Derek says:

There ought to be a class for people who positively suck at talking to members of the opposite sex.

And then continues with:

I mean, let's presume for the moment that you were not the sort of person to pick up that social skill-set during high-school. Where exactly are you going to learn it in today's society?
First impressions, especially on the topic of romance, are so terribly crucial, and if you screw it up, it doesn't matter how much chemistry you and the other person might have had if given the chance, it'll all be for naught because the first impression will have already been blown.

(See also: I Need To Think Like A Single Guy and Quantifying Derek's Lameness.)

And then goes on to discuss the problem of today's "dating scene," including the lack of any good feedback when you're rejected.

I certainly feel the pain. Or at least I used to. A long time ago I mostly gave up and decided that anyone really worth spending my life with wouldn't be the sort of person who's gonna blow me off after 20 seconds of conversation.

The fact is, every significant dating relationship I've had (or could have had) involved first becoming pretty good friends with the person before real dating kicked in (or would have kicked in--but that's another story).

So that's my recipe, for better or worse. I don't really go to bars or parties or participate in the stereotypical "dating scene." Remember, I'm a geek. I have an aversion to big groups unless I'm standing in front with a microphone. I'd rather stay at home and read something. Or go to a movie with some friends. I really don't need all the fake pressures, expectations, and other bullshit that goes with the dating scene. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm a little surprised at how many people do put up with it.

Maybe that's why and Yahoo! Personals are making so much money? Enough other people are sick of it too.

Of course, living in Silicon Valley and hanging out at the gliderport aren't the most fruitful ways to meet single women. But that's life. I knew that (on some level) going into this. And that's fine, 'cause I'm really not in a hurry. I have no deadlines to meet.

Come to think of it, I've really never understood the folks who are in such a hurry to find and hook up with their soulmate. Not to pick on women, but I knew several in college who were in college to "get an Mrs degree" rather than to learn the advanced skills and concepts required to get a nice job. That's all well and good, 'cause people are free to do what they want. But it always struck me as a little... I don't know, dirty maybe? Misleading?

Amusingly, none of them are married yet, but most of my other college friends are. Trying too hard, maybe? I don't know.

Posted by jzawodn at August 17, 2003 08:33 PM

Reader Comments
# Jason Lotito said:

You know, the best thing to ever happen to me was on IRC, on servers, in the #php channel. That is where I met Piera. Two months after we started 'seeing' each other, I took a trip from Bethlehem, PA up to Montreal to meet her for the first time. We spent 5 days together, and we cried, together, when I had to leave. Three *long* months later, I moved up to Montreal with work Visa in hand. We have been together for just over two years, and we couldn't be happier. And we are looking to get married.

Anyways, the point of this whole story is that we 'met' each other in a neutral setting. Neither of us were looking for a partner (or rather, we weren't looking online in the #php chatroom of all places). We just sort of clicked, and things worked out for the best. For a long time prior to meeting her, I tried to hook up with people. It never worked. I am a geek after all. Oh, I am a sociable guy, and easy to talk to, and I am not ugly (no, I am no Brad Pitt or Vin Deisel, but I am not ugly). Still, I met Piera when I least expected it.

I believe the majority of long-term relationships start that way: two people end up meeting and are not actually looking to hook up with each other. I believe this is the case because of human nature. When we aren't actively looking for someone, we are relaxed, we are ourselves. However, when we are on the hunt, we put our game face on, and we try hard. We worry over the little things, the things that don't matter in a long-term relationship.

When you aren't expecting anything from another person, and they aren't expecting anything from you, you can be yourself. You can be natural, and you have a tendancy to be more open. Why? Because what does it matter if this person knows your real self. You aren't trying to date them.

But that's how things work out. You suddenly realize one day that both of you are spending more and more time together, and you appreciate the company, and that spark is lit. And usually by that time, both of you know it, but are afraid to say something.

God be praised Piera said something. I was terrified to be the first, even though I knew what her answer would be should I ask.

Anyways, love, whether it be found online or off makes no difference, it still happens in generally the same way, in my opinion. Of course, I could be completely wrong. However, whatever the reason, I am happy where I am, and wouldn't change it for the world.

on August 17, 2003 10:05 PM
# Alexander said:

Jason : My story is quite similar; met a girl in a neutral place (web-based chatroom), and everything followed from there. First friendship, then interest, then love. Now we're married with two kids, 6 years down the line. The only drawback has been distance; Norway - Australia. :) Not your average commuting distance.

on August 18, 2003 01:03 AM
# George Schlossnagle said:

Hey baby, wanna go for a spin in my glider doesn't work? That's an angle you should definitely look into as an impressive first date.

on August 18, 2003 12:25 PM
# Jim O'Halloran said:

When I read Jeremy's description of himself, I'm surprised how much it sounds like me. I don't like large groups, prefer to stay at home than go to a bar, etc. I don't mind going to a pub with som mates, but the idea of "going out to meet someone" just horrifies me.

My story is very similar to Jason and Alexander's though... I go to dinner and see a movie with friends every Friday (its become known as the "FOTW" - Film Of The Week), and used to hang out on IRC with the same friends during the week. Most of us work in IT, so whenever we ran across users who were interested in IRC they were pointed towards our channel. Naturally these people quite often got invited to FOTW after we all got to know them. My wife happened to fit into our group better then most, and stuck around.

Neither of us were actively looking for a relationship, and neither of us are really into the whole dating, bars and clubs thing. As it happened, meeting first in IRC worked out well, because it gave us a chance to get to know each other without having to make that "first impression".

Later when we did meet, it was as friends, where there was no pressure or expectation that it would ever lead to anything more than that. That it eventually worked out that way is something that we're both grateful for, but thats not what we were looing for in the beginning.

on August 18, 2003 05:12 PM
# Harrison said:

I dunno Jeremy, it seems to me that you can hookup after partying sometimes.

on August 18, 2003 05:29 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Ah, yeah. I guess this is one of those things that will haunt me for years to come, huh Harrison? :-)

on August 18, 2003 06:53 PM
# marc said:

Hint to Jeremy: you are a classic introvert (and guess what, the majority of the population are extroverts ...). That is neither good nor bad - just that introverts tend to think/act/behave (like you do) quite differently than extroverts (with many Extroverts thinking introverts are boring, cold, passive, withdrawn, fly-on-wall losers). There are probably statistically more introverts in IT and other "thinking"-oriented careers than in the working population at large.

For introverts, dating involves a bit different approach than used by extroverts - more indirect and cautious. Introverts also tend to gravitate to partners are more "extroverted" than themselves - but not usually not to an extreme. Needless to say, extroverts tend to go on many more dates than introverts.

on August 20, 2003 03:50 PM
# Nancy R. Fenn said:

I have a fantastic eBook on Dating Tips for Introverts. It's full of introvert-specific information that has helped other introverts meet the goal of dating ... a caring significant relationship with someone who loves and understands them, justthe way they are! This isn't a book that tells you to "get out more" or "talk to more people". This is introvert specific and is also geared toward each of the eight different types of introverts.

on September 29, 2003 12:16 AM
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