Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Do nerds really make better lovers? (and husbands?)

by Barbara Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 11:21:00 AM EST

"Do I know the difference between a knight and a pawn? Certainly," he says. "Am I familiar with the Four Move Checkmate? Well, maybe I am. ... But the truth is I'm a decent guy with diverse interests who actually offers authenticity in his relationships."

But to get to that authentic nerd, chic women have to be willing to embrace their own inner geek and accept the guy for who he is, chess trophies and all. The caveat to mating with a geek, as some dating experts see it, is coming to terms with his less-than-studly looks and less-than-suave demeanor. All thoughts of embarrassment have to go out the window."

http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/317296p-271224c.html

Anyone would like to share her/his opinions on this subject...? I believe that at this place people'd really know! Fortunately for us, nobody's nick here is anything like "ivygrad" or "thinkspec".


Just to add my own bit to this article: I am living with the epitome of nerdiness. He's got a nick inspired by Japan and Go, to start with. If I look through his glasses I get a headache; I only realized that his eyes were actually normal size once he started wearing contacts. I don't think he owns a single pop-music CD and his dancing resembles a person waiting for a bus, a toilet, or one of the ladies that used to make sourkraut by mashing cabbage strips in a large wooden cask with their feet (I always wanted a salsa dancer, but oh well). What he does own is: about 100 classical and other instrumental CDs, and a bunch of rather dorky folk music from around the world (bagpipes and fiddles, anyone?). Besides a truckload of books on physics and math (at cca $60.00 a pop), he also has an impressive collection of well-worn (read falling-apart) T-shirts that feature such pearls as: "Got PHYSICAL at ICPS 99, Helsinki, Finland," or "Dances with Quarks", or "Standing on the  shoulders of giants" (with faces of Newton, Pythagoras and other great-grandnerds), "4x4=16" (that one was truly revelatory), and about two dozen of different university T-shirts. He used to own about the same amount of mugs with the same subject, and he still bitterly complains that I deprived him of the privilege to haul the fifty kilos of mugs over the ocean during our last move. He also has about twenty different board games, and about five versions of Go itself (he took the smallest one to our last meet-up in France, where Jonathan delighted in spreading the four hundred magnetic go-pieces on the dark-blue hotel carpet). His favourite gift from his ex is a metal {fortunately small} egg guarded in a leather pouch that somehow "has the perfect shape" or is "perfectly symmetric" -- I cannot remember exactly, but I'm sure he'll be happy to tell you.

What he does for fun (when he finds himself without an internet connection) also deserves a few lines. While other men drink beer and watch football, and occasionally read the paper (mostly to find out about football), he litters the whole house with what I call "receipts" -- A4 sheets of paper that he uses to cover with every letter of the Greek alphabet and other symbols and digits that make me break into cold sweat just looking at them. And he does it to entertain himself, in his spare time. When I found one, I used to ask him whether he wants me to save it, thinking he is onto some incredible discovery, but later I found out that he's just purging his brain energy in forms of Lambda A and A hat etc., so I just throw them away now. Oh, sorry, dutifully recycle.    

When he meets another (normal) male, the conversation is strained. Few men like fencing (the only sport Miguel ever did) and not everyone's into strategy games either. Tangram is also not very popular among western males. His political opinions are too radical for most mainstreamers, who usually have no idea what he's talking about. He doesn't like beer (even the Czech one!), and doesn't give a rat's ass about cars (he's a dangerous driver, too, the kind of person who gets the gas pedal mixed with the brake, so it's just as well we don't have one!). He despises the idea of going to the gym, and DYI, as I am learning again in our new house, has zero appeal for him as well. So, men like my alpha-male brother-in-law have it tough when trying to make conversation. With other nerds, though, he's very social (as some of you have experienced).

So, I am learning to embrace my own inner geek in his presence. Coming to terms with "less-than-suave demeanor" has been a challenge, (see previous discussion on Social anxiety/ineptness.) But there have definitely been benefits. He does my taxes and makes detailed graphs of when we will be able to buy a house.  My news are almost always old news to him, so all I have to do to be up-to-date with current events is just ask. He "groks" me well. I wouldn't be so harsh so as to say that he is a "less-than-perfect male specimen", but he looks into the mirror about once a month (usually by accident), so vanity is not an issue here.   And as far as loyalty goes, so far I have to agree with the article -- nothing to complain about.

