Mar 12 2007

More Komedy Korner: “Damn you and your patriarchy!”

In a mood of melancholic nostalgia for the good old days when he was still in the Guinness Book as World’s Hugest Infant, Norbizness sent me this snapshot, taken in the Sugarland Home for Unwed Mothers just before I put him up for adoption in 1948.

I can’t say for sure, but I think feminism may have a slight image problem, at least among dudes who identify as “Geek men.” Sadistic blamer Pris goaded me via email into perusing the afore-linked forum, wherein “feminists” — although nobody is suggesting that they should be denied “equal rights” — are lamented most poignantly as having abandoned femininity. The burning question is this: “Are there any aspects of feminism that make a woman more appealing to you, as a geek man?”

The answer, according to the responding experts on feminist theory, is ”no.” Feminism is a universal uglifier, in that it requires its apostles to betray their Prime Directive, i.e. The Pursuit of Pornaliciosity, in an effort to fulfill their unholy destiny as masculine men-haters.

Says Geek man Mac D:

I am in no way saying that the female gender should not have equal rights and be able to pursue her dreams what ever they might be. It’s just when I go out on a date with a girl I like them to let me open the door for them and pick up the check. […] Feminazi’s go just way to far. They think to be equal they need to be exactly like a guy. My ex-wife […] has what most people would call a mans job but she still acts like a girl.

Hear that, potential “female gender” dates of Mac D? So that everything he believes about what is right and good with the world does not come crashing down around him, you must pretend to be an impecunious weakling. FYI: he doesn’t specifically demand this, but, woman to woman, you might further bolster his precarious sense of privilege by coyly revealing a bit of décolletage at dinner, while speaking (when spoken to, of course!) disparagingly about the 19th Amendment. Play your cards right, and he just might throw his sportcoat onto a mud puddle for you, you sexy little equal, you.

To further illuminate the deplorable condition of feminist sex appeal, feminist scholar nerdwithnofriends has helpfully compiled a compendium of the different species of feminists, so that such women might be more easily identified, and reviled, by his fellow Geek men. The “man-haters,” for example, “tend to have lots of stock phrases that they bandy about,” one of the most fearsome of which is the ubiquitous “damn you and your patriarchy!”

Feminists, according to nerdwithnofriends, are also frequently heard stampeding around town intoning other common catch-phrases, such as “If women ruled the world, there would be no war, starvation, disease, or death” and “You can’t possibly understand, you’re an emotionally closed off MALE!!!” The din kicked up by these women is deafening.

Nerdwithnofriends, I should point out in the interest of fairness, wishes to set the record straight when he avers that of course men feel emotions; it’s just that men are “simply (on average) more capable of controlling how they affect [them].”

And then there are the “new-age feminists.” This unfuckable bunch base their ideology on the core belief that “men are incapable of true creation because they are incapable of bearing a child. (See Terminator Two for a quote).” Nerdwithnofriends’ analysis of the new-age feminist critique of the U.S.’s “truly amazing system of electrical distribution” (telephone poles are “not very pretty”) is not to be missed.

Our professor’s closing remarks identify the “problem” with “‘modern’ feminism”: “it no longer seeks equality for women, but superiority.”

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that because these statements are merely the unsophisticated Internetian (rhymes with “Venetian”) prattle of terrified young honky dudes with Oedipal issues, this bit of blaming more or less constitutes shooting fish in a barrel. And you’re right. But lately I’ve been seeing a resurgence of a disturbing trend, which resurgence these Geek men illustrate perfectly.

Their remarks represent what I have scientifically determined to be the most prevalent misconception about American feminists (aside from our famed dedication to the Three Hs: Hairiness, Humorlessness, and Hate): that we desire “equality” with men. This notion of inadequate women clamoring for parity is undoubtedly a comforting one, since it postulates “men” as the ideal that is desperately sought by legions of shrill bitches who, ultimately, are doomed never to prevail owing to “innate differences.”

That equality with men is the last thing on the radical feminist’s To Do list will not blow any veteran blamer’s mind, but it is incumbent on the spinster aunt to reiterate every ten minutes or so that our objective is liberation from male dominance, not the opportunity to mimic the patriarchal model of oppression .

If you are not a feminist, you defend the conviction — here haplessly demonstrated by our Geek men — that women exist for male use.


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  1. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    “Are there any aspects of feminism that make a woman more appealing to you, as a geek man?”

    I for one care not a toot what does or doesn’t make me more appealing.

  2. Medbh

    A few years ago I was told another thing that feminists hate by some pony-tailed dude party guest.
    How could I be a good cook and a feminist?
    Obviously the misguided dude thought that feminists hated food in addition to hating men.
    He’s lucky I didn’t pee on his black bean quesadilla.

  3. hedonistic

    Oh sweet jeebuz you’ve just changed the ENTIRE direction of my “My Miami Vice” series at the Lair; thanks a LOT.


  4. jami

    i don’t doubt that my failure to wear makeup and hair dye and whatever lindsay lohan is wearing have lessened my appeal to fratboys, liberal dudes, and stinky men who quote star trek. that is: pornfans.

    do i care? nope. i’ve found that as a feminist, my natural allies are nerds, not geeks. nerds love smart chicks.

  5. norbizness

    What about dweebs and spazzes?

  6. Christopher Bradley

    I’ve seen a lot of that stuff, too. It’s always confused the snot out of me. The very idea of spending a lot of time around a person — male or female — that has been trained to do little more than serve me food and put on make-up strikes me as deeply dull.

    It has also always struck me as deeply cowardly for men to “need” women to be their inferiors in order to feel attracted to them. Cowardly and profoundly creepy, but very, very common.

    (Recently, my scientist wife was at a campus meeting for women in the sciences and engineering and there was a great lament because of a recent article that was being circulated about how, in the future, because women are becoming better educated and it seems likely that in the not-too-distant future women will, as a group, be better educated than men in America that they won’t be able to find husbands or boyfriends because men will be scared of them. Perhaps true, but . . . why would men be scared of smart, educated women? The extent to which it is true that men are terrified of women who are their equals or even, gasp, in some way their superiors is stunning to me. Rather than reveling in their paramour’s competence they are scared of it. Ugh.)

  7. kcb

    From the thread: Hate men and men will hate you back.

    See there? We started it. *And* we’re asking for it. Don’t say we weren’t warned! It’s all our fault. See what we did?

  8. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    More to the point, why would a smart, educated woman want anything to do with someone who would be intimidated by her intellect? I’d rather spend the evening with the dog and a good book than some weenie I’d have to dumb myself down for.

  9. Lily Underwood

    Good lord, Twisty – you really ARE my hero.

  10. Bird

    I’ll take my “tall, dork and handsome” over a geek like that any day. I made the decision about six years ago that I was going to stay single unless I found a man who didn’t want me to be a weak little girl–I expected to be alone for a very long time. But he’s excited about my plans for grad school (he’s smart, but he doesn’t have a degree) and doesn’t mind that I’m his senior belt in taekwondo. He doesn’t always “get it” on women’s issues right away, but he listens and generally makes an effort to understand, not just argue and go on the defensive.

    Better than my ex-husband who thought I was a relatively clever monkey next to his highly evolved self *shudder*. I’m glad I woke up and left. These guys sound a lot like him–awww, look, she thinks she’s people! Feminism was fine with him as long as I still washed his briefs and did whatever he wanted in bed.

  11. B. Dagger Lee

    Idiocracy to Feminists: “Not now, I’m ‘batin’!”

    Am I the only person who has seen this movie?

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

    Actually, maybe I should go over to the Idiocracy blogsterbaters and start posting quotations. In fact, I think the ‘feminazi’ canard can best be fought with ripostes from Idiocracy.

    yrs, the Scarlet Pimpernel

  12. amanda w

    The conventional wisdom refrain about feminists in mainstream America seems to be that “they don’t seek equality, they push superiority!” which naturally allows the listener a handy refrain with which to dismiss feminist concerns without even beginning to consider them. Pretty snazzy, they think.

    Shooting fish in a barrel, sure, but it bears pointing out. The tendency among some to scold against criticizing the more extreme, or more small-minded ignorances, because, well, “they don’t represent ME!” is all too similar to the dude who will stop by a feminist blog and invariably protest that “not ALL men are this way.” Fact is that these attitudes exist, and quite prevalently, and it is absolutely valid for us to rip them apart. Just because the KKK doesn’t have as significant a presence in the USA anymore does not mean that it is not a worthy goal to fight against their every step.

