If Mating Were a Math Problem

Several people have made note of this to me today, so I figure I might as well post it. A Slashdot reader asks the community how to meet people, especially of the opposite sex.

I have a question for my fellow Slashdotters, and yes, I realize I am entering the lion’s den covered in tasty meat-flavored sauce. I have never been a very social person, preferring to throw myself into technology; therefore, I’ve been spectacularly unsuccessful in developing any meaningful interpersonal relationships. Lately I have begun to feel that this situation is not tenable, and I would like to fix it. But I really don’t know how and haven’t the faintest idea where to start. I know that I am in the minority and that there are many different kinds of Slashdot readers, most of whom have more experience in this realm than I do. So please tell me: how, and more importantly, where do you meet fellow geeks — preferably including some of the opposite gender — in meatspace?

The asker acknowledges that s/he is going to get flamed (and eaten), which seems exacerbated by wording that seems to have been interpreted as genuinely detached rather than playfully self-mocking (e.g., using terms like “meatspace” and analytically concluding that having no friends “is not tenable”). I’m not sure which I find more interesting: the frankness of the asker in trying to find a solution to this dilemma, which is presumed to result in meeting one of our own kind (so to speak); or the variety of answers that Slashdotters offer, ranging from specific things to try to get geeky and non-geeky women alike. (Everyone assumes that the person posting is male, though I’m not sure that was ever stated outright which was eventually revealed later but omitted from the original post so as to be more useful for a wider range of future readers.)

I’m too far into the dissertation to really be incorporating new data, but this seems interesting enough to at least warrant a footnote. Maybe I’ll come back to this if I ever get around to writing a paper on the role of dating in shaping geek culture and identity, as has occurred to me repeatedly as I write this. And in that case, I’d like to also note that this post has directed me to Sex Tips for Geeks, and has reminded me of an Escapist article titled “My Big Fat Geek Marriage” and a potentially relevant xkcd cartoon.

And as for the original Slashdot post: As easy as it is to mock someone for asking this question, you’ve got to give this person credit for recognizing solitude as untenable, and taking the first step toward finding an alternative.