Love, Sex & Alienation in Manchester

https://twitter.com/rosiewilby/status/534000374840307712

I heard about the Manchester Spring through Facebook (via Josh R) of all places. I guess he saw the topic (Love, Sex & Alienation) and decided I would be interested.

What are relationships? Why do we seek them out, and how can they enrich our lives? Spring invites you to a thoughtful matinee discussion on the borders and nuances of human interaction. From anthropological, biological, social and philosophical perspectives this event will explore the sticky and personal terrain of love, sex and alienation. What do human relationships have the potential to be? What do they look like when they’re going well?

The speakers were… Rosie Wilby and Don Milligan

It was the first time I had ever been to a spring and to be honest first time I had really heard of them. The subject reminded me of geekstalksexy event we put on years ago. Rosie talked about her experience and feelings about non-monogamy, as she did for BBC Radio 4 and elsewhere a while ago.

This view point on non-monogamy didn’t go down quite as smoothly as I thought it would with quite a left leaning audience. To be fair the spectrum of non-monogamy was boiled down to pretty much cheating or poly (we all know theres so much more to this field). The conflict was moved up a level when someone suggested that there was no way you could get the same level of love from multiple people and that you maybe poly people might be wasting their lives trying.

This was seriously upsetting and as a non-poly person, even I was slightly shocked at this. Thankfully a lady passionately responded and made the person rethink their narrow view.

Rosie then made the excellent point that even if you don’t think its for you, we must be supportive of peoples choices. She compared it to what people said in the 80’s and 90’s about queer people and the feminism movement right now. And she was dead right!

We must support peoples rights to make well informed decisions about what works for them. If that be serial monogamy, non-monogamy or anything else. As long as its not harmful to others and everybody involved are giving informed consent (something we talked a lot about on LoveGrumps yesterday which you unfortunately won’t ever hear due to the bandwidth issues we experienced).

Rosie was full of good points and she made one about communication and having the confidence ask for what you want and don’t want. I was going to make the point that its usually a relationship break up when the people involved stop communicating.

Then the talk turned to children, logical families, emotional faithfulness, assumptions about relationships and what we learn from media about relationships. A lot of ground was covered and likewise Manchester Spring looks like a interesting place for these types of conversations.

Who Cares?

Something Rosie said stuck with me long afterwards. It was the nature of love affair friendships. She made the point that she has a friend who she only watches films with, a close friend she goes out with, another one she knows is really into something she loves, etc, etc. The instant answer is… “yes but those don’t involve having sex/sleeping with them?” But is a relationship not complete without sex? Who are you to say the relationship I have with my friends and family doesn’t count? Point is, could it unrealistic to expect one person to fill all those roles. Maybe Helen Fisher is right? lust, attraction and attachment can be/is better achieved by multiple people?

I am personally not poly, into open relationships or anything on the map of non-monogamy but know quite a few people who are and considered what it would be like for myself personally. Could I really cope, would I end up jealous and twisted, do I have the maturity to really say what I want? Its a interesting one. Maybe we are more non-monogamous than we actually think?

One thing for sure is I wanted to talk about what a interesting weekend I had, but found it difficult to talk about it in a frank and open way. The idea of non-monogamy is still cast in the murky world of the unknown, maybe its time to be honest with ourselves and stop living the hollywood dream. Maybe we’ll feel so much better for doing so?

Do you know how to flirt?

Geeks talk sexy flirting workshop

If the answer is yes, then great…

However if the answer is maybe or simply no… You might want to consider it a gap in your knowledge and its time to learn?

Flirting is one of those things nobody ever really teaches you, as a human being you are expected to know how to flirt. If your lucky friends in school will guide you in the right direction but if your not, you are wondering how it all works…

3 years ago as part of the Geeks Talk Sexy series we did a practical session at the closing. That closing session was run by my good friend Nicole, who once took me on a flirting tour in London. It was fun and I learned a interesting side of me when it came to flirting. So years later, we got talking and Geeks Talk Sexy workshop was born.

Now to be fair Nicole used the flirtology workshop format without really asking permission and we tacked a discussion with a friend about pickup artists and the game on the end. The thought was to guide people through the fun of  flirting and then expose them to the darker side.

The event went well and although some people did get asked to leave the cooperative supermarket, the group bonded well and there was a real sense that together everybody learned something new about themselves.

So I’ve been thinking ever since, maybe its time for a proper official flirtology workshop in Manchester? I have been in touch with Jean Smith and we’ve agreed Manchester’s screaming out for a official flirtology workshop.

Details are still being worked out but look out for a workshop before the end of the year…

Interaction, one reason why women avoid tech?

Elizabeth talks posture

I had the pleasure of going to Manchester Tech Nights, which is usually clashing with the Manchester Werewolf Chapter. Thankfully not this one, good work Chris sorting this one out.

