Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Male readers – Care to give me some advice? (Women can play too)

So I have this new friend, acquired through some recent concert-going experiences, who has presented me with a most confusing problem. Well, for me it’s confusing. I’m hoping that it may be a little less confusing to other people and that they can help me figure it out.


Where to start? So, this girl is a lot younger than me, in her early twenties (I’m 33). We seem to be developing a big sister/little sister sort of relationship, and that’s cool, that works for me. I like her, and I’m happy to play that role if she needs me to, which seems to be the case. She’s also very different to me in a lot of ways. Actually, she’s different to pretty much any other friend I’ve ever had, and this is where my big sisterly prowess is failing me.

She’s a pretty geeky kid. Into comics and roleplaying games and such. Kinda tomboyish. Not quite comfortable in her own skin. Really insecure about her weight. She has an awesome personality and she’s smart and funny and all that good stuff, but yeah, geeky and awkward and thoroughly unglamorous (and not at all interested in having me glam her up, either).
She’s also never had a boyfriend. Never even been kissed. This is mind-bending to me. Especially the part where she is quite convinced that this is a permanent state and that she never will find a boyfriend. She is convinced that no man has ever been interested in her, which to me seems pretty much impossible – after all she really is a lot of fun to be around and she has tons of male friends. And yet, somehow none of those friendships ever turns into anything romantic (which again seems odd to me, since I have a habit of hooking up with my friends both male and female).

It’s not that she doesn’t WANT a boyfriend, she just seems to have no idea how to go about getting one. I’ve been trying to help, but I’m having a really hard time figuring out how to get her past the “no one wants me” mindset. See, I’ve never felt like that. Not even as a teenager. I was an arrogant little shit when I was a teenager, and even worse at her age – I always pretty much assumed that I could have almost any man I wanted unless he was already spoken for. She keeps saying things like “I know you won’t understand”, and as much as I want to argue, she’s right – I don’t understand. And that’s making it hard for me to be of any assistance.
So, female readers…did any of you ever feel like that? If so, how did you get past it? What can I do to help and support her?

Then there’s the other problem. The kind of guys she’s interested in? Not the kind I’m into at all. Not something I have any experience with. She adores boys who are shy and geeky and sweet as can be, almost innocent-looking. To me they kind of seem like life-size teddy bears, to be honest, though of course I’m not going to say that to her. The thing is, I don’t know any men like that, and I’ve never had any as friends. Most of my male acquaintances could be described not so much as “quiet” as “damn, does he ever shut up?”. My male friends are LOUD, brash and confident and often pretty full of themselves, honestly. I don’t have any experience dealing with sweet, shy, geeky guys. I suspect that I probably scare the crap out of them.

How do two shy people hook up, anyway? I can see the kind of guys she likes around and about, I am able to identify them, but I’m not sure if my intervening and trying to get to know them with the intent of introducing them to her would be a good idea or if it would just freak them out. It seems like most of those guys are WAY too shy to approach her even if they realized that she’s interested, which I don’t think they do.

Shy guys – how does one approach you? As in, in a way that would be comfortable for you? Can you even tell when another equally shy person is interested in you (it’s not like she’s going to just say “damn, dude, that’s a fine ass you have there” like I might)? Where do you all hang out? Since she’s into general geek stuff I’ve been suggesting that she might want to spend more time at comic stores and other geek hangouts, maybe join some kind of sci-fi book club or gaming group. Can you think of anything else? Where do sweet, shy geek boys hang out other than in the IT department?

I’m seriously at a loss here. Help me!

26 comments:

Arwen said...

1) This person is not at all different than many of my friends.

2) Geeky roleplaying girls of any size are much in demand with geeky roleplaying guys. (Yay shared experience!)

3) However, it has been my experience that geeky boys sometimes ignore the girl-ness of the girl with them. Which is very often a good thing, because too much noticing you're a girl and you don't get to hang out and slay dragons with your plus 20 sword of deepest geekdom.

