Your problem is WHAT?
It's about time that a major Seattle-area publication reported on the all-too-real social impediments we young single techies must face. The cover story "The New Singles" (2/10) accurately described several symptoms, but may have misidentified the actual problem for most young heterosexual techie males.
I am a software developer at Microsoft, but I am not a workaholic. Outside of my average 8-9 hour work day, I don't spend time thinking about work or fretting about finances. It's not that I'm too focused on "other things" or too lacking in free time to find a girlfriend. Instead, my problem is that the large majority of girls (young women) are too immature, unintelligent, shallow, irresponsible, religious, and/or amoral to be appealing to me. Most girls aren't interested in me because I'm intelligent, quiet, atheist, self-controlled, and live by a strict set of ethics—definitely not a party guy. And frankly, I would rather spend my time reading articles about quantum mechanics, figuring out how to write a useful computer program, composing music and learning new techniques on my bass guitar, or watching a good sci-fi movie than hanging out at a bar/club/party filled with (frankly) a bunch of unintelligent, hedonistic people.
I can't be content with mainstream media, half-hour sitcoms, or indulgence in temporal physical pleasures of the body. I am only satisfied when I am bettering myself as a person, expanding my knowledge and skills, developing my set of personal ethics, and learning to making safe and wise decisions. If I could (miraculously) find a young lady who shared an equal maturity level and who had an interest in real things rather than the shallow mainstream social drivel that the masses in this country mindlessly eat up as "cool," then I could finally settle down happily and think about a relationship (companionship).
So the problem for me (and I would guess a lot of guys out there) isn't a lack of free time or a lack of interest in girls, and around this area it certainly isn't a lack of money either. It's a lack of single, available, attractive, intelligent, mature, responsible, trustworthy young women without kids.
For the past 20 years our great nation has pushed males to achieve in very complex technical and scientific fields, to be analytical and questioning and to realize and appreciate the great rewards that come along with expanding one's mind, while females have simply not been pushed or raised to take interest in technical or scientific fields. So then why does come as such a shocking phenomenon to so many people that we now have an entire generation of young males who are highly intelligent and mature but who have been left out to dry because most of the women of their generation aren't anywhere near par?
Virtual reality sex!
Redmond's Microserfs are out of touch with the reality of human relationships ("The New Singles," 2/10). In short, it takes more than money to attract anything other than similarly money-obsessed people. My suggestion is that they use their latte breaks to create a sophisticated computer virtual reality sex/romance package (as in "Total Recall") that will allow them to experience the heights of gratification while never ever having to leave Microsoft's campus.
As for those of us who are not minions of Bill Gates and are seeking more than brief casual affairs, we need to stop whining and create the kinds of places that encourage face to face relaxed conversation and interaction between people with similar values and interests in broad daylight; not more bars filled with alcoholics and drunks, overpriced restaurants so dark you need a flashlight to see the food, earsplitting, oxygen-poor, overcrowded, and soulless dance clubs, or waste time and money on cyberspace matchmaking.
A mildly aerobic solution
Almost every night of the week there is someplace where a single person (see "The New Singles," 2/10) could go to interact with nonsmoking, nondrinking, polite people while listening to excellent live music and participating in a mildly aerobic activity. It's called "contra dancing" and even though it's descended from the Grange dances of a century ago (read The Egg and I), it's an active social scene for plenty of computer types who want to have fun without all the hassle.
A typical evening consists of jigs and reels with the dancers moving in time— allemandes, circles, do-si-do, changing partners frequently. And a waltz or two. An excellent online summary is at www.seattledance.org, and the Seattle Press includes many local contra dance events in their listings.
Eric Scigliano (Quick & Dirty, 2/10) and Brian Miller (At Large, 2/10) do a good job on Dan Savage. Their satire, however, is weakened by being in context with your lead story, "The New Singles" (2/10). What a non-story! These mostly-white-male cybernerds and their female counterparts are a kind of contamination and are mostly, like Dan Savage, narcissistic personality disorders. And why is it that no one writes critically in the Seattle Weekly of the software and Internet world itself. Instead, we get hagiography. Give us some stories about the real class differences in Seattle, the truly fucked up social order. I have had it up to the gills having to read about successful white males in the cyberworld, and their limited emotional and intellectual lives.
