Monday, February 25, 2008

Geek on the Town

Before Facebook, it had been many years since I had been invited to cool parties in Tel Aviv. But now, I just join the right group, and voila, I am "invited" to lots of "private" parties. Not only am I invited to them, but I can see which of my friends go to them, and according to Facebook, my friends party a lot more than I realized (or expected). Furthermore, people like Jeff Pulver and Chris Brogan are telling me that the more virtual you are, the more you need to get out and meet real people.

So, under all this newly-found peer pressure (mostly from people I didn't even know were my peers 6 months ago), I persuaded a friend to join me at an event called "Networking and Nightlife". With that kind of a name, potentially two things could happen. One is that I could meet business associates, and the other is that I could meet guys. Since the event was at a place called "Whisky-a-Gogo", I decided to go with the tight-fitting sweater rather than the shirt and jacket.

The first thing that I learned about human nature is that no matter how great you feel and look, when you see the bouncer at the door, you are automatically hit by a wave of doubt about whether you are cool enough to get in. I am positive this is a throwback from high school, when there were cool people and geek people. Suddenly, I found myself thinking "Uh-oh, I was invited by a Facebook friend who I couldn't even pick from a lineup." Thankfully, my wardrobe choice and mentioning Facebook were enough to get me in.

The place itself was fantastic, and the crowd was just my style. That is, there were more glasses on people's noses than on the bar. The over-30 geek-o-rama, now there's a crowed of guys to whom I can relate. After a while a fair number of us were dancing, too.

Freed from the shackles of my youth, I found that I no longer need to be drunk to dance, which is fortunate since I no longer drink. I figure my fellow partiers are either to drunk to notice I have no dancing talent, or assume I am too drunk to care. To anyone who knows me well enough to know I don't drink, being a poor yet enthusiastic dancer can only do good things for my reputation. Plus, I had an awesome time.

If you were at this party, and you weren't dancing, you do have to ask yourself, what were you doing there? It was not the kind of place where you could hold a conversation. There are better places in the port for chitchatting with your friends.

I can tell you what you weren't doing there. You weren't picking up a date. I am not complaining that I wasn't hit on, and neither were any of the (RL) friends I met there. I was looking around the room, and even the very eligible-looking guys and gals were not being hit upon, nor were they doing much hitting. I suspect there were some exceptions, but none of the ones I had my eye on had any major hitting going on. And although the place was absolutely packed by 11, by midnight it had thinned out again.

Needless to say, I woke up in the morning, hangoverless, next to my cat, Foo. I stumbled downstairs to find my floor looking like half a dozen 10-year-olds had been doing arts and crafts on my kitchen table. At least they cleared the countertops.

All of this finally brings me around to my point about the high-tech party scene. Especially the scene for middle-aged geeks like myself. A bunch of the people in my age group are coming around to the point where they are single again, so I think this observation may be helpful to some of you.

The whole culture of inviting "friends" to events through social networks is great fun, but has a twang of "Revenge of the Nerds". Now we've got our own parties, and if you don't have a blog, you are not invited! We are going to get back at all those people who snubbed us in high school, now that we have the bandwidth and the cash! And we are going to party it up, yes we are!!!

Psst, guys... listen, we aren't that kind of cool. We know how to enjoy a good party now and again, but we just aren't that kind of cool.

And who would want to be? Wouldn't you rather read a good scifi novel or play a MMOG? If you want to be in a loud and crowded room, what's wrong with VON or CeBit?

It is true that those places aren't prime for hook-ups. But, at least from the behavior I observed at this very hot pub, full of very hot geeks, if you are looking to poke someone, your chances are better on Facebook.

Nuff said.

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