The bit which stood out for me was a talk from Elizabeth Clarke who talked about the interaction between males and females in the work place. I didn’t know what to expect but before long Elizabeth was asking questions of the audience which was 75% male. Her point is the way we interact is different and knowing the differences could be part of the reason why females feel uncomfortable in the male dominated tech world.

Her background is fascinating, and makes a lot of sense based on her view point.

I’m very sure many women in the tech industry have some bad stories of when guys have invaded their personal space, have felt uncomfortable and the communication has gone a rye. Saying so always reminds me of the key reasons why Girl geekdinner was such a success.

It was refreshing to see and hear. Reminding me very much of the things I tried to do with Relationships 2.0 and Geeks Talk Sexy. Little bit of knowledge can not only help aid the interaction between workmates. But also help gain confidence outside of work. And many could really do with a dose of self confidence.

I’d love to do something with Elizabeth in the future, but we shall see if I can convince her back to her flirting advice days.

Simon was right, self help for men

confidence

Simon was right… Not often I say that *smile*

When we did the Flirt and Pickup workshop ages ago, it caused more than a stir. But Simon always said pick up resources were always self help for men who don’t like self help. Give them a book and steps forward to improve their life and they will ignore you. Say it will get you laid and most men’s ears will pick up (pun intended).

Actually as Simon says, you can also swap getting laid for sales/money or fame/success and you’ll cover all the major male self help books. It’s all the same principle, and in all cases you can take it too far, manipulate and become the hateful confidence trickster, pick-up artists or evil bosses that give male self-help a terrible name.

Male self, is further expanded when reading Girls on the net

“The seduction world is self-help in disguise. The majority of it is about developing confidence in more traditional self-help.”

The Game helps that, apparently. Pick-up artists help that, apparently. Because they give men self confidence and tricks and scripts and plans and all the extra bits and pieces. However, the self confidence isn’t the stated goal for the vast majority of people in this community: sex is. What’s more, self-confidence on its own won’t get someone from being a shy, nerdy never-kissed-a-girl type into their first relationship. The thing that will most dramatically increase the odds of any guy sleeping with, or having a relationship with a particular woman, is talking to her.

All pick up artists will tell you to do this, but few will make a big fuss over it. They’ll tell you how to talk, and when to talk, and sometimes what to say, but they won’t tell you that the key to all of their success comes from the simple fact that you’re doing it. That, absent any peripheral voodoo, they’re taking people who never talk to women, and getting them to talk to women.

The whole day was actually about confidence…

Confidence is key and getting over your fear of rejection, being generally a interesting character and a little luck will greatly help!

Geeky&Sexy becomes Relationships 2.0

Relationships 2.0

Geeky&Sexy just became Relationships 2.0

Herb Kim suggested to me after the amazing geeky&sexy event last Thursday, than I should change the name of the event. It might be putting some people off and actually it might do a slight dis-service to a great event. So after much thought, I changed it to Relationship 2.0 (which was suggested by Herb over email)

Just the right time because I’m preparing for the next event also at the wonderful FYG Northern Quarter Deli.

This time we delve deep into the world of the rules, the game and well beyond…

Do these systems work or are they totally bull? What use are they? And whats else is out there? We discuss in geeky detail… with lots of wine and fantastic nibbles from FYG.

You won’t want to miss this one sign up now

Geeky&Sexy… The politics of first time dating

This is Thursday in my busy social week

Following Tuesday’s talk at Preston Social, I was looking forward to deep diving on the politics of first time dating for the new look Geeks Talk Sexy…

We had it all planned out and about 4pm I got a text message from my partner in crime saying she wasn’t able to make it anymore. To be honest I was really really peed at this news. A few weeks back she had told me that she had a funeral on the same day and might not be able to make it. I did say back then, if she can’t make it just tell me but it would be a real let down but I could have struggled through. I mean its devastating when ever anyone dies and to be honest Geeky&Sexy can’t even be considered when something like this happens. However she said she will be there…

Except she wasn’t! The only reason I’m not naming her is because I can’t be bothered with the stress (i’ve had the same thing before remember…)

Anyway, I headed to FYG Deli early as I wanted to work out what I was going to do and have a nice red wine and cheese platter to calm my frustrations. I explained what had happened to the lovely owner and she had a think about the problem. After a while she suggested why don’t the two waitresses do the part which was missing? Brilliant! And after a quick preview of the justification why the guy should pay emailed to me a few days earlier. They gave a look over and went away to do there day jobs.

About 7pm people started arriving, some new faces and some old faces. The great thing is although we had about 15 people (which is nice intimate number) half were female and the other half were male. So we really had a spread of ideas and thoughts.

Kicking off about 7:30pm, once people had settled and got themselves a drink and little snack from FYG’s amazing deli menu. I started the presentation and handed it over to the two FYG waitresses to explain why the man should pay on the first date. They were nervous at first but quickly gained confidence together. I then explained why its best to go dutch or split the bill on the first date. After which I left the question of the woman paying in the air.

