Thursday, February 14, 2008

And an extra-gooey Valentine's Day to you, too

blah blah, corporate hate, Valentine's Day was invented by a secret cabal of chocolate makers, and florists...I still kind of love it. Matt and I have a picnic just because, as two Midwesterners, there's a certain novelty in sitting in a park on a February evening and not losing a couple of fingers to frostbite.

There's a predictable surge of opinions around this time of the year about how to keep the magic alive and what it means to be a good spouse or partner. Most of the advice is either wacky, misogynist, or self-evident. ("Dress up like a tiger and purr your man to bliss!" "Men like to be in charge. Let him order for you in a restaurant.") And I've given serious consideration to renaming February "penis euphemism month" for all of the synonyms of that organ that start appearing in the personal advice columns.

It was therefore a shock and pleasure to come across a genuinely funny, resoundingly accurate piece about romantic relationships. The audience, admittedly, might be rather limited: it's called "The Nerd's Handbook." Valentine's-appropriate excerpt:

A nerd needs a project because a nerd builds stuff. All the time. Those lulls in the conversation over dinner? That’s the nerd working on his project in his head.

It’s unlikely that this project is a nerd’s day job because his opinion regarding his job is, “Been there, done that”. We’ll explore the consequences of this seemingly short attention span in a bit, but for now this project is the other big thing your nerd is building and I’ve no idea what is, but you should.

At some point, you, the nerd’s companion, were the project. You were showered with the fire hose of attention because you were the bright and shiny new development in your nerd’s life. There is also a chance that you’re lucky and you are currently your nerd’s project. Congrats. Don’t get too comfortable because he’ll move on, and, when that happens, you’ll be wondering what happened to all the attention. This handbook might help.

Later in the article, some practice advice:

You love to travel, but your nerd would prefer to hide in his cave for hours on end chasing The High. You need to convince him of two things. First, you need to convince him that you’re going to do your best to recreate his cave in his new surrounding. You’re going to create a quiet, dark place here he can orient himself and figure out which way the water flushes down the toilet. Traveling internationally? Carve out three days somewhere quiet at the beginning of the trip. Traveling across the US? How about letting him chill on the bed for a half-day before you drag him out to see the Golden Gate Bridge?

Second, and more importantly, you need to remind him about his insatiable appetite for information. You need to appeal to his deep love of discovering new content and help him understand that there may be no greater content fire hose than waking up in a hotel overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice where you don’t speak a word of Italian.

Posted by Shannon Chamberlain @ 10:26 AM