    Granted, the most the small-minded ignorance deserves is a hearty mocking, for which we can always depend on Twisty.

  13. MzNicky

    B. Dagger Lee: Are you referring to the movie “Idiocracy”? If so, then yes, I have to confess, I’ve seen it. One of the scariest movies ever! And I see it happening all around me, every day!

  14. Gender Blank

    “awww, look, she thinks she’s people!”

    Yep. That about sums it up! (almost used an ellipsis there, but thankfully remembered where I was)

  15. Christopher Bradley

    More to the point, why would a smart, educated woman want anything to do with someone who would be intimidated by her intellect? I’d rather spend the evening with the dog and a good book than some weenie I’d have to dumb myself down for.

    Indeed. I can’t fathom that, either.

  16. Shabnam

    Reminds me of a quote from Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own””

    “Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of a man at twice its natural size.”

    Just as I thought: Femininity means to pretending to be an “impecunious weakling” who can barely walk. High heels are just an aid to establishing an impaired walking affectation. A truly feminine woman would eventually ditch her high heels, having perfected the walk, because her increased height might make her man feel insecure.

    I have always been annoyed at the fashion ideal for thinness not because it is “so hard for women to live up to” or any of these commonly touted reasons in which an unquestioning desire to look feminine is implicit, but because they always struck me as looking so damn weedy!

    Whinge: My Shulamith has not yet arrived. I live in Germany and ordered it far too late – my fault. Hope the thread will still be active next week when I may finally be ready to say something. I am an idiot! Is there going to be another feminist book club thingy?

  17. ChapstickAddict

    I work in a geek-dominated environment (why yes, it’s an engineering college!) and their ideas about what feminism is about are just so hard to listen to. I had a woman in one of the tech departments tell me that she used to be a feminist, but then she realized that she didn’t want to be a man or be equal to one. And whenever I try to explain what feminism actually is (or at least the watered-down beginner’s version), I get drowned out by the people who would rather spout off about what feminists are “really” all about.

    It’s so depressing to hear people (mostly men, but most of the women happily join in) in my office all day talk about (1) various degrees of gayness in dude life, (2) women (as in “Oh…well you know how women are!”), (3) women again (this time in a purely objectified sense, or (4) how feminists are ruining things for everyone (“Men can’t act the way they used to be able to!”). Mostly because I’m not in a position where I can speak up about these issues and be seen as anything other than “PMSing bitch”.

  18. Shannon

    Hear, hear, Antoinette!

    All-time-classic dating moment: driving back from dinner on the first date, having decent, lively conversation when — sudden pause — he says to me: “Could you stop using such big words, please?”

    To this day, I have no idea what word threw him off. Needless to say, there was no Date #2.

  19. Kwillz

    I’m very disappointed in those guys using the term “geek”. They sound more like the jocks that pushed us into lockers. The geeks I know look for stregnth, intetrity and intelligence in women; not because they find it sexy, it’s just what they look for in people. One of the biggest complaints my geeky friends have with Battlestar Galactica is Starbuck and Apollo’s relationship started to be definded by their gender (one’s a man, the other’s a woman, so obviously they have to be romatic towards each other). They all love the cigar smoking, punch throwing, toughgirl from season one.

    I should stop before I start discussing comics or something.

  20. B. Dagger Lee

    Dear MzNicky:

    I am alluding to Idiocracy! I shall carry on, then. I just registered with the Geek Men site, so as to persecute them with Idiocracy references, and–I say! Bad site design, pfeh.

    yrs, BDL

    P.S. The General was my first internet love, and I used to post there as Miss Albanian Sworn Virgin. I still read him, but don’t post much. You post over there, right?

  21. Pony

    “…be seen as anything other than “PMSing bitch”.”

    Work it!

    B.DaggerLee: I may drop by (just as a reader) while I wait for the next break in the *&@!* snow storm. Should be entertaining.

    What do you do for your *real* workouts?


  22. Antelope

    What the heck, I’ll bite.

    “Why would a smart, educated woman want anything to do with someone who would be intimidated by her intellect?”

    1. Because first off, you have to admit that you’re a smart, educated woman and you know it. In a culture that is both anti-female and anti-intellectual, it can be hard to admit this in the first place, or you admit it in a, “yeah, but it doesn’t really matter, I’m still just plain folks” kind of way.

    2. Because it can get to seeming like that’s the only kind of men there are, and if you don’t date men at all because of it, you are either putting yourself above the common woman, as if you deserved better (see #1), or, you are denying yourself what is supposedly the primary source of happiness. Even the smartest woman occasionally flirts with the idea that if 85% of the people you know say it’s good for them, then it just might be good for you, too.

    3. Because all of your damned friends are disappearing into really stupid relationships and it starts to seem like there’s going to be no one to do anything with, at all, ever, unless you disappear into a stupid relationship, too, so that they can feel comfortable with you again, and invite you & your stupid partner to do stuff.

    4. You tell yourself you’re only in it for the sex. Sex is good, right? Why shouldn’t I pick up a himbo every now and then? So what if thinks he’s taking advantage of me when I know that really, I’m taking advantage of him?

    5. You tell yourself you’re studying the patriarchy up close instead of just theorizing about it from a distance, so that you can understand its underlying principles better (as if any distance is possible!).

    I could go on and on… yes, these are more like rationalizations than reasons, but anyway, there’s lots of them and it’s not at all hard to understand how someone could do it. Although, of course, I only know because I have this friend who’s like that.

  23. Bitey

    Shannon, I have to wonder (from experience) whether it was that you were using a bunch of three-dollar words, or whether you were just talking as though you knew what you were talking about. Maybe you weren’t saying every sentence as though it were a question? Maybe your grammar was too good? Maybe you didn’t start every sentence with “Well, I’m not sure, but” and ending every sentence with “What do you think?” What’s the matter with you? Don’t you want to be sexy?

  24. stekatz

    What I find so fascinating about their arguments is that they are so 1971!

    Somewhere around that year, I clearly remember my older brother returning home one evening with the tale of some “stupid women’s libbers” at the gas station who en masse decided to pump their own gas (this was back in the days before self-serve). As my family tsk-tsked these women and shook their heads over the women’s behavior and generally laughed at their attempts at autonomy, I remember someone in the family saying, “Why are they trying to act like men?”

    It’s such a retro and unoriginal viewpoint that feminism is all about women trying to be like men. I can assure any dude on the planet, geek or otherwise, that being a man or like a man is *not* something to which I aspire.

  25. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Yeah, Antelope, I don’t suppose I’d be so strident about it if I hadn’t been there myself. Especially on the “this makes all my friends happy, it’s supposed to make me happy, too” ticket.

    But I’ve yet to have sex that’s good enough to trade my self-respect for. Sure, it’s always risky, but you gotta balance whether the risk is actually worth it.

  26. amanda w

    “Being like a man” pretty much amounts to the above “awww, look, she thinks she’s a person!” doesn’t it?

    You’re leaving behind the feminine (less-than-human) traits and adopting the typically masculine (human) traits: assertiveness, comparative disregard for one’s own conventional attractiveness, etc.

    It’s just so cute when the little feminists think they can actually be full people.

  27. MzNicky

    BDL: Yes, I hang out and opine at the General’s from time to time. Sometimes I even guest-post for him. I remember seeing occasional comments from Miss Albanian Sworn Virgin! He’s one of my favorites too.

  28. Bird

    “Why would a smart, educated woman want anything to do with someone who would be intimidated by her intellect?”

    I’m still trying to answer this question after being “the smart monkey” in marriage and then playing punching bag to an alcoholic for a few years. Why did I stay? Why did I keep giving up going to school, following my dreams and doing all the things I should have done? I still can’t quite answer the question, except to say that I bought into the “but he loves me!” trip. Sad but true.

    I will say that it’s something I never, ever want to do again. It’s also something I’ve told my partner about, and neither of us wants to have that kind of power relationship going on. We’re both vigilant, and it is a two-way street (sometimes he points out when I’m giving up my self, too) It’s incredibly hard, though, in a world that defines heterosexual relationships as inherently unequal, to try to keep both partners on an equal footing.

    I think a lot of smart heterosexual women really do get involved in things like this because we don’t want to be alone (for personal and social reasons). We’ve all read the scary studies about successful women’s likelihood of being single, so we settle for the misery of unequal relationships rather than learning to be okay by ourselves.

  29. Jodie

    It seems fairly obvious to me that the guys at that site don’t actually know any real live women.

  30. kcb

    Am I the only person who has seen this movie?

