The mind is like a parachute. If it doesn't open, you're meat.

Things you should know while dating a computer programmer

20 May 2010

This was inspired by 5 things you should know before dating a journalist, which I found quite funny (while itching to deconstruct - which I won’t do).

1. Google is our friend

…and Twitter, Facebook etc… If you are of a “dating age” then you have a life online and we have the means to expose it.

If you have a life online, you have a computer and we know how it works.

And the best part is, you will give us your passwords, surrender your laptops and let us configure your smartphones, because, hey… we know how to fix it.

So it’s best you don’t try to hide anything. We don’t have to find things out, your computers will tell us.

2. We like our toys

Be it computers, cameras, remote controls or actual toys.

Inquisitive brains like to fiddle with things, find out how they work, what makes them tick and how to make them do new and interesting things.

With the right application domain, you could be in for the time of your life.

3. You will be tuned out

Programming requires attributes that at extremes would be considered autism.

Present us with an interesting enough problem and we will tune the world out.

Present us with a boring subject and we will tune the world out.

You need to find the right balance of subjects and alternation velocity.

Be careful of the “black hole” subject though. This is a subject that once breached will create an endless monologue of minute details that will kill anything and everything by sheer force of boredom.

And never, ever, put two geeks that share the same “black hole” subject in the same room. You are guaranteed a super massive black hole that will suck your conversational universe, compact it and eliminate it in the vortex of incomprehensible detail that is stored in the programmer’s mind.

Add an internet connection and you might never get out alive.

4. Don’t ask us to fix your computer.

Especially don’t ever utter the words “I have this problem with my computer, maybe you could help me…” within a month of meeting, even if it is a pretext for luring the target to your bedroom.

There is nothing more boring than cleaning up a Windows installation for the Nth time and the aversion effect is immediate.

Let it be known there is a problem (“darn, my laptop started acting up again”), let them offer, never ask.

For more repercussions see also 1.

5. Variation guaranteed.

Programmers vary wildly, in personality, in interests, in body shapes.

You could claim above average intelligence until you see the state some software projects end up in, so no, anything goes.

You better consciously avoid stereotypes (the geek, the nerd, the asocial, the unwashed etc.) and keep an open mind.

Surprises, good and bad, are part of living.

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