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Monday, February 08, 2010

When Linux Nerds Choose Mates from the Windows Herd.

Look...let's face this together.  Dating can suck.

Now when you are young, it's an adventure.  One has relatively little "baggage", the emotional scars are few and the dating world is your oyster...so to speak.

And you haven't even begun to think about their therapeutic value yet.

Ah, youth...

But then you find yourself at midlife, choosing from a large pool of potential crisis'.  There are so many to choose from. 

Maybe there is a divorce or two under your belt, some strong political or religious beliefs that are deeply ingrained, and oh yeah, there's that messy incident with the hacking conviction...

Those tend to narrow down the potential list of candidates for life-long bliss.

Throw your use/obsession of Linux into the mix and what do you get?

More than likely a room at your mom's house and a NASA-level computer bank in her basement.  The neck beard and questionable hygiene habits don't help matters any either.

You come to realize that there is more to life than bash scripts and LAN parties with other Linux Geeks.  Well, at least for some of us.  So you decide to put yourself back on the dating market.  Where do you start?  I think we can all rule out LUG meetings, Linux Foundation events and the laundry mat. The ratio for men to women at these locations is bleak.

Let's say, just for argument, that you miraculously run into someone that bothers to look at you twice....I mean without pity or fear and the strong urge to call 911.  How does a Linux Geek approach someone?

"Hi, wanna see my raid array"?


"Did you know that almost half of Cray supercomputers run Linux"?


"So...your home directory or mine?"

You realize, returning to your mom's basement, that these lines didn't provide optimum results.  Combing the internet for dating tips, and possibly your hair, you decide that just maybe the passion of your life isn't congruent with finding someone that will touch you,

I mean aside from accidentally.

Let's further assume that you are able to cast off or conceal your geekness, get a haircut, trim your beard and join the rest of society.

Yeah, I know it's a stretch but work with me here...

You actually find yourself on a third date and she hints that she wants to develop a "relationship".

You probably haven't been able to completely hide the fact that you are good with computers.  Some things bubble to the surface regardless of how hard you try to keep them secret.  She's running Windows Vista on her home computer and she is complaining that her computer is running slow and that she keeps getting these annoying popups.  She wants you to come over and fix her computer.

You know better than anyone that the last time you were alone with a female in her home, it was that disastrous misunderstanding with your cousin's best friend.  That whole "I'm-sorry...I-was-just-trying to-get-the-cap-of-my-thumb-drive-that-popped-off-and-landed-in-your-lap" thing didn't work out so well for you.  At least she slapped you...

Sure, that counts as female contact...kinda.

So there you are, just you and her...alone in her apartment and sitting in front of her computer.  You can smell her perfume (it's actually just soap but it smells wonderful to you just the same).  You can't help but notice her long hair and how it flows across her shoulder.  You focus again on the screen in front of you...clicking on the start menu.  You know it's going to take three minutes just to open the dialog box.  After all, this is Windows. 

This is your chance.

"You know, if you didn't use Windows, you wouldn't have these problems".

Here it comes but you are used to it by now...the blank stare...the look that communicates:

"Uh..., what?"

You go on to explain that there are different operating systems for a computer...that Windows is only one option. She bites her lower lip in contemplation then smiles and nods enthusiastically.

"Oh no, I have an operating system. It's called Facebook."

You patiently explain that Facebook is just a web-based interface that allows her to share some of her life with her friends and that the operating system is simply a means she uses to interact with her computer.

She seems a bit exasperated.  "I have that already." she says.  "It's called Internet Explorer...I use it all the time."

You take a deep breath and reach for your laptop.  In the case, you have a live cd and you tell her that you want to show her what Linux is.  You go on to explain that Linux is free and that she can use it without any real worry about viruses.

She refuses.

"Hey, I don't want you putting things on my computer just yet....I mean, I don't even know you very well.  Those popups say that I have a virus and all they want to do is help me take it off.  All I have to do is click the button and they will take care of it for me.  I just met you.  I don't know what kind of stuff you are going to put on there...you might put spyware on there or something." 

"I think you better leave now".

The last word she says to you rings in your ears:

"Pervert!"

Back in the basement, you slam down another Red Bull and contemplate the whole dating thing.

"That's IT" you mentally exclaim.  "Facebook!  I'll meet someone on Facebook".

Maybe she'll even post a picture less than 5 years old.

Maybe you will...

Or not.

And for this you even shaved.

All-Righty Then...

31 comments:

Gavin said...

