13 Days: What I learned about dating from HTML

As I considered my long list of unwritten blog posts, it seemed regrettable to omit this one, which is actually a big reason why I have a blog called “Not Technically Tech.” My original plan for this blog was to use tech metaphors to explain life. You can see evidence of this in a post I have called “Push That Code” and somewhere on another blog I have a post called “Punt It to The Next Release: How to Product Manage Your Love Life.” You don’t have to the read them, but I guess it’s clear that I can’t seem to decide whether I want to just push the code or punt it to next quarter.

Although some of my hesitancy about the series was insecurity about my tech knowledge, it turns that the bigger problem is that I am wholeheartedly qualified to be giving anyone life advice. I have failed at most things in my personal life, which I thought would grow out of, but fortunately, for entertainment’s sake, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.

It was during one such period of personal failure that I came up with my first tech analogy. I liked this guy, and he seemed to like me, but I only heard from him once a week. Up until that point, my nickname among friends was the “man shredder”because, well…you get it. But basically, while there had certainly been guys who didn’t like me, nobody who did like me had ever been chill about it. I was baffled.

I presented to the problem to a guy friend, who explained, as though maybe I was daft for not figuring it out on my own, that the guy was probably just dating one or more people he liked better than me. This really hurt my feelings, but with my incredible powers of disassociation, I only experienced moral outrage.

“That’s not fair! That shouldn’t be allowed!”

I wanted to tell the whole world just how wrong this kind of behavior was, and it occurred to me that HTML would be the perfect way to explain it (especially to the engineers that almost exclusively made up my dating pool.)

As some of you know, in HTML, there are two kinds of list. An unordered list <ul> creates bullets. You use the tags <ul> and all the list items <li> that you add beneath appear with a bullet. An ordered list <ol> creates a list with numbers. Your list items automatically appeared on the web page with numbers.

My friend had told me that in some guy’s dating list, I was a three. I decided that if you were dating multiple people, you shouldn’t be allowed to rank them. In fact, out of courtesy to the people on your list, they should all be bullets. Not numbered. When dating multiple people, I declared to anyone who would listen, you should have them on an unordered list.

The guy turned out not to be dating anyone else. Apparently he just contacted me so infrequently because he wasn’t that into human beings as a species, in general. By time we broke up, I didn’t have a clue about how to intellectualize the rejection.

I’ve still thought about this idea over the years, and most people tell me it’s unrealistic to never have a favorite. I tried to apply my own idea, but I kind of botched it. Instead of listing people on my unordered list, I sliced and diced traits and qualities. “I can get this from this person, that from that person, and when I add them to all together it will feel like enough.”

Everybody’s different, but for me personally, that was not even close to enough. It is a bandaid, which we all need at times, but not a life plan or a framework.

In fact, as I was thinking about writing about unordered and ordered lists this morning, suddenly a morally outraged voice in my head yelled, “Why should there be a list! I don’t want to be a list item. And I don’t want to have a list! Everyone should just have one H1 header, and put everything else underneath. And I guess if you’re really into polygamy you could have a H2 header, but it’s just wrong and degrading to make the people you’re dating items on a list.

I can’t wait to see how this gets derailed (or not?) this year.

Happy New Year!






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