The conversations really got going as soon as the waitresses explained why the man should pay. There was very little prompting and poking for peoples views. Everyone felt so very comfortable in the intimate setting of FYG, it all just came out. People were very respectful of other peoples opinions and I swear I had a harder time trying to call breaks and move the topics on to the other aspects of the politics of first time dating. I’m sure if I had left it, we would still be discussing it all till 11pm still.

I know its hard to convey in a blog post after the fact but it was one of the best things I’ve done in March.

Everyone loved it and are looking forward to the next one on Thursday May 3rd. Its going to be at FYG Deli again, topic may change a little to how to end a relationship in the best possible way…

On your first date? The man must pay?

::Throughout life you will meet one person who is like no other,,, ::

I was in a meeting today with 3 female collages (I won’t say which ones for now) about BarCampMediaCity and somewhere along the conversation we got talking about my love life… don’t ask me how we got there but something happened…

One of the ladies said something about first dates and I replied saying I’ve got some crazy experiences over the last few years I’ve been dating. We had a brief chat and somewhere along the conversation she said something which I had to unpick.

It came about that she believed that on the first date, men should always pay for the meal.

I was shocked! Like totally dumbfounded…

So shocked I had to pose the question on twitter… a few people replied including my sister and very good friend.

I can’t believe in 2011 we still have these old fashioned views. I was under the illusion that woman had moved on and wasn’t buying all this chauvinistic crap. I was also under the illusion that insisting to pay for the whole dinner put the woman in a difficult position, like you owe the man something.

It turns out I might have been wrong all this time.

But to be honest, I say rubbish… This sounds like something straight out of the rules.

I might be wrong but I certainly like to think the woman I go out with are not bound by such frankly stupid ideology. Its 2011 for goodness sake! I can make a lady feel better in much better ways than paying for her meal. I mean, come on… Is she meant to be grateful that I unimaginatively paid for her meal instead of something creative and from the soul?

Just because I don’t pay for the whole meal doesn’t mean I’m not into you, maybe I respect you so much that I’m not going to undermine you by paying for the whole bill. I understand you have a great job and would like to share the bill with me also out of respect…

Maybe in there lies my problem, I show too much respect for woman and I should also adopt this chauvinistic take? To be fair its worked for lots of my other friends but I deep down like to think the woman who I end up growing old with (in the end) is smart enough to see through this crap and is happy to take her own path and make her up her own mind. Not be pressured by this old fashioned legacy…

What do other people think? Should I cover the costs of all the dates I go on? It certainly will restrict how many dates I will go (time to loose the serial dater tag then) on in the future if so…

Lastly this is certainly something for the 2nd season of geeks talk sexy… Maybe its time to start thinking about it

Continue readingOn your first date? The man must pay?

What about sex?


Found in Linux Magazine, the start almost sounds like one of tiny nibbles podcasts.

“What about Sex?” the woman sitting across from me at the dinner table asked. I felt my face start to flush. She was about my age, and fairly attractive. I, of course, am unmarried, and therefore “available”. However, her husband was sitting next to me……

“She is afraid that these young people who are in front of computers the whole day, only communicating by Facebook and the Internet do not have the social contact that people need”, her husband explained. “She wants to know if they have ‘significant others’.”

The rest of it is much more what you’d expect from a Linux magazine… Which I guess is a bit of a shame. But I really want to leave a comment pointing to the series of talks and workshops which made up geeks talk sexy series. Hey and lets not forget the article which turns the question on its head too…

Flirting versus pick-up. Where to begin?

Buyin the game

Since the moment the concept of doing a flirting and pickup workshop was kicked about, there’s been a silent backlash from different quarters… One of the people most vocal has been @Maznu who’s been writing about the whole thing on Twitter quite a bit. In actual fact, we’ve been going back and forth for a few nights on twitter. But Maz also wrote on Simon Carters blog and my own. After reading her (I’m assume shes a she) reply I had to blockquote it as its a very well executed argument, and crystallizes a lot of what I don’t like about the game and pickup.

I’m in two minds because I feel Simon Lumb might have been unfairly singled out by people like Maz, when actually he’s a nice guy who happened to dabble with pickup a while ago. Then again, Maz kind of covers that too. Anyway, he’s the comment with my thoughts between

…First I suppose I ought to outline what I believe these two things are.

Flirting: to deliver a compliment to somebody in a way that says, “out of all the people right here right now, I’ve noticed you, there’s something special about you, and maybe we should talk a little longer.” Flirting is something that anyone can do regardless of the nature of the “attraction”: gay guys flirt with girls (who they have no intention of taking to bed), and vice-versa. I flirt with friends, lovers, former lovers, would-like-to-be lovers, people I am not attracted to, anybody. It’s a “compliment++”: it doesn’t mean “I want to have sex with you” (though there can be that connotation). From what I’ve read of Nicole’s presentations, and her website, I think she’d agree with me.

Yes I think Nicole would be in total agreement…

Pick-up: by the definitions of The Game (the book), this is all about steering conversation and interaction with someone as quickly as possible from initial meeting to sex. Don’t get me wrong: I have absolutely no problem with promiscuity. I have no problem with “one night stands”. You and I and Simon and Ian and whoever are quite welcome to shag whoever they want… but there has to be respect and honour.