Hahaha! This is, without a doubt, one of your funniest blog posts, Ken! I love the line about home directories!

Computer geeks are people, too - it is just that some re-wiring between the left and right sides of the brain is commonly in order. ;) There is no shame in that; there is only shame in never trying. After all, if Linux geeks in particular want someone to open their world to a non-Windows existence, they have to be willing to meet that person half-way. Life, as in technology, is about compromises.

As for baggage that one collects along the road of life, I will leave you with a bit of wisdom from someone far wiser than I:

Heart! We will forget him!
You and I - tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave -
I will forget the light!

When you have done, pray tell me
That I may straight begin!
Haste! lest while you're lagging
I remember him!


Emily Dickinson, poem #47, 1858. A genius several orders of magnitude more rare than a Linux geek marrying a Windows addict... ;)

Raluca said...

Hey... I'm not saying what I'm just gonna say just to encourage you. THIS IS REAL.
I personally happen to think linux geeks are the cutest kind of guys a girl can ever hope to find; and I know what I'm saying since I'm in an extremely happy, long-term relationship with one :) (couldn't explain exactly why they're sooo nice guy- may have to do with the culture of sharing :) ).
And yeah... he did speak about Linux quite a lot, on our first dates. At first, I admit I was kind of on nodding-politely-mode... Well, he did the same when I was talking about philosophy, so we were even. Then I became really interested.
More than one year ago, I asked him to install Ubuntu on my computer.Ever since, I'm more "religious" than he is; (for example: he does dual boot; I don't- and actually take pride in boycotting Microsoft). So yep, things like this do happen...
And by the way- as I was saying; I'm in a very very happy relationship with my geek. My best friend has been dating a computer geek for nearly 7 years- and it's also going great.They're sweet and sensitive and caring and not commitment-phobic, and sort of cute when theyy're up to their ears in fixing a computer... and smart and imaginativeand..well, I could go on like this all day about why computer geeks make great relationship material. On the other hand, i once dated someone of the "tortured artist" type- didn't work out at all! He could be a real pain in the neck to put up with when stricken by his depressions... A friend of mine dated a "popular guy" (that sporty good-looking fellow with great social skills), and the freakin' Grinch didn't even get her a Xmas present, let alone the fact that he was flirting with other chicks!
So... I guess you see my point by now :) I wish you all the best in finding someone who deserves you :) :) :)

PV said...

Thankfully, the people I have talked to know what Windows, IE, and Facebook are. That said, it's still quite an uphill battle to convince them to use Linux.
Also, given who you are and what you do, I have a question for you.
My school's community service organization is doing a computer drive; they are donating used computers to a local business that refurbishes and reformats the computers (with Windows) and then gives it out to people. I know what a huge cost saving (among other things) Linux is, but how should I best bring this up? I have one of the program coordinators' email address and have asked the questions (of what operating system they currently use, etc.) through email.
Thanks in advance!
--
a Linux Mint user since 2009 May 1

Blog of helios said...

@ PV.

What role do you play between the organization doing the organizing and the end user getting the computer. The bad news is that the computers are going to come with Windows installed. As we already know, the existing system on the computer is probably going to be the system they stay with. Convincing people to change out of a system they know and into one they don't is a 90 degree climb.

However, should you tell tham that you refuse to support a Windows machine and tell them why, that might do some good in a decent percentage of users. I personally refuse to support a Windows machine and I don't care who they are...even my current girlfriend understands that.

@ Raluca...

I am currently in a long term relationship with a Windows User and that relationship prompted the writing of this article. While she does not come close to exhibiting the ignorance of our manufactured Windows User, she does show some of the learned behaviors of a normal Windows User. She is willing to give the Linux thing a chance...

We'll report back on the results.

Pervert indeed.

h

Tucanae Services said...

I have to admit pretty funny.

But our geeky bud would know that knowing a chick with Windows Vista is like dating a version of '50 dates'. She is always rebooting while you being the stud you are keep you process running long hot and alive.

Tony said...

thank God I got married young =) my wife loves that I'm a geek, or at least that's what she tells me! She loves her eeepc with ubuntu 9.10, and curses every time she has to use the other grub boot option to do something that requires windows xp, haha

Anonymous said...

Ken, you probably hit closer to home than many will admit. Beautifully done as always.

You are right. The tech field whether its linux or any other system is a horrible environment for the dating pool.

Primefalcon said...

I don't I think you're probably being a little too bleak there... and assuming girls are a bit too stupid.....

