Flutterby™! : Geeky Valentine

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Geeky Valentine

2005-02-14 20:31:37.008627+00 by Dan Lyke 11 comments

Nancy's comments in the Touchy Feely Mumbo Jumbo thread made me think that, in honor of the Hallmark marketing moment, we should get some musings on geeks in love going here. Might help the partners of geeks understand the geeks better, and might help the geeks understand themselves better.

One of the reasons I linked to that The 25 Most Inappropriate Things An Objectivist Can Say During Sex is that all of those things, to me, read as true. And the incongruence of those truths coming up against the cultural meanings we have for sex was funny. If you have to say "..., hence my wet panties", you're either about to get turned down as weird, or you're talking to someone who gets it, in which case the foregoing explanation is superfluous.

But it's also incongruous because it pits rationality against something that many people would rather stay unknowable. The local free weeklies out here have competing covers in light of today: The North Bay Bohemian has a Sex: 2005 issue, in which it looks at Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation, and pits Best American Erotica 2005 against the Mammoth Book of Best new Erotica Vol.4, while the Pacific Sun tackles "The Mystery of Love".

But the teaser for the latter is "A-Lea Silas thinks we should embrace the mystery of love rather than see it as a riddle that needs to be solved". This being Flutterby, I'm fairly sure that a good number of you think that there's nothing that isn't a riddle that needs to be solved, and most of us probably have the string of disassembled household appliances, automobiles and relationships to prove it.

So of those two papers facing off for readership, we're far more likely to choose the option that doesn't discount the possibility of understanding. Because we have a long experience of people telling us "I just don't understand [computers | how to set the clock on my VCR | ...]", and we know we understand the world at a deeper level than that.

And we're not willing to accept other cultural myths on the same level. We find it hard to accept that it's a good idea to pay two or three times the going rate for a good dinner because our mates want it to happen on one particular day of the year. We see no reason that we should profess our love via the Beanie Babies[Wiki] of the gemstone world, so we'll eschew diamonds: Someone we love wouldn't ask us to support colonialism, civil strife and genocide for a chunk of rock which has artificially high sales costs and no resale value because of tacky marketing.

(And, frankly, if you want clarity and aesthetics, cubic zirconium looks better with or without a loupe. And I've mentioned befoere the irony in diamond advertising, and many of us "sensitive new age guys" like to keep our coercive sex in the realm of "carefully negotiated with safewords".)

Further, at least in my relationship, it drives Charlene nuts when she expresses an emotional need, especially in terms of how she's relating to someone else, and I say "I realize you want emotional closure, but what action would provoke the reaction you're looking for?". Because, once again she knows that my intellectual approach is the right long term tack, but it doesn't feel right.

So, here's our chance for some Q&A (we'll leave the T&A for another thread): Nancy et al, lay those "I don't understand you guys" questions on us and we'll try to explain.

[ related topics: Politics Objectivism Books Sexual Culture Sociology Consumerism and advertising Marketing ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-14 21:40:05.357009+00 by: Nancy

As I think I'm *incredibly* emotionally needy, as well as quite touchy-feely I'll jump back in. Tho' frankly the T&A is often more appealing to me than the Q&A. At least if it's MY T&A getting the attention, but I'm wandering again.

And now, looking back at your post, I'm just getting overwhelmed by the whole diamond thing because I love diamonds. They're beautiful. They're hard; when I accidently slam my fists together kick-boxing, they won't chip the way my favorite garnet ring did. And don't tell me to take them off. It isn't an intellectual thing, obviously. It's emotional. I'm emotional. As far as 'someone we love wouldn't ask us to...' Well, isn't there always a counter to that? Someone I love wouldn't ask me to forego what, in my history, my culture, my upbringing, my belief system, is so important and integral a symbol. What people do, hopefully, is find a happy compromise. Very personal stuff that.

Mike has told me he doesn't (proceeding cautiously because I really really hate putting words in his mouth) celebrate Valentine's Day because he doesn't want to be told what day to feel/do/think what. He loves me every day and shows me that every day. Just not on Valentine's Day. (Just kidding) But it's an example of where a compromise is necessary because, to me, celebrating Valentine's Day is one wonderful benefit of being in a relationship. We'll just have to figure out how to celebrate it (or not celebrate it) without violating either of our convictions/wants/beliefs/desires/whatever.

