Young Geeks in Love

Spontaneous Blog Rant!

…which, by coincidence, happens to relate to the Kingdom Come stories.

By Heath Bar, via Flikr Cosplay at Comic Con

I’m watching Geek Love on TLC HD. This absolutely fascinates me… this episode (the first I’ve ever watched, is this a series? Really?) has a bunch of geeks at Comic Con doing speed dating. This means they all enter a conference room with pairs of chairs, and in a very organized manner, they have just a few short minutes to talk with each person before the moderator has them rotate to spend a few short minutes with the next person.

I love this idea. I wish they’d had this when I was single! It makes sense to have a bunch of people who already have at least some thing in common (like, wanting to find a date) get to meet and, hopefully, get matched up.

Unless you’re a superbly charismatic, gorgeous specimen of humanity, you’ve probably experienced rejection sometime in your romantic life. Or if not rejection, then the complete hopelessness of someone who thinks that there is no one out there who will ever love them for who they are.

There’s a scene in A Beautiful Mind (Bear with me… this isn’t a sidetrack, really…) where John Nash is comparing economic theory to dating. Basically, he suggests that everyone would be better off if, instead of all the guys hitting on the pretty blonde girl, all the guys spread out and paid an equal amount of attention to all the girls.

This makes sense. Many people in multiple generations have been in the situation where all the people were looking at the beautiful, charismatic few. If they’d just look at each other instead, they might be pleasantly surprised to find someone with whom they could be really happy.

So why doesn’t this happen? Why don’t people spontaneously give up on the popular choices and just look sideways, instead of up?

I saw a documentary about this once. They had ten men and ten women go into a room and attempt, using only body language, to make the most favorable connection. Sure enough, the man and woman ranked “most attractive” quickly found each other and paired off. The rest of them followed suit, and the result was that they really were matched almost perfectly to their similarly ranked counterpart.

Generation after generation, adolescents and young adults (and not-so-young adults) go through the same thing. They experience loneliness and rejection because they’ve set their sights on someone with no mutual attraction. Men and women alike bemoan these years saying “Well, no one wanted to date me.”

Maybe someone did. Or at least, if there had been some nudge, some hint that perhaps the possibility existed, something wonderful could have happened. Or, if not something profound and lasting, at least a nice, normal,  if short-lived relationship instead of wallowing in self-pity.

I once heard a Junior High School teacher muse that, at that age, kids should be allowed to take a break from their regular academics and concentrate on social interaction for a while. (The theory being that their hormones were raging so violently that it was no use trying to teach them algebra.) This idea percolated in my head for years, and I decided to write it into my stories. It’s one of those aspects I have worked out in detail, although it won’t necessarily get described in the books; it simply exists.

The Kingdom Come year is about 25% longer than an Earth year. Their academic schedules match the four seasons; winter quarter, spring quarter, summer quarter, and autumn quarter. It is common (mandatory in some duchies) that kids take at least one, if not several sabbatical quarters off of school in order to pursue some interest. But the main goal of these sabbaticals is to give the kids a chance to concentrate on the social interaction, and any program that is certified to run sabbaticals must have some kind of process that gives kids the nudge to look, not at the head cheerleader or quarterback, but at each other.

I love this idea. For those kids who are ahead academically, they can take an extra sabbatical or two instead of trying to graduate early and hurry into adulthood. For kids who are lagging behind, a sabbatical might offer specialized tutoring in a specific area, but outside the walls of the school. Kids might stay in their own communities, or go to a camp or even further abroad, depending on their tastes. They might find a program with very small groups, or enroll in a program with a large number of students from all over.

But most importantly, they would be nudged. While having fun doing some activity that interests them, they can make those connections and learn what it means to be in a relationship beyond friendship.

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About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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3 Responses to Young Geeks in Love

  1. I love this idea. I agree that men (and women, for that matter) should spend more time looking outside the “beautiful few.” I learned that lesson in High School, and found a girlfriend long before my friends did. But, also, it helps to not be afraid to talk to the opposite gender, even the “beautiful few.” I realized at one point, the worst thing a girl could do if I asked them out was laugh in my face. And in that case, she’s not someone I want to date anyway. It made my life much easier after that.

  2. Hannah says:

    There is definitely validity to this. Think of how many times you meet someone from your past, admit to having had a little crush on them, and find out they felt the same. However you were both too socially awkward to ever take that first step. I didn’t have a single date my first two years at college. The only reason I ever dated someone was by asking them out and usually that only happened after we were friends for a long time and already past the awkward stage. I can’t recall a single boy or girl at VTC *ever* asking me out, and I was certainly interested in several of them.

  3. By the time my 20 year High School reunion rolled around, I was able to look back and see that there were some very nice, shy guys who might have actually liked to go out with me. I didn’t have my sights set the most popular, but I did tend to pick guys who didn’t return my admiration, and I just wallowed instead of shrugging it off and looking elsewhere.

    For Prom, I had my heart set on Kelly. He knew I liked him, I knew he didn’t return the feeling, and we’d agreed to just be friends. He was two years younger than me, and went to a different High School. When I asked him, he said he’d take me to Prom only if I asked other guys at my own school first. So I did. Most were friends whom I knew were either already going with someone, or whom would never go to a formal dance. A couple, I did ask with half a hope they might say yes, but they didn’t.

    I went to Prom with Kelly, and had a marvelous time.

    After Prom, one of my younger friends said she felt bad because she went to Senior Prom while her brother, a Senior, did not. He was a sweet guy, and shy. At our twenty year reunion, I told him that I wished I had asked him to Prom. I don’t think it would have turned into some fantastic romance; after all, we were about to go in different directions to college.

    But the thought stayed with me. If I’d looked for guys like him (who were hiding, fearing rejection) or they had looked for me (chunky and clingy but, hey, so are a lot of teenage girls) then maybe, just maybe, our teenage years wouldn’t have been as lonely as they were.

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