BTW my wife is as much of a Linux Geek as I am :-D

PV said...

Sorry I didn't make this clearer earlier: I'm just a student at the school and a member of the school service club and have no formal relationship (other than an email thread) with this organization. All of the computers donated to that organization are reformatted, refurbished, and have Windows reinstalled (all by the organization - our club just donates the computers).
Given this and what you said, there probably isn't any hope; that said, does this change any of your thoughts about this?
When I heard about the computer drive, Helios was the first thing that came to my mind.
--
a Linux Mint user since 2009 May 1

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's bleak at all. I am a female geek, not at all bad looking and attend Linux functions across the US and sometimes in Europe. The ratio between men and women in these gatherings has to be at least 50 to 1. If you are actively looking for a date and are male, Linux conferences are probably the bleakest of all places to do so.

I met my boyfriend of 5 years at one of these events and believe me, some of the lines I heard from some of these guys were pathetic to the point of laughter. While Ken may be exaggerating some of their physical attributes, the majority of them are close enough to laugh at, simply because they are so accurate. It wasn't the bad pickup lines that bothered me. It was the groups of guys standing around with gazes fixed upon me, like they'd never seen a woman before. It tended to be a bit un-nerving. Of course, the well-mannered and interesting men were already married or in a long term relationship.

Funny, funny blog entry Ken. Thanks for reminding us of our own stereotypes.

Chelle

Anonymous said...

and assuming girls are a bit too stupid.....

I don't think he's saying that girls are stupid, only that many Windows users tend not to have a flipping clue as to what they are doing when they sit down at a computer. Having done a ton of work in the field helping people with computer disasters I can assure you that there are way too many people just as clueless as the "girlfriend" in the blog. Sadly yes, many of them tend to be women, but they don't have the market cornered on ignorance. Plenty of dumb men have had me consider a career change on occasion.

Chelle

Kevin (Whizard72) said...

My wife uses Windows and refuses to budge. Fine by me, I long since trained her how to avoid malware so anytime there's a problem, It's minor. I suppose that if I pressed the issue, she'd switch. But I refuse to pressure people to use what I use. I can't uphold the belief in freedom of choice if I pressure anyone to use what I use on my computers.

Anonymous said...

Intellectual Icebergs is a podcast for the technically inclined, aka nerds and geeks. It also features "Dating Tips for Geeks".

Intellectual Icebergs podcast
http://www.intellectualicebergs.org/

Look for "Dating Tips for Geeks". They are really nice. And given by a female geek with a lovely voice.

I enjoy listening to it even though I have been in a stable relation since leaving my teens.

Winter

FelixTheCat said...

Eck! Glad I wasn't drinking my coffee when I read this one. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Why not go for a committed Windows fanatic or someone who doesn't know anything about computers? There is a saying - opposites attract.

You will have a lot more to talk (possibly argue) about than with someone with the same views as yourself, and that's what makes life more interesting.

Anonymous said...

"Why not go for a committed Windows fanatic"

I'll tell you why. Because about 50 percent of them don't have the slightest clue as to how to maintain their computer. My husband of 3 years still uses Windows and I used to have to fix his computer every 2 or 3 months. Sometimes it was so fouled up I had to reformat and start all over again. That's three to four hours I have to spend reinstalling and redoing the drivers. We now have a deal. He either learns how to fix his own messes or he dual boots and uses Linux. He's a Real Estate guy and I'm an IT pro so I don't expect him to know the command line but I do expect him to do simple maintenance on his machine.

Problems like this can add stressors to a relationship, as small as they seem, they do add up. If you want differences in personality and such for relationship polarity, choose music, wine or politics. The computer thing will just piss each other off.

Amanda

gnuosphere said...

Very entertaining. :)

Lord Juan said...

"More than likely a room at your mom's house and a NASA-level computer bank in her basement."

Sigh, that was like rubbing alcohol in an open wound for me U_U, although the room was a rented one.

Rodolfo said...

LOL..

I got married 4 months ago.. and keep steadly converting my wife to GNU/linux.

We went on our honey moon and I took my eepc with UNR and she liked it allright.

Anonymous said...

My wife is a very political type - so I tell her that my use of Linux is largely political, and why. She accepts that, understands it, and agrees with it, at least conceptually. (She's a language geek, not a computer geek.) She also uses the Linux I have installed on our home network.

