D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

Thursday, June 18, 2009 2:03 AM

I had quite the eye-opening series of discussions at a recent conference about how women are treated in our industry. Discussions ranged from how geek guys overstep boundaries to what levels of modesty women in tech should exude.

The discussion of women in technology has been ongoing for many years. Major conferences host WIT (Women in Technology) shindigs where people get together to build Lego together and burn bras (oddly enough, I’m only kidding about the bra burning…still don’t get the Lego thing…). The value of women in technology is an important discussion, but is not the point of this post.

No, this post I want to talk to my male geek readers. Now boys, it goes without saying that our brood is one that lacks certain social graces…particularly with the ladies. One of the reasons The Big Bang Theory is funny is because of how true it is. Unfortunately, that’s the cutesy version of events.





The non-cutesy version involves stories about creeper guys at conferences following female attendees to their hotel rooms, sending rude messages, or (this one floored me) requesting help with a technical problem as a ruse to spend one on one time alone.






Of course this just isn’t relegated to the Milton’s of our industry. Oh no…the exuberant douchebags of our industry are just as guilty although their tactics tend to be more in-your-face.


So in the spirit of the recent movie “He’s Just Not That Into You”, here are some tips for my male brethren.

Rule 1 – Just because you both use the same technology, it doesn’t mean you’re soulmates.

So you find a girl who’s into the same tech you are. Great. You’ve probably met hundreds of other *guys* who use the same technology, but you probably didn’t assume bromances were a given in those situations did you?

Now this common ground is definitely a great opportunity to open discussions, but remember that in most scenarios (ug event, conference, code camp, IM or Twitter) you’re talking at a work-related-level. You’re not at a bar asking if it hurt when she fell from Heaven; you’re in a room with uncomfortable chairs and a projector asking how to properly implement an IoC container. She’s not there looking for love Romeo.

Rule 2 – Just because she talks to you doesn’t mean she wants to have your babies…or dress up in a Princess Leia gold bikini.

Geek guys are used to talking to other geek guys, but girls are a totally different thing. It’s true that a good chunk of us working in IT grew up not going on a lot of dates, or being all that popular with the ladies (I didn’t wear jeans until grade 10, I speak from experience). So I can understand that we may get a thrill from a girl, especially one who understands the inner workings of the CLR or can rattle off Re-Sharper shortcuts from memory, when we actually talk to them.

But let’s chalk this up to what it really is: novelty. Girls, particularly those considered attractive, aren’t supposed to *be* geeky. So when one comes by, its like a perfect hormonal storm…kinda like if Sarah Michelle Gellar really *was* into vampire lore (sorry to burst your bubble guys). You may have a great conversation with a gal, but guys that is not an invitation to start stalking her in person, on IM, on Twitter, via Facebook, blogs, etc.

It’s like showing up at Scott Hanselman’s house for dinner just because he responded to a comment you left on his blog or because you had your picture taken with him…

image *

Not appropriate.

Rule 3 – Contrary to how you may feel, acting like a jackass will *not* help you make the situation better.

Ok, so you messed up. You ignored rules 1 and 2 and now have been informed in no uncertain terms that you’re creeping her out, she’s not interested, and she never will be interested. Misunderstandings happen, and you obviously misunderstood. So your next course of action should be:

a) Rant about what a slut she is on your blog or twitter
b) Make sure to sit in the front row of any event she’s presenting at and glare
c) Be even more overt in your advances, ignoring the brush off
d) Create a Silverlight montage showing how she blew up your heart and devoured your soul.

If you answered a, b, c, or d, you are an idiot, a douchebag, need medical help, or possibly all three. The correct answer here is WALK AWAY.

Maybe your pride got hurt…realize that its *your pride and ego* and not your actual feelings. Your heart didn’t break from any of this because there wasn’t any relationship happening in which a heart could break from. Lashing out in anger just makes you look sad, pathetic, and unbalanced. As well, acting like a cocky ladies man causes the same sort of reaction as well.

And OMG, DO NOT try to apologize or explain after the fact. If a lady has made it clear she doesn’t want anything to do with you, that means NO CONTACT…AT ALL…EVER. Learn from the experience and walk away…and geeze man, re-read rules 1 and 2!

Final Thoughts…

We live in a time where we have unprecedented access to other people. We can view their information on Facebook, follow their thoughts and activities on Twitter, read their opinions on blogs, etc. We also have those that choose to live in the realm of celebrity status, offering access to themselves as their main product (yes iJustine, I’m looking at you). And for whatever reason, we feel that the rules governing these mediums or interactions apply to everyone we meet…but they don’t. Privacy and respect are still values that each of us holds as a right, and one that we shouldn’t take for granted in others. Fantasy lives in a fantasy world guys…and we all live in reality.

Well…all of us except Access Developers…



# re: She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

Great post. Thanks for the Silverlight shout-out, though I consider Flash more appropriate for creating creepy montages... 6/18/2009 2:14 AM | Shawn Wildermuth

# re: She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

Hahahah. I totally agree with Rule #1. I was the only girl in many of my classes and at times it was like pulling teeth trying to get a decent conversation out of the random dudes that sat around me.