Display:
I even pass the hat for her after her performances, you see?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 11:25:31 AM EST
You know that's the only thing we want to know.

Signed: someone he was social with.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 11:28:37 AM EST
Will I forever regret the day I brought Barbara into ET?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 11:30:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is one of my favorite bits from Milan Kundera (paraphrasing him):

there is no "you shall not lie" commandment in the Bible. That's because God admits that you have the right to remain silent, and making lying a sin presupposes the concept of an answer.

So I fully acknowledge others' right to remain silent and therefore have no problem asking direect questions, not necessarily expecting an answer.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 11:36:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always like to joke that the "man shall not lie with man as with woman" line was making the point that men shouldn't lie to each other as they do to their wives -- a sort of Biblical way of saying, "Bro's before Ho's."

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 04:37:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Bro's before Ho's." ????

I think that is the single most offensive thing I've read here.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 05:06:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know.  It was very popular among classmates when I was in high school who wanted to seem "tough" and "cool" among their friends.  I'm guessing it originated in a rap song.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 05:27:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...in the same class with Booman? The guy seems to have attracted some serious strange flack about expressing his motivations for his choice of words sometimes...

Politically correctness is such a bore. I 4'ed you for the cojones. :)

by Nomad on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 08:52:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could be.  Thanks for the four.  I wasn't incredibly worried about anyone being angry with me for my comment.  Christ knows I would be living on the porch if I actually thought that way.

I wasn't kidding about it being a popular saying among the "cool kids" -- the rich kids who all dressed like Eminem -- when I was in high school.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 12:45:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And have a 4.  'Twas not my intention to offend.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 06:32:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are no indiscreet questions, only indiscreet answers.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 12:50:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Baaah, Mig is one-tenth of the nerd that this guy I once knew ;)

This guy, for starters, recorded 120 hours of TV and 40 hours of radio every week (he had several VCRs). He listened to the radio recorded (all serious talk shows) from the past week while on the bus to go to work. And on weekends he watched the 120 hours of recorded TV. What, you'll say?? How can you watch 120 hours of stuff on a weekend that's much shorter? He'd watch while fast-forwarding most of it.

His organisational skills were legendary. When he wanted to explain a concept to you, he'd use about 10 sheets of A4 paper on each of which he'd scribble 1 dodgy circle, or 1 rectangle, occasionally adding an arrow or two. He'd then proceed to filing these pieces of paper, so that the next time you had a conversation with him on the same topic, he'd reach in a huge pile of papers clogging his desk and pick out the same pages with circles and squares (and arrows).

He had post-its all over the place, with messages such as "do not stress", "stress is bad for the heart" etc.

And he was quite near-sighted but didn't want to wear glasses. So his nose always touched his 21" computer screen, as his head made large movements on the surface of the screen. He also never used his mouse (he knew/conceived every single potential shortcut imaginable).

And how was he as a lover? Well at some point he got into thinking that maybe he should get a girlfriend (he had never had one). So he started going, once a week, to the same nightclub which offered free entrance on that particular day of the week. Every following day he'd give minute details about what had happened, things such as: "I talked to this girl last night." Me: "oh really? cool, so tell me tell me!!". Him: "well I was drinking a glass of water at the bar, and she came up to me and asked if I would buy her a drink". Me: "wooow! excellent, go on go on!!". Him: "and I said no".

by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 11:42:24 AM EST
If I bought a piece of cake and offered him a piece, he'd gobble it down. So I'd then ask "was it good?". And he'd answer: "well, point A, considering that it comes from a supermarket, I'd say that the price & quality ratio is probably good, and point B, considering that ..". I'd have to interrupt him "just tell me if you liked it". Him: "Yes, I suppose so".
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 11:47:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, Alex, do you make a good lover?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 11:55:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely! Let me just rummage around and find a piece of A4 paper on which I scribbed a circle to prove it to you ;)
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 11:58:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Him: "well I was drinking a glass of water at the bar, and she came up to me and asked if I would buy her a drink". Me: "wooow! excellent, go on go on!!". Him: "and I said no".

Sounds like me when I was 18, haha!

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 12:06:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 "You ask them?!?"

 What's so funny about this is that this scene description is reminiscent of what Richard Feynman would have done in the same situation--well, sort of.

 As the quote above, taken from the chapter of the same name found in his biographical anecdotes, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, indicates, Feynman wouldn't have refused flat out; first, he'd have asked the woman if she was going to bed with him later.  If the answer came back, "No," then his would have been no as well.