Savage—just say no?
Are you jealous of Dan Savage's popularity? Is that why you have written such a stupid and petty column about his "attack" on Gary Bauer (Quick & Dirty, 2/10)? Don't you have a sense of humor [Yes; see At Large, same issue—Eds.]? Don't you know that by writing about Savage's "exploits" you're giving them more credibility? Why do you care what Dan Savage does at Republican primaries? The more you talk about him, the more coverage he gets. If you really hold him in such contempt, why don't you just ignore him?
I am sure that you have committed a few crimes in your time (didya wait until you were 21 to drink? Do you just say "no" to dope?), so get off his case. . . .
Happily ever after
I appreciate the Weekly's comments about the Dan Savage in Iowa episode (Q&D, 2/10), but let's keep it in perspective, please [At Large, 2/10, again!--Eds.]. All we really have here is one self-righteous white male on the extreme left, Dan Savage, married to one self-righteous white male on the extreme right, Gary Bauer. Married? Married indeed, joined in the holy matrimony of extreme fanatical thinking. The article Savage wrote was nothing more than the wedding announcement of the common union they now share together—obviously, from the dedication each applies to their respective extremist views, a marriage that will last a lifetime.
The article about Deborah Senn ("Unpopular populist," 2/3) reminded me of a TV interview I saw during the 1992 presidential campaign. Clinton had made health care his major issue and the interviewer was asking two political consultants, a Democrat and a Republican, about the likelihood of success. The Republican said that because so many interests were involved in health care "patients, doctors, hospitals, employers, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc.," it would be difficult to find political unity. The solution would be to pick one of the players as the enemy and unite the others against that enemy. He recommended the insurance industry as best choice of enemy.
Unfortunately, Clinton was so beholden to contributions from the insurance industry that he was unable to adopt that strategy. But when Senator Senn gets to Washington we can be sure that it will be without insurance company contributions and with a large popular following. She promises to spearhead the best chance we have for universal health care in this country.
Shapiro too pro-Senn
Congratulations, Weekly! The year's hardly begun and your story on Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn ("Unpopular populist," 2/3) is already a shoo-in for the Dumbest Article of the Year. "Battling insurance companies on behalf of the little guy"—what utter nonsense. I'm a self-employed writer with a microscopic income and excellent health. I've seen my insurance skyrocket from $71 to $123 per month under her autocratic rule. For those who like statistics, that's a whopping 73 percent in our noninflationary economy. Yes, if you're a deadbeat who waits until you're sick to get insurance, then Senn is great. If you're anyone else—tough luck!
Perhaps, Nina "the Ninnie" Shapiro should have asked herself why the alleged 'populist' Senn can't even get the support of her fellow Democrats. As distasteful as I find Slade Gorton, if Senn's running against him, I'll walk barefoot on broken glass to put her in an unemployment line.
Shapiro too anti-Senn
Perhaps Nina Shapiro should talk to the rank and file democrats and she, he, or "it" would find we support Debbie Senn ("Unpopular populist," 2/3). She is a hope of an honest person in Washington, DC, and to get rid of the "stuff my pockets" Slade Gorton. I seem to remember many years ago, every one but the common person was against Harry Truman, and he won election and was a good president for another four years. So much for negative journalism and uneducated Shapiro.
Gary Locke is wasting our time as governor. The sooner this patronizing wimp leaves office, the better. I only wish Locke would run against Gorton, then Gorton (he can't live forever, can he?) could squash him (see milquetoast, above), leaving Deborah Senn as the only logical candidate for governor (wishful thinking) who knows what to do with a bully pulpit when she sees one.
Hey, I fully support Gary Locke's hesitancy over seeking any way to fund the state's "challenged" transportation funds, where it concerns the further support of anything to do with the highway infrastructure ("Transportation Locke-up," 2/3). The way I see it, it was the high rollers and the SUV crowd that did away with those license revenues (I-695), and they should get what they asked for . . . ALL of it! Isn't it their philosophy that "those who use should be those who pay"?