    Mais non! I won free ice cream last month because I knew the source of the phrase, “Welcome to Costco, I love you.”

    “Why would a smart, educated woman want anything to do with someone who would be intimidated by her intellect?”

    In my case, I shamefully admit, it was because I was tired of thinking/feeling. I was in college doing an onerous workload, and one of my sibs was critically ill for more than a year. I met somebody hot and inarticulate who had access to unlimited, free alcohol and I figured it would be all fun and games with no talking about big ideas or pesky emotions. Even with that approach, he told me I thought too much. Later he dumped me so he could fuck as many women as possible during spring break at Padre “without feeling guilty” about it.

    But I’ve yet to have sex that’s good enough to trade my self-respect for.

    Word. See above.

  31. anonymous one

    I’m kind of hooked on the notion that men feel emotions but are “better” at hiding them. (And I don’t mean ALL men, but am referring to a gender-based observation by Geek person.) He evidently sees this as a genetic imperative and an advantage.

    One might speculate that the dudely requirement of always having to win (combined with the manly skill of refusing introspection about various issues) might possibly have just a little bit to do with why the vast majority of prisoners happen to be of a certain gender.* The patriarchy eats its own spawn.

    * No reason to trust me on the figures. Check the stats for your own state, but in California, the prison system hosts 93% men. http://www.corr.ca.gov/DivisionsBoards/AOAP/FactsFigures.html

  32. finnsmotel

    A lot of the questions asked in this discussion imply, to some extent, that a being possesses a static, unchanging, consistent position on said question.

    Isn’t it possible that an educated woman could be attracted to a guy not realizing that he would later be intimidated by her intellect? It seems much more likely that the shit doesn’t manifest itself for the first couple years, as both people are getting to know each other.

    Everybody is different during dating than they are after the relationship ages.

    So, when this question gets asked:

    “Why would a smart, educated woman want anything to do with someone who would be intimidated by her intellect?”

    Obviously, she’d want nothing to do with that kind of guy. But, people change over time. What if she didn’t see it at first. Or, if she grew her intellect during the relationship. Or, or, or.

    But, it seems like the answer is another question: how would she have known in the first place?

    And, the follow up: what to do about it, now that she knows. Now what?

  33. cycles

    Like many here, I grew up as a geek, and proud of it. I remember a Big Realization I had around college when I was trying to figure out why the geek boys would ostracize the geek girls who eschewed patriarchal expectations about feminine clothing, intelligence, subservience, etc. but were kickass computer programmers, mathematicians, and science nerds. You’d think they’d find solidarity and stick together, romantically or otherwise.

    But here it is: the very same patriarchy also helps form geek boys’ experiences and opinions. Geeks are not magically immune. Under this system, the universal criteria for being female do not, sadly, include intelligence, book-learning, or nerdliness. It’s the same old shit, spoon-fed to a wide variety of mouths.

  34. ChapstickAddict

    It seems fairly obvious to me that the guys at that site don’t actually know any real live women.

    I have to admit, I know more than one geeky dude whose experiences with women include zooming in on Lara Croft’s polygonal chest and playing female characters on WoW just to wear the breast-molded metal bras and hot pants.

  35. Jezebella

    Here’s another answer to this question: “Why would a smart, educated woman want anything to do with someone who would be intimidated by her intellect?”

    Because men who are intimidated by smart women don’t come out and admit it right up front, fer crissake. They’re sneaky, they like to hide the fact that they’re intimidated, and sometimes, by the time you figure it out, you’re all wrapped up in a relationship and it takes a while to untangle. But untangle it does, eventually.

    Boys are afraid of smart girls. This should come as no surprise to any smart girl over the age of ten. I forget that this is not common knowledge among men sometimes.

  36. Scratchy888

    It has also always struck me as deeply cowardly for men to “need” women to be their inferiors in order to feel attracted to them.

    Me, too. Me very much so! The thing is that it implies bestiality as well. For it is men who turn women into domestic animals in order to feel comfortable with them.

  37. Bird

    But, it seems like the answer is another question: how would she have known in the first place?

    Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. For me, I got suckered in by the praise my ex-husband gave me for being so smart. Hence the “aww, she thinks she’s people” description of his attitude. In my late teens, I misread his condescension as admiration. He loved it that I was smart–as long as I wasn’t as smart as him. Same thing for the abusive, alcoholic artist who admired my creative spirit and then crushed it. Guys like that are deceptive, and many of them are self-proclaimed “geeks.” They might tell you that smart chicks rule, but they’re still thinking of you as a chick.

    And, the follow up: what to do about it, now that she knows. Now what?

    Get out. Even if it means leaving all your stuff behind, losing most of your friends and going begging to your parents (or other people) for a roof over your head. I did, and it was the best thing I ever did. It was the only way that I was going to wake up and get a life of my own.

  38. Jezebella

    I dipped a toe into that thread and my new goal is to kill boners wherever I go with my radioactive feminism. Ha. Who knew you could do that just by speaking out loud?

    Who seriously asks the question “what is it about feminists turns you off?” Can you imagine the shrieks if we started enumerating the ways geeks are such a turn-off? Sheesh. I hope one day they will realize that the reason they’ve never seen a nipple in person is because they are assholes steeped in the same patriarchal sludge as their jock/frat boy arch-nemeses, not because they’re geeks.

    You know, I’ve been thinking. Most racists tend to keep their yawps shut about racial issues when they think only white people are around. I wish men would keep their yawps shut about their sexist opinions when I’m around. If only I could tattoo “feminist” across my forehead.

  39. Urban

    I just about lost my coffee over the petrol pump ‘anecdote’. Bloody hell.

    “It’s such a retro and unoriginal viewpoint that feminism is all about women trying to be like men.”

    Yes. But sadly, it keeps on coming up. I’m sorry to do it, but I need to bring the ‘phenomenon’ of equality as branded by the Spice Girls in the UK only a few years ago. Their brand of porntastic ‘girl power’ women’s rights was kicked all over the shop as being great for society (women included!), even by the usually more intellectual broadsheet media types, because they were supposedly inspiring young girls to reach for equality. Women should stand up and thank them, people seemed to be saying, for having the gumption to play the male game. This is apparently what feminism is about, says the media machine.

    Well, yes, as long as you define ‘equality with men’ as the goal, and think that ‘equality’ means behaving like men. Be just like one of the boys! There you go: equality! The Spice Girls can do it and so can you!

    As long as women are seen to be pushing the ideal of ‘equality’ without realising that it means accepting the patriarchal paradigm, explaining feminism to people is going to be difficult.

    Additionally, it has long irked me that people (generally) don’t seem to be interested in understanding notions that can’t be reduced to a media-friendly soundbite. It strikes me that feminism suffers from this too.

  40. Starfoxy

    “Why would a smart, educated woman want anything to do with someone who would be intimidated by her intellect?”

    I have an answer to the question too. To some men a smart woman is desireable the same way a smart pet is desirable (similar to the ‘how cute! she thinks she’s a person!’). To a guy like this the difference between an intelligent woman and a run-o-the-mill sexbot is the same as a difference between a Grey Parrot and a canary, or Lassie and a mutt.

    An intelligent woman may agree to date/marry a guy like this because he expresses interest in her talents or at the very least doesn’t show open contempt. Then one day in the normal course of events he realizes that she’s not his pet. She does something that he would never have thought of. She displays true intelligence, independence and creativity that he wasn’t aware she was capable of. All at once he realizes that she is a person, he sees her as his equal and it terrifies him. His world comes crashing down around him, he no longer knows how to relate to her, and he blames her for ‘changing’ on him. And all the sudden she’s in a relationship with a man who is threatened by her intelligence.

  41. nine

    “I wish men would keep their yawps shut about their sexist opinions when I’m around.”

    Would you do the same if the topic came up?

    If so, are you doing your part to change it?

    If not, are you any better?

    Maybe opinions a better left to the self or maybe the acknowledgement of opinions is better left to the self…

  42. Orange

    Here’s how I know my husband is a keeper: We’re both effing smart, but I have the edge. Though I lack his musical, artistic and computery skills, I have got me some wicked brainpower (she says modestly–ha!). And we’ve been together nearly two decades, so I reckon he’s not feeling threatened by my nogginly aptitudes.

    Grooviest geek-gizmo I’ve seen in some time: Twisty’s own little “Type and Wait to Search” box up in the right-hand corner. That’s a cool litle chunk of functionality. Almost threateningly cool, in fact.