On respect: The Game (or rather the book “The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists”) is about a short-cut. Using techniques such as NLP, reframes and others, the goal is to proceed from initial encounter through seduction to sex in a swift manner. And the people that Strauss writes about in The Game seem to have a secondary goal: validation amongst their peers. This is where The Game falls down for me utterly, and where my offence at Sexy Geeks’ “Flirting Workshop” (as originally advertised) stems from.

Its worth mentioning Simon Lumb did email me after we posted the description for the event and say he wasn’t really happy with the description. Without getting semantical, the description was written by myself with another guy in mind. Originally it was meant to be Simon and Andy but Andy had to drop out at the last moment and so Simon inherited what was planned by Andy. Now to be fair, if Simon had been a little more in touch he could have crafted the session a bit more, but I had to go with what I had on the table, which was mainly Andy’s plan.

Although it hurts me to say, I think your right short cutting people with NLP techniques does bother me greatly, specially when there not shared in a open way. Its gives one person the upper hand and thats not good in my book. Dare I say a lack of respect. But I have to say, Simon’s really not like this.

The pick-up seems (to me) to be more about the PUA’s “self esteem” than something which, frankly, is more equal. The result is that many will see the PUA as sexist, misogynistic, etc. Personally I don’t differentiate on gender, so I just see this smarting of lack of respect: it’s about using someone. I always feel that you should party company with someone — be it saying goodbye or ending a relationship — leaving the other person in a “better state” than when you found them. Pick-Ups don’t achieve this; but further, the behaviour of Strauss and his peers actually distances them from the female company they seek. Theirs becomes a completely male-dominated society: they only ever seem to earn or seek respect from their fellow PUAs. Therefore I find their approach to be completely incompatible with the sort of thing I thought “Sexy Geeks Manchester” is about, namely “helping make good relationships”).

I was once called a misogynist because I didn’t act like most guys with a bunch of (lets say) lovely girls. They expected me to try my luck and I wasn’t having any of it (I think this is about the time when I discovered the Rules). They were the centre of most guys attention at the time and place but not mine. They later concluded that I wasn’t gay, married or in a relationship so I must hate woman. Simply because I exercised control over my feelings and sexual organs.

I guess I’m saying in that example is woman can be equally bad at making the opposite sex feel crap. Not that this equals or squares things off. Just a thought that I imagine a lot of guys may have come cross and so they turn to things like the Game to help them get the upper hand. This is the reason why I bought it up to start with.

On confidence: personally I believe that the attribute of people that is most commonly “attractive” is confidence. Unfortunately we are all too easily fooled by bravado, mistake it for confidence, and realise this about our new boyfriend/girlfriend/lover/etc too late. Bravado is covering up an insecurity with a projection of confidence, and a lot of PUA techniques seem to be about doing just this. Sadly, as a “self help book”, The Game doesn’t really address the underlying confidence problems. The educated reader might do that themselves — I hope Simon was one! — but what The Game teaches strikes me to be more about “casting a glamour” rather than self-improvement. The strange and subtle thing about confidence is that confident people don’t usually appear confident… because they don’t need to!

Ok you got me… I think your right on this one. Me and other pickup artists (certainly not Simon) have debated this to death. And your right the projection of confidence aka Bravado bugs me greatly. You need to be comfortable in your own skin, if your not no matter what front you put on it, it will still be there when you look in the mirror tomorrow morning. I think Simon’s confidence may have took a serious knock back in 2002 (is when he said it might have been) but I can’t help but imagine what he was like before I met him. I’m sure he was always a nice guy with a passion for games.

I did say to Andy a while back when we were planning the workshop that I’ve always been happy to talk to the opposite sex. It just wasn’t a big deal… This is part of the reason why I find it hard to understand the need to put on a game face or bravado. I am who I am and if you don’t like it, well tough… 🙂

I also wonder about casting a glamour, I mean at what point do you have to give up the bravado and get real? First date, 2nd date, after meeting the parents, after meeting the friends? When your engaged, when your married or maybe even when your dead? If its not really you, then why bother? Is that other person worth that much trouble? Surely doing this must cause massive problems down the line.

But perhaps the PUAs you had speak at Sexy Geeks weren’t “bad” PUAs. You talk of a heart-warming story. I can fully get behind anybody who is pushing through a self-esteem problem, as your speaker Simon says he was after a horrible break-up. Unfortunately I have several questions, or perhaps hesitations, about this. For instance: “Simon talked about it and suggested he also doesn’t really like it but sees what its trying to do,” but in my book if you don’t like it, then why are you doing it? “Finally Simon talked about moving away from the pickup artist title”: is that because he internalised sufficient PU techniques till they became instinctive, or does he now have qualms with the ethics of “picking-up”? While the “lessons learned” by PUAs might be similar to those things that help with flirting (be yourself, confidence, etc), I think context is key: respect is earned not just from what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it.