 His rule, taught him by an obviously very worldly fellow, was, "Never pay for anything for your stranger-date until it's clear that she intends to sleep with you.  Buying her anything before that point means that, if you had sex in mind for later that night, you can forget about it."

  I think that there's some very plain common sense going on here.  When a woman is offered something "free"--a drink, whatever--if it's really free, that is only demonstrated by the fact that nothing is "given" in exchange.  If there is either an implied expectation of "something" in return for the "free" drink, then not only was the drink somehow not entirely "free", but, in ponying up her expected "part", she's very hard-pressed not to feel cheap.

  Apparently--and I find this part interesting--she doesn't have to feed cheap if it's made very clear in the first place that she'll sleep with the guy before there's anything bought and offered to her by him.

 Interesting thing, human psychology.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 01:19:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a lot like bonobo psychology, except that bonobos don't stigmatize the exchange of material goods for sex.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 01:22:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If only we had perfect contraception and no STDs ...

(I wonder what the Uplift books had been like if bonobos had been chosen instead of Chimpanzees. Probably a lot like Ringworld.)


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 07:17:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bonobos don't usually go all the way. Apparantly "genito-genital rubbing" is their favourite token of exchange.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 07:20:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lucky monkeys. Monkeys get everything.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 04:41:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They're apes, not monkeys. Actually, they are nowadays classed as hominids. Don't let the religious looneys find out.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 05:18:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lucky hominids. Hominids ... sorry.

Interesting, I wasn't up to date on the "ape" thing. Well, Ook to me, I guess!

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 07:26:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For dingworld you would need to lift up orangutans... Ook!

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 07:41:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, Barbara when you show up on ET - you do show up.

Looks like you found yourself a real gem of a mate (no snark here). I am sure one word that does not come up in your relationship is boredom.

by Fran on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 11:46:09 AM EST
He drank a pint of beer when I first saw him. Admittedly it was two halves....

I've always thought nerds make for better relationships. As much because guys who are too focused on chatting up women and the whole process of "conquest" can never be fully trusted, whilst a guy who is just happy to have a few less issues to worry about is safe as houses.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 12:29:38 PM EST
I think it was you that had two beers, I must have just had one half-pint. I usually drink cider anyway, tastes better.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 12:42:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I gave up cider after ten years of organic Scrumpy hangovers.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 05:11:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"That's two halves - the girls way - in a pint glass?"
-Tony, Men Behaving Badly


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 05:40:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is howlingly funny, Barbara, congratulations.

And what an imagination! Miguel can't really be like that...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 12:54:47 PM EST
This is all about boy nerds, which I love to death, really...  Why anyone would not prefer a geekish boy over some pretty jock type is beyond me.  Intellectual stimulation is the best kind.

But how do boys think about girl nerds?  ???  Based on no factual evidence whatsoever, I'll suggest that the ungeeky girl/geeky boy match is a popular one.  But the ungeeky boy/geeky girl match is a rare one indeed.  Yes?


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 12:57:56 PM EST
Girl nerds are fantastic according to a friend of mine. Apparently (I've never had a nerd girlfriend).

Why? For instance she likes playing computer games as much as he does, so they can indulge in doing so together, while their two kids open the gas tap, climb over the balcony's fence, play with knives ...

by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 01:02:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've never had a nerd girlfriend.

Aha!  Why?

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 01:06:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Huge shortage?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 01:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd fit quite well under the nerd definition - when the glittering coolness around me is substracted, of course.

But my girl is one fine lady with an attitude who widens the very definitions of cool. There's no way I could compete with that.

I'm still very afraid the computer generation will tilt the male/female nerd ratio to a bigger number. For example, look at the male/female ratio at ET.... * ducks, runs away*

by Nomad on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 09:11:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting. I actually think the M/F ratio may go in the opposite direction. There is nothing inherently male or female about computers. Like Roddenberry said: Star Trek is not about technology, it's about people.

(We're just seeing the people who post. If you asked people to tick a box on your profile I think you might get 33% female around here on a good day.)

(So is this "glittering coolness" reflective particles suspended in a magnetic field, or something else? Are you laser proof?)

