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Still in Saigon
With all the latest LJ hoopla over the "Open-Source Boob Project", and the issues therein, I have decided to write up a very simple guide as to what sort of boundaries a geek male has to maintain in person-to-person contact with the opposite sex.

Warning: Contained within will be a lot of geeky references. Mind you, if you need this guide, you probably will get most of them anyways. Please note, these are guides to casual interaction. The kind you get at conventions, basic social gatherings. This is not a 'pick-up chicks' guide. This is not a 'How you properly get your grope on' guide.

These steps are the beginning. You get to know a girl, you flirt, one thing may lead to another.

But that isn't the point here.

Author Disclaimer
Since I'm sure my own personal character will come under scrutiny here, I shall state these facts up front. (Edited to reflect changes occured since original writing, due to new readership)

1. I'm 25, male, and live in Milwaukee.
2. I am currently a single male, though I have dated previously.
3. I live with two females, I am related to none of them.
4. I consider myself a feminist. I believe in the equality between sexes.

And now, we present...

A Straight Geek Male's Guide to Interaction with Females

Here are the Basic Principles:

1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T
2. Thou Shalt Keep Thy Hands to Thyself
3. Stop, Collaborate, and Listen.
4. Staring is Not Caring (a.k.a Her Eyes Really Are Up There)
5. No. Means. No.
6. The Three H's.

1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Do not stop at simply what Aretha Franklin defines as respect. This is the golden rule, the most important thing to remember. You need to respect a woman if you plan to interact with her socially. You don't have to like them, but you absolutely, positively have to respect them as a human being.

Women are not some 'strange foreign race' that you know nothing about. Yes, you will have difficulty understanding them because of eons of social and physiological differences between the genders. But the one thing you can, and have to understand is that a woman is, deep down, just like you. They have emotions, feelings, scars both mental and physical. They have a history.

So don't make assumptions. They are never 'asking for it'.

2. Thou Shalt Keep Thy Hands to Thyself

Due to recent events, this seems the second most important.

A woman's body is her sacred birthright. It is her property, it is she that makes the rules. You will not make her feel uncomfortable about it. You will not touch her unwantedly. You will respect her body and the fact that it just isn't yours to do with as you please. No matter what her 'body language' or 'manner of dress' says.

3. Stop, Collaborate, and Listen.

So what are you to do when you are with a woman?

Here's a shock, I'm sure... but you do the same things you do with your other friends. Talk. Share ideas. Discuss Firefly. Listen to what she has to say about the intrinsic themes of Logan's Run and its applications on Proust's theories on time.

Repeat, without the silly extras: Listen.

When you listen, you -

A) Learn about who they are.
B) Learn about what they like/don't like.
C) Show you respect them.

Do not simply wait for your turn to talk. You want to have a conversation. Conversations requires interaction. You can do it, boys. It's not that hard.

4. Staring is Not Caring (a.k.a Her Eyes Really Are Up There)

Remember, when talking, that you make eye contact. Yes, it is okay to steal a glance at her body. However, staring and leering lead to women being uncomfortable. If you make them uncomfortable, then you're a creep and a jerk. Don't do that.

Women are people, remember? They are not teats, ass, thighs, a bosom, or any other individual body part. Remember that. Respect that. Mind your manners.

5. No. Means. No.

If she ends a topic of discussion, it is over. If you reach over to touch her, even something as simple as a shoulder touch or a hug, and she recoils or says no... you stop.

If she says she doesn't want to talk to you, you stop and you leave her alone. Even if you think she's playing a 'no means yes' game, you treat no as no. Be up front about respecting that. Not as something to win brownie points, but as something to just be a good person.

And I cannot stress this enough: persistance is not a virtue. You will not 'wear someone down' to liking you or accepting you.

That's just a dumb thought.

6. The Three H's.


Remember, do not let yourself be an attention hog. Do not make it a bragging session. Talking is collaboration. You must let other people shine as well.

Remember, making people laugh helps them be more comfortable. Don't be a stand-up comedian, but jokes are a good thing. People laughing are people having fun. [Also, remember to gauge the laugh. There's a big difference between someone having fun and just trying to humor you in hopes you'll go away. Be observant, and don't force things]

Remember, showers, baths, deodorant, toothbrushes, combs, soap... these things are all your friends. Nobody wants to talk to the smelly guy with greasy hair and broccoli in their teeth.

In conclusion, all I really have to say is... be nice. It's nice to be nice to the nice, so people will treat you as you treat them. Yes, I know, women are daunting and can be intimidating... but relax and treat them well and you'll discover that they too are cool and interesting, far beyond merely being of opposite gender.

Go forth and communicate, my brothers.

Patch Notes:

There have been some minor edits (grammatical and spelling) made since original posting.