3.5) You can get typecast, but generally a little fooling around will put paid to that.

4) The issue your new little sister could be having might be one of a few typical of geeky shy girls, all of which are hard to "diagnose" over the internet. Very common is being ripped in two between being Romantic Comedy Leading Lady (quirky, soft) and TSR Leading Warrior (huge breasts, thong armour, and thighs like tree trunks.) These are people to whom characters make sense. So suddenly a guy is confronted with a female friend who looks like she's fritzing between out of character simpering and out of character sexual toughness. This is common, but not necessarily what's going on for your friend.

5) It can be EXTREMELY HARD for an introvert to figure out how to be themselves in a given new/loaded situation.

6) You can tell your friend, however, that of the girls like her, all of them eventually got the hang of it.

7) Also, chubby or fat does not prevent her from finding someone. I'm no pixie. If she looks around her, she'll find a whole country of fat married people. It's okay.

Arwen said...

In other words, whatever the issue seems to be, the real message is:

It's a skill to be learned, the curve is hard, but there is nothing about you specifically that makes it undo-able to find a partner. You do have to get out there and try, but making mistakes or getting rejected is NOT the end of the world. It is the beginning of the world. Also, read the book "Feeling Good".

Cassandra Says said...

Arwen - Hey there, how's it going?

1) In which case please to be giving with the advice!

2) I was thinking that that would be the case, which is why I'm pushing her in the direction of those kinds of groups. The question is what to do once she gets there.

3) This I was also anticipating might be a problem. Why do you think the guys do that? Do they assume that geek=notgirl, or is it that they just don't know how to indicate interest either?

3.5) If one has never done any fooling around of any sort before this isn't as easy as it sound, I think. I got a second-hand account of her attempt at flirtation. It didn't go so well.

4) I think that the problem may be that she doesn't fit any of their "girl" stereotypes. One would think that might make her more approachable and less scary, BUT in practise it seems to mean that they just don't consider her as a romantic prospect. How does one get past that?

5) The puzzling thing is that she's able to interact with new people just fine as long as it's platonic. She had no problem talking to me right off the bat, and she makes friends easily in general. The shyness is specific to the dating context. That's the part that's confusing me the most.

6) As true as that may be, I'm not sure it helps much when one is young, lonely and sexually frustrated.

7) Agreed. Not all men want skinny girls. On an intellectual level I'm asumming she gets this, but how to convince one's subconscious of that fact?

UneFemmePlusCourageuse said...

I used to feel like this girl. When I was in middle school I had braces and I spent too much time writing fantasy stories, so I was labeled the weird one, and while I'd have crushes on a myriad of guys, none of them ever thought I was cute, and some were downright rude.

How did I get over this? By getting my best guy friend to hook me up with the only guy who DID seem interested in me (another friend of his) who I had previously thought was a creepy weirdo, but if he was the only one interested then I wanted him. Guess what? He DID turn out to be a creepy weirdo, and much worse than I thought at that, BUT being with him eventually led to him introducing me to a group of people, both male and female, who ALL thought I was hot. Lucky for me, I was seriously attracted to one of them as well, and with the help of one of the other guys in this group I dumped Creepy Guy to date Attractive Guy and have now been with him for nearly a year and a half. And guess what? He's pretty much one of the nicest guys I've ever met, and he makes me feel REALLY good about myself.

And who were this group of people who all thought I was hot? A D&D group. Pretty much every girl in it (and the other D&D group I sometimes hang out with now) was what could be described as 'geeky.' And last I checked they all had either boyfriends, girlfriends, fiances, or husbands. So maybe she needs to get together with a bunch of people who share some sort of common interest with her. You say she's in her early twenties--is she still in college? The groups I was sort of part of were made up primarily of college students who played on-campus. I'm generally pretty bad with giving advice, though, and I'm even younger than she is so I don't really know what to say beyond that.

