Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Will You... Uhh... Do You Want To...

Will You... Uhh... Do You Want To...

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2005

On Wednesdays, rather than rehashing a news story, I reprint one of my old columns. I've got 15 years' worth of the damn things, so there's no point in letting them sit moldering in a box in my garage. At least not the good ones. This one is from October 2005.

Believe it or not, I wasn't always the suave, sophisticated, debonair guy I am now. So it's not too surprising that I never dated much in high school. It wasn't for lack of interest or even lack of trying. Believe me, I was very interested. And I tried as much, if not more, than any normal teenage boy did at that age.

I just didn't know the appropriate way to go about it. That, and I was a bit of a geek back then.

I know, I know, you're totally surprised to hear that. But it's true.

Apparently — and I wish I had known this back then — playing in sports nobody has heard of and being in the marching band can pretty much blow any chances of dating for the next 10 years. It wasn't until I quit the band and assumed a new identity that things turned around for me.

But knowing what I know now, I would like to offer some rules of dating success to the other quasi-geeky young men out there who find themselves alone on a Friday night. I do this partly because I want to spare them the same difficulties I had, but mostly because my wife won't let me date, and I want to see if this stuff really works.

These rules also apply to the complete geeks, although I can assure you I wasn't one. Because it's important to. . . no really, I wasn't. It's important to remember. . . seriously, I wasn't. I was just ahead of my time, that's all.

Rule 1. This is the biggie: lose the Star Trek gear. And Star Wars. And Babylon Five. And Battlestar Galactica. And anything else that combines the words "fiction," "science," and "I like" in a single sentence. Your friends may be impressed that you worked out a battle plan that shows how the Millennium Falcon could beat the USS Enterprise in a dogfight, but girls don't care. Trust me, this is the epitome of geekiness, and should be avoided at all costs.

Rule 2. Ditto for Dungeons and Dragons. For some reason, girls aren't wild about guys who play make believe about fighting dragons and orcs, and finding magical treasures. I remember this one time, I was playing an Elven archer and. . . never mind.

In high school, I only knew one girl who played Dungeons and Dragons, and she was geekier than me. (Despite this, she still intimidated most of the guys in our D&D group by virtue of her being a girl.) In other words, the odds in my school of finding a female D&D player were literally one in 1200, so don't hold your breath on finding one of your own.

3. Adopt an air of mystery. In other words, don't share things about yourself that make people roll their eyes and say "too much information" in that sing-songy voice that makes you want to smack them. Topics like "guess how many things I'm allergic to" or "the results of my latest stool analysis" are strictly off limits. You're better off showing her the three-hour PowerPoint presentation of your Enterprise-Millennium Falcon battle complete with animated explosions.

4. Avoid people who suddenly like you when they previously didn't. They're setting you up for something. I had the fortunate experience of watching this happen to a friend of mine when I was a junior. I say fortunate, because it happened to him and not me. Still, as a friend, it was my duty to support him and help him get over it.

We did this by showing the girl in question there were no hard feelings and delivered three dozen eggs to her house one night. We also left soap on the windows and toilet paper scattered throughout the yard to help with cleanup the next morning.

5. Stories about hobbies and extra-curricular activities are also off-limits. You may think the story about how you nearly came to blows with that jerk Hanson at the Chess Club banquet are interesting, but you're the only one. Save the stories for your grandkids.

However, for some reason, she will not feel the same compunction and will tell you all about what she heard from Sarah who heard it from Alissa who heard from Mandy that Melody and Stuart were caught in the Industrial Arts stairwell and blah blah blah. Just smile and nod and be happy that you're actually on a date with a girl, let alone in the same room with her.

Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Let's face it, being a quasi-geek is a pretty big iceberg, and your dating life is the Titanic. But there's hope. Just practice these five simple rules and you'll start to see small improvements which will lead to bigger and bigger successes. And if you're lucky, you'll have an honest-to-God real girlfriend who thinks your sci-fi obsession is "kind of cute."

It's like the Star Trek episode, "Trouble With Tribbles" where Captain Kirk. . . never mind.

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