While I search for a new job and enjoy my life, I have picked up playing an MMORPG again. (No, it’s not World of Warcraft.) Anyway, I was a member of a guild there for a long time and discovered that I had not been kicked despite the long inactivity.

About two weeks ago, one of the Guild’s officers asked me whether I would be joining them for their annual guild meeting. I told her that I would like to, but couldn’t justify spending a lot of money on a trip while I was unsure of my professional (and thus financial future).

“Too bad, Secretgeek,” she said, “because then we could have the sort of conversation we have had this week, in person.”

Needless to say, I did not think anything of this.

The Plot Thickens

So the guild meeting came and went and I didn’t go there. After her return, the officer told me it was “too bad you couldn’t come” and “did you see the photos yet? They are on our forums. Guess who I am.” After I had identified her – there were only three women at that event – she asked me to guess her age. I declined (“Never guess a lady’s age”), so she told me; she is quite a lot younger than I am. “But I really find I can talk to anybody of any age,” she added.

Another day she asked me to guess where she lived. I did work it out, much to my pride.

Needless to say, I did not think anything about any of that, either.

That kind of changed a little when we had a voice chat (on Ventrilo, a voice conferencing software used by the guild) and she sent a link to a fantasy book, as an example of what she reads. I was still reading the synopsis on Wikipedia.

“What do you think,” she asked.

“Sounds fun,” I said. “I can see myself reading something like this.”

“Yes, but what do you think of the illustration?”

This I had not expected. I looked at the image – a sleek dragon. I realized I did not know what she did for a living. Illustrator, perhaps? Unlikely but not impossible.

“The dragon is cool,” I replied truthfully.

“I’m glad you like it,” she said. “I had, of course, an ulterior motive for asking – I basically have that dragon as a tattoo on my back.”

….Hang on a moment!

Why would this woman care what I think about her tattoo? One, I might add, not visible on any of the photos. That is, it is completely covered by clothing.

I started to sense something was amiss, though I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.

She subsequently asked whether I would be at the next meeting (which has not been organized yet). I agreed that I would.

As you may know, I am really not good with subtleties, especially when it comes to boy-girl type interactions. I asked a friend (Carina – she and I still stay in touch after those many years) for help, and she swears the woman is interested me to “some extent”.

“She is Swedish, right?” asked Carina. I agreed that she was. “Well, in Sweden, they don’t really have a dating culture. You are just friends and then – poof – you turn into boyfriend/girlfriend.”

She Likes Me, She Likes Me Not, She Likes Me, She…

For the past few days, we have had a semi-lively private chat going on while in the game. Sometimes, I feel like she is trying to flirt with me. At other times I feel like I am completely wrong and she is just being friendly. I also have no clue whether she is single or not, though Carina says that “if she were in a relationship, she would have told you by now, the way you two have been talking to each other”.

I had first noticed the lady in question a long time ago, before my hiatus. I never really talked to her much until I returned. Normally, I would shy away from this situation like the Wicked Witch from water; not only is there a considerable age distance, there is also quite some distance involved.

However, this woman would appear to be “tailor made” for me – from my admittedly still limited data, she is everything I’d look for in a girlfriend: She is a geek, extremely smart and very well educated, I really like her attitudes about things, she is a gamer, “not a party person at all”, her English is impeccable, she has a really cool voice, and to top it all off she is also quite pretty.

It seems like every time she talks about herself, my reaction is “cool – I like that about her”. There are a few things I do not care much about, but overall she is so much my sort of woman that I have started to wonder whether I fell into a parallel universe.

I’m feeling kinda lost

The worst problem is, I really don’t know what to do about it. I have been engaging her in conversation, but the reactions are always a bit mixed. I mean, she replies, but as I said I sometimes get a very “friends” vibe from her. It does not help that this is all text chat – voice conference chat is (mostly) reserved game talk.