Trinity said...

I was this person. What worked for me was finding BDSM, to be honest. I still have nary a clue how in hell to demonstrate interest to vanilla men, and the few times I have tried it's been a sitcom.

"Hey, were you just asking me out?"
"OHNONONONONONONONO I was saying I wanted to hang out on Saturday maybe! AAAAHHH!"

yet somehow, oddly, in BDSM circles this shit never happens.

So, er, aside from steering her into an explicitly sexual subculture where everyone negotiates and it's rarely ambiguous whether "get together" means snog at a movie or sit primly in our seats, uh, I got nothin'.

SallySunshine said...

Hmmm..

Well, I was a really shy girl in my early days and geeky too.

Yet, I too had no self-confidence and didn’t understand why no one liked me. It was a problem.

I’ve seen many people (including myself) go through these transformations from ugly duckling to swan (not necessarily in a physical way, maybe just emotionally or mentally, whatever).

My friend Thom, who was basically asleep at the wheel for the last 20 years of his life, last year lost 60lbs. Before that, he was a shy introverted guy who isolated himself from life, I mean, everything. Now, at 43, he got a promotion at work, dates, and has a really fantastic social life. Even though his physical transformation is nearly complete, he still fights the same demons as before, which has been a challenge for him. He’s accomplished the goal, so now what?

Because even if you do find the boyfriend, lose the weight, or get the degree, whatever it may be, you still have to look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day. Do you like yourself? What can you offer others? Hell, can you take care of yourself?!

Since your friend struggles with self-confidence, self-worth ect… it seems like the dreaded old self-fulfilling prophecy is in full effect.

I had this crazy theory when I was in high school that no white guy would ever like me or want to date me. Ever. Ever. Ever. The reason? Because I was not a blonde, 110lbs, 5’10 model type. How silly. And you know what? For many years there, I didn’t date any white guys. Was it because of my silly theory or just a coincidence? I eventually got over my strange attitude and dated whoever I wanted.

But, it does come down to our attitudes or theories about life… I’m a firm believer that we go for what we know, all the while creating situations that support and fit into our negative (or positive, hopefully!) beliefs.

So..yeah, you can suggest that she join clubs, activities, cultivate her interests (which is a great idea- by the way- she should definitely do that!) but really how will her attitude change and what kind of guy will she attract with that kind of attitude? And, she’s resisting any attempts for you to alter her physical appearance (which is again, fine) BUT she needs some type of major change in another area then to get the ball rolling. Resisting change when you’re trying to forge ahead on to a new experience is a little counter-productive.

Also, in regards to shy guys… I’ve blown it with way too many hot shy guys to be a viable source of advice here (I scared em’ too, Cassandra! For example, telling one I was going to light him on fire! eh.) But, I have noticed that it usually pays to appeal to their intellect matched with a little coyness. Yeah, you generally don’t want to lay it on strong in verbal sense. But definitely, go for it with the body language, eyes, hand gestures, ect.. Use all arsenal accept… damn honey, that’s a hot ass you have!

Also, music! Does your friend like music? Passionate about it, even? If so, have her make a kick ass cd for her potential guy. It’s not too serious of a gift, but it lets him know, “hey, I like you enough to make this for ya.”

Oh, one more thing…I must say, some shy guys really do enjoy the femme fatale act too. It’s so far removed from what they are, so it can also be appealing. I’ve snagged a coupla a shy guys that way. Femme fatale with a wicked sense of humor? Even better.

Does your friend like a particular guy, or is this just an “I’d like my friend to have someone to date type of thing?” Having a crush is so much fun, she should really find someone to crush on first, and then employ the above tactics.

Cassandra, gees, you’ve been doing your good deeds lately! Lots of good karma for you! Taking care of the baby bird, helping this girl, ect… must be some kind of motherly influence going on there!

~SS

Lindsay1984 said...