Just because you have the intellectual upper hand and can validate everything you say with figures, articles, texts, proofs of whatever kind, is never going to make me feel like my feelings and emotions and even possibly, admittedly, irrational desires are any less real, important, necessary. It will probably hurt my tender little feelings, God forbid, because then where are we? No one's happy. Did I get off track again? What was the question?

How about: Why do you (and Charlene?) think the intellectual approach IS the right long term (or short term) approach? Maybe if it doesn't FEEL right, it ISN'T right.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-14 21:54:23.585904+00 by: Larry Burton

I think Valentine's Day is stupid. I think greeting cards are stupid. My wife enjoys Valentine's Day and getting cards. Regardless of my convictions of how stupid it is my happiness is partially dependent upon my wife being happy so I bought her a card and some little heart shaped earrings and left them on her dresser for her to find when she got up this morning. She was surprised because she didn't know when I had the opportunity to go shopping. She was very happy that I made the time to do something special for her. Now I'm happy.

I didn't get a card or a present. I don't expect one because I think Valentine's day and cards are stupid. Gerri is honoring my convictions by not buying me a present on what I consider a ridiculous holiday. I'm even more happy.

It's all about making your partner happy. Isn't it?

#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-15 01:56:40.730096+00 by: polly

that's right, larry! it IS all about making your partner happy. if she isn't happy, NO one is happy, lol....

even though valentine's day strayed far from it's original intent/place in history...to it's commercialism of today, as did christmas...i do believe that it's the thought that counts. a lady may have a man who does not want to be associated with the hype of holidays and makes the statement that man made holidays are not necessary for him to give presents/gifts/flowers ...i do believe actions will speak louder than words.

for myself? i think i had a husband who gave me flowers on valentine's day...but it has been such a long time ago, i don't remember. now? who needs a man to buy me flowers or candy. i don't need the candy, doesn't fit in with my new fitness program. and i am partial to bouquets that have freesia and daisys in them. roses are a waste of money, especially during the valentines madness. i went out today during lunch and bought myself a bouquet of what i wanted. it is sitting on my desk at school, smells wonderful-kind of drowns out the "old stinky" smell of the school. it looks beautiful and i didn't waste time waiting for a man to give it to me....i'd still be waiting.

sometimes i think the geeks analyze too much, be it emotional needs, a simple ride on a bike through the woods (the geek starts weighing wind volicity compared to the heat of the sun = moisture loss = dehydrated biker)...or the merits of a holiday and whether or not to join the hype and give a flower to the one you love...or is it really love and not just lust = emotions + spiritualness + convenience = loss of privacy X she's wearing my tshirts = loss of self...you get the picture. i think the analytical mind becomes bogged down with "stuff" and loses the simplicity of the moment.

i accept everything at face value. a rose is a rose is a rose, no matter when you get it. oh yeah, nancy, we are woman....we are not irrational because we listen to our feelings/thoughts/desires. i think it's more of being in tune with self, spirit, nature....no machines or reference books needed. although in retrospect, i think a man could use a "how-to" understand a woman manual, lol.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-15 07:23:08.237651+00 by: Pete

Happy VD!

Just finished up over here. Great sex, little gifts, and a home-cooked meal.

My little gifts to her were exactly four candy truffles, a little bear with balloons, flowers, earrings, and theater tickets.

Each element drew upon our history or natures.

The candies were capucino truffles, because she loves coffee/chocolate combos and avoids nutty candies. The bear with balloons was my chance to return the favor when she gave me a balloon a while back. The flowers were roses this time because she hasn't finished killing the orchids from last time! And they smell nice, and were purchased from a field-direct internet shipper (we met at a meetup for people that participate at discussion site), with their arrival timed to let them feed and be presented just ahead of their peak. The earrings are hold-overs--there was this big ordeal where I endured what seemed like the gamut of Biblical plagues to get her earrings for her birthday last year, including being caught outside and unprotected in a hailstorm. That developed into a low-key running joke about owing her earrings every time it hailed. Well, it hailed again recently, and on the way home I picked up two inexpensive but very pretty pairs of earrings and slipped her one--because it hailed. She was blown away, but made it clear she did not want me to feel obligated to continue, so I implied I may have had another set in reserve, and agreed to present them on Valentine's Day and not let the weather determine gift giving! And the theater tickets are for the Broadway run of Monty Python's Spamalot, and those are all about her since she's the major Python fan in the this couple.