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend understood my reluctance to support or help people with Windows problems AFTER we spent 2 DAYS reviving her work computer with no guarantee that the problem would not re-occur. (I use my own netbook with DVORAK keyboard layout when I am at her place and pretty much ignore her computer. My latest strategy is to "explain" to her what the various locations in Windows are that can trigger automatically loading applications and how to go about figuring out if a particular one is important or not...) Theory being that if they understand the hassles themselves then maybe they will have a better understanding of why some people, like myself, just avoid the "Windows route" altogether...
It is kind of funny that I can start up my Fedora netbook - look up some info and shut down - before her powerful desktop system with Windows is ready to begin a search... (Hopefully once chrome netbooks are available that gap will continue to widen...) If it becomes too annoying I may suggest dual booting to her - So she can use Linux when she wants and still have "full access" to all her Windows stuff when she needs it...

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend understood my reluctance to support or help people with Windows problems AFTER we spent 2 DAYS reviving her work computer with no guarantee that the problem would not re-occur. (I use my own netbook with DVORAK keyboard layout when I am at her place and pretty much ignore her computer. My latest strategy is to "explain" to her what the various locations in Windows are that can trigger automatically loading applications and how to go about figuring out if a particular one is important or not...) Theory being that if they understand the hassles themselves then maybe they will have a better understanding of why some people, like myself, just avoid the "Windows route" altogether...
It is kind of funny that I can start up my Fedora netbook - look up some info and shut down - before her powerful desktop system with Windows is ready to begin a search... (Hopefully once chrome netbooks are available that gap will continue to widen...) If it becomes too annoying I may suggest dual booting to her - So she can use Linux when she wants and still have "full access" to all her Windows stuff when she needs it...

Anonymous said...

"[...]there is more to life than bash scripts and LAN parties with other Linux Geeks."


LIES LIEEESSSS ... no ... no ... no it can't be true, it can't be . no no ... can't ... can't....

emk said...

Lol great post!. I'm married to a Windows user, but I just converted her to Ubuntu Karmic last weekend. SO far so good. But she might revert. My way of dealing with supporting her windows use was just to make a big deal of it. I long ago told her that I would support her windows only in an emergency and even then I'd make a big deal of it. So she generally got her tech support at work.

Last weekend her laptop hardisk began to fail. Judging this to be an emergency. I backed up her files and off we went to best buy and got a pretty good deal on a drive. I suggested she dual boot Linux and surprise surprise she opted for Linux alone. I guess having had to reinstall windows and her apps 2 months ago, due to a virus, had something to do with that!

So she's been running Ubuntu Karmic for half a week now, bringing her in line with the rest of the household including the kids.

Only problem so far is how to sync her calendar on her iphone with ubuntu. Anybody doing this out there?

emk

Anonymous said...

Call it what one will...

Linux users are hackers & improvisers. We love our rights & freedom and understand their importance. We are explorers, communicators & innovators.

I stand up for this way of living. It is the one sword, I find, I can happily live and die by, without any regrets.

aristos_achaion said...

A good friend of mine (I got him into FOSS through OpenOffice and he later convinced me to try Linux) met a Windows girl, converted her, and now she groks Linux as much as we do...now she's the most computer-savvy artist I've ever met. I'm still trying to get my girlfriend to convert (she's a Mac girl).

I think the key is the same as any other difference in a relationship...don't force the issue, just grow together. Eventually, if they actually like you, they'll try it...heck, my girlfriend has expressed interest in soldering and Baroque music, so Linux can't be that far behind. :-)

Anonymous said...

I think Aristos is spot on:

When I met my geek half, I didn't know BSD from a BFG :P I got curious about Linux because he found it interesting. Learned about programming, hardware, etc. It's 4 years later and I run Arch and my company's server :)

I think if someone is important to you, what they enjoy or believe in would be too. And just because she still uses IE6, that doesn't mean you will always be speaking different languages.

jejones3141 said...

Not only is the male/female ratio not in your favor at LUG meetings, looking at women there as potential mates is a good way to drive that ratio down further. Like you, they're there to learn or teach or share info about Linux and Open Source software. Respect them for that.

Anonymous said...

I think you may need to attend more LUG meetings. There's more and more women that show up at ours, and they've tended to be pretty socially functional, unlike some of the guys.

Speaking of guys... gay geeks might have a different opinion about the usefulness of finding someone at LUG meetings.

Silver MLM said...

How do you install Linux/Windows XP on PS3? Does installing that delete the XMB interface?
Thank-you
Silver MLM

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