If I didn't know better, I'd think I befriended you in my sleep and am just now finding out about it. I'm in my early 20's and just established my first real relationship a year and a half ago. My social circle in high school had graphing calculator game tournaments while everybody else was like, having sex, or something. I spent a good year of college drinking and doing stupid, stupid shit, trying to be cool and glam, and then went back to soft-spoken geeks. I met one online(then in person) and have been infatuated ever since. Also, my weight was a huge deal to me, but not to any of the men I've encountered.

So, you can meet guys who like obese chicks playing WoW while humming Monty Python songs.

Cassandra Says said...

unnefemme...So it seems like all it takes is one successful hookup to get over the fear, then? Now if I only knew any guys in her target group. I know one, but he's A. a little too young and B. way too tall. She doesn't like tall.

I must say it is encouraging that everyone's saying that people get over the fear eventually.

She's still in college part time, and it seems like she meets a lot of guy friends there, but nothing is happening on the romantic front. Maybe if I push her a little? Like if I meet some of her guy friends and try to gently suggest that THEY help out with introducing her to friends who would be a good fit for her?

Cassandra Says said...

Trin - Yeah, the BSDM thing isn't going to work in this case, although I really do think communities that explicately negotiate EVERYTHING are a blessing for those with poor communication skills, as well as helping people to learn some.

Cassandra Says said...

sally - You were shy? Seriously? Now that's a wierd thought.

Your point is a good one, though. She seems to think that just losing the weight will fix everything, but no matter what you do to the exterior you're still the same person on the inside. It would certainly help her get more offers, but I'm not sure it'll do much for the underlying issues. It might even make things worse - how bitter and cynical would you be if men had been ignoring you your whole life and suddenly people started hitting on you just because you lost weight? I can see how that could mess with someone's head.

I'm wondering if it's worth at least TRYING to glam her up a bit? Like making her take me with her next time she goes shopping, trying to do her makeup etc. (Watch the radfems try to kill me for suggesting this) She has gorgeous hair that she's not taking advantage of, that's something to work with.

She's even more nuts about music than I am, and that's really saying something, but again, goes to shows all the time and never seems to meet any prospects there. I'm hoping that may be an avenue to introduce her to more guys, since I'll be going with her to some of them, BUT again I think the problem is that the guys don't see her as a prospect either because her overall persona is just entirely non-sexual.

There's no particular guy, BTW.

About the karma thing...I'm actually this way all the time. I never will understand why people who don't know me, and even some of those who do, think I'm such a bad-ass. (Seriously, I have a friend who introduces me to people with the words "This is K..... She's a bad-ass"). Maybe I should have chosen a career in acting?

Cassandra Says said...

Lindsey - See, I figured gaming groups were the way to go. Shared interests do a lot to make it easier to get to know people. Less pressure than a bar, you know?

Also...for some reason I seem to be meeting a lot of people in this demographic recently (late teens to early twenties, kind of geeky, super nice). I think it's to do with the bands I'm going to see, honestly. Kind of makes me wish I'd had more geek friends sooner, since I'm actually into a lot of pretty geeky stuff, I just give off a different vibe to strangers for whatever reasons.

Zan said...

Ah, so you've run into my younger self, have you? Very interesting.

OK, there's an opportunity here. Since she's not got a mad crush on anyone in particular, she's got time to work on herself without any pressure to perform, as it were.

Honestly, I've got or at least used to have, some of the same problems she does. Tons and tons of male friends, but they just didn't see me as girlfriend material. Or, at least, I never thought they did. Quite a few of them did, but I didn't know about it until much later. Why? Because /I/ didn't think of myself as girlfriend material, so I couldn't imagine anyone else would either. It's a vicious circle.

The weight thing is a distraction. Not all men care and some men even really adore bigger girls. And focusing on her weight, trying to lose it when frankly it's nearly impossible, is only going to make her feel worse about herself. And that's bullshit. Because she's way more than her weight. Of course, if someone had told me that at her age, I'd have never believed them either.

