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02 January 2004 @ 02:35 pm
Avoiding Spam in the New Year  
Here's your technical advice for 2004: If you have problems with spam, it is your fault. You might like to think that I'm kidding, but I'm not. If your address is anywhere on the web with a mailto:yourname@thisdomain.bla HTML tag, an address harvester has found it and started using it. So if you want an address free of spam, you will need to make a new one and keep it to avenues that can be regarded as trusted.

I suggest you start a Hotmail account, with one quick little catch: set your home country to be in the UK (My personal choice is Edinburgh, Scotland). They have better news, better random personal crap articles, and you will be more highly entertained by the way the Hotmail staff attempts to ask you to extend your coverage.

You will also routinely encounter articles related to dating people in the UK, which are funny enough to take seriously. Like this one. Annotations follow.

1. Explore new hobbies and interests
You may wonder what this has to do with dating, but is there anything worse than silences during a romantic evening out? Expanding your horizons will make you a more interesting person. In addition, it will ensure you have a great time pursuing the things you may have always wanted to do.

In general, boring people are not very attractive. Unless you are physically attractive (with a flash intro) and intellectually devoid of interesting content. Which really means that your personality should follow the same principles of good web design. Or something.

2. Give someone a chance
Sooner or later, whether it’s at the coffee shop or searching Match.com, you’ll meet someone who doesn't quite fit your idea of the person you think you’re looking for. Maybe their job or educational background isn't in your league, maybe you despise their taste in music and films, but if that person interests you, go with the flow. What do you really have to lose?

I have to disagree. There is one universal rule about interests and tastes, which involves black licorice and Stanley Kubrick movies, which is either/or in the same sense of the trivalent pickles/onions/relish tuna salad question.

And much like a certain band, the phrase exceedingly liberal, when applied to women, is a turn-on.

3. Get real
Stop falling for the idea of a person and see them as they really are. For example, not all builders are cowboy merchants and not all doctors are rich.

That first sentence - very true. And nigh impossible with the rose-colored glasses of attraction. But the second sentence? This falls into the same semantic bucket as "if it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college". Seriously - what the fuck? I can understand if this is a Britishism that I don't understand, in which case I will be amused by my own naïvete, but if this is dating lingo I have failed to acquire from Cosmo, I will live a fuller life. It has also been established that while doctors may be rich, if you learn to savor them like a fine cheesecake, this is less a problem in practice.

4. Watch you eye contact
While it’s sensible and good dating etiquette to look your date in the eye during conversation (it suggests that you're interested in what's being said), gazing too deeply tends to scare off potential winners.

Once again, the Internet fails to take into account that men might read some of it. "Watch your eye contact" has two meanings, at least.

5. Be assertive
Change your behaviour; don't be passive. If you like what you see, go for it!

This might as well be titled "Become a rocket scientist. Chicks dig that.". While changing behavior is a difficult and arduous process, in the real world you sometimes have to suck it up and play ball in the court of public opinion. Or take a piss in the marketplace of ideas.

Aw, fuck it.

6. "So when I was eight and a half..."
Resist the impulse to:
a) Tell your life story on a first date
b) Show off tattoos and body piercings
c) Admit a desire to have children within the next six months
Honesty is good. Honesty is great. But holding back a little during the initial dating stages is even better.

This is definitely true for myself. Although I find that humorous anecdotes about dating during grade school always liven up an otherwise dreary evening. Most of my dating experience during grade school involves being picked up and thrown off of playground equipment by girls.

7. Take a deep breath
Relaxation is key in order to avoid last-minute panic and hysteria before a date. For example, resist the urge to experiment with your hair just before you step out of the door.

This is also true. The physiological and chemical properties of hair have been well-established by scientists smarter than you - leave your penchant for self-experimentation at the door, unless it comes up in conversation.

8. Tell it like it is
Don't be afraid of being honest. If you're not attracted to someone, it isn't a sin to say so. Just be diplomatic and considerate with your choice of words.

In other words - dating is like hostage negotiation. Treat it just as casually.

9. Don't worry; be happy
Play a dancefloor filler (Holiday by Madonna, Hot In Herre by Nelly, Crazy In Love by Beyoncé etc.) or watch your favourite football match or comedy series - anything that puts you in a great mood so that you leave the house feeling energised and confident before your big date.

In other words, you need a warm-up. Play that tape of Manchester United vs. Liverpool, which always gets you in the mood for a rigorous and light-hearted conversation about the nature of human existence.

10. Fallen off your bike? Climb back on

Nobody will think you're pretty underneath a wrecked bike. Fix it and hop on.

Make a resolution to bounce back better from life's disappointments. There are downs as well as ups in the dating game and you’ve got to learn to take the rough with the smooth and move on.

Good advice for all walks of like - learn to take the chunky wth the plain, the spearmint with the wintergreen, and the cinnamon with the turmeric.

In other words, you have to learn how to roll with the punches, which is why you should take up boxing. Failing that, bar fights can be an acceptable substitute.
Current Music: Conjure One - Manic Star
Doomutilitygeek on January 2nd, 2004 01:30 pm (UTC)
One might point out that those who make their living from the web essentially must present their email addresses there. Though they would do well to obscure them as much as possible.

Actually, the email address that gets harvested the most is the one I use to post to public mailing lists, which is why those lists have their very own, and filters to put the good mail in nice organized folders, leaving the spam behind. :-)

Of course, in general, not posting your 'real' address anywhere is very, very good advice. Also, Thunderbird has pretty darn good bayesian filters.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 2nd, 2004 10:28 pm (UTC)
You are the corner=case for the two main audiences for this little lecture -
1. The smart but non-technical people that I know, and
2. People who don't make a living on the web.
la femme stygian: tex bentgunn on January 2nd, 2004 01:33 pm (UTC)
10. Fallen off your bike? Climb back on

Nobody will think you're pretty underneath a wrecked bike. Fix it and hop on.

From personal experience? People think you're scary if you walk into a bikeshop, bleeding and dirty, with a bent Schwinn in your bloody fingers. Go home and clean yourself up, put some bandaids on your wounds, and change into something less ripped and bloody before even attempting to fix your bike.

Ha. I was really talking about a bike.
Do You Wanna Be Free or You Wanna Be Right?malcubed on January 2nd, 2004 02:49 pm (UTC)
I decided I never wanted to use hotmail for actual email since I discovered that the account I started at hotmail just so I could have an MSN messenger account to plug into Trillian, which has never been used on the internet in any fashion whatsoever, even to email other people, with the singular exceptions of A: plugging it into Trillian, and B: posting "malcubed1" as my MSN messenger ID in Trillian; gets metric shit tonnes of spam. Fuck that noise.

Is that sentence even intelligible? I think I'm proud of it.
thismuchmetal on January 2nd, 2004 09:21 pm (UTC)
You couldnt've said it much better about the Spam issue.

I too have NEVER receieved a spam email through my two main accounts, because I a) NEVER give my email out, even to friends, and b) I NEVER use my email with something I know, or at least have a good idea that, submitting my password to said site will cause people to harvest my email address. The only thing that gets my email is school and The Federal Government for Student Financial Aid. That's it.

That's not to say that I don't have a dummy acount - I do, it's just I know when and how to use it.

On my website, for a while there, we actually embedded the email address into a flash component to keep spiders from indexing our email address, but we later decided against it because we're not getting any email what-so-ever. :P