Also, I have actually removed a point from point 4, which was, sadly, still exploitative and wrong.

Point 6 had a note added about the difference between good and bad laughing.

Point 5 had a note added about not playing the 'no means yes' game.


( 281 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 24th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC)
You, sir, are a gentleman and a scholar.
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
It would be much cooler if I was an invisible gentleman thief.

I mean, thank you, oh person who lives down the hall :D
(no subject) - fangirljen - Apr. 25th, 2008 02:25 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
What's particularly sad is that any of our brethren need this. It's effing common sense.
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC)
Sadly we grow up these days in a world that sends very conflicting signals about gender roles and identities, and how one is supposed to treat other people.
(no subject) - jetpack_monkey - Apr. 24th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cmdr_zoom - Apr. 25th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tinylegacies - Apr. 24th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vampirehunter85 - Apr. 24th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC)
(Here via medie) I love you very much. I would ask you to marry me if, y'know, I wasn't already married.

Huh, 23 and in DC...I can probably find you a nice female geek somewhere around here, if you like ;)
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
I'm just trying to spread the good word.

I think it'd be a little skeezy to try to exploit this post to get a date...
(no subject) - marag - Apr. 24th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zornhau - Apr. 27th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
My name is Koshka and I approve of this post!
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
I didn't even realize you were running for office...
(no subject) - walks_two_paths - Apr. 24th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC)
I am amazingly sad that things like this even need to be articulated. And that sometimes as well, that men are having to tell men and that some of them can't just get it when a woman says it.

Did you see the Gentleman's Auxillary for the Women Backing Each Other Up Pledge? It's the part of the backing each other up pledge where the guys who do get it, also pledge to tell friends or other guys when they are being creepy and inappropriate and that they need to stop it.

Also I wish more guys had your mindset (uhm, let me not go into a situation I know of right now with someones roommate offering them $1000 for sex. And sadly, I am not joking, and sadly, neither was the person offerring).
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC)
*cheats and cut-and-pastes*

Sadly we grow up these days in a world that sends very conflicting signals about gender roles and identities, and how one is supposed to treat other people.

I have seen that! And I have agreed with it vehemently.

And ugh on that situation. Say no more, say no more.
(no subject) - mis_creation - Apr. 25th, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - runonmoonlight - Apr. 25th, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
You are awesome.
Apr. 24th, 2008 04:02 pm (UTC)
The point of this post isn't a personal bragging point, though I humbly accept the praise. It's just a statement that needs to be made and backed up.
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you. You and tablesaw are my heroes of the week. There have been some great posts and discussions on this imbroglio that I intend to link to, and this will be one of them.
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
If she is scantily clad by choice, she wants you admire her body. However, staring and leering are right out.

I disagree. That is making some assumptions that I'm really, really uncomfortable with.
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Addendum
I think it's fair to say that if someone chooses to wear something revealing, they are putting themselves on display.

That is NOT to say that they deserve to be leered at, harrassed, etc etc, but most women I know are far too aware of the implications of the clothing they choose to wear and the situations they choose to wear it in.
Re: Addendum - kali921 - Apr. 24th, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Addendum - tinylegacies - Apr. 24th, 2008 05:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Addendum - timjr - Apr. 24th, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Addendum - timjr - Apr. 24th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Addendum - mountainthyme - Apr. 24th, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Addendum - idadebeautreux - Apr. 25th, 2008 01:16 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Addendum - linaerys - Apr. 24th, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Addendum - timjr - Apr. 24th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Addendum - thatfilmgirl - Apr. 24th, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Addendum - archangelbeth - Apr. 27th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Addendum - vvalkyri - Apr. 29th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)
This is the most freaking awesome thing ever.

Apr. 24th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
Hopefully, people will listen.
Apr. 24th, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC)
All I can say is your mama raised you right. Well done.:)
Apr. 24th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
She'll be glad to hear it. Thank you.
Apr. 24th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I had been thinking about writing such a post. Now I can be lazy and just link it far and wide across the land, spreading it to our less enlightened brethren, who still live in darkness and filth.

And darkness caused by filth.

Seriously, guys, deodorant is cheap. I shouldn't be so much higher on the ol' attractiveness scale just because I follow basic hygiene.
Apr. 24th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC)
It seriously scares me how many dudes think cons are hygiene-optional.
(no subject) - butterflykiki - Apr. 24th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - timjr - Apr. 24th, 2008 08:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - butterflykiki - Apr. 24th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - timjr - Apr. 24th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greenmansgrove - May. 27th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
Also here via medie. Thank you for writing this. *applauds*
Apr. 24th, 2008 05:16 pm (UTC)
Of course, the ironic thing seems to be I'm getting a lot of female readers, but not anyone from my intended audience! Thank you for the kind words, however.
Apr. 24th, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)
I don't know you (I wandered over from innerbrat's journal) but I like the way you think.