Shy guys are awesome! But...they're never going to ask her out. It's not in their nature. They will pine away for her in silence, being her best friend, but never daring to say they want more. Because they're afraid she'll reject them. So, she's going to have to be willing to make the first move. Which can be scary, but with shy guys, the first move doesn't have to be major. Ask him out to the movies. Ask him to go to a gaming con. Ask him ti write a comic with her. Something for just the two of them. Doesn't even have to seem like a date. And, since she doens't have her eye on one specific guy, she can practice on lots. I mean, if she's not terribly invested in a guy, then having him say no won't be that huge a blow to her ego. Or hell, if she can find a nice, shy gay boy? Not to date, of course, but to give her some direct advice. That'd be good. (Plus, they can go out for drinks and guy watch. Always fun.)

Don't try to change her apperance too much. That's a big backfire. If she's not comfy being glam, she'll never be able to carry it off. It requires a certain attitude. Do offer to go shopping with her...make it fun....like a giant game of dress up...no pressure or anything. I know that I'd have lost it if anyone had tried to convince me I had to change what I looked like....especially when my weight was such a burden to begin with.

UneFemmePlusCourageuse said...

Cassandra--
I'm not saying that it solved all of my problems, in fact it may have created some new ones, but the fact that I was at least considered attractive to SOMEONE did help a bit.

And yeah, intermediaries, like my various guy friends, can be quite helpful. So I'd try talking to her guy friends, you might get some results.

Cassandra Says said...

Zan - "Honestly, I've got or at least used to have, some of the same problems she does. Tons and tons of male friends, but they just didn't see me as girlfriend material. Or, at least, I never thought they did. Quite a few of them did, but I didn't know about it until much later. Why? Because /I/ didn't think of myself as girlfriend material, so I couldn't imagine anyone else would either. It's a vicious circle."

This, I think, is the core of the problem.

I think the weight thing isn't the real problem, too, BTW. And the reason I'm not pushing to change her appearance is, why make yourself into something you're not to attract a partner? You'll just end up with someone who isn't really into you.

drakyn said...

*queer trans*guy de-lurking*

I used to have the "no one will ever want me" attitude (and I'm still not quite over it yet). One thing is for her to realize that being single isn't as horrible as people make it sound and that being in a relationship isn't perfect. Because that can actually help her self-esteem. If one of the things she beats herself up about isn't important, then she has one less thing holding her down.
Re glamming her up: You mentioned her hair, if it isn't the color that makes up the bulk of it's beauty, I'd say a drastic change in color might make people notice her. Just please, oh gods, not pink. Every geek/punk girl and her mom has had pink hair and it rarely looks good imo. (Unless she can pull of Haruno Sakura from Naruto, geeky guys would probably love her if she can pull off Sakura's costume)
If she has money to spend, I recommend Torrid; last I was there with a larger female friend it was sort of like a plus-sized Hot Topic.
Long skirts tend to look nice on larger and/or chubby women and would make her appear more feminine. If she's into LotR or SCA/Renfair type stuff she could dress in that sort of theme. Bodices are also great; a lot of geekier girls I've known have loved wearing them as a part of their regular attire.

Being physically affectionate helped me and a lot of my geeky friends out a lot. I don't necessarily mean affectionate as in kissing, but rather in using her friends as pillows or playing with people's hair. It's a lot easier to see someone as a romantic/sexual possibility when they've had their head in your lap as you massaged their head (or visa versa).
Another thing that can help is if she practices flirting by jokingly flirting with all her friends in an over-the-top sort of way. If she messes up, it was just a joke. And it also gives shy guys the opportunity to get used to her flirting and to practice their own flirting skills.

She probably shouldn't try to change herself overnight, but just working on some of the things I and others here have mentioned can help. And she should continue to work on her confidence/esteem issues even after she begins a relationship.