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 06:50:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I suppose we could do a poll to find out. But anyway, 33% is still very little, it means a ratio of two to one, and this is not even a forum that could be associated with nerdiness.
by Deni on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 02:05:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anecdotally, the women I know would be much less likely to get involved in the sort of debate that goes on here than the men. They are less likely t o have the intellectual confidence (or arrogance) required. So even if we have a balanced readership I wouldn't be surprised to see a distinct skew in the participation by gender.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 02:10:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru summed it up below. That and the fact that I'm only half-nerd myself so I hang out with the big boys, who are generally surrounded by non-nerdish girls.
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 01:14:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or above (where are they??)
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 01:14:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They're there, but think about it: nerdy girls are relatively as scarce as nerdy boys so nerdy boy-nerdy girl is an unlikely encounter. Add the social ineptitude and that makes an even more unlikely pairing.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 01:19:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, I think a lot of nerdy girls don't look as nerdy as they are.  So it may be hard for you to spot one unless you actually sit down and talk to them.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 01:24:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True, nerdy girls still take care of their appearance.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 01:25:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The look aspect is something I learned to not take into account early on. For instance: there was this incredible girl whom I had to work with on a report. She had boobs the size of Rhode Island, a smile that could crack the Artic's sheets. Then I found out that she was a fervent catholic and that going out with her would first involve hours of church, hours of meeting the parents etc. I played the game for a little while, suddenly morphing into a catholic (I tried my best). But I gave up fairly quickly. The efforts that were required were far superior in nature to the treasure to reap in the end.

In our teenage years my elder brother was a bit of a pro in that domain. He'd go for the Jehovah's witness or the Iranian girl. Spend months working on it, come home all enthusiastic: "I held her hand today!"

by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 01:31:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does semi-nerd mathematician marries semi-nerd mathematician count? We're talking here about a girl capable of talking about comparative inheritance law at the dinner table...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 04:49:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No.  It simply implies lower productivity of nerdiness.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 12:58:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Geeky girls scare ungeeky boys shitless, and find them boring.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 01:06:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Geeky girls scare ungeeky boys shitless, and find them boring.

Not necessarily on the first point, nor on the second unless one you define anyone with anything beyond stereotypical mainstream male interests as a geek. How do you define 'geek' anyways - not athletic, having intellectual interests, video game freak, Star Trek fan...?  

by MarekNYC on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 02:13:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm. I'd partially agree with the first point, in that they are forced to do things that they are not used to having to do - imagine a male peacock having to give up the feathers and take up folk dancing or algebra to woo the ladies.

But perhaps "scares" is the wrong word.

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 06:59:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nah. I ran with the geeky girls and some of them had to fend off the guys with a stick. What guys are attracted to is not neccessarily looks, despite rumors to the contrary.
by northsylvania on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 05:14:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heinlein wrote something very good about "The care and feeding of mad scientists". (I've been looking on P2P for this essay for years.) He argued that the handsome/beautiful scientist was less likely in reality than in fiction, because someone who is beautiful/handsome already gets the payoff in social status, acceptance, etc.  just from being "symmetrical". Other people have to work on acquiring skills (mental or social) that make them "valuable" to others.
Not that he was not saying that intelligence makes you ugly, rather that beautiful people are less likely to be motivated to do the hard intellectual work, since they are getting the same payoff with less effort.

There has to be both mutual attraction and a minimum total amount of initiative and willingness to take risks.
So, if I may be cynical as always ...
Scenario 2 (+gF / -gM): Alpha males can afford to compete on "biological" terms and are likely to go for the option that comes "naturally" - "a little less conversation, a little more action". +gF can just sit back and enjoy the ride, however they are at risk of being "replaced".
Scenario 1 (-gF / +gM): The top females can carry on the partying and still be reasonably sure of keeping the non-Alpha male. The male is happy to have a female around, and has no expectation of intellectual conversations with women (he's lucky to have any conversation with women!)

(Coming to the opposite conclusion is probably easy and is left as an exercise to the reader. And apparenly it was L. Sprague de Camp who wrote that essay, which explains why I couldn't find it ...)


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 06:40:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aside from the fact that you're quoting sci-fi authors, which immediately implies nerdiness (and I know who they are, which also implies nerdiness) this sounds believable.

Any woman who looks halfway presentable will find herself higher up the social totem pole than a man who owns every episode of Star Trek on DVD - even if she owns 75 pairs of shoes (are shoes the female equivalent of Star Trek DVDs?), reads Hello avidly and has nothing to offer except looks.

