Monday, May 14, 2012

Socially Slow in Sillicon Valley

I can't believe it's taken me this long to broach the subject on the egregious lack of social skills in Silicon Valley but we're here now so let's get started.

Around here it's no secret the male:female ratio is, statistically, in they lady's favor but that hasn't really provided me an upper hand in the dating scene.  As a good friend recently pointed out, the odds are good, but the goods are odd.  Maybe this sounds overly critical but hear me out.   I think we can mostly agree I'm a fairly attractive, moderately successful woman.  I've got a good sense of humor, and I clean up pretty good; it's only fair to expect similar standards in my male counterparts. Sadly that's currently not what I'm seeing out there, ergo:

Suggestions for Solving the Socially Slow Situation in Silicon Valley

The basics.

Fellas,  if you have any snowball's chance in hell of interacting with anything better than a mop you're going to need to bathe, cut your hair regularly, and corral that facial mange into something presentable, or else get rid of it...daily. You've also got to spend more than 10 seconds choosing clothing to put on, and that clothing needs to be clean.  I don't want to count the number of men I've seen out here wearing high-water khakis, dirty gamer tshirts and Tevas with sport socks.  Do not tell me you coordinated that outfit, passed a mirror and thought it looked good.  No one is that stupid.  But just in case you are, try remembering the four S's: Shower, Shave and no Socks with Sandals.

Alrighty, moving on.  

You look like a normal human being, hooray!  But now you also have to act like one.  I'm amazed how many men are incapable or unwilling to approach a woman.  We're not all cold hearted bitches... okay that's a lie, yes we are.  Nevertheless, you crave our company.  So, when you're out after work and you see a gal you'd like to get to know, just remember the reverse law of gravity applies; any drink that's emptied must be replenished: what goes down must be filled back up.  Listen, this is good news. For a mere five to ten dollars you get to skip trying to coordinate any type of meet-cute.  You can avoid the 99.9% failure rate of a pickup line.  All you have to do is say "Hello, my name is...", and then utter the six most beloved happy hour words a woman can hear, "Can I buy you a drink?".  I've heard men insist it's hard to muster the courage to do this.  Is it?  I mean I guess all we ladies do is shove miniature humans out of our hoo hahs but you're right, sounds pretty painful to say hello.

Just a side note to all the "gentleman" out there complaining about this added expense in their lives, I guarantee I've spent five times as much on bras, tampons,and mascara; and I'm still making 70 cents to your dollar.

Onward charge.

Okie Dokie, we know each others names and my martini is in hand.  What next?  Oh, you thought buying me a drink was the extent of your responsibility for this interaction?  You assumed you were purchasing my undivided attention and sole propulsion of this conversation? As if that cocktail is tuppence in a hat and your silence is screaming "Dance monkey dance!  I've bought you a drink now entertain me."  Let's be super duper clear here.  The drink bought you an introduction and my fleeting attention, nothing more.  It's not a proxy for your personality.  You have to actually open your mouth and form complete sentences that make me want to continue to engage in conversation with you.

Final thoughts.

I'm obviously not the leading authority on successful dating as, to state the obvious, I'm still out there on the hunt.  I have however had a decade of experience and have run the gamut of failed approaches.  Some final suggestions to avoid questionable social skills:

  • Don't lead with your money: I really don't care how many billions that app you're developing is going to make.  This approach is literally screaming at me with flailing arms "I DON'T HAVE  A PERSONALITY.  REPEAT, I DO NOT HAVE A PERSONALITY. I HOPE YOU'RE A GOLD DIGGING WHORE.  I DON'T HAVE A PERSONALITY"
  • "Noticing" a woman, making eye contact and walking over to introduce yourself is good, staring at her for 30 minutes is creepy.  We've seen the 20/20 specials.  We've got mace for that.
  • A little cologne can smell nice.  Bathing in it will induce allergic reactions, to you AND your scent. 



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Simple Simon

If you have ever been to a baby shower, chances are you've wasted a perfectly good weekend afternoon.  In my experience these events are attended by women who are  a.  pissed they can no longer have children, b. intent on pestering me because I don't have children or c. overly enthusiastic about sharing every painful moment of their childbirth experience. They are not fun events.... unless there's booze, and only the really cool showers have booze.  (God bless those sweet sweet women who are willing to take one for the team and serve up the sauce even though they can't partake).  Why go at all then?  Because I love my friends.  No seriously, pregnant friends, I love you. That is the only reason I'm at these things.

Assuming the shower does not have booze, or sometimes even if it does, some form of entertainment needs to fill the otherwise silent gathering, because even if you ooo and aaaah over every freakin onesie mommy-to-be unwraps, this still only takes 45 minutes.  What do you do with the rest of the time?  BABY SHOWER GAMES!!!  You might be asking 'Why the hell would grown women sit in a circle and do cross word puzzles, or list diaper brands?'  Well let me tell you why.  We are, all of us, starved for conversation.  Co-workers are wondering which side of the family the hillbillies are from, college roommates are wishing it's still ten years ago and you're celebrating finals with tequila, Great Aunt Mildred is wondering when skirts got so short and girls stopped being ladies, and the future grandmothers are both wondering who the favorite is going to be and who's going to get left out of baby's first Christmas.  The whole thing is one overextended silent moment from blowing up and it makes us all so desperate to keep the conversation going that we are willing to play a game called "Lick the Melted Chocolate Bar That Looks Like Baby Poo and Guess Which Brand It Is". 

The problem with the games is that all they do for me is remind me how little I have in common with present company and how not ready I am to enter that stage of my life.  Take my most recent experience.  At the last shower I attended we played "Finish the nursery rhyme".  Out of 25 I think I knew 4.  One of the answers I got right was Simple Simon.  The line goes:

Simple Simon met a pieman going to the fair

Now I seem to remember this being maybe number 19 or so down the list. And up to this point all the ladies are recalling stories they told to their children or were told to them as children and oh aren't these sweet memories.  Do you know how I know the Simple Simon rhyme?   It's in the movie Die Hard with a Vengeance. My connection to this situation is a terrorist wreaking havoc on Manhattan. I'm no expert but I doubt this bodes well for any future in motherhood.  It certainly didn't help to connect with the other ladies in the room.

Who knows, maybe the former roommates and the moms and Mildred have that same out-of-place feeling I do.  Maybe we're all suffering through the activities with the same sense of unease.  If that's the case, maybe we should start a new tradition.  No more baby showers.  If a woman you know and love gets knocked up you make plans to meet over a meal where you congratulate her, write her a check for Baby X and wish her the best of luck.  No tea, no awkward moments, and no candy bar poo. 

And just for the record,  there is one baby shower game I love to play.  It's called "guess which gifts mommy's going to return".  I don't have hard evidence, but I'm pretty sure I win every time.