Arwen said...

Re: #6) - I'm not sure if I have a solution for her. For my geek girls, there were a variety of approaches. From stand-up comedy, embracing being single, randomly having sex with people they were not romantically attracted to, or blowjobs for those they were attracted to, or Bettie Page.

Many of the nerdiest amongst us gravitate to The Society for Creative Anachronism... also known as the Society for Consenting Adults. For very good reason. Penssic wars, baby, have taken many a nerd girls discomfort with herself and thrown it to the gutter. 'Specially a chubby girl with a push-up. If she goes that route, she needs to be aware that there are MRAs lurking in the woods, and that there's a shitload of misogyny. You get nerds of both the left and right wing varieties in the SCA. Never was my thing, but really is a big thing for many.

Or how about Burning Man for the Zippy/Sci-Fi Nerd?

Or Rainbow Gatherings for Pagan Nerds?

Or simply house parties...

I think events outside of the normal everyday are hugely helpful, actually. The summer camp phenom. Also, thinking that it's not so bad if you need to fool around a bit before you find True Love. That first step changes the awkwardness.

FoolishOwl said...

Your friend sounds a lot like a female version of me, only younger -- and also a lot like most of the shy geeky people I've known, of either gender. Arwen's got some good insights, I think, and Zan sounds spot on, that the key to the problem is that your friend doesn't see herself in a relationship.

I think of shyness as the sort of emotional scar tissue that introverts develop from past painful relationships. It's a matter of avoiding emotional interactions that are difficult to handle.

One way to avoid rejection, for instance, is to reject the other first. You can do this without even being conscious of it.

For instance, my girlfriend's gone over, several times, what went wrong on our first date. We liked each other well enough, but something was missing. It was only later, when we were IMing, that she let slip a joke about sex, we stumbled into talking about sex, and she realized I was interested, which I only revealed when I realized she was interested. It'd been all bottled up before, even though we'd been on a date.

Your friend may have something like that going on, in which her male friends don't realize she might find them attractive. This could be exacerbated by the sexist stereotype that women don't really like sex much, and also the stereotype that men always initiate relationships, which obviously is quite difficult for shy men, especially if they assume that women are only interested in big manly men, not shy geeky ones.

In that case, I'd suggest she work on trying to think of herself as sexual, desiring and desirable -- not easy, obviously, and it will take time. But talking around her friends about how she finds certain men attractive (actors are safely distant, for instance) might be one way to start.

Somewhat more daring -- you're familiar with OKCupid, apparently. It's worked pretty well for me. It's got a pretty strong base of geeky people posting quizzes that amuse geeky people.

Myca said...

I completely second the gamer group suggestion, the BDSM suggestion, the SCA suggestion, etc.

The thing is, I guarantee that there are a lot of shy, geeky, smart young men who would fall head-over-heels to date her, but are similarly clueless about how to do it. It's so awful for everyone!

If you folks are in the Bay Area, of course, she's invited to sit in on one of my one-shot games sometime. I'm up in sort of the northeast bay, in a little town names Benicia.

My group has several single men in their early 20s who match the above description, but even beyond treating a gaming group as a dating service, it's just a great way to get a little less shy and more comfortable with the people around you.

Cassandra Says said...

Drakyn - Hi! (Waves)
The odd thing is that she's perfectly comfortable being affectionate with people in a non-sexual way. She's a theater kid, she's quite happy to get in the puppy pile with everyone else. It really is just sex where she gets stuck. Which is why I think it all boils down to how she sees herself.

Also, the hair being gorgeous has nothing to do with color, it's just that it's really long and straight and smooth. Mine is curly, so I have hair envy.
And I'd definately steer her away from pink or purple just because, as you said, everyone and her granny has already done it and it looks awful on most of them (though the few who can pull it off look stunning).

Cassandra Says said...