But sometimes, just sometimes such things in common would generate hilarious outcomes:

JL: oh hey
JL: my friday just freed up as i'm not going to the cabin until sat morning.
RT: awesomeness. perhaps we will do things on that very day!
JL: well you're my #1 choice.
RT: you are #0 in my zero-indexed array of favorite gals
JL: i've always avoided dating other programmers
JL: i had no idea that having this much in common would result is such pretty sentences.
JL: now, put that in pseudo code
RT: if (rt.IsAvailable(Day.Friday)) rt.Gals[0].GentlyMolest();
JL: HAHAHAHAHAH 6/18/2009 10:34 AM | Jenn

# re: She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

Thanks for the helpful reminders! I always wanted
to ask you to put on a gold bikini and now I know for sure, its not appropriate :P

Ok... geeky creepy story -- a little earlier than professional life

In college a super geek I went to HS with followed me around (yup, even followed me to college). Sent me emails. Shamed me for not being around enough. Would stand in front of my house for *hours* It ended with an arrest and restraining order.

Sad thing, I felt incredible guilt, shame and fear. It started in HS and because he was "special" and never spoke to anyone. Seriously, people did not think he could speak! According to everyone I asked (teachers, parents, counselors) I was *suppose* to be happy and encourage him to come out of his shell -- that and who knew what he would do if rejected.

The judge strongly disagreed. I'm just sad it took me several years (his *crush* started sometime in middle school and really took off after he saw how competent I was at calculus) of the abuse to do something about it.

I hope I can teach my daughter to act quickly and always keep her best interests in mind. 6/18/2009 11:27 AM | Wendy

# re: She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

Once had someone ask me at a tech conference (after some drinks and in the middle of other tech talk), "Hey, wanna have a threesome?" After a brief pause, I said, "Anyways....", and continued where I left off. 6/18/2009 11:32 AM | Trish

# re: She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

hahaha, this made me laugh. I have one good creeper story, I used to work with a guy, we will name him Steve. Steve was a .NET dev when I was still a SQL girl. We had a very professional relationship. We would chat, often, but things were very G rated (I've had work relationships where sometimes the stray R rated joke/story would be kosher). Steve was a bit socially awkward, your average nerd. I used to smoke (I quit) and we would often shoot the breeze when having a cigarette together. One evening after work he shot me an IM (we didn't often talk over IM). It went like this:

Me: Hey
Steve:So, I've been thinking.
Me: Yes?
Steve:I really think it would be a good idea if we had sex.
Steve: Sara?
Me: yes
Steve:What do you think?
Me: What made you come to that conclusion?
Steve:Well, we are both single, and about the same age, and I just think it would be convenient because we see each other at work.
Me: I see your argument, however, I don't think it's a good idea. I'm sorry.
Steve:Ok, well if you change your mind let me know.
Me: Will do.

Needless to say Steve and I didn't smoke together after that.

However, I disagree with your "douchebag" label. I find that nerds are usually very kind and gentlemanly (except for "Steve"), and even when an advance is unwanted it is not overly aggressive, nor does it make me uncomfortable. Also, they usually do not get angry or vindictive afterwards. I love nerds, I recommend them to all my friends.

6/18/2009 12:33 PM | Sara C

# re: She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

A link to this site seems appropriate given this post.


6/18/2009 1:35 PM | Scott

# re: She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

@Jenn - RT: you are #0 in my zero-indexed array of favorite gals

@Wendy - It's amazing how often I *do* get asked to wear a gold bikini...thanks for sharing your story. That's horrible how the school authorities reacting to your complaints.

@Trish - Wow...just wow...

@Sara - Sorry, I should have specified that not all geeks who act this way fall under the douchebag label. But there *are* some who go that route more than the creeper route. 6/18/2009 1:48 PM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

# re: She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

"It’s true that a good chunk of us working in IT grew up not going on a lot of dates, or being all that popular with the ladies (I didn’t wear jeans until grade 10, I speak from experience)."

At least you wore pants of some sort? Right, D'Arcy? D'Arcy?!
6/18/2009 3:07 PM | Robz

# re: She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

Is it better to be openly douchebaggerly or openly creepy? ...If one had to pick... 6/18/2009 5:24 PM | Steve Syfuhs

# re: She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

So wait..does this post refer to all women at dev conferences or just the ones that would be considered attractive by most standards? I have a feeling that the creeper/stalker geeks are not creeping, stalking, or even looking at the mousy, slightly-masculine, or roly poly girls in the corner.

That said, being stalked is no fun (I speak from experience). It feels very invasive (and slightly violating) to discover that someone has been digging around for your personal details and interviewing people who know (or once knew)you in an attempt to manufacture some sort of "common ground" from which to pursue a relationship. If such behavior is happening on the conference circuit, then absolutely, something should be done about it. 6/18/2009 6:51 PM | Mrs Loquacious

# re: She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

Well written buddy! You need to find a full-time columnist gig, because you should get paid for creating stuff this good. 6/18/2009 7:47 PM | Eric Legault

# re: She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

Great post! I've ended up getting asked out by multiple guys after tech events... *I* thought I was exchanging info for networking, you know, like everyone else there. Granted, they didn't know I was seeing anyone, but then, why should it matter, it's a conference, not a club-plus you're talking tech, so even working it in can be awkward: "hmmm yeah i agree the new nhibernate seems interesting, and by the way, I'm seeing someone already" ...maybe not.

The Scott pic is hilarious, btw. 6/18/2009 9:44 PM | Anne E

# re: She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

I wish it were just hi-tech. Some men's treatment of women in general is just appauling. I'm not sure where the lack of respect stems from, but it's completely unacceptable.

Every woman I know has some sort of story like this; some more scary the others.

All people deserve to be given respect in every aspect of life. 6/19/2009 10:42 AM | Peter Ritchie

# re: She’s Just Not That Into You…*Especially* You Access Guy

I had no idea this was such a problem at tech conferences. Maybe because I'm apparently stalking old married men judging by that photograph. You made my wife so jealous when she saw that pic! ;) 8/26/2010 1:55 AM | Haacked

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