I have no answers for you on this one… Only Simon could really tell you whats in his head (besides Halo and Djing). I would only suggest that maybe internalising pickup techniques could be handy in certain suitations like interviews for jobs. I would be a liar if I didn’t admit to using NLP techniques in interviews and to be fair I’ve only been turned down for one or two jobs in my life when I’ve gotten past the CV/application stage.

We can moralise the PU techniques as “ice-breakers” and say “they just help level the playing field” or “but I have low self-esteem, I need something that works.” But at the same time, the presenters at your talk were labelling themselves as “pick-up artists” — to speak of someone as “wingman” very much suggests a PUA lifestyle as per Strauss’ initial meeting with Mystery — and this comes with trappings and potential anti-feminist connotations. Perhaps they would protest, “We’re pickup artists, but we’re nice people! We don’t exploit women!” — but I have trouble believing that, because I can’t imagine someone using that “negative” label in such a manner. Maybe I have it wrong, maybe Chris and Ian are reclaiming the words “pickup artist” in the way that some of us are reclaiming the word “slut”, but if so, that hasn’t come across at all in any of the blog posts I’ve read about their talk; and it’s not part of a wider movement that I’m aware of either.

Yes I think Simon might be in a bit of hard place due to myself again. The description was hard to write and was written in a rush without talking to Simon (he was busy at the time) and once again he did ask me to change it, as he wasn’t happy or even comfortable with pickup artist (I kept because I couldn’t really think of another term).

I would also add Simon is the only person who would not admit to being a pickup artist in the past (I only found out because Andy let slip one day). Maybe there is a fear of the pickup artist stigma but Simon (and total respect to him) did it anyway with a slight push from me.

So generally I think Simon has never really been comfortable with the idea that he might be a pickup artist as such (sure he’s the only one who knows). No one’s certainly try to reclaim the word, although I did try and reclaim “serial dater” away from a player to someone who just goes dating a lot…

Yes, there is a place for discussing these “chat-up techniques” and debating them. I think this is a very interesting topic, and attitudes such as The Rules and The Game should be discussed.

To be honest, I was planning to do “The Rules” at some point in the next geeks talk sexy season because just like “The Game” (and your so right grouping them together). I did allude to it in geeks talk sexy part 2 but the whole debate got hijacked by the notion of the game as so many people hadn’t heard of it.

However, I still feel very strongly that the billing of “Flirting Workshop” alongside “Pickup Techniques” did a disservice to what I believe you’ve been trying to do with Sexy Geeks Manchester. All your speakers up till now had been about forming relationships in which equality, fairness, happiness, passion and fun are a huge part; and some of the “types” of relationships discussed have been quite diverse. I wasn’t there, I might not be reading well enough between the lines, and for these reasons and more perhaps it’s not my place to be so offended…

I totally understand the outrage but also I have to be honest, I’m balancing freedom of information / open information (because I still believe people should know about this stuff) with my distaste of it. The Flirting workshop was always on the cards from the start but after the outrage of geeks talk sexy 2, I decided to push this into the limelight.

As I said on the techgrumps podcast, I’m taking a anthropological view on it all. Its like being Louis theroux I imagine. Never was I promoting the pickup lifestyle, but I do think people should be informed so they can make there own decision without social bias.

As Simon said, some people take this knowledge and use it for there own means, screwing over most of the people around them. Others (like myself and I would suggest Simon) take it and use positively to help people around them and improve relationships. I will admit not only have I read the game, the rules but also as Simon said Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people” and one of my favorites Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Although not dealing with relationships exactly, there also a source of NLP and other techniques. But likewise I’m choosy when I use these techniques and I find them handy for protection when your being social engineered by someone else.

What bugs me is the tons and tons of books and articles on Sudo-NLP techniques which I’ve witnessed in the dark corners of the internet. Anyone who thinks the game is shocking should have a look down the Piratebay’s top 100 ebooks.

  • How to analyze people on sight?
  • How to blow her mind in bed?
  • The Game
  • The body langauge rules: A Savvy Guide to Understanding Who’s Flirting, Who’s Faking, and Who’s Really Interested?

If we don’t cover these type of things, people who might lack the social skills seeking a way to understand the whole process better. I’d much rather someone learn about it in this way that from sudo crappy shadowy book, tutorial, etc…

but I think this combination overstepped a line of taste, somewhere. As I said in my first tweet, “what next? someone talking about The Rules to Geek Girls Manchester?” — and that is still how I feel. Interesting material, but somehow — to me — it seemed the wrong combination of time and place for it.

First up I wouldn’t do the Rules to just girl geeks, it would be open to everyone because it would be interesting for men to know too.