  43. Christopher Bradley

    Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. For me, I got suckered in by the praise my ex-husband gave me for being so smart. Hence the “aww, she thinks she’s people” description of his attitude. In my late teens, I misread his condescension as admiration.

    I knew this woman who got into serial abusive relationships, let us call her A. After being dumped as a friend by this person, I went to a mutual friend, B, and I asked B, “Why is A going after the worst abusive people that she can find?” (Literally greeted by one of her friends with, “I piss on you and I hate you.”) B said that what happens is arrogant, sexist men can make a woman feel like she’s the exception through personal praise. I was horrified/i> at this, but I long ago learned that as a white man I simply have to accept much of this as true. The system has treated me pretty well ’cause I’m a white man. I can dimly see and occasionally feel a very watered down version of what women and minorities get almost constantly, the truth is a white man society has always told me that I’m the most important kind of person. But it horrifies me even more that this sort of thing exists, that patriarchal civilization has so twisted more than one person so that abusers can make them feel like “exceptions” as a justification to continue perpetrating their abuse.

    Gah. When are we gonna throw this whole damn system out?! For, indeed, I do blame the patriarchy.

  44. Sam

    “I’m kind of hooked on the notion that men feel emotions but are “better” at hiding them.”

    I think the proof of men’s widespread violence shows men are much worse than women at hiding their emotions than women.

    When the usual ‘women are more emotional than men’ stereotype comes out I think of how the emotions most exhibited by men, emotions like anger and jealosy that frequently erupt into physical attacks, get exempted from the category of emotion for no good reason. If women were more emotional than men we’d be the ones murdering our exes as they tried to leave and getting into fights with other women as our bubbling-over emotions got the better of us and caused us to lose control of our physical selves. Is crying a better example of unconstrained emotion than punching someone?

    My guess is that the idea of “emotions”, much like the idea of sex, has been unduly attached to femininity for so long that it is conceived of by most people as feminine and hence denigrated as all things feminine are despite the daily displays of violence-justifying emotions men exhibit.

  45. josie my source of most frustration

    “I dipped a toe into that thread and my new goal is to kill boners wherever I go with my radioactive feminism.”

    Awesome, that sounds like fun! Can I join you? I’ll even bring a six pack of Coronas and a couple of limes.

  46. Repenting

    like several other posters here, i have to applaud Christopher Bradley for being such a thoughtful and intelligent individual. I second his counterpoints to the massive display of ignorance over on the Geek Guys forums. one isn’t surprised to find those geeks posting under assumed names like “nerd with no friends,” because they obviously fail at civilized human interaction.

    the aformentioned nerd with no friends actually uses a phrase reminiscent of twisty’s brilliant prose in describing his aversion to feminists. he literally calls feminism “boner-killing.” way to prove the feminist point, man.

  47. Octogalore

    Jezebella and Antelope: I think there are many guys out there intimidated by smart women, but also a number who find it an aphrodisiac. I had a boyfriend who kept doing the Times Crossword with me even though he never got as many clues; appreciated having his grammar corrected (though not in public); always asked meanings of words he didn’t know; liked getting suggestions as to worthwhile books, many of which were by female authors; and always referred his friends to me when they had a professional question he thought I’d be better able to address. After analyzing his dating resume, it seemed clear that he had a history of dating interesting, edgy, creative women.

    He grew up with a mostly absent father and two older sisters with strong personalities.

    They’re out there.

  48. lawbitch

    The geeks in question are what I politely call “lacking in social skills.” This is the explanation I used when my children didn’t understand the one child who failed to act in socially appropriate ways, despite repeated requests for more socially appropriate behavior. Fortunately, in our personal lives, we can decline interactions with these people.

  49. mearl

    I’ve also found that guys don’t acknowledge their own intimidated state, it’s more like, “Oooh, you’re hot, I want to use you for some pornalicious assisted masturbation for my own benefit” which turns into “Duuuuuhhh….she’s not dumb enuff to take advantage of….duuuuhhhh….she might demand a good performance in bed that I might not live up to….uuuuhhhh…I like things to be as easy as possible for me….*light bulb* she’s an unattractive bitch….where’s that 16-year-old waitress gotten to?” after you open your mouth and speak.

  50. Christopher

    So, isn’t it kind of weird for GEEKS of all people to be bashing another group for not living up to socially constructed gender roles?

    It’s not like your stereotypical geek dude is a physically fit, conventionally attractive man with great taste in clothes and who can hit a fly at five hundred paces with a colt 45.

    Hows come geek guys feel just fine abandoning masculinity but are inscenced at women abandoning femininity?

  51. the first born fish

    There were a few articles in The Boston Globe recently about the myth that educated women get no poon.


    Not to toot my horn, but I just posted a bit about them. So, hopefully, that helps.

  52. cycles

    Hows come geek guys feel just fine abandoning masculinity but are inscenced at women abandoning femininity?

    Because their desires and expectations for women are shaped from the same patriarchy that narrowly defines us as boobiful skinny unthreatening porn stars. There’s not a special patriarchy for geeks. Everyone’s reading the same issue of Maxim; they don’t give you a jock test before you can read it.

  53. cycles

    The figurative issue of Maxim, that is.

    And “they” isn’t a specific “they” but a vague, general “they.” I just mean that there’s no admissions test that allows you to make personal judgments under the patriarchy, as we’re all part of the patriarchy by virtue of being alive at this particular moment.

  54. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Brainiac-dominant-female dating hijinks are a hoot! So much to mock, so little time. Smart women are suckers for compliments on their intelligence and assertiveness because it happens so seldom. It’s great at first, because he’s impressed (Wow she can TALK TOO!!! My girl doesn’t take any SHIT!!!) and hopes it will rub off on him.

    Unfortunately after the sex high wears off a little your quick wit and sharp mind begin to grate on him, especially if something is said or done in public that makes it clear to all that you are the real brain trust and that you don’t play Nancy to his Ronnie. After you’ve wiped the floor with him in one argument too many he will start with the passive-agressive shit, sabotaging conversations and hitting below the belt. Little alarm bells will go off in your head, but you’re in luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuve.

    My advice is to get yourself hopped up on a good antidepressant and cut the cord, because it’s all downhill from here.

    Acting feminine on a first date is all well and good if you like the game (I do), but all the pink ribbons and bows and squirrely squeaks in the WORLD won’t make up for the day you open your mouth and Speak Your Mind. I can’t tell you how many times men have run scared from Moi (moi? little old beribboned high-heeled feminine moi?) early in a relationship when it became clear I outmatched them in the brains department, didn’t need their money, and made it clear that I wouldn’t take any shit. Man it was like I FARTED or something. I was sure cute, but I was “trouble.”

    I consider their departures blessings in disguise.

  55. gordo


    That was my first thought. The question is so easy to turn around: is there anything about being a geek that makes a person more attractive? Do women really like to have conversations that consist of awkward silences, punctuated by nervous tittering? Is the Comic Book Guy now considered a catch?


    I have known people who were stereotypically geeky who had plenty of social skills. But these aren’t guys that you’d find posting messages about “feminazis”.

    And I think it’s clear what’s made these guys so bitter: they can’t get dates. If they could get dates, then they wouldn’t buy into the idiotic “they won’t let me open doors for them” stereotype, would they?

  56. the first born fish

    From http://www.boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2007/02/18/the_romantic_life_of_brainiacs/?page=1 :

    I certainly wasn’t the first girl to grow up thinking that aspiring to higher education or a fulfilling career meant jeopardizing her chance of marriage, motherhood, and personal happiness. As early as 1778, according to Harvard University historian Nancy F. Cott, author of the 2000 book Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation, Abigail Adams complained to her husband, John, about the fashion of ridiculing female learning. In 1838, a prominent marriage adviser labeled intellectual women “mental hermaphrodites,” less capable of loving a man or bearing a child than a “true” woman. In 1873, Dr. Edward H. Clarke, a prominent professor at Harvard Medical School, noted that the rigors of higher education diverted blood from a woman’s uterus to her brain, making her irritable and infertile. Women who pursued careers, he warned, had little chance of marrying and even less chance of bearing a healthy child. Early in the next century, another doctor asserted that when women saw themselves as competent in school or at work, they acquired a “self-assertive, independent character, which renders it impossible to love, honor, and obey.” In consequence, he complained, middle- and upper-class males were forced to remain single or dip into the lower classes to find an “uneducated wife” who would not scorn to perform the duties of her sex.

  57. annaham

    Twisty, today is my 21st birthday, and this post was a great thing to read on such an occasion.