I can’t ask her out. I can’t tell her, “hey I like you”. I don’t want to be pushy and I can’t even decide what her attitude towards me is. Yet at the same time, I am building up a stupid infatuation. As Sheldon would put it, setting myself up for “crashing into geek mountain again”.

Why can’t this sort of stuff ever be easy?

In early July, I posted about the quality of life improvements that were caused by the loss of my last job. Of particular note, then, was that I had lost 5kg (11lbs) of weight, mostly due to no longer consuming sugary sodas.

I am very happy to report that I hit a new milestone today: I have now lost a total of 10.6 kg (23.4 lbs).

Yay.

The best part is, of course, that I don’t actually do anything for that. No exercise regime, no forced diet, nothing. Even went for pizza with a friend on Saturday. It will be interesting to see where my body finds a new balance. Will it be a good weight, or still be too high? Looking at what I eat, I am not really sure what I can do if I am still overweight once the natural weight loss stops, but let’s wait and see what actually happens before worrying about it.

“Likes” from women who are located…

…in the city I live in: 21%

…elsewhere in the same country: 12%

…on the same continent: 16%

…elsewhere in the world: 51%

 

Most frequent country: The Philippines

 

Average length of received unsolicited messages: 1.25 words

Most frequent word: “Hi”

 

Response rate: ~5%

This is on a popular, free, international dating site that is relatively popular locally; for comparison I used to use a paid local site before they went into rip-off mode; my response rate there was closer to 50%.

 

Dates arranged in the past ~24 months: 3, plus 1 pending

Girlfriends found: 0

Friends found: 0

Gotten laid: Nope

Stalkers obtained: 1

Stalkers gotten rid of: 1

Total expense: Estimated 100 Euro for drinks and food.

 

secretgeek:

Interesting article. If you’ve followed my blog, you’ll not be surprised that I am a) an very rational person who tends to over-think things and b) actually have the mentioned spreadsheet to track my online dating (lack of) success. Even if it’s a very shallow spreadsheet.

Originally posted on Quartz:

This post originally appeared at WaitButWhy.com.

To a frustrated single person, life can often feel like this:

non-vday-staircase

And at first glance, research seems to back this up, suggesting that married people are on average happier than single people and much happier than divorced people. But a closer analysis reveals that if you split up “married people” into two groups based on marriage quality, “people in self-assessed poor marriages are fairly miserable, and much less happy than unmarried people, and people in self-assessed good marriages are even more happy than the literature reports.” In other words, here’s what’s happening in reality:

non-vday-2

Dissatisfied single people should actually consider themselves in a neutral, fairly hopeful position, compared to what their situation could be. A single person who would like to find a great relationship is one step away from it, with their to-do list reading, “1) Find a great relationship.” People in unhappy…

View original 2,383 more words

Came across a dating site profile that started with:

“Don’t read this profile. It is a waste of time,” linking to an article about the pitfalls of online dating. Ironically, her profile was quite lengthy, but I heeded her advice and moved on to the next profile.

I considered, if only for a mere moment, to point the problem out to her; but then I figured there would be enough guys who simply ignore what’s in profiles anyway.

There was a manager at my last job who made my work-life pretty much a living hell. He also tried to bully me into resigning several times, before they finally lost patience and illegally dismissed me.

Well guess what?

Today I learned that he has since been fired for “gross incompetence”.

I don’t believe in karma; I just gloat.

So, remember when I was fired? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Just returned from court and it turns out that the dismissal was illegal for four separate reasons (two of which I wasn’t aware of when it happened). I kid you not. It also turns out that my former employer truly and genuinely believes to be in the right. I’ve filed that, mentally, in the category “evidence that my [former] managers are wholly incompetent”. Anyway, as a consequence, they’ll have to pay me a good chunk of money. I could have gotten my job back, and while that would have been extremely amusing, I just don’t need that stomach ache in the long run. (Yes, I am aware that they still achieved their goal this way.) The money won’t make me rich, and frankly wasn’t the goal. The goal was to stand up for my rights, and that I did. Lessons learned:

  • Know your rights. My opponent didn’t, and thus acted stupidly.
  • Have a lawyer. A good lawyer is worth his fees.
  • Have insurance. Having insurance that covers those fees is priceless. I probably could not have afforded to sue otherwise.

