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Editorial

Journal Proteus's Journal: The sexist assumptions of geeks 2

It's been a running joke here on Slashdot: "no one here has a girlfriend", "anyone who's that geeky is clearly single", "I believed him until he said he had a wife", etc.. I used to find it funny, but the more I see it, the more it bugs me.

See, most of my friends are women. Many of those female friends are geeks; and all of them like geeks (obviously: the set "my friends" self-selects for liking geeks). The majority of my female, geek-liking friends are single.

The most common complaint these women have is not that the geeks they meet are "too geeky". In fact, a good number of them are actively attracted to extremely geeky guys. They like shy, they can put up with a lack of social skill, and they are turned on by intelligence.

No, the most common complaints these women have are:

  1. Lack of personal hygiene. You don't need social skills to know that you need to bathe regularly, brush your teeth, and wear clothes that are clean and in good condition. These women aren't looking for fancy clothes, just ones that aren't filthy and in disrepair.
  2. Posturing. There are plenty of single women who like geeks; but these women do not like geeks who try to pretend that they have social skills when they don't. You'd not hang out with some guy who faked his geek skills, what makes you think a woman wants to hang out with you when you're faking your social skills? You don't want any woman so dumb that she can't tell you're a geek, right?
  3. Egomania. It doesn't matter that most of these women know perfectly well that the geek guys are covering their social awkwardness with self-centered behavior; what matters is that behavior. Stop it! Make a habit of answering people's questions concisely (you're a geek, you've used Usenet, this shouldn't be a problem), and asking more questions than you answer. Make those questions you ask be things that require a bit of an answer, and/or that show you've paid attention to the other person: "so, you're a reader; reading anything good? Tell me about it." See? Not hard.
  4. Lack of courtesy. Courtesy is an incredibly easy social skill to acquire. I'm aspy, I should know. It does not require the more difficult interpersonal skills -- all you have to do is constantly think "how can I make the other person more comfortable?". It's OK to open a door for a woman (and for a guy, for that matter); it's essential to send someone a nice thank-you note when they've invited you out (it's not hard: "I had a great time, thanks for inviting me!" -> SEND). Hell, just think about it, and you'll probably do better than 90% of geek guys.

To suggest that no woman would ever fall for a geek -- or that all women want the same type of guy -- is sexism, plain and simple.

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The sexist assumptions of geeks

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  • To suggest that no woman would ever fall for a geek -- or that all women want the same type of guy -- is sexism, plain and simple.

    Well, I did once say that it just takes awhile [slashdot.org] for women to come to their senses, but that's sexist as well.

    When someone says that women don't like geeks, it's hyperbole. They don't believe that all geeks will fail to reproduce. What they do believe is that most women don't like geeks. And yeah, the dislike has a lot to do with all of the reasons you listed... which is

    • by Proteus (1926)

      I and others (#2) think that "geek" specifically denotes a smart guy with poor social skills.

      And so do I. My point is that there are many women who care very little about lack of social skills. However, basic courtesy and personal hygiene are not complex social skills; any geek should be able to handle those things (esp. the latter).

      Hell, I have terrible social skills, and a disability that makes it very hard to improve them. Yet I bathe daily and work hard to be at least courteous to other people; I'm s

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