Arwen - I'm reluctant to recommend SCA precisely because of the macho contingent. She hates macho, and the fact that she's barely 5 ft tall would probably encourage that lot to get out of hand. I'd be rather worried about her getting bullied into sex she didn't really want - I've met some of those guys and they're often rather pushy. Which is fine for me, I can just smack them on the nose with a rolled up paper and tell them to knock it off, but not so easy to handle for someone who's lacking experience.

Cassandra Says said...

I agree that getting out of one's everyday environment works wonders, though.

Cassandra Says said...

FO - I think you're right, the problem is that she can't visualise herself as someone that someone else would want to date. She's flat-out said as much to me.

I think you're right that men she's interested in have no idea that she's interested, BTW. The question is how to let them know without scaring them off. This is why I really want to watch her interact with men, so I can see what kind of vibe she's giving off and how the guys react. I'm willing to bet the "I kind of like you" message isn't coming across at all.

Cassandra Says said...

Myca - It really does suck for everyone involved. That's what I keep trying to say - she's convinced that no men taht she likes have ever been interested in her, and I just don't think that's possible, because she's awesome. I think it's a communication problem.


Side note - You're in the Bay Area too? We really should get everyone from here, Alas who's local together for a drink at some point.

Myca said...

Ooh, that's a great idea, Cassandra! I know Mandolin is local as well, and probably a few others.

Heh. I get so tired of Amp and everyone being up north. Everyone needs to live within driving distance of me!

Jarys said...

As a shy guy, I really sympathize with this girl, hell she seems to have the exact same problem I have.
All You have to do to get a shy geeky guy's attention is clearly show interest in a way that they can understand. Tell them "I would like to go out with you" or, "can we get to know each other better?"
Having little experience with it, most geeky boys are very responsive to clear messages of interest.
But this can be hard, which is why such boys rarely do this themselves.
It takes courage.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Reading through posts on your front page ...

I want to comment on this:
3) This I was also anticipating might be a problem. Why do you think the guys do that? Do they assume that geek=notgirl, or is it that they just don't know how to indicate interest either?

Among folks I hang with online (and somewhat off), it is common to note that geek is a gender. There are behavioural and social cues attached to it, expected jobs, particular manners of dress that are common, particular personality flaws that are considered more acceptable for people of that gender ....

If your friend is geek-gendered, no, "glamming her up" almost certainly won't help -- wrong gender expression. (Which I'm sure you'll get conceptually, from recent post.)

It is reasonably common among the geek-gendered to not notice someone's biological sex unless one has active reason to do so, because it's irrelevant to the stuff related to geek gender expression and typical geeky pursuits.

For an example story from my youth, when I was, oh, seventeen, I said to my future husband, "Were you aware that you were flirting?" He said, "Nope" and got on a bus.

Fancying geeky sorts can be kind of frustrating. ;)

I think it's more common for female-sexed geeks to evaluate attraction than male-sexed geeks, and thus come to the conclusion that there's someone they fancy. (Partial story of how I got together with my ex: I told him that I'd developed a crush on him. He replied, "It hadn't occurred to me to think about it, but now that you mention it, I think it's mutual.")

The most straightforward protocol I've found for acquisition of a male geek is what is termed, where I come from, a 'geekflirt'. This is some variant on, "Hello. I am attracted to you. Do you want to do something about this? If not, let's go back to playing chess/debugging this code/theorising about the evolutionary history of penguins." Modified for situation and bravery.

(As in, when I communicated this to my future husband when I was sixteen, I wrote him a note with a party invitation, a lot of awkward flailing and anxiousness and about eight, "Please ignore this if it causes any problems", and then a feeble little "I like you" at the bottom, which, when he gave me a lift home that day, I chucked into his lap and ran away from. Fortunately, for someone as oblivious as he was at that age, he has reasonable equanimity.

Since then I've gotten a bit less frenetic about it.)