  58. Antelope

    I think what I often attract is dudes who have a love-hate relationship with their own intelligent side, and with the fact that they have to bury that side very deep in order to be one of the guys. More than one man has told me that he likes me because he’s smarter than all his buddies and has been desperately needing a smart friend/lover/audience. I can’t hear this without thinking, “yeah, but if you were really bright, you would’ve needed that, and found a long-term friendship to meet that need, way before now.”

    But of course it doesn’t stop me from being sort of flattered, because I am one smart idiot.

  59. Jezebella

    First-Born Fish, you’re probably being facetious about educated women not getting any “poon,” but I have to say this anyway: getting laid is not the problem. All I have to do is put on a push-up bra and lower my standards if all I want is sex.

    Finding a man you want to have sex with more than once, one who can handle an adult relationship with a smart woman who won’t take shit or act like Betty Crocker: not so easy when one has a graduate degree and a career.

    Josie, if you’re ever in Mississippi: I’ll take you up on that offer.

  60. Jezebella

    Nine, you said:

    “I wish men would keep their yawps shut about their sexist opinions when I’m around.”

    Would you do the same if the topic came up?

    If so, are you doing your part to change it?

    If not, are you any better?”

    This is no doubt a rhetorical question, but I don’t have a bunch of offensive sexist opinions to share with the world, so the answer is no: I do not say sexist things when the topic comes up. Unfortunately sexist tripe appears in all contexts, not just when the subject of gender or feminism arises.

    I share my *opinions”, jeebus, yes, I’m sure to the irritation of all around me. On the whole, though, I stand by what I said. I’d rather not hear sexist tripe on a daily basis. I just assume most men (and, alas, a lot of women) will come out with something sexist eventually if you talk to them long enough, but I don’t want to have to hear it. It’s exhausting and depressing and there’s only so much energy I have for dealing with hate speech.

    On a similar note, this is why I prefer to live at home in the South: when living outside of it, I got tired of constantly having to correct people when they made bigoted comments about Southerners and Southern culture. It was a constant task of consciousness raising, and I got sick of it.

  61. mearl

    Mental hermaphrodites, yeah! I love it. I am a proud Mental Hermaphrodite, capital M, capital H. Let’s have a parade, shall we?

    “I consider their departures blessings in disguise.” Hedonistic, the more I see of you, the more I am starting to get it. The above is a wise analysis of what men expect from women and the split between their words and their actions. Sing. It.

  62. Hattie

    Today in my (all male) prison class one of the students told me that women have more problems than men because they are so “emotional.” I fixed him with my steely glare and said, “I’m actually not very emotional. I really care more about ideas, and I like being alone a lot. Oh, I have friends and I party and so on, but, really, my feelings seldom get the best of me.” It’s true, too.

  63. metamanda

    In response to: “is there anything about being a geek that makes a person more attractive?” and statements along the lines of “no social skills” and “can’t get dates”:

    Those are low blows of exactly the same sort that reactionary men use against feminists. While I love this blog to death, there are plenty of concerns I have as a geek and a feminist that don’t get addressed here. That’s perfectly fine, since this isn’t the only blog in the world, but the geek-bashing is actively alienating, or did you forget that some geeks are women?

    Look, some geeks are sexist assholes. Just. Like. Everyone. Else. I’m not the least bit convinced that a higher proportion of them are sexist assholes, and might even claim that fewer of them are. I have geeky/nerdy/overeducated friends who genuinely find not just intelligence but feminism to be an aphrodisiac. I have dated plenty of geeks, and with one or two notable exceptions, I’ve been pretty happy with that. So yeah, there is, in fact, something about being a geek that makes a person more attractive, to me, which is that we have more in common and they’re more likely to be understanding if I’m no fun because I got caught up in working out this routing algorithm that’s been bugging me for a while.

    Also, “poon” aside, highly educated women are more likely to marry, and marry happily. Their male counterparts are more likely to find gender roles to be negotiable:


    So I’m sorry those assholes were assholes, but just as it’s prejudiced to take a few women’s assholishness or incompetence to be representative of our entire sex, I’d appreciate it if you all didn’t tar all geeks with the same broad brush.

  64. Blamerella

    do i care? nope. i’ve found that as a feminist, my natural allies are nerds, not geeks. nerds love smart chicks.

    You got it. Nerds embrace their different-ness and appreciate yours. Geeks want desperately to get into the frat party, so much so that they will dis the only women they had a remote chance of finding rapport with.

  65. norbizness

    I find it distressing and telling that nobody is willing to address the spazz issue. I also love that there is some sort of clear nerd vs. geek taxonomy, like we’re identifying fucking birds using the Audubon guide or something.

  66. hedonistic

    Aw, Mearl, thank you. That I have a Steel Magnolia for a mother usually explains everything to a person who’s initially bothered by my outward presentation. The smart southern woman learns early on how to navigate the patriarchal minefield and I learned well.

    However, my dad is a Minnesotan jack-pine savage, so you may imagine my schizophrenia. I was raised a Yankee (think Twin Peaks or Fargo) and can see the yawning gaps in the way Yankee and Southern women get through their days, and here it is: In the South a woman (of a certain class) needs to feign a childlike, befuddled helplessness to be considered desireable. On the other hand, in the North a woman needs to be able to catch the fish AND skin it herself AND serve it to the men AND clean up afterwards to be considered of good “use” to a man at all.

    Lucky yankee women!!!! NOT!

    I could probably walk to the Mason-Dixon line where I live now. Frankly, playing the Southern Belle gets me out of some scut work and gains me a shitload of testosterone-addled fawning from Southern-oriented men, which, since I hate scut work and love sex, rather enjoy. Fortunately for moi I have the freedom/privilege to pick and chose the tactics that 1) I actually like, and 2) that work best in a given situation. They’re like costumes I put on and discard at will.

    Bottom Line: Playing dumb, keeping my mouth shut and twirling my red hair might get you drinks and dinner (or out of the cobbler’s shop without paying for the repair) but over the LONG term the ruse is incredibly draining. AND BORING. If you’re gonna playact the femme at least make sure it’s worth your while!

    In my observation/experience the squirrely mating dance is most happily played out by people who, deep down, HATE the binary gender roles/traps and GET REAL toute suite.

  67. hedonistic

    I mean, by keeping YOUR mouth shut and twirling YOUR hair . . . GAH, I’m not caffeinated yet. Who am I talking about, me your you? I DON’T KNOW.

  68. BubbasNightmare


    The taxonomy of the geek, the nerd, and the spazz is fairly easy to negotiate. (Audabon? Ah, he’s for the birds.)

    The geek–bad dresser but not as bad as the nerd, fairly arrogant, (as mentioned above) will usually ditch that which is in hand in order to get what is in the bush.

    The nerd–very bad dresser, quiet, often kind (especially to own kind), usually knows its limitations but strives to better them (sometimes too hard), is grateful what it has.

    The spazzvery bad dresser, will not look the attractive gender in the eye, stammers badly, picks his nose, either very arrogant or not at all


    The old-fashioned southern gentleman is (of course) a sucker for the childlike befuddlement southern women often emulate; that’s why it works.

    The trick is to maintain the OFSG’s mannerisms without the attendant (and ultimately putrescent) chivalry that is at the heart of OFSG-ism.

  69. Christopher

    Well, there’s geek chic but there’s no such thing as nerd chic.

    How much clearer of a difference do you want, Norbizness?

  70. Silence

    Oh, yeah. Men are ever so much more capable of controlling their emotions. That’s why they’re ever so much more likely to go into a schoolroom, post office, mall, etc., open fire, and then blow their own brains out. That’s real control, that is.

    Once, in a bookstore, I picked up a manga (yes, I’m the shameful anime-watching, manga-reading member of the board) only to read one of the female characters saying: “I’d rather be loved than respected. Is that wrong?”

    Give me credit; the book did not go flying across the store.

    You cannot be truly loved if you are not respected. It just isn’t possible. If a guy says he loves you when all the while he’s condescending about your intellect or appearance, than his brand of love is merely for the sake of control. You know, as in the ‘Why are you complaining, honey? You know I love you’ variety. The phrase ‘I love you’ suppsedly cures all. You can be beaten and half insane, but if your fellow says he loves you, that supposedly makes it all right.

    Instead of going on dates and looking for love, we should start by looking for respect. And I know that’s difficult; respect doesn’t give you the same tingly rush of endorphins that love does. We are not conditioned to respond to ‘I respect you’ as we are to ‘I love you.’ But it’s a good test as to whether a relationship can actually last.