A life dedicated to shopping isn't thought of as nerdy. But isn't it kinda sorta the stereotypical equivalent?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:34:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some would say shopping is the modern proxy for the gatherer part of the hunter-gatherer life we're all programmed for. Maybe a life dedicated to celebrity gossip would be closer to the mark.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:39:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jen's ancestors must have been fantastic gatherers then.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:47:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you know the monologue Defending the Caveman?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:49:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've heard of it, but, no, I don't know of it.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:52:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hilarious.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:54:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rob Becker, right?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:56:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:59:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps, but the mindless shop-a-holics are, in the end, probably not going very far in life unless they marry...nerds.  (See, now we've completed the circle.)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:46:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't feel bad, Miguel.  I'm the nerd in our circle of friends here, and that's truly saying something, given that one of our best friends is a "computer geek" -- though, granted, a "computer geek" who can drink me under the table.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 02:37:30 PM EST
to make some kind of contribution here, with my vast wealth of experience in matters female, and the fact that I have been married and divorced twice and don't intend to go through the experience again ;-) It will, as usual be mostly self-centered.

I like myself pretty much as I am and I don't need changing or improving from outside, thank you very much. If I found someone who would accept that fact and would also bow to my greater knowledge of cooking and interior design, laughed at all my jokes, was creative, small, slim and red haired and anywhere between 25 and 45, had great ankles and knew a great deal about a wide subject area in which I was totally deficient (like economics or mathematics) - I may reconsíder. But these parameters are tough.

Passion fades, and a thorough knowledge of the opioidergic system and learned behaviours, coupled with an appreciation of the Rest Principle as applied to the strengthening and weakening of neural connections, is vital to getting beyond passion into a true relationship - which is essentially intellectual. Or at least based on a mutual interest in discussing anything and everything and being ready to disagree without rancour. Having something to talk about every day is essential. Having something to laugh about is even better.

Honesty is always welcome, but it should never be brutal. Unpredictability is another spice that should be borne in mind.

Barbara, there is nothing wrong with nerds, as long as they are hygienic. Think yourself lucky you have a walking Cray, there are many Universities who deeply prostitute themselves to acquire one.

I like Migu very much, even though he doesn't like me. He is one of a kind. Treasure him, give him a hard time, and don't try to change him. He will slowly change of his own accord.

And the limited introduction of moth larvae should take care of the tee-shirts. Either that a laundry 'accident', for instance while you are experimenting with Batique.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 02:45:35 PM EST
Quote:
Having something to talk about every day is essential. Having something to laugh about is even better.
---
Great said. Is it yours?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 10:42:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's my choice of words, but the idea is not original.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 01:55:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha! Hygienic is the word!!!!!

Miguel with gladly (or perhaps not so gladly) tell you I am the worst nag when it comes to the toothbrush. In our household, I religiously supervise the evening march to the bathroom sink...pushing in front of me Jonathan (4) and Miguel (30).

BTW, if this is the last thing you see on ET from me, you can safely suspect that I'm dead.

"If you cannot say what you have to say in twenty minutes, you should go away and write a book about it." Lord Brabazon

by Barbara on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 05:09:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hahahahahaha!

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 05:27:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ankles? You have really specific tastes!

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:01:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's called 'imprinting' ;-)


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:16:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And don't get me started on elbow length dress gloves. Huhuuu

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:17:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
_Either that [or] a laundry 'accident', for instance while you are experimenting with Batique. _

Too bad it's me that does the laundry 90% of the time...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:20:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's probably the washing machine programming element that attracts you ;-p

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:27:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
;-P

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:29:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 While I guess Barbara knows better than I can possibly know on the facts of the matter, still, having met you both--i.e. Migeru and Barbara--I didn't at all get the impression that Migeru was geek-y, or the typical idea of that.

  Science-minded, yes; mathematically inclined, yes; bookish, okay.

  But he didn't fit my idea of a regular geek type fellow.  No plastic pocket protector in his shirt pocket, no calculator hanging from his belt, no scotch-tape holding his glasses frame together, no checked-shirt with striped tie and no pitiful shoes; no plaid racing cap or white straw pork-pie hat.

 None of that.

 Less-than-suave-demeanor?

 As poemless might retort, Define "suave"-- Sean Connery?  Pierce Brosnan?  okay, maybe not.  But, really, outside of a "smoking" (french term for dinner jacket and bow tie à la James Bond) these guys would be less "suave", non?