Maybe we did overstep the mark, but to be honest I was planning to push back on Simons talk but it totally surprised me, as it was enlightened and not like some of the other people I know who use the term pickup artist as a proud badge. Geeks talk sexy was always going to be touchy for different people. We’ve had people moan at us about our binary notion of relationships, our over indulgence (there word not mine) in non-monogamy and finally our look at the art of pickup (can’t find a better word)… Locking pickup and flirting together might not have been the best idea but I got to say everyone walked away from the event positive.

Maybe Maz, Josh and others would have felt different if they had come on the workshop.

We are all ears for the next season of geeks talk sexy… I look forward to the feedback…

Geeks talk sexy: The flirt and pickup workshop

I was always nervous about the concept of doing a Geeks talk sexy workshop. However I pushed on with the help of Hwayoung Jung and Simon Carter.

The Concept was simple, take a bunch of geeks on one of Nicole’s Flirt and Walk tours in Manchester instead of London. But then afterwards have a couple of pickup artists talk to the group and maybe take them out.

After finally getting everyone on board (we had to switch from 2 pickup artists to 1 due to scheduling) the day finally came. The number of places also filled up at the end. We quickly filled to 12 people on the day before and unfortunately we had turn people away via the eventbrite signup. In the end we ended up with about 10 people through out the whole workshop.

It started in Madlab at 6pm, once people started turning up Nicole greeted them on the ground floor. Everyone sat around wondering what they had signed up to but we keyed them into the schedule for the evening and made people comfortable, before jumping into the first task/workshop as they walked up to the top floor of Madlab.

Nicole in her most charming way, ran a few workshops upstairs including staring at a person, sitting next to you. The idea was to get people thinking about body language. A nice little debate started up about length of time to stare at someone, depending on city and area. The suggestion was that if you stare at someone for 2 secs in London, you might end up getting your head kicked in. While in outer Manchester, it wouldn’t be such a big deal.

Geeks talk sexy flirting workshop

After a few more exercises, it was time for the walkabout. On the way down to the Cooperative supermarket (just off market street, near the Arndale shopping centre) we were told to meet eye contact with people on the street and maybe even wink at one or two of them. I don’t believe anyone achieved the wink but catching people glances seemed to work, specially when a smile was added.

The shopping market task was to strike up a conversation with people in the store as you shopped (or at least made it look like you were shopping). There was extra bonus points if it was someone you fancied. So with that I personally took to the isles looking for the tea & coffee section, logic being you could easily ask someone for there advice on teas and coffees, plus you may get some nice ladies hanging out there or something (made sense in my head). In the end I got talking to a lovely blonde girl of about 25 in the beer, wine and spirits isle. I asked her about the beer she was buying and admitted my hate for beer but the need to buy some for a friends party today (little white lie). She wasn’t very talkative but I kept pushing and backed off at maybe just the right moment.

Geeks talk sexy flirting workshop

Others in the group tried at the Cooperative and the Tesco Metro just down the street. There was a lack of the general public but the task came to a end in the cooperative when security had a word with one of the guys and suggested they would be calling the police if they didn’t leave the store. I was in Tesco at the time, so I came back to find most people standing outside cooperative with the security and a manager standing close to the door way.

It was obviously time to move on, and share stories in a bar over drinks. That was the end of the Flirt club section of the evening. Now was the pickup section with Simon.

After a little while, we enter the photographic studios of Amir Shah, who kindly let us use them for the workshop. Everyone gathered around a table and Simon stood up and gave a really interesting talk about the game and how/why he got into it…

Geeks talk sexy workshop

Simon was frank, honest and open when he talked about a relationship which went very bad and how he had to pick himself up. For him the book the game is nothing more that a self help book. He used it to pick himself up and better himself. Not by abusing his new found confidence but by finding himself. It sounds all very zen/new age but actually its quite touching. In actual fact I’ve found quite a few touching stories in the process of doing geeks talk sexy, including the story of Chris and Simon Carter. At that point I realised I was treating Simon like all the others I’ve known who had read the game, but in actual fact he was different.

Had I been too monochrome about people who read the game? I mean I had read the game too, many years ago and choose not to follow it or practice many of its techniques. Its possible (small chance I know 🙂 that someone else (Simon in this case) had come to a similar conclusion?

In the Q&A which followed, lots of techniques were explored including the highly controversial technique the Neg. Simon talked about it and suggested he also doesn’t really like it but sees what its trying to do. He made a lot of good points about self confidence and meeting your own personal potential. Also a lot of things Nicole talked about fitted really well with Simon’s points.

Finally Simon talked about moving away from the pickup artist title. Like a Limitless which came out just recently, the ability was just part of him now. He was no longer acting and doing, it was just part of his personality now. And it shows… When I first was clued into the fact Simon was involved in pickup, I didn’t really believe it. I just thought that was his personality but then again, I’ve only known Simon for about 4 years and had very limited contact with him at that. I can hardly blame him for wanting to move on from pickup (maybe this is why he was so frustrated with the workshop description and title) There’s been a lot of negativity about the pickup aspect from many corners but Simon’s advice was consistent with my own and Nicole’s. It mainly boils down to,

  • Be yourself
  • Feel confident within yourself
  • Don’t put people on a pedestals
  • Treat people as people
  • Your time is important
  • Be the best that you can be

Mid flow

Before long our time was up and that was the end of Geeks talk sexy season 1. Although we had to change things on the run up to the workshop, it all worked out really well. The people who signed up were willing to push there own boundaries and accept they might need a little help in this area. As Simon said, no one really teaches you how to talk to potential love interests, its just something which your left to figure out by yourself… This also use to be the case for sex, but now there’s reasonable sex education in school… Not that I’m suggesting they should teach this in school but imagine the benefits if they did?