    The Geek Men do not respect women because they do not see women as people. Women to them are objects that must conform to a certain standard or be cast outside the sphere of Dudely Acceptability, which is apparently the same thing as going to Hell; I’m not quite sure. In other words, it’s just your usual patriarchal garbage writ in a slightly new but equally dreary form.

    So I say unto them: Get bent.

  71. norbizness

    Whither dweebs?

  72. PS

    My SO is a spazz but not a dweeb. I think I’m a nerd and a geek but I’ll wait to declare for sure ’til the taxonomy is a little more clearly laid out for me!

  73. teffie-phd

    What is it about feminists that turn these guys off?

    Well it’s the realization that these women are not “keepers”. They won’t be the June Cleaver (with a good job too) who will have the babies, do the housework and give the blow-jobs.

    All men have been socialized to want a Stepford Wife, and they already know that feminist women aren’t going to be that.

    On an unrelated note I love the three h’s of feminism.

  74. hedonistic

    I love nerds; hell, I was married to one for ten years! We both wallowed in our dorkitude (Star Trek reruns, WOOT!) and had NO social life whatsoever. BOTH of us got more interesting after the divorce.

    However, now that I’m hip to this spiffy new taxonomy I realized that despite his professional arrogance he was never a Geek or a Spazz at home, and that’s why our relationship lasted as long as it did. He was very, well, HUMAN. Fancy that.

    At my storytelling site (Small Fast Plane tag) I write about my brief interlude with the retired CEO of a telecommunications firm, an electronics engineer. Now I understand why he turned me off in the end, besides his being a raging alcoholic I mean: He was a TOTAL SPAZZ. Ding ding ding!

    See? Women can objectify/classify and wholly dismiss human beings based on our stereotypes too. KEWL! Everything is falling neatly into place, and soon I’ll be able to make my dating decisions without actually getting to KNOW these guys first. Will these definitions go into the Blameopedia?

    (PS: Is there such a thing as semi-snark? I mean, I’m only half joking here.)

  75. BubbasNightmare


    The dweeb is hopeless. If it isn’t a Star Trek TOS rerun or Episodes IV-VI of Star Wars or a Larry Niven story, or if it’s in the least bit anime- or manga-derived, it’s nothing to the dweeb’s universe.

    Dweebs tend to be older; it’s possible that the spazz is the larval form of the dweeb.

    Hint: if they have a pair of Spock ears (they’re not elf ears!) you may have a dweeb on your hands.

  76. hedonistic

    In my realm the Dweeb not only has a pair of Spock ears he dons for the (something)Con gatherings, he has a big combat sword collection and collected works of Aleister Crowley gathering dust on one of his (many, many) groaning bookshelves filled with scifi porn. He’s in his late 40’s and still trying to find a 20-year old ingenue to be priestess in his coven. BE MY APPRENTICE. YOU HAVE SO MUCH POTENTIAL.

    Run my dear onions, run!!!!

  77. yankee transplant

    “That equality with men is the last thing on the radical feminist’s To Do list will not blow any veteran blamer’s mind, but it is incumbent on the spinster aunt to reiterate every ten minutes or so that our objective is liberation from male dominance, not the opportunity to mimic the patriarchal model of oppression .”

    Twisty, I love you. I’m trying to raise three feminists here, despite societal pressure on them, CONSTANTLY, to cave and be “feminine.” I can barely stand the teenage boys-they live to inflict fuckage on my kids. It is a constant battle here for me to make my daughters see what’s going on their world.

    This blog should be required reading for parents of girls.

  78. Frumious B

    Smart women are suckers for compliments on their intelligence and assertiveness because it happens so seldom.

    OMG yes. Any guy who looks deep into my eyes and asks me about my dissertation will totally get some (assuming he’s still awake after the discussion of pinning forces in superconductors).

  79. hedonistic

    Fruminous: The reaaally clever ones will refrain from calling you “bright,” since only dogs and children are bright and he knows it. Trust me: If a man uses “brilliant” in reference to you more than once in the same conversation be sure he is trying to get into your pants, but at least know that he’s clever ENOUGH to be close to your match. Maybe. Take him to bed first and figure him out later.

    (Did I just give away a surefire method to score smart chicks? Dang! But no matter; the playahs don’t read IBTP anyway. I think we’re safe.)

  80. hedonistic

    I’m so sorry: My parallel structures are MIA today and I don’t know why. Since the “edit” function does not seem to work I’m cutting myself off IBTP to do penance in a remedial English Composition 101 class. Now excuse me while I go find one.

  81. norbizness

    Again with the pinning superconductors! Wait a minute, wasn’t that a wrestling combo in the mid-80s?

  82. Lara

    Would the Blamers please rethink the use of “spazz” as a derogatory term?

    Thanks ever so.

  83. hedonistic

    Lara, now that I think of it, perhaps we can recategorize all spazzes as dweebs.

    I come from a family of “epileptics” and was on seizure meds for 14 years so I figure I have the Free Pass to joke about being spastic (I took Mr. CEO dancing and trust me; he was a TOTAL spaz!). Most people don’t know this about me though, and you’re right: These kind of jokes/referencees (sort of like calling people “retards”) shouldn’t appear on teh intertubes. Our bad!

  84. Pony

    Some here could also rethink the word schizophrenia. I don’t have any free pass with that one, but at one time, it was verboten at a daily I worded at to use it as it’s been used here, so I’m not in the habit. It doesn’t mean split personality, it means a split from reality.

  85. Bird

    He’s in his late 40’s and still trying to find a 20-year old ingenue to be priestess in his coven. BE MY APPRENTICE. YOU HAVE SO MUCH POTENTIAL.

    I know this guy (definitely not a friend, but he sometimes turns up at the same parties). He’s been trying to get me to go home with him and his girlfriend for ages——something that is clearly his idea, not hers. He is icky, creepy, and into bondage *shudder*. He can’t understand why I perpetually turn him down and have offered to break his jaw if he ever slaps my ass again.

    Excuse me while I go make some ginger tea to settle my stomach.

  86. B. Dagger Lee

    Dear Snow-covered Pony:

    I think my spam trap caught my registration info at the Geek love site, but I’ll persevere. I may need another fictional construct to truly plague them. Maybe a male/female set.

    As for workouts, sometimes I accompany Miss P to yoga but since then I complain endlessly about the definition of “karma” as offered up by the head yoga chick, and snort and make huffy noises, I’m not really her companion of choice. I can’t count how many times she’s said, “Stop listening! It’s just about the kickass yoga.” I like a gentle jog with a lazy dog, and ride everywhere on my bike.

    Otherwise, my *real* workout is tangentially related to contemporary visual arts. It’s very pleasant and pays the bills.

    yrs, BDL

  87. kcb

    This blog should be required reading for parents of girls.

    Boys, too. IBTP is my patriarchy-awareness curriculum. I don’t want my sons assuming that being male (and white males, at that) means the rest of humankind is their props department.

    I poke them with the cluestick early and often:

  88. norbizness

    My apology also for the early use of the term; I was blithely comparing the amateur high school taxonomy to an old SNL game-show sketch: “Geek, Dweeb, or Spazz?”

  89. smmo

    A self-described feminist geek girl’s take

    I used to think anyone that indentified as a feminist had my support. And so another youthful foolishness falls by the wayside.

  90. Pony

    Also, “poon” aside, highly educated women are more likely to marry, and marry happily. Their male counterparts are more likely to find gender roles to be negotiable:


    What universe do you live in? The ‘highly educated women’ I know have too much upstairs to a) appeal to men b)bother with men c)stay with them if they do bother with them.

    But A is the cincher. Men can’t stand educated women. Especially after their 40th birthday or thereabouts.

    Speaking of which, has anyone noticed that men always think they are the age their tootsie is? (Cause it’s always a tootsie). He’s 50, she’s 34. He thinks he’s 34. Thirty-five tops.


  91. Sylvanite

    So then, dweebs are the people who are into Gor?

  92. Jezebella

    Pony, you’re so right. About the time I hit thirty-five, men in their fifties started hitting on me, in droves. Men closer to my mother’s age than my own thought that they were entirely age-appropriate for a woman nearly twenty years their junior. It made for a lot of WTF moments. Now that you put it that way, I realize these guys probably figure they’re as young as their latest girlfriend.

  93. lawbitch

    Gordo wrote: “I have known people who were stereotypically geeky who had plenty of social skills. But these aren’t guys that you’d find posting messages about ‘feminazis.'”