And yes, this stuff should be obvious, but it seems like common sense is increasingly becoming an oxymoron. :/
Apr. 24th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
And hopefully this sort of statement will make an effect on somebody.
Apr. 24th, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
And this? Is one of many reasons that you RULE. ;)
Apr. 24th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Apr. 24th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
On the one hand, I wish you had never needed to write this out, and on the other hand, I thank you for so doing.
Apr. 24th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
I wish I hadn't needed to, either. But we can hope for the best, that someday it won't be neccessary to keep saying these things.
Apr. 24th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
*applauds* Excellent! Thank you for saying it.

I have to echo a few previous comments in saying that I am disappointed that it takes a male to say this for it to be appreciated. But I do appreciate it. So, thank you. <3
Apr. 24th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC)
*nod* I totally agree. I really shouldn't be getting as much credit for espousing these ideas. But I appreciate the thanks.
Apr. 24th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
ILU <3

Apr. 24th, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
*facepalm* I keep commenting with the wrong journal.
(no subject) - timjr - Apr. 24th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alryssa - Apr. 24th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - timjr - Apr. 24th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
*applauds* I'm right now deep in the geek den (Full Sail University: Film / Gamer / Computer Animation / Recording Arts school) where guys outnumber girls DRASTICALLY! Having more than four girls in a classroom of 30 is a rarity. Hmmmm. I may have to get this posted onto Propeller.

Too bad you live in DC. I'd love to get together with you. However my geekdom goes to the current Doctor Who/Joss Whedon in confidence. Damn.
Apr. 24th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
Ugh. I seriously wish I could imagine what sort of junk you have to put up with in that sort of numbers inequality. My sympathies.
(no subject) - thatfilmgirl - Apr. 24th, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - timjr - Apr. 24th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thatfilmgirl - Apr. 24th, 2008 08:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rockthetardis - Apr. 25th, 2008 03:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - roguewords - Apr. 29th, 2008 03:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thatfilmgirl - Apr. 29th, 2008 03:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - roguewords - Apr. 29th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
I'm here via medie's link, and I must say, while it's sad and depressing that such a thing is needed, it's very well done.
Apr. 24th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It may be a sad pipe dream, but maybe some day we can hope it isn't needed.
(no subject) - frogworth - Apr. 27th, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - timjr - Apr. 27th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frogworth - Apr. 27th, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
I love you and think you are so totally awesome!
Apr. 24th, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC)
Awww, thanks. Though, not exactly the point of the post :D
Apr. 24th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
*still merrily homicidal after 48 hours of this crap!* ETA: It just seems like 72 hours.

And glad you posted this. I always loved Myrna Loy's quip in one of the Thin Man movie: "Her earrings are higher, dear."

Edited at 2008-04-24 08:25 pm (UTC)
Apr. 24th, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC)
Oooh, good line.

If only more fellas could get the hint.
Apr. 24th, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
This is just another reason why you rock beyond the telling of it.
Apr. 24th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
I try. Really hard.
Apr. 24th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)
This is mostly an excellent post, and I applaud you for writing it.

However, I still have a problem with this:

If she is scantily clad by choice [Note: This is referring to conscious, 'I'm dressed in Leia Organa's Bikini from Return of the Jedi' sort of choices, not 'Dear christ it's 100 degrees out I am wearing a small tank top and shorts' choices. Use your brain. Also, mind your manners], she wants you admire her body.

No. Women are not a hive mind. Some women in scantily clad outfits want "you" to admire their bodies, and some women do not. Since you're using "you" to represent "man who is a stranger," I have to insist that many women don't "dress to impress" any strange man. It's quite possible that she is dressing to impress herself, or her female friends, or certain specific people, or simply because she wanted to cosplay a character who wears a skimpy outfit.

It doesn't mean that you can't admire her body, but you certainly shouldn't assume that she is doing it for you.
Apr. 24th, 2008 10:36 pm (UTC)
I agree. I really agree, when someone words it that way. The statement is gone.
(no subject) - rusty_halo - Apr. 25th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lynnenne - Apr. 24th, 2008 11:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - timjr - Apr. 24th, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dr_pipe - Apr. 28th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - claudelemonde - Apr. 29th, 2008 01:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hecatehatesthat - May. 9th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crowsensei108 - Apr. 27th, 2008 08:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - timjr - Apr. 27th, 2008 01:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
Here via vampirehunter85. Nicely worded. :)
Apr. 24th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Apr. 24th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
Very nicely put. I hope you don't mind, I dugg this.
Apr. 24th, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm... not sure what 'dugg' means, but okay!
what "dugg" means - savvysuzy - Mar. 26th, 2010 06:50 am (UTC) - Expand
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