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 02:46:29 PM EST
But he didn't fit my idea of a regular geek type fellow.  No plastic pocket protector in his shirt pocket, no calculator hanging from his belt, no scotch-tape holding his glasses frame together, no checked-shirt with striped tie and no pitiful shoes; no plaid racing cap or white straw pork-pie hat.

Well, those are all the outter trappings of Hollywood stereotypes of nerds.  Those things don't make one a nerd.

Like all labels, no one is going to fit one perfectly.  What does make one a geek or nerd (to echo Marek)?

Here's one definition:

nerd n. 1. [mainstream slang] Pejorative applied to anyone with an above-average IQ and few gifts at small talk and ordinary social rituals. 2. [jargon] Term of praise applied (in conscious ironic reference to sense 1) to someone who knows what's really important and interesting and doesn't care to be distracted by trivial chatter and silly status games.

Nerdiness is in the eye of the beholder I think.  I was called a nerd growing up because I was put in smart kids' classes, stayed holed up in my room reading and was not comfortable in social situations.  Now, well, I've made great strides in the social arena.  But I am a librarian who would in a perfect world prefer to just be left alone to read and think for very long stretches of time.  I read Vogue, but I also read the dictionary.  I dress well and most people respond when learing my profession, "You don't look like a librarian!"  Whatever that means...  But many of the trappings of pop culture and fads and social mores don't really interest me, except in the anthropological way.  Mostly people annoy me.  I hate sports.  I'm painfully shy (though now know how to "fake it till ya make it").  ...  I'm a nerd on the inside, but you wouldn't know it by looking at me.  

I don't think nerds can assess nerdiness as well as non-nerds.  But I'm guessing that if you are here at ET, you suffer/benefit from some degree of nerdiness...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 03:16:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 "But I'm guessing that if you are here at ET, you suffer/benefit from some degree of nerdiness..."

Perhaps more now than once upon a time. And perhaps more than the degree you imagine, or less, it depends --on the amount you imagine, that is.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 04:06:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses'

is no indication of anything

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 04:17:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. I once specifically specified "glasses" as something I was looking for.

(Which in retrospect is almost as stupid as saying "they should be the size of your head".)

-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:05:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it's stupid.  I always found women who wore glasses to be attractive.  There's nothing wrong with looking for certain things in people.  Just read Sven's excellent post above (or below?).

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:54:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your question is specious. Why should nerds NOT make good (or better) lovers, husbands, partners ? I dont see why somebody who happens to find sports and beer boring, but instead has other much more interesting interests, could be considered as a lesser person. What do external status symbols have to do with anything of substance in life ?

Turning your question around: Do the ladies who wear high plateau shoes and minis and have silicon boobs make for better lovers or wives ? I dont know. I only know I'd not want to be caught dead with one of them, not only because of the very different cultural backgrounds and expectations but also because my preoccupation with politics, books, computers and my taste for Peking Opera and backpacking may not be very compatible with this figurative her' interests in string tangas, boys with cars, disco nights, vacations in ibiza, telenovelas and make-up.

Ultimately everybody gets the partner they want, nerd or not. As they say in Spain, god creates people but the devil brings them together :-)

BTW, I also own maths books "at $60 a pop" and lots of classics CDs. I vote for your nerd SO.

by name (name@spammez_moi_sivouplait.org) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 04:05:38 PM EST
Quote:
As they say in Spain, god creates people but the devil brings them together :-)
---
Right! That's probably why opposites attract each other...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 10:55:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The question was so ... innocent ?

When push came to shove, I've always been judged by the ladies by a) what and how I did to them in bed and b) manners, education and sympathy when it was about anything more than a one-night stand. Equally, I've always judged my female acquaintances by a) What and how they did to me in bed and b) in cases longer than a one-night stand, if they had education, sympathy and manners.

Everything else is just window-dressing.

YMMV

by name (name@spammez_moi_sivouplait.org) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 04:24:34 PM EST
The Answer:

I really, really, really, really really, really HOPE so.

The link:

Enjoy!!!