    Absolutely! I’m married to a geeky man with social skills, and he doesn’t hang out there. Wait! Maybe he’s a nerd with computer and science talent. Where is that field guide???

    “And I think it’s clear what’s made these guys so bitter: they can’t get dates.”

    They can’t get the dates THAT THEY WANT. There are plenty of available REAL women, but they’re waiting for that air-brushed, hot woman of their dreams.

  94. S-kat

    I must not be as smart as I think I am (or as smart as folks tell me) because this has never been a problem for me.

    On the other hand, I have no desire to get married and/or breed so I may simply be oblivious to it.

    Whoops! I think I may have just proved the fact that over-education can make a female unmarrigable. Of course I’m unmarrigable, I fail to see how it would benefit me.

  95. Sylvanite

    It’s not just that the guys think they’re whatever age their girlfriend is, it’s that so many of them want to reproduce (having failed to get it together while younger), so they must find someone young enough to give them a gene-child. Adoption is simply out of the question. They simply must have a child of their own loins. This is all reminding me of my time with a dating-service. Yeah, some of the guys I ment through that place were really choice.

  96. Sylvanite

    Sigh. “Met”, not “ment.”

  97. karen

    In reference to the earlier discussion about guys telling me I’m intelligent.

    My reaction to “Gee baby, you’re so smart” is similar to when some schlub finds it necessary to tell me my breasts are large: no shit, Sherlock.

    I am perfectly aware that I’m of above average intelligence. If YOU were of above average intelligence, it wouldn’t be necessary for you to point out the obvious.

  98. hedonistic

    Pony I disagree: It’s not our education that’s the dealbreaker; it’s our refusal to be submissive. Many MANY men prefer smart, college-educated women so long as these men can still be the “top” in their relationships. By the time a woman reaches 40 she’s pretty much had it with all that crap. One of my favorite quotes was recently coined my MOI:

    “BITTER? I’m ANGRY. If by the age of 40 a woman isn’t angry she’s just stupid.”

    Those geeks on that discussion board were not objecting to their female colleagues degrees or even their incomes; rather they were objecting to these women’s refusal to simper like babies to make them look like the Big Menz on their dates. That’s why getting DATES is so easy for me: I enjoy playing men’s games to my advantage. Dates are not my problem! RELATIONSHIPS are my problem, because I’m “intolerant.” Gah, bite me. You see the problem here!

    I think so many men (who can afford to) go for the under-40 women not only because they still qualify as breeding stock, but because many of these women haven’t gotten angry yet. Angry women are teh SCAREY.

  99. mali

    When I was a younger blamer and getting my BS in computer science, I ran into an unbelievable amount of this kind of crap from every direction. My colleagues of all types spouted it regularly, and I frequently got the dismissive “but you’re not *really* a girl” when pointing out that I was standing right in front of them as a living refutation of their ideas of what “women” are about. This is incidentally where I first really encountered “nice guys” at their creepiest. Wow, the memories are really coming back.

    In any case, after several years of observing this I came to a rudimentary conclusion that I don’t think I would any longer say describes the situation accurately or fully. But my speculation was that a reason for self-described “geek” guys’ attitudes toward women were driven largely by a lack of real-life positive experience combined with encountering women mostly in objectified form.

    To wit: these dudes don’t approach women because of a fear of rejection, which becomes a self-fulfilling propecy in that they won’t be accepted by women if they don’t first ask. They then blame their perceived rejection on women not approaching them. Instead of real-life interactions and experiences with a variety of women, they consume images of women primarily through pornography and video games (which I’ll admit, as a gamer myself, are frequently nigh indistinguishable). These women are held up even more as ideals that would surely reject the geek, and at the same time other geek women are “not counted as girls” or are derided as “unattractive.” Hence an extremely negative view of women in which they can only exist as objectified generalizations, and an anticipation of rejection taken very personally by the “geek” which then feeds into the aforementioned negative view.

    After I encountered more feminist writing I realized I was talking more about a symptom than a problem.

  100. mali

    I forgot to add in my previous post that although I always enjoy Twisty’s writing, this post actually drove me to get drunk in the middle of the afternoon. Thanks for bringing all that back! ;)

    Also, these guys who were taking it really personally that they weren’t being fawned on by “women” (hott ones of course) were being personally offended by it because they were NICE GUYS OF COURSE and were therefore ENTITLED to that kind of attention. So they were in no way responsible for their own lives, because it was apparently women’s responsibility to recognize them for the NICE GUYS they were and fall over swooning.

    Wow, am I getting a nostalgic headache now.

  101. mearl

    Oh, Mali, good post(s). Real women can’t even exist to guys who spend all their time categorising women and creating their idea of women into the “girly” mold. Any guy who sits back, impressed, and says, “Wow, you are REALLY smart!” is not only in the process of acknowledging how scary you are now that he has realised the extent of your mental abilities, but he is also vocalising his own general opinion of all women as dumbasses. Unlike him, of course, because all men are logical and not a one has frivolous pursuits or beliefs.

  102. hedonistic

    That’s why when a man calls me bright I just about blow a gasket. When someone says you’re “bright” what it really means is “Geez, you’re a lot smarter than you oughter be.”

  103. Pony

    Oh Jezebella the things we’d share at a BlameCon.

    Hed I mean educated. However you got it, it’s yours. No piece of paper necessary. Oh wait, unless it would be the piece of paper that said:


    Some of us here aren’t getting any younger and are frequently getting diagnosed with scarey, life limiting stuff.

  104. Bird

    Good point. The ones who really think you’re smart (for a person, not just “for a girl”) don’t make comments about it. They just treat you like a smart person. You know, all that good stuff like asking your opinion and then listening to it, engaging in real, rational discourse, asking you for the answer when they don’t know it, all that good stuff. No big eyed “Wow, you’re sure smart” needed.

  105. Frumious B

    hedonistic – “Bright” and “brilliant” don’t do it for me. The correct phrase is “Tell me more.” ohhh, take me now.

  106. LMYC

    What I’ve noticed is that what they like in a girlfriend regards brains they find terrifying in a wife, or potential wife.

    Brains are sexy and fun when you’re dating, but when the relationship starts moving into the serious stage, suddenly the only mental model they have for it is Ward-n-June, and they haven’t a CLUE what to do with you. Suddenly what was cool and neat is now threatening in the extreme. They simply have no script for dealing with a marriage to a smart woman who is not going to pretend not to be a human for his emotional comfort. They’ll have to chart the waters as they go, and worst of all — they’ll have to THINK. It’s not a relationship you can turn your brain off for — and men don’t hang with women at all because they want to be expected to THINK.

    Push comes to shove, they just want a recliner, a beer, and someone to step and fetch for them. That’s it. They are lazy, and while the me-n-wifey model might be dull and tedious, at least it comes pre-assembled so you don’t have to work as hard.

    At least … until the divorce.

  107. Miller

    All the gender “equality” rhetoric masks the assumption that this entire system depends on: girls and women are not human (“Mankind,” anyone?). With dehumanization as the norm all you need is ruthless demonization through love (She made me kill her!), sex (Whore!), and religion (Eve the betrayer of Man, Mary Magdalene the prostitute–both untrue, but I digress), and you have a society where men and boys–universally–believe that insistence on being treated as a human being is an appalling injustice, on par with nazism, to Man. Downright hateful!
    I fear that society will come around to the blasphemous notion that we are human the day Turkey admits its role in the Armenian genocide. Both are die-hard facts that strike at the core of an identity as inherently good people. If there is no greater sin than being born a girl, then males naturally are not evil and, thus, must be good. Faulty logic, of course, but it “feels” right.
    Oh, and can we stop using “respect” when we’re really talking about tolerance? Respect makes bigotry sound as if it’s an etiquette snafu.

    By the way, this is my first time posting. I love, love this blog.

  108. Geeks rock

    Try not to take these guys too seriously, because they’re certainly not representative of the majority of “geek-kind”. Most of the ones I know are very sweet, and having the penchant for logic that they do, are strongly against any sort of arbitrary decision-making, including prejudice. Plus, the design of the site is WAY too awful for a group of self-proclaimed geeks; they do not even use CSS. Wouldn’t one of the members have stepped up to the plate and fixed that disaster, hmm? I don’t think they’re real geeks at all, just a bunch of bitter guys who’ve gathered together to boost their egos by pumping themselves up (I=smart) and putting others down (feminists=nazis).

  109. cycles

    He’s in his late 40’s and still trying to find a 20-year old ingenue to be priestess in his coven. BE MY APPRENTICE. YOU HAVE SO MUCH POTENTIAL.

