How local geeks and nerds are hooking up right now … or not

Web 2.0 Dating Games

How local geeks and nerds are hooking up right now … or not

Thursday, April 19, 2007

And so it goes around the bay: The gays think it's easy for lesbians, the lesbians think it's easier if you're gay … and the straight people think it's easier if you're gay. Granted, these common assumptions leave out a couple of other important letters in our alphabet soup of sexual diversity. Dating in the Bay Area may not be a happy hunting expedition for all, yet one thing's for certain: The communities have community (from the Lexington to, and the nerds have — the Internet. And our Web 2.0 conferences. Happy hunting, and don't get stuck at home Twittering yourself on Friday night. Not that there's anything wrong with that. There isn't. End of discussion. OK?

But wait, you say, don't you frustrated tech geeks have SOMA and South Park and the Marina — I mean, the Mission — on weekends? Or how about those deliciously retro launch mixers, where you congregate and slip each other Moo cards and quaff too much dot-com startup-sponsored booze, mewling belligerently about how sunlight burns your pale skin?


Sure, if your idea of a hookup involves tracking the cosmo-spilled trail of many a girl who thinks "dress over pants" doesn't make her look like a Bed Bath & Beyond's Bed-in-a-Bag-wearing Barbie Facebook Edition. And put down my iBook to sniff out the day-old cigar and single-malt scent of startup jocks rocking the pleated Dockers? Sorry — they may or may not have the new Helio Heat, but their home page is MySpace, and I'll bet their approach is one long, unwanted page load. No, there exists a Second Life because most of us ran scared from the first one long ago, thanks. We live on the Internet for a reason. And isn't the purpose of technology to push us farther apart so we can get closer together, online?

He Looked Hotter On MySpace: Social Networking in Your Pants

This would be the "everything old is new again" tactic — and we've now established that meeting someone for the first time in person is a desperate last resort. Nothing is safer, or more passé, than the social networking sites that bill themselves as common-interest communities, yet for those who prefer to shop before they shop, these sites are hotbeds of licentious, unbridled interest sharing.

Take Flickr , for example. To many, it's an innocent photo-sharing site, but I've spoken with more than one couple who met after "favoriting" each other's photos. It's a slippery slope, dear reader (but only if you do it right).

Many geeks are immune to the lure of signing up for yet another site and making yet another profile — hey, we all did that on Tribe, on Orkut, on yawn-worthy Facebook — an apathy that inspired the comforting site Useless Account. If only there were a snarkier, more 2.0 way to meet and flirt about Google algorithm theories …

The darling of the local geekerati dating set is San Francisco-based, "a new way to find people who don't suck." Or, hopefully, to find people who suck in the way we like most. is a fairly basic social networking site based around profiles and member interaction. It's marketed to nerds and geeks alike with a lot of 2.0 flava — there's a "question of the week" for all members to comment on, users can tag their profile to find common interests (like a "vinyl inflatable" fetish?) and individuals are ranked in popularity by "thumbs-up," Digg-style votes.


All in all, it's a lot more straightforward than cruising and pretending you're not looking to "consummate" more than your relationship with a sweaty mouse. But the true drawback for geeks is that encourages users to actually meet in person at mixers — and confusing cyberspace with meatspace is far too taboo for local coders and bloggers alike. If only there were something more distancing, more cynical …

Oh, but now there's I'm in Like With You, an "invite only" social networking site (and Web-mobile hybrid) where "flirting meets bidding." Each user makes a profile and, rather than subsequently collecting friends like white cat hair on black Dickies (à la MySpace), users set up question-and-answer bidding games to gain (or lose) points on people they're interested in (or vice versa). Selective flirting, and it mitigates the geek-girl gripe of getting 10 unsolicited male "friend" messages a day, as on other sites. It's based in Manhattan, but invites burned holes in local in-boxes during this week's Web 2.0 conference. I'm in Like With You has been described by local bloggers as "addictive" and "amplifying" flirting. Fortunately for us, no actual human interaction is required.

All You Ever Think About Is Text: Ads and Form Submission Foreplay

Outside of services seeking our membership and marketing information in exchange for the entertaining hookup space, Bay Area pleasure-seeking geeks have evolved their own quirky strategies — notably, advertising the wares. Of course, Craigslist (Casual Encounters and Personals) is still the marketplace for the techie's nasty dream rendezvous. A quick stroll through the ads with keywords like "tech" and "geek" yields a medley of mating calls, not all to be answered for fear of rabid prey (while some are irresistibly clever). One winner is the "Fantasy Tech Support Call – m4w – SOMA/South Beach" ad, which reads:

"I have this fantasy where you need help with some computer issues. It could be anything you need help with: security stuff, learning how to use a new application, finding something on the web. In any event, as I am working on your issues you coyly tease me. For example, you could be accidently rub up against me as you take a closer look at the screen. Perhaps you are wearing a loose t-shirt that I might glimps a quick down the shirt peek."

It's not just spring in the air, it's all that 2.0, baby, with "Geeky guy seeks geeky girl for open source, sex 2.0 fun – m4w – 33 (financial district) ":

"I'm seeking a geeky girl that would like to get together for some no strings fun, in my hotel room or yours. Bring over your Mac and let's surf porn together in bed. Maybe afterwards we can have some open source fun of our own. Then we'll twitter about it the rest of the week.


Best practices (LOL):

–You are a geek girl. Nerdy chicks welcome too.

–Under 40-ish.

–Curvy. BBW even. Or whatever. Not picky. It's your geek cred that turns me on.

–Gamer, coder, designer. Or all of the above.

–Glasses preferred. Not a must, but going for the full picture here.

C'mon. Times a wastin'. I'm only here for 3 more nights. Let's have some fun."

But not all techies want to place and answer ads — why not just have people fill out a form and apply for a date on your very own site? That's how MaybeMike, a new SOMA resident and dot-com consultant, rolls. New to San Francisco, MaybeMike has a simple site for one purpose: to meet and date women who fit the specific terms he profiles on the site — his place to "Create a low cost, narrow market, but wide reaching advertisement." Tired of "conventional methods" and perceiving online personals as dishonest, he is looking for a "very liberal Christian" woman who, among other things, has "been around the block, but not too many times" and is "occasionally a sarcastic, high maintenance bitch." On MaybeMike's "Apply Now" page, interested parties fill out a form, upload a photo and get MaybeMike's promises to reply to every applicant, never share her information — and that he "will probably lie and say we met in a bar."

Which prompts a girl like me to push my glasses up the bridge of my nose and ask, "Can I just lie and say we met at all?"

Violet Blue

Violet Blue is author and editor of over a dozen sexual health books and erotica collections. She is a professional sex educator, lecturer, podcaster, video blogger, porn/erotica reviewer and machine artist.

Violet is also a fetish model, a member of Survival Research Labs, an author at Metroblogging San Francisco; girl friday contributor at Fleshbot, a San Francisco native, and a pro blogger.

For more information and links to Web sites discussed in Open Source Sex, go to Violet Blue's Web site,

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