(Btw, its worth listening to this Techgrumps #29 where in the last 3rd, I discuss the Geeks talk sexy workshop and some of the insights and feedback I got from it.)

Geeks talk sexy has been a remarkable series and has expanded by own knowledge and experience. Hopefully its also done the same for other people. I certainly think there will be a second season, and maybe we’ll run the geek speed dating event and of course the flirt and pickup workshop again.

Thanks once again to Nicole, Simon, Amir, Hwayoung, Simon, Samantha and everyone who’s taken a interest in geeks talks sexy, its been one heck of a ride….

Geeks talk sexy part4: The dynamics of relationships

Chris and Simon

Ed and Alice live together and will soon marry. She decides she’d like more sexual experiences before settling down with the man she loves, so she convinces Ed they should “see other people” (as in, sex with strangers), even as they continue to live together and plan the wedding. They discuss it. Each knows someone who thinks this idea is cool; each has a friend who thinks they’re nuts. Things start reasonably well, but soon their relationship goes awry. Can the genie get back in the bottle and Ed and Alice return to companionship – or does seeing other people put an end to how Alice and Ed used to be?

Geeks talk sexy part 4, kicked off with a edited version of the film, seeing other people. This time it was a slightly lower key affair with a total of about 12 people showing up to find out what the dynamics of relationships meant.

The dynamics of relationships started without the wonderful Samantha Bail (Sam has a university course she needed to spend far more time on, shes ignored it for too long really). We (me and Simon, who has helped out with geeks talk sexy from near the start) weren’t sure if she was the reason for the large turn outs earlier but it was a quieter more intimate event this time, which actually worked out nicely.

Right from the start we asked some very challenging questions about previous relationships and there thoughts about monogamy. We always planned to discuss in the first half about relationships including hacking them. Then in the second half about non-monogamy.

So in the first half, we de-constructed what it means to be in a relationship… At one point we started to project manage a relationship using planner (which is like Microsoft project). Assigning time information to tasks, we were able to see if Agile methodology could be applied to relationships? The idea seems to work quite well but applying the time information was challenging to say the least. For example, there was a question: At what stage do you change your facebook status to say your in a relationship? And do you say in a relationship with person x? On top of that, we explored hacks people use in relationships. Someone suggested sending flowers to the other person, and this was followed up with a discussion of applying this to a cron. Now thats hacking a relationship…!

Up to that point we talked about relationships in a monogamous way. Now we were asking people to think out side the box. In the break we played the 4thought with Clair Lewis.

Clair Lewis from Manchester has two partners, Phoebe and Gordon, and cannot understand why anyone would have a problem with her loving two people at once

After the break and a cocktail later, we were deep in discussion about  the map of non-monogamy. There was plenty to be said… too.

Before long we were on to the special guests (Chris & Simon) who explained how they went from a everyday married couple to become poly. A very interesting tale of love, trust, commitment, compromise and  understanding. Simon said it right when he explained you can love more that one person… You love your parents, your sister/brother, your children, your partner. A relationship isn’t just sex, love takes many different forms.

People later added there own experiences to the mix and before you knew it, we were all questioning our own thoughts about monogamy and would we be able to manage having a non-monogamous long term relationship, and if so which type? I certainly think the Unicorn Polyamory would be high on a lot of men’s lists, but as Louise said… Its called that because its not reality…

Lots to discuss and simply not enough time to discuss it in… It was over the road to Common to continue the conversations till the late hours of Saturday night… The event was a great success, its just a shame we had so few people this time around.

Another great Geeks talk sexy… and maybe the end of our regular scheduled sessions this season. However there’s at least one more, this time a flirt & walk workshop with Nicole from Flirtology and the art of the pickup with our budding pickup artists Simon & Andy. Places are very limited, but expect a grand end to season one…

Continue readingGeeks talk sexy part4: The dynamics of relationships

Retweet error or something more sinister?

Retweet error
Dave mee from Madlab Manchester tried to retweet a message about geeks talks sexy the other day but couldn’t because his iphone4 wouldn’t let him. No idea why, does anyone else know?

The picture was from the official iPhone twitter app – ironically (as Dave puts it), the only two accounts who have thrown this error up have been myself and Loz Kaye’s. Two people pushing for open platforms and transparency… Both accounts are listed as unretweetable?

Geeks talk sexy part 4: The dynamics of relationships

Geeks talk sexy 4

Photo credit – virginsuicides

Its that time again… Yes geeks talk sexy time… Sign up here.