    Christ in a dump truck, after a full day I can’t get that quote out of my brain. I’m going to start doing crystal meth just to carpet-bomb the brain cells that surround the general area of that image. Thanks a lot.

    I’ve been told I look more innocent than I am, which means potential molesters don’t expect to be trampled by the squad of ninja attack elephants that lies in wait behind whatever you think is my exterior. Perhaps that’s why the comment sticks in my craw, as, because of this, I’ve been the target of more than a few of those ooky invitations. Not for covens, because I’m a loudmouth atheist, but other offers to be taken under the wing of a wiser man who promises to teach me wonderful things and worship me as a rare deity (oh please, give me a break). Really, the only appropriate response is an ego-deflating Kraboppelesque “hah!”

  110. octopod

    So my cultural context is a bit weird; I’m at a very small, insular, and high-profile sci-tech school. People who come here have been particularly winnowed out of the general populace for being really smart, unconventional thinkers, so no-one except the *real* standouts ever gets anyone else saying “Wow, you’re smart”, and asking about the details of someone’s research — and asking intelligent questions about them, even if it’s outside your field! — are pretty much par for the course. This, as one might assume, plays hell with all the dynamics described in this post, ’cause you don’t date a classmate unless you like smart fuckers and no-one I know here is willing to dumb themselves down for anyone or anything; really, we’re probably all too much dependent upon our own cleverness for an identity to do that.
    Myself, now, I have to admit that I’ve got Old-Fashioned Gentleman tendencies, and am frequently a sucker for that sort of childish befuddlement at the ways of the world — this is why I have tended to date math majors, who are so often absolutely *adorable* in their confusion. This, however, is somewhat different, both because of the all-nerd cultural context and because of my sex. This has drawn confusion from previous lovers who said things like “With you I feel like I’m in a same-sex relationship” and “I can’t help thinking this works because we both like girls” (both the previous quoted being male, at least in the technical sense).
    On the other hand, I’ve heard from guys here who *won’t* date within the community (making it easier for the rest of us — there’s a gender imbalance here due to it being a science school), and there are quips floating around about this being somewhere that “the men are men and the women are too”, and suchlike. I’ve found, however, that a lot of people here sensibly reject the gender binary, like the bright folks they are. But yeah, there are some dudes here with whom I’d never even consider making it because of their attitudes about gender — however, same dudes AFAIK don’t even see me as a woman, which is actually pretty OK because I don’t either, most of the time. This whole gender binary — bah. Also such types are generally turned off by my general air of butchness, I hear, as well as the fact that I’ve never hooked up with a guy whom I didn’t think I could beat in an unfair fight.
    My current adorable nerdy love-interest appears to be my brain double, which is occasionally spooky but generally awesome, and there’s definitely something to be said for a relationship that *starts* because of how well you can communicate. He’s also way more “feminine” than I am, by any account, which works nicely with my OFG-ness. We’ll see how this works out, but he seems remarkably free of patriarchal bullshit even as Techers go, and conscious of that which he hasn’t gotten rid of. I’m trying to avoid the “not-my-Nigel” syndrome here, but in this case I actually think I’m being intellectually honest about it. It’s been two months. I guess we’ll see.

  111. Tally Cola

    I thought nerds exceeded in all studies, while geeks only exceeded in a few…

    (Assuming, of course, that nobody matures beyond their high school years!)

  112. edith

    Smart men like smart women — to a point. What is that point? That point when these men think, deep down, that the women they’re dating are SMARTER. So chin up. If you’re in a great, loving relationship with a smart man, chances are, he believes he is smarter than you. Deeeep down. Or fine, “as smart as.” If he thought for a minute that you were smarter AND better-looking AND more successful than him, he would not want to be this with you. I have yet to find an exception to this. If you think you’re living it, maybe you are, but you’re probably not.

  113. sojourness

    Hey – I’ve nominated you for a Thinking Blogger Award. It’s here:


  114. Bird

    If he thought for a minute that you were smarter AND better-looking AND more successful than him, he would not want to be this with you.

    Hmmm. Well, sometimes they do think you are smarter than them and they still want you. Then they beat you up. Or at least the alcoholic artist who said I was “so creative!” did. Some guys don’t mind if you’re smarter as long as they can still give you a black eye. I’m not the only smart woman I know who’s had this happen to her, either.

    Now, why do smart women let abuse like that happen to them? If I figure that out, I’ll let you know.

  115. H

    Why are we surprised that geek men can be sexist/misogynist/unbelievably fucking tiresome? They’re men, not bloody kittens. They’re also men who have for the most part spent their entire adolescences at the bottom on the male pecking order, leading many of them to develop compensatory and grandiose ideas of self that don’t stand the presence of any sharp, puncturing thing; like the mind of a clear-thinking female who doesn’t act, speak or dress like a ninny in order to win their approval.

    Of course, not all male geeks are misogynists and not all misogynists are male geeks. But there’s a lot of crossover, as nearly all misogynists are men. They live on the same planet and consume the same sexist shit and patriachal crap about femininity as any other man and many of them, despite their much-vaunted intellects, don’t have the insight or educations to be able to dissect or challenge those ideas and of course, have no motivation for doing so.

  116. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Good point, H. Funny, I was just musing about this the other day. I’ve been involved with “Alpha” and “Beta” male types (by our society’s standards) and it’s actually the betas that get so bent out of shape about women needing to act like the sub for them. The REAL “Alphas” in my life couldn’t give a shit because they knew they’d already won the pecker contest and had nothing to prove.

  117. Twiss

    Having actually made it all the way through the long and winding road of this thread, with its many switchbacks, and trying to avoid the uneasy feeling that all this categorizing hints strongly of retaliatory stereotyping, I can only add a couple of quotations re feminine roles in patriarchy:

    “You won’t let me hold the door open for you? I’ll slam it on your hand!!” Flo Kennedy defining chivalry.

    “You know I can’t come unless you play dead!” Man astride woman in Playboy cartoon.

  118. subgrrl8

    I’m down with Metamanda’s point.

    I live with my partner, and he’s a geek. He works with computers for a living! He games- frequently! He also likes to bowl, brews his own beer, makes a mean dinner/breakfast, is way more anal retentive about washing floors than I am, and always ALWAYS a hit at parties. He’s feminist, he’s anti-Bush, he’s down with our possibly emigrating sometime soon to fairer political climes. He’s caring, he’s sensitive, he’s generous, he’s sexy- he has a big belly and a bigger laugh. He’s my bear, my boo, my Mr. Sexypants, and my best friend- all in one geeky geeky package.

    I’ve met women and men in all alternative lifestyles that were/are misogynistic, don’t ever question their privilege, and kowtow to the patriarchy. Arrogant assholes? You betcha! But- precisely *because* of their hobbies? Nope. Wrong answer.

    I am not a geek, I don’t think. I am going to school to be a hair dresser, and I’ve been struggling with that myself because as a feminist I’m anti-the-fashion-industry. But I’ve also been giving friends haircuts for a long time now, and I’ve found it rewarding to give someone a fantastic new ‘do. It also uses my creativity, which office jobs certainly don’t- I’m one-a-those-there Art Major in college types (Magna cum Laude even).

    But we get along way better than I’ve ever gotten along with anyone, and for that, I love my geek. (Tangent: I hate that the “geek women” shirts are always along the lines of “I love my geek!” rather than “I know the HTML!” Women are geeks too! I work with many of them- at a local ISP. How I got into being a Guardian Of Teh Internets is another long story.)

  1. A geek’s story at I Blame The Patriarchy

    […] “Those are low blows,” responds self-identified geek Metamanda, “of exactly the same sort that reactionary men use against feminists.” [Read her entire post here.] […]

  2. Mad Love to the Squares in My Social Circle « Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    […] Twisty’s A Geeks Story, inspired by the thread on her previous More Komedy Korner: Damn You and Your Patriarchy! post, embiggened my own geeky spirit: It is an asset, not to mention a joy and a relief, to be unencumbered by social skills. What are they, after all, but a set of arbitrarily-conceived customs meant to sort people into classes, the more conveniently to be dominated by those whose mastery of the arbitrary customs is superior? I’m sure I need not point out to you, O my fellow blamers, that the stability of patriarchy as a system of social control relies on the mass assimilation of these customs. Customs are the currency of culture; the more you absorb, the greater your rewards. But closer examination reveals them to be nothing but taboos and commandments designed to restrict human conduct to a finite set of ritualized mannerisms constrained by foul ideals of deference, appeasement, and conformity. […]

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