The not-so-suave

Mig>([Feynman][h]^-3+exp[-Barb g(x)]) with g(x)=H_1[x]

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 05:51:10 PM EST
Better lovers?  Well, I haven't slept with enough of them to know for sure, but preliminary research is promising.  At least they're grateful, which is nice.
Better husbands?  Without a doubt (and, like Sven, I've had some previous experience in this field).  PeWi's nerdiness is both endearing and practical, not only is he shit-hot in bed but he can also fix my computer (although not necessarily at the same time).  
by MerryLikeXmas on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 06:14:40 PM EST
not necessarily at the same time

Get him to work on this. Productivity rates in Britain need to rise.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 01:58:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that's the kind of flippancy that I find adorable ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 02:01:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was kinda wondering why everyone assumed that all nerds were male...

is nerd a strongly gendered noun?  it wasn't as far back as the mid80's when the Roches (an a capella female vocal trio) released their nifty single "Nerds (I'm so Glad I Am One)"...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 07:47:25 PM EST
It's a really annoying stereotype, really, and I personally associate the word nerd with a particular American Hish-school archetype (the trappings of which are listed by prozimity1 in one of his comments). It doesn't really correspond to anything I've experienced in Europe and you do encounter people who conform to the archetype extremely well in the US.

In Spain we have a different archetype. the empollón, which is closed to 'egghead' in English (is that a British archetype more than an American one?).

The trekkie/techie/D&Der subtype of the nerd archetype has a very interesting counterpart in the Japanese otaku (see kcurie's recent diary). I note that Japan seems to have very strongly marked high-school archetypes, quite distinct from the American ones (jock, cheerleader, nerd, ...)

The one thing that seems clear is that the social ineptitude is preceived as a strongly gendered quality.

Sorry this is not very structured... It's 1am after all.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 08:02:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm going to expand on my high-school archetype analysis with the following observation. The article Barbara quoted is an article about nerds written for cheerleaders. The point is, this is all incredibly childish, it's school-playground folk psychology. But that fact is that in the US these school playground roles are internalised and carried over to adult life. In Spain, by the time you make it to the last year of high school, the labelling of people as eggheads has vanished. I was absolutely dumbfounded to hang out among graduate students in their late 20's on an American campus and see myself classed as a 'nerd'. And I met quite a few 'uber-geeks' in ther 40's as well.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 05:26:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not just that, but rich nerds. Which makes all the difference, of course.

(The internalisation of these roles is something I only partially observed, being there for high school only. Seems to fit with what little I've seen, though.)

-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 06:38:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, well, this is post-dot-com-bubble America we're talking about.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 06:43:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Agree with the definition of nerd: I'd say it means male, intelligent, and socially and physically inept. Mostly a negative term.
Don't mind "geek" myself.

Social ineptitude: well, with most mammals males need to perform and females get to choose. Unless he has obvious physical or material advantages, the male needs to follow the correct procedure and send the right signals. This is likely a learnable skill, but without positive feedback you are unlikely to pick it up.

(I think at least one US presidential hopeful was talked about as having lost because he was perceived as an "Egghead", as opposed to his confident, trustworthy opponent. Stephenson?

Egghead at least was cooler than the Mad Hatter.)


-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 06:32:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ahhh. Adlai Stevenson. A man of style and elegance, charm and wit. A great president we never had. :-( And absolutely adored by some very beautiful American women -- Lauren Bacall for one. And an egghead all the same!

This is a great fun thread -- I've been 'lurking' in England for a week or so and look forward to more from you incredible people.

Like it or not, we are all adding favour to the same soup!

by abroadwithaview (mailbox@e-mccrimmon.com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 05:28:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A great president we never had. :-(

Perhaps, but the fact that we were handed Ike, instead, cushions the blow, in my opinion.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:38:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, that was kind of my question as well.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Wed Jun 21st, 2006 at 09:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they are ugly, then they are ugly.
If they are pretty, then they are pretty.

And the rest does not matter.

<runs far, far away>

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 04:03:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not so far as we can't catch you.

Though I must admit I had lunch today with a very pretty and nerdy business consultant who is into Learning Theories and SOS, and I was totally smitten. Nice ankles too ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:22:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect that the "nerd" archetype being tied to maleness may have to do with Asperger's Syndrome -- which is, I believe, more prevalent in males and often linked to some cognitive peculiarities that play well with Cartesian-reductionist science instruction, rote memorisation, spatial visualisation, and pure maths. in other words, science/math geek traits.  compulsive repetitive behaviours and an obsession with taxonomy and order also seem to feature in the Aspergers cluster (trainspotters, ardent object-collectors, guys with sorting and labelling obsessions?) -- uncontrolled, unpredictable, ambiguous and/or rapidly-changing conditions often upset such folks.

