I am not going to recap the whole Jon Finkel/Alyssa Bereznak story because I’m exhausted and who has the time? Do I think this woman is shallow for not continuing to date a guy because she finds how he makes his living impossibly geeky? Yeah, probably. Do I think that writing a mean-spirited, link-bait blog post about it is ill-advised, stupid, unfair and a violation of his privacy? Yes. But let’s stop treating this like the crime of the century, shall we?
The Internet has its collective panties in a knot over this one and why not? It’s a clear cut case of Geek Boy = good and Evil Bitch = bad; the Internet was practically invented to tell this story. But where is the same outrage when every jackass you went to high school with posts one of his hilarious, “Woman, get back in the kitchen!” Facebook status updates? Do you know how many online dating profiles I’ve read that have ended with the caveat, “There’s a difference between fat and curvy. Stop lying to yourselves, ladies. If you won’t take care of yourself, why would I date you?” What of the woman who goes on the Two X Chromosomes Community on Reddit and asks, “I finally got the courage to cut my hair short, what do you think?” and the dude who replies, unsolicited, “hair is okay but you’d look better if you dropped a few lbs.” When the guy sitting next to you in the bar, or in my case, some agricultural machinery convention at Opryland, says, “Who cares what Sarah Palin says, she’s hot! Total MILF!” do you start a Twitter campaign complete with hashtag? And when anonymous people on the Internet start calling Bereznak a cow, a virgin and use Twitter to proclaim they’d like to “shit in [her] mouth” and label her with everyone’s favorite C-word, am I supposed to stand around and cheer with geek pride?
I engage in a fair amount of online dating which, admittedly, is a bit like diving into a swimming pool that may or may not have any water in it. I have been out with nerds of every stripe and color. Muppet nerd. Comic book nerd. Doctor Who nerd. Polymer Chemistry nerd. Yiddish folk studies nerd. Perhaps some of you are reading this now. (Hi, Ryan!) I think it’s fair to say that I’m willing to give almost anyone a shot. That doesn’t mean I don’t have ‘deal breakers’ - we all do. You’re rude to my friends? You’re out. I have to babysit you at social gatherings because you can’t be counted upon to engage with other human beings with out supervision? It’s probably not going to work out between us. I secretly suspect you’re a furry and I’m waiting to see how many dates we go before you mention it? Fine. Let’s see how this plays out. You condescend to the waitress? No second date for you. Dem’s the rules.
Not too long ago I asked a friend of mine, a bit of a dating guru herself, to look at my OkCupid profile and provide some suggestions for how to make it more attractive. Her advice? Show more boob, don’t use so many big words, and don’t be quite so clever - you’re intimidating men. I halfheartedly made some of these changes but stopped well short of beating my breast and cursing the heavens about the unfairness of life. Life is unfair. It hurts when people judge each other. But only on days that end with -y.
Jon Finkel, I’m sorry you were outed by this shitty experience and I hope you’re enjoying the outpouring of support. Alyssa Bereznak, I’d like to think that if you were just a few years older you would never have wanted your name to be associated with this kind of vapid content. Geeks of the world, call me. But pretending that men don’t engage in the same kind of behavior, or worse, every day? Sorry boys, that’s a deal breaker.
I know that it’s probably time to take these old brainstorming notes down from the wall of my office, but I enjoy spending my days staring at the words, “America’s Biggest Mama’s Boy.” With God as my witness, someday I will execute that PR campaign.
What if you live in a studio and your only “interior room” is your bathroom? Just wondering.
Who on earth has an interior room in a NYC apartment? I’ll be in the bathtub if you need me.
From PostSecret Last Week:
And, a response post: