Kilian Valkhof

Building tools that make developers awesome.

The geek’s guide to love

Life, 10 April 2007, 4 minute read

Feeling in love is remarkably similar to the feeling you get upon receiving a new gadget. Don’t ever tell your lover that. They probably won’t understand, and even if they’re a geek and secretly feel the same, it’s still not remarkably flattering to be compared to a piece of (shiny) plastic and electronics.

There are a million “How/why you should date a geek” lists, now it’s time to turn that around. Here we go:

1. No matter what is it you do, your girlfriend will tell people you’re ‘really really good with computers’. This is a universal truth. There is no way your girlfriend will be able to fully comprehend what you do. Remember that time when you tried to tell her what it is you do? That’s how much she understood of it. (Granted, you are really really good with computers, but that’s beside the point.)

If you haven’t had “The Talk” yet, the best thing is to just show her some code or a design and say “I made that”. She’ll be impressed…and tell people you’re really, really good with computers.

2. Code poet. There is a reason people call you “code poet”, right? So why not put it to work for your (future) girlfriend? Granted, human language is far inferior to any programming language, but you’ll still be able to do quite some cool stuff with it (No! Not giving examples). Some tips: Avoid loops, define as little as possible and compact your code poem to the bare minimum.

3. Learn to talk. This is, without doubt, the hardest thing to do. I’m not sure if I have mastered this myself. As you might possibly have noticed, girls like to talk. We geeks just don’t do that, we just exchange information. There is one nice little trick: Asking. Girls like talking (well, most do) so she’ll be happy to answer any question you ask. She might even ask things back!

3b. Learn to talk about yourself. This is odd, but compile a small talk about who you are, what you do and why you do it. See it as a sort of elevator pitch for yourself. At first, girls will probably find you a bit strange (or, positively, “interesting”) and will have no clue as to the who, what and why of your existence. Give them this and you’ve opened a door.

4. Leave them alone. I know, I know, you’re connected to everyone, all the time. And you’re probably proud of that (I know I am). But “girls need space” every now and then . Apparently. I really can’t say anything more about it. Don’t understand it to be honest. But, we’ll just have to deal with it. There is plenty you can do with this new found “spare time”. (My to-do list certainly has a few suggestions.)

5. Sunlight is a necessity. When dating, or during a relationship, it’s nice to go out walking. Find some woods to walk through, go down to the beach, or just stroll around the city. You’ll enjoy it, and your girl will appreciate you getting away from the computer to spend time with her. There is of course the downside of pollen and sun and such, but sunglasses and anti-allergy pills will solve those problems.

6. Learn to be mean. It’s not in our nature to be mean. We want to help everyone. But it’s exactly what you need when you don’t want to be pushed around. If you’re mean every once in a while, girls will stop seeing you as a usable object (see #7) and more as a potential partner that can equal them. This is the reason people tell you to learn to say no. Tip: playfully call them names every now and then.

7. Don’t become a commodity. You’ll be able to fix her computer while taking off your shoes when you visit her. But don’t. It might sound counter productive, but girls want a guy that they have to hold on to. If you help her with every little thing, you’ll just become a handy tool. Start learning to say “Not now”. The rule of thumb: if she can use it to IM you, it’s not broken.

8. Disconnect. If your girl wants to spend “quality time” with you, make certain the computer or at the very least the internet connection stays off. It might be hard to do in the beginning, but the reward of being alone with your girl might well be worth it. Plus, if she has any idea how wired you are, she’ll be thankful that you’re making such a big sacrifice for her!

9. Connect. Your google-fu will be able to find anything and everything about her in the time it takes you to write a “hello world” script. Use it to your advantage, but never let her know. Nothing is more creepy than a stalkerish guy. Knowing about her is like learning the syntax before starting to write code (you know you should, you just never do, and it always ends up bad).

And last, but quite possibly the most important thing to remember:

10. Whatever they say, you are the better boyfriend. When you ask a girl to sum up all the qualities she seeks in a man, be prepared to check off at least 80% of the list. Romantic? Check. Caring? Check. Honest? Check. Handy? Check. Thoughtful? Check. Smart? Check. Need I go on? Keep this in mind when you go onto the battlefield into the dating scene. In the end, you’re the best choice.

Thanks to Paul for the idea and support. The two of us will collaborate on The geeks guide to Love, Woman and Everything, which is filled with all you need to know about Love, Woman and, well, Everything and has the words “DON’T PANIC” inscribed in large, friendly letters on the back. Expected summer of 2008.

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