In this Geeks talk sexy, we will de-construct what it means to be in a relationship. In a frank, geeky and enlightening way, we will explore the notion of relationships between one person and another. And ask the eternal question – Why should relationships be any different from a complex piece of code?

  • How do you decide your in a relationship?
  • At what date do you pose questions?
  • How do you deal with the differences?
  • What kind of life hacks do you apply to relationships?
  • Can you apply agile methodology to relationships?

Then when you think we’ve gone too deep, we’ll be thinking way outside the box by exploring what its like to have a relationship not based on the concept of monogamy.

This is certainly not for the faint hearted but there’s no doubt its going to be another eye opening geeks talk sexy. Next stop agile relationships…

Its going to be a good one, and look out for part 5 as its not long after. (keep May 7th free if possible) You can also follow the twitter account for geekstalksexy or the subscribe to the official geekstalksexy tumblr blog.

The Different Types of People There Are on the Internet

Social Media Cafe

Yesterday afternoon I was waiting for my date and she was running really late. But to be honest she did text me to say she was running very late although I was already at the location we said we would meet. It didn’t matter because I was laughing my ass off (yep ROFL) reading my kindle while sipping some very nice teas (guess where I was).

The thing I was reading was my personal Read it later list…was The Different Types of People There Are on the Internet.

I did tweet it from my kindle but Amazon in there wisdom doesn’t support self publishing very well, so you got some quotes but not much else.

This one had me in stiches…

People Who Are Social Media Evangelists

With their dogmatic approach and cries of ‘Social media, therefore world peace’, the self-proclaimed evangelist is deft at confusing causation and correlation to squash a complicated world into their Twitter-tinted narrative.

Where religious fervor was harnessed to defend the church from barbarians, the social media expert rabidly protects their beliefs, as they plunge their faith into herd mentality safe in the knowledge that they are part of a greater good that will heal the world and keep them safe.

Despite claiming to espouse groupthink and the importance of social diversity, the social media evangelist will only speak to other like-minded scholars of the internet.

Pragmatism and empiricism are tools of the crusty old world order. The social media expert is a master of narrativisation and the extrapolation of the anecdotal or rare event into a universal law.

Like 1984’s Big Brother, the social media lover is a deft switcher of allegiances in the interest of the common good of social media. Writers and thinkers will be held up as messiahs before being cast off as pariahs for doing so much as questioning the accepted truths of social media.

Detractors are swatted aside with a derisory allegation that they ‘just don’t get it’, as the social media expert truly believes that reading Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody elevates them to an ivory tower of intellectualism that is unscalable by any other human being, regardless of their superior qualifications or proven track record.

There is an irony in almost all the pillars of truth accepted by the social media evangelist. Yet like the Stoics before them, they hold steadfast, as there is nothing you can subject evangelists to that will cause them to question their unwavering faith.

Most importantly, the social media evangelist will spray empty aphorisms and appropriated language from economics and social sciences all over their feeds and blog posts in an attempt to intellectualise the fact that they just like pratting about on Twitter and Facebook all day.

via James Seddon

The reason why this had me in hysterics was because we all know people like this. Heck I’ve been known to say "… just don’t get it" quite a few times from my ivory tower of intellectualism (*smile*). If your slightly offended by this description, theres this version which is pretty much the same but more subtle.

Its also worth mentioning this is all a internet take (remix) of what was written on the stranger. I’ve been researching the stranger for part 3, after my exwife suggested I go check it out.

I am a ethical serial dater?

Dating for Domokuns

I heard the term a while ago while watching a channel4 documentary and someone was talking about it in a cafe once. but forgot about it till recently after seeing another documentary about a similar topic.

From Urban Dictionary, a serial dater

One who engages in the process of systematically dating an obscene amount people in short span of time. This definition encompasses but is not limited to internet dating, bar dating, long distance flirtations, phone service dating, blind dating, expiration dating, match making, one night stands, friends with benefits, and personal ad surfing. Can be considered a politically correct alternative to word "player" both with and without a negative connotation.

Examples

  1. You do not want to date my roommate, that guy is such a serial dater.
  2. Good luck getting anything meaningful out of her, she’s too much into serial dating.

People I know have committed that I go on a lot of dates, but they only know the half of it. I tend to keep that side quiet because it would be very unfair for me to blog, tweet, etc about someone else. Specially those who turned out to be… well… best say… interesting dates. Maybe I should start a secret blog and write about my experiences on dates many other have.

I reject the notion that I’m a player because I’m not, I just enjoy meeting new people and well I love meeting woman. In actual fact I have 2 dates this week *smile*

What more can I say… I’m a ethical serial dater?

Talking of which, we’re currently planing the complete series of Geeks talk Sexy after our most successful episode yet. Following the success of Tara Hunt, we’ve been thinking about having more guests join us. It looks like we may have roped in some great guests including a couple of pickup artists. More news soon…