And the home-cooked meal? Belgian waffles, from scratch, with fruit, whipped cream, real maple syrup, etc.

The point of all this is that you can take the conventions of the holiday and use them as a means of celebrating the special and personal things about each other. Celebrating Valentine's Day doesn't require burying your own identities to match some popular ideal; you can embrace the conventions and make them your own.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-15 16:23:10.481983+00 by: Dan Lyke

Nancy, it's really not about rational and irrational, although that might be the easiest light in which I can cast it. I'm not sure that we, in human terms, will ever be able to figure out "love" or "romance", it's just that some of us are driven to dissect it and try to explain it and interact with it as though we may be able to.

And when Larry says "It's all about making your partner happy. Isn't it?", my first reaction is "only if that results in me being happier". Obviously it takes a certain sort of person to live and maintain a relationship with me...

#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-15 17:57:19.593996+00 by: Nancy

actually, it's..."only if that results in *my* being happier." It takes a certain sort of person to live and maintain a relationship with me, too!!

But, seriously, I believe it's all about making ourselves happy. And not delegating that responsibility to anyone else. And part of my happiness comes from interacting with those who make me happy! ...those who know how to make me happy, do things to make me happy, care that I am happy...in other words, they do assume some responsibility for my happiness. Or DO they? Maybe they're just doing what makes THEM happy and my happiness is a by-product. Or my happiness makes them happier. It's really an endless loop. Or to put it in touchy-feely terms; "love reflected in love".

Here's a question: If one person in a relationship is happy, is the other person happier because of it? See the loop? At least you'd end up with two loopy people!!

p.s. Pete - thanks for detailing out the gifts and the meal. You did good! (Dan, that's a colloquialism; I know it should be 'well' ha ha) But you left something out. I guess that's why I have my other blogs ;-)

#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-15 18:17:37.474563+00 by: Larry Burton

>> And when Larry says "It's all about making your partner happy. Isn't it?", my first reaction is "only if that results in me being happier"

Dan, my happiness is partially predicated on her happiness. So, when I say that, "It's all about making your partner happy", "it" is my happiness. Yeah, Nancy, we are two loopy people.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-16 01:22:38.498507+00 by: meuon

Happy late VD day.. - Please understand Nancy did get a VD card of sorts.. the day before.. as a "not a Valentine's Day" card, and did end up with a nice weekend near Asheville..and.. well.. [blush]..

My gripe is how Valentines Day has become an artifical guilt ridden holiday promoted by florists, card companies and jewelers.

For a nice complete view: http://www.answers.com/topic/st-valentine-s-day

#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-16 14:40:30.561637+00 by: Nancy

The guilt thing must be a guy's perspective because personally I've never seen or experienced any Valentine-related guilt. I would argue that the guilt is more an internal thing than a commercial-induced thing. But then again, it's pretty presumptuous of me to say where anyone's emotions come from!!

My Valentines memories are: A pair of gold heart earrings a boy gave me (and I still have) over 25 years ago. A phone call Valentine's night when I was single and dateless from a male friend and would-be-date, just to tell me Happy Valentine's Day. And, now, Mike, being so careful not to actually give me anything on THE day, but the day before and after!! He is entirely too precious.

It may be that ALL the holidays are artificially promoted by florists, card companies and jewelers. But probably none more so than Valentines (I just can't bring myself to call it VD!!) But Hey - anytime there's an occasion for me to get some attention (and a gift!?) then... yippee! And it's NOT that I lack anything any other day. I had a wonderful valentines day. The day before, the day of, and the day after; all were nice! I mean, after all, in my own little self absorbed world, EVERY day is NANCY DAY!!! YIPPEE!!!! ;-)

#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-16 14:58:27.652754+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

I have a lot I want to contribute on this topic, but work and time pressures have conspired to keep me from having the spare resources to do so. I'll try to distill a few, brief elements:

In a similar vein to the guilt aspect, the issue lies in expectations and obligations. It's not just a male thing (aside: I don't buy into the separation of "male" and "female" "things" either) - there really is a contrived feeling of obligation that item (a) be purchased, or action (b) be taken, on day (x).

I'm happy to do things that make my partner happy, but the moment you tell me that I must/should/etc. do specified things on a specified schedule then we have a problem.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-02-17 02:13:13.044562+00 by: polly

nancy, you go girl!!! happy VD day :)