Prologue: Why We Are Doing This
As part of my job at the juvenile court, I get to teach kids about dating. I don’t just teach kids about Good Touch, Bad Touch and correct really distorted thinking. Oh no. I talk to them about all sorts of positive social behaviors, including: How to talk to women appropriately (Lil’momma and Bitch, as it happens, do not impress women); how to act on a date; where to go on a date (there is more to life than Old Country Buffet and McDonalds) and how going on a date does not mean that you are entitled to anything.
If I can help my clients with those topics, I believe I can also provide a service to my own demographic: Geeks and Nerds. I want to help my fellow geeks to get a date.
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Even with the rise of Geek Chic in the late 90s, a number of my people have had difficulties dating. Looking like a geek and being into geek things does not make one a geek. Unfortunately, most geeks also lack proper social decorum–and this, more than anything else, defines a geek. I like to think that I have enough social poise and grace to hang out with non-geeks. For evidence, I can point to the geeks and non-geek women I’ve dated over the past seventeen years. Furthermore, I do have a testimonial from a geek friend, “You are the least geeky of all of us. You go out.”
I’ve got geek cred, I teach pro-social skills and I have actual social skills. Now I need a partner in crime A fellow geek whose dating history is as sordid as mine. A motivational speaker, writer and blogger. This calls for a Genius.
Sordid is definitely a word I would use to describe my history.
What advice to you give these young folks you work with?
What do you tell them? Does it work?
This is such a useful piece of your work.
The first step is to challenge their belief system, so I get them to talk and try to get them to recognize their distorted thinking. I don’t so much as tell them as attempt to guide them. Telling a teenager is about as useful as giving a republican some honest scientific facts: They both ignore you.
I think it works, but that depends on the relative honesty of the kid and the caregiver. If I don’t hear about their dating history, I can’t determine if my interventions work. While everything might appear hunky-dory, it could all be a lie.
If it doesn’t work, I still have a few options left, but getting a judge to allow a supplemental petition (ie violation of their probation) based on dating and their dating history is a pretty tough sell.
Your actions seem reasonable. How often do you find that they change their distortions?
I struggle with this question and concept because there are some cultural beliefs about women that are hard to change. For example, I have a real issue with the way men feel entitled to stare down women on the street. When I lived in Boston, their was a certain group of young men in a certain part of town that did this. It was totally inapprorpiate. And if they were really hyped up, they would cat call. There did not appear to be a sense of the inappropriateness of this. I have a hard time believing that these men will change anytime soon because they feel entitled to act this way.