranger. I have been striking up conversations with what amounts to randos in the street for literally years. Not one has ever turned out to be a psycho axe-murderer.  Actually, not one has ever turned out to be anything more dangerous than mildly annoying, and that seems like saying something in downtown Phoenix. But seriously, strangers are just like the people you know already, only new. Obviously, talking to new folks is much easier said than actually done, but I promise it isn’t anything to be afraid of, and that the more you do it, the easier it gets.

2. Do fun stuff. The idea is to have something in common with folks, but you’re also going to have an easier time talking to new people if you’re doing something you enjoy. Plus, since other people there are likely doing something they enjoy, too, you have a built-in, completely uncreepy, conversation starter (in the form of fun thing you are doing). It helps to have a hobby or an interest of some kind. Art and live music are my picks, but classes, meetup groups, book clubs or professional associations are also great for finding fun stuff to do.

3. Be approachable (aka, cheating at strangers). Approachable seems like a vague concept, but all you have to do is look pleasant rather than like you enjoy eating children. The simplest way is to smile, as long as it’s not a fake smile. Once when I was overseas, a guy tried to caution me about my frequent smiling. He said “a smile is like an invitation,” implying that I might attract the wrong sort of person. Maybe it’s not very worldly, but I went ahead and smiled anyway. At strangers. And now I have friends in foreign lands.

I call being approachable cheating because it makes meeting people way easier — they’ll come to you. There is a downside, though. By being approachable in general you don’t get to be as selective about who you’re meeting. But we are meeting new people, here. It’s all a bit of a gamble.

4. Bring a friend. I always prefer to have a wingwoman, but especially if you’re on the shy side or just starting out with meeting new people it’s a necessity. The right wingwoman should also be open to meeting new people, and contrary to what teen tv has tried to tell you, it’s actually a great thing if she’s really pretty. Pretty girls attract all sorts of people, who will also talk to you. The thing you really want in a wingwoman though, is help screening folks. The ideal wingwoman can help keep a conversation with someone interesting from getting soggy, but even more importantly, is great at politely shooing away people you aren’t interested in.

I actually have the best wingwoman ever: she knows the types of people I like, warns me when she sees creepers giving me the eye, and she’s a valley native, which means she knows all the cool places (and many of the cool people) already. But you can’t have her.

5. Use good judgement. You’re aiming for friendly, not doormat. I’m pretty pro stranger in general, but don’t follow these steps everywhere in your life. For example, if you’re visiting a vagrant magnet like, say, the Burton Barr during the day midweek, go ahead and look unapproachable. In fact, feel free tell lies like “My husband is a boxer and he gets very jealous,” if that’s what it takes. And for the non vagrants, just because you have a nice conversation some strangers doesn’t mean you have to invite them home with you, or even give them your phone number.

Go forth and meet people, and if you see Lily around, come say hi.