Anyway, I am off to a celebratory dinner.

I lost my job a month ago and you know what’s odd? Instead of being sad about it, or worrying about the future, I feel great. I’m sleeping better, I am more relaxed, and I lost 5kg (11 lbs). Sure, that’s at least in part down to no longer drinking soda, but I think there is a reason why I managed to stop with the sugary stuff now, whereas I hadn’t been able to for years: I likely don’t feel the need to compensate for a job that was making me thoroughly unhappy. I can’t describe my last employer as anything but a bully or even downright abusive, and it was definitely making me unhappy and pushing me into depression.

I am the sort of person who puts up with a lot of nonsense and has a lot of endurance to see problems through. However, I have to admit that this is not a good strategy when it comes to your own life. If something makes you truly unhappy, you gotta get rid of it as quickly as you can.

Sure, sometimes you haven’t got any immediate choices and I don’t mean to encourage anybody to make snap decisions, but in hindsight, I should have left my last job years ago. I didn’t, and I paid the price in terms of a loss in quality of life.

It’s come to my attention – a while ago, actually – that I have a sugar addiction. I don’t mean this in a funny “haha I like to snack” sort of way, but in a rather serious way: It seems that whenever I buy my groceries, there is sugary food in it. I stopped buying candy, and what was the effect? I bought soft drinks instead.

It’s an interesting realization in that I had never been addicted to anything before – I do not smoke, and I only drink alcohol once in a while, and then very tame stuff (wine, mostly). I had always wondered why, for example, smoker don’t just put their foot down and say “enough” and just… stop.

I mean, I always understood it on an intellectual level, but I had no experience in how nasty your brain can be if it’s not on your side. In my case, I would just zone out and think of something else entirely and automatically grab a bag of candy off the shelf in the supermarket. Or, especially in the case of soft drinks, resort to excuses. “Eh, it’s just one bottle of Cola, no big deal.”

Except it is. There is a ton of sugar in your average softdrink. Sugar is not healthy. Certainly not at these amounts. And you gotta realize that I easily drank a liter of coke a day, maybe two on a bad day. I am frankly surprised I am not more bloated – or dead.

Sugar in Coca Cola, by Sugarstacks.com. CC-BY-ND-NC.

Sugar in Coca Cola, by Sugarstacks.com. CC-BY-ND-NC.

There’s good news, though. For a week, now, I have been off that stuff. And I have not compensated in other ways: No chocolate, no fruit gummy, no cookies, no ice cream. I have been drinking gallons of tea. The regular kind you make with bags and hot water. Without milk or sugar added, I should point out.

Wish me luck and stubbornness. I’ll report back in a month or so.

 

So. I was fired today.

Oh noes! What happened?

It has nothing to do with being a snitch; the stated reasons for the dismissal are pretty much made up. I have a lawyer on the case.

So, what’s your problem, Secretgeek, that you can’t keep a job?

Eh, I know exactly what my problem is. I am not good at putting up with incompetence, and I can’t not speak my mind when stuff is going wrong. Needless to say, when that incompetence runs your company, you don’t exactly endear yourself to your bosses.

…and now?

Well, how much are lottery tickets these days?

In all seriousness though, I am not really sad to leave that company. In a way, I probably needed the kick – I was putting up with too much nonsense out of sheer inertia. I had been trying to come up with a plan for the future for a while now, and I just never came up with a good alternative. Now I’ll have to apply for something more or less along the same lines – while I have money saved up it isn’t going to last forever.

In a twisted glass-is-half full way, though, that’s good, too – it means I will need this blog for the foreseeable future.

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