City Council's play date
Regarding "Listless in LaConner" (2/3): 1) How much money did this "play date" cost taxpayers? 2) What was accomplished by this retreat? 3) Are there, perhaps, more pressing issues on which taxpayer dollars could have been spent?
Answer key: 1) Anything over $1 surely was a waste of taxpayer money. 2) Yet more consultants found a way to fleece taxpayers of our money. 3) Do we really need to ask this question?
Light and lopsided?
Your Mr. Bush's critique of the design for the new library (4th & James, "Our lopsided library," 2/3) betrays the kind of attitude that has made for that collection of clunkers that calls itself downtown. Koolhaas' design actually fits in with, via F.L. Wright, the one time that Seattle had an architecture that was light, the craftsman cottages of 100 years or so ago.
Thanks, Angela Gunn, for at least making the passing mention of the recent victory of etoy.com over the nefarious mechanizations of eToys.com (Kiss my ASCII, 2/3). However, next time you inject a bit of sarcastic risibleness into your column, you (or at least your editor) might also want to check to see that the Web site you poke fun at has been restored before you hyperlink to it in your electronic version [see Kiss my ASCII this issue—Eds.].
The fact is, that despite this victory, and more than one week after eToys (under tremendous pressure from the Internet community) agreed to drop its lawsuit, Network Solutions, the gatekeeper of most Internet domain names, has still refused to allow the owners of etoy.com access to their Domain Name Server, in clear violation of both NSI's own Service Agreement and the ICANN protocols.
Why should any of this matter to the average Weekly reader? Because this was just one battle in an ongoing struggle pitting the rights of individuals to have some control over what they see, read, and watch on the 'net (and what may be read about them by others) versus the juggernaut-like power of corporations to limit that control. Your other article in this same issue ("The privacy shell game" 2/3) alludes to only one aspect of this encroachment. There are dozens of others occurring right under the virtual noses of most people: the current lawsuits by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) against the creators and disseminators of DeCSS (a decryption code which would allow the owners of DVDs to play them on nonproprietary hardware, using open-source operating systems like linux), or the one brought by the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) against MP3.com are just two other examples; many others are occurring on an almost daily basis.
As corporate influence begins to permeate the Internet, we will continue to see more of these skirmishes, and it would behoove knowledgeable writers such as yourself to at least comment on these events within the larger context of who eventually will control this new medium. So far, the little guys (you and me) have secured a foothold by virtue of
longevity and expertise. But unless the average person is made aware of incidents such as what happened (and is still happening) to etoy, then that tenuous beachhead will continue to be eroded. And where would your risibility be then?
Today, the circus
So it's the circus today ("A political circus," 2/3), what will the neopuritans (of any ideological stripe) demand be banned tomorrow? Why must the circle of options for having a good time be shrinking and not widening? And why must someone else—government officials at the behest of self-righteous interest groups—be making these choices for us?
Coming on the heels of the cancellation of New Year's celebrations at the Seattle Center, a live animal circus ban in Seattle (which is what, for all practical purposes, the proposed ordinance amounts to) will only make this city seem more constricted and authoritarian to its residents. I wish our elected officials would pay more attention to OUR needs than to the gripes of neopuritan extremists.
Tomorrow, doggie raincoats
This is to assure you that I and many other people in Seattle DO STRONGLY SUPPORT the proposed ban on exotic animal acts in the circus ("A political circus," 2/3). Anyone who doubts the intelligence and sensitivity of animals should read books by Jane Goodall, Washington's own Dr. Roger Fouts, or a new book, The Parrot's Lament, in which several animal experts at the Woodland Park Zoo are quoted regarding the "human" behavior of the animals in their care. Seattle can redeem itself as a caring city, sensitive to the needs of all its inhabitants, by banning these acts.
By the way, the most "pathetic" dogs in Seattle aren't at Magnuson Park in rain gear; they are the ones who rarely get to run and play without being on a leash. Thank goodness for the few off-leash areas we do have.
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