Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We're all the same species.

Newsflash, people: we're all people. We're all the same species, here. Men and women? Same species. Rich and poor? Same species. Any two random samples of the astounding variety of human skin tones available? Same species. Nerds and Pretentious Social Climbers? Yep, same species.

Which is why this particular post is such a spectacular pile of fail.
This story sounds mean. It’s about a girl judging a boy because he’s a nerd (like so many of us!) that she met on OkCupid.
Now, let's be clear from the outset: this story sounds mean because it is mean. It's a classic case of a writer setting out to show someone's flaws, and highlighting their own instead.
He was thin and tall, dressed in a hedge fund uniform with pale skin and pierced ears. ... And then he casually mentioned that he played Magic: The Gathering when he was younger.

“Actually,” he paused. “I’m the world champion.”
Just like you’re obligated to mention you’re divorced or have a kid in your online profile, shouldn’t someone also be required to disclose any indisputably geeky world championship titles?
So, his crime... if I'm reading this right... was coming across as a fairly ordinary guy, even though he had this particularly geeky hobby that he happened to be amazingly good at? What, nerds can't be normal people? Normal people can't have nerdy interests?

Yep, pretty much:
I was lured on a date thinking I’d met a normal finance guy, only to realise he was a champion dweeb in hedge funder’s clothing.

I later found out that he infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people I sort of know, including one of my co-workers.
"Infiltrated". That's right, "infiltrated". Apparently this guy is some sort of Manchurian Ninja Stealth Nerd, I guess. It's all part of the Vast Geek Conspiracy to trick the Popular Blonde Hotties into going out with us.

Or, you know, maybe he's just a nice guy looking for a date. Maybe he didn't realize that having a hobby like M:TG was such a disfiguring social disease that he must warn people in advance about his condition.

That said, it's clear that Ms. Bereznak is absolutely the victim here. I mean, she actually had dinner and drinks with a guy who is obviously, utterly, and irredeemably below her caste - a man who didn't even have the decency to wear a pocket protector, or pull his waistband up too high, or show up in a bright orange blazer, or... well... anything that would signaled his inherent nerdy unworthiness to her. I can only imagine the horror and shame she experienced, and the unrelenting courage and honesty that drove her to write about her experience. She's only lucky it wasn't worse. Imagine if she had found herself talking to someone who plays Dungeons and Dragons... Or worse, a LARPer!

Her date sounds like a very pleasant guy. (Not to everyone's romantic taste, perhaps, but who is?) I can only hope that one day Ms. Bereznak will grow up enough to get over herself. Until then, there's a whole wide world of interesting people that she'll be missing out on.


  1. Oddly, I kind of hope that's the case.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I sort of clicked through some of the links then one led to another and I found this interesting take on it.


    Regardless she sounds pretty hard to please. Some people might say this whole blogging/technology thing is kinda nerdy. Excuse Mr. Finkel for having a life. I saw on Alyssa Bereznak's twitter feed this comment from her:

    "dudes, i don't think it's bad to be a dweeb. i just dont want to date someone i can't relate to. not an attack. more a cautionary tale."

    If it's a personal preference and not an attack maybe she shouldn't write a post attacking nerdom. Don't we all have a little nerd in us? Or maybe I'm just nerdy enough to think that's normal.

  4. Huh. If I was a girl and Finkel was interested in me, I'd be all, "Jackpot!"

    You know how much scratch that dude has made playing a nerd game?

  5. It was probably traffic bait. The sad thing is that a lot of people still think this way. The truth is we are all geeky about something. If you don't believe me, ask a few "normal" women what makes those Manolo Blahnik's so special.

  6. I'm not sure it was, though it's certainly possible. At the very least, it wasn't the carefully calculated link bait of someone who knew exactly what they were doing. Some - most - of the comments on the article are vicious. Even if Ms. Bereznak was trolling for pageviews, I have a hard time imagining that she was looking for that. So if it was linkbait, I'd say it very thoroughly got away from her.

  7. "I was lured on a date thinking I’d met a normal finance guy, only to realise he was a champion dweeb in hedge funder’s clothing."

    I hope she knows, if she wants a finance guy, that many of those who works in finance have graduated in Computer Sciences. Thus, there is a fair amount of geeks and other nerds...

  8. I'm guessing that would probably be news to her. You wouldn't think so, but I can't see any other way to read her post...

  9. When I read that he was the World Champion at Magic, I thought, "That would be fascinating!" I mean, yeah, he probably spends hours and hours doing it. But loads of people spend hours and hours watching dumb TV shows. I wonder if she would have thought it was different if he was one of the world champions of poker? Honestly, the poker people I know are far more annoying about it than the geeky gamer people I know.

  10. I think my favorite thing about all of this is that she posted an article attacking nerds to the internet, where the nerds are king. The comments on that are priceless.


Feel free to leave comments; it lets me know that people are actually reading my blog. Interesting tangents and topic drift just add flavor. Linking to your own stuff is fine, as long as it's at least loosely relevant. Be civil, and have fun!