Aspergers -- from memory here -- is a weak or borderline form of autism.  autistic people have a hard time managing real-time interactive communications and easily hit sensory overload when confronted with too much stimulus.  Aspergers people are more mildly affected but tend to freeze up in complex social situations and to have a hard time parsing and processing multichannel, nonquantitative, fluid feedback from other people's body language, tone, facial expression, etc.  they often seem a bit "off" socially or respond in ways that seem "weird" or offkilter to "normal" (whatever that means) people.  they are often oblivious to social signals about when to stop talking, how to take turns in conversation, or what topics of conversation are acceptable/interesting to others.

idiot-savantism I guess would be the extreme case of the nexus of computational/counting and memorisation skills, and autism...

autism iirc is recessive and the odds of an autistic child are significantly higher if both parents show signs of Aspergers -- seem to recall reading that there are autism hotspots in Silicon Valley (Calif) and the equivalent semiconductor and software nexus on the E Coast...  where male and female nerds tend to mate and reproduce...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 08:08:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect that the "nerd" archetype being tied to maleness may have to do with Asperger's Syndrome -- which is, I believe, more prevalent in males and often linked to some cognitive peculiarities that play well with Cartesian-reductionist science instruction, rote memorisation, spatial visualisation, and pure maths. in other words, science/math geek traits.  compulsive repetitive behaviours and an obsession with taxonomy and order also seem to feature in the Aspergers cluster (trainspotters, ardent object-collectors, guys with sorting and labelling obsessions?)

This theory has been around for a while now, but I've never understood why (supposedly) stereotypical male obsessive behaviours are seen as autistic, while (supposedly) stereotypical female obsessive behaviours aren't.

Cataloguing CDs may not be most people's idea of a fun thing to do, but is there really such a huge behavioural gap between trainspotting, and obsessive shopping for brand-name goods, or obsessing about weight, or obsessively marking relationship anniversaries?

The socially inept meme doesn't entirely square with reality either. Get a group of so-called nerds together in a room and they'll have no trouble socialising. So - socially inept on whose terms?

Nerds may not find it easy to socialise in the same rather fake 'Oh yes, you look lovely - please tell me all about your divorce' way that non-nerds do. But that's only a problem for people who don't like social diversity, and expect everyone to act, think and feel the same way as they do.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 09:41:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no, by socially inept I meant -- nore bluntly -- what most people would call rude. folks with aspergers will often simply not stop talking about their current obsession, or talk louder to override anyone who tries to break into the monologue.  they have a hard time perceiving small, subtle social signals, processing  interactions that most people learn to negotiate via facial expression, intonation, etc.  they may be ranting on about their divorce, or their latest model train layout -- it's not the content so much as the mode of interaction, an "obliviousness" to others which discourages others from participating.  sort of a social tone-deafness.  

not all hardcore sci/math enthusiasts are like this.  some have very polished social skills, but they are not considered "geeks" or "nerds".  and not all socially uncertain or inept people have Aspergers either...  sometimes kids with uncertainty about social skills (or "late bloomers") work harder at scholastic tasks to earn praise and warmth from grownups that they can't figure out how to get from their peers, and thus become known as "geeks", without having any of the other clustered behaviours associated with autism.

because some obsessive/compulsive traits are associated with Aspergers doesn't mean that all such traits are, or that autism plays a role in all obsession/compulsion
(which might be ptsd-related or who knows what).

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon Jun 26th, 2006 at 08:26:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that women cannot be as nerdy, eggheady, intellectual etc etc as men. I would disagree with that thought.

It may be true that women are less keen to wear their eggheadedness as an accessory for all to see, but there is no process difference as to what goes on inside the mind IMHO

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 02:14:53 AM EST
Well.. I even have a T-shirt with the word NÖRTTI (nerd in Finnish) on it. So at least this woman is wearing her eggheadedness as an accessory for all to see. :-D

(BTW Barbara's description sounds just like my husband. I would say yes, nerds do make better lovers and husbands.)

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--

by tzt (tzt) on Mon Jun 26th, 2006 at 05:05:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How could anybody writing about (geeks + mating) forget about Les Horribles Cernettes ?

http://musiclub.web.cern.ch/MusiClub/bands/cernettes/

Geekettes and Nerdettes rule, and no mainstream boyz band has anything on them.

by name (name@spammez_moi_sivouplait.org) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 11:15:16 AM EST
'Oh dear, what can the matter be?' ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 12:13:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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