Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Why I Eschew Subtlety

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:02 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Since everyone else is quoting from movies this month…
Here’s a little something from one of my all-time favorites, Roxanne:

[Roxanne Kowalski is walking behind a hedge because she is nude]
Roxanne Kowalski: Nobody had a coat?
C.D. Bales: I thought you said you didn’t want a coat…
Roxanne Kowalski: Why would I not want a coat?
C.D. Bales: You said you didn’t want a coat!
Roxanne Kowalski: I was being ironic.
C.D. Bales: Oh, ho, ho, irony! Oh, no, no, we don’t get that here. See, uh, people ski topless here while smoking dope, so irony’s not really a, a high priority. We haven’t had any irony here since about, uh, ’83, when I was the only practitioner of it. And I stopped because I was tired of being stared at.

And, that, in a nutshell, is why I’m not subtle. There’s just not enough of a market for it, really. No one else seems to be buying. Oh, I used to try, but I often just ended up being obtuse or obscure. And, what did it get me? Not much, I’ll tell you that. Not much.
Let’s be honest here, okay? Subtlety is over-rated as a form of communication. Subtlety is confusing and frustrating. Subtlety rarely gets the point accross. And, subtlety almost never gets the job done. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no “hard-charger” who goes full-speed ahead and damn the torpedoes, but I do tend to take things straight on. Frankly, that gets frustrating, too, since so many people seem to expect subtlety. The other problem I have, of course, is that I do okay going head-on with most things, but when it comes to people, I’m rather like a bull in a china shop. Sometimes, I get what I’m after, but, oh, the cost!
And, honestly, while everyone claims they want to communicate in straight-forward, direct ways, hardly anyone seems to actually do that. I’ll give two examples of a similar event that will compare and contrast this silly dichotomy quite well.
A couple of months ago, I “met” someone online who seemed quite interesting and was devastatingly beautiful. By all appearances, she was unencumbered, so I asked her out. She thanked me and politely declined, siteing several reasons, not the least of which was the whole stigma of meeting someone online. Fair enough. Question asked and honestly answered. No hard feelings, no fuss, no muss.
Fast forward a couple weeks. Same situation, but different devestating beauty. I ask the question and get put off. And put off. E-mails go unanswered for weeks, or forever. Finally, after much silliness, I get the hint and leave it alone. I think I stopped just short of being the idiot that Angel With An Attitude described in her post about a similar situation. Just barely, but still… And, besides, I was too old for her. Definately not her type at all. You know, all calm and fairly stable and quiet and, well, sort of boring. Not the sort of guy the girls I’m interested in like at all. Like a moth to the flame, I am.

In any case, I find it much, much easier to simply be honest and direct. It cuts down on wasted time. Sure, I don’t always manage it, but, still, it’s better. (Uh, that’s “better” not “bitter”. I might have been frustrated by the response the second gal gave me, but I understand it, so I’m not bitter.) And, that’s what I try to do. Not everyone likes the questions being asked, but as a guy I used to know in college said, “Hey, if you want to know the answer, you’ve got to ask the question.”

Incidentally, this quote is also from that movie and scene:

I, uh, notice you don’t have any tattoos. I think that’s a wise choice. I don’t think Jackie Onassis would’ve gone as far if she’d have had an anchor on her arm.

Too true. I dig a cool tattoo on a lady, but an anchor on the arm does not cut it!
So, finally, a little Advice from your Uncle Jim? Just ask the question. If they’re uncomfortable with that, well, there’s your answer, eh?

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"One of the things that worry business men is the number of unemployed on the payroll."


  1. You’re quoting one of my favorite movies.
    And my advice is next time, ask an ugly girl out on a date. 😉

    Comment by aka_monty — 1/24/2006 @ 6:16 pm

  2. Ha ha! I will take that under advisement!

    Comment by the Network Geek — 1/24/2006 @ 7:17 pm

  3. Ah, hence the *go and get it… I get it. Not while I’m here typing (that would be gross) but uhm, yes, will get it. I’ll go right now. Thank you.

    Comment by Deirdre — 1/24/2006 @ 8:18 pm

  4. Yes, Deirdre. I pretty well just say what I’m thinking. Gets me into trouble more often than not! 😉

    Comment by the Network Geek — 1/24/2006 @ 8:25 pm

  5. One of the points of emphasis in a training program I participated in a while back was that men don’t communicate particularly well even when they’re trying to be direct. And even when they do, they most often neglect to express their “feeling” parts of what they’re trying to get across.

    Comment by Doc — 1/25/2006 @ 4:45 am

  6. So, uh, what’re you trying to say here, Doc?

    Comment by the Network Geek — 1/25/2006 @ 6:04 am

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