Over a very random dinner with Scheiny tonight, I talked about different approaches people take to the initial stages of dating (I should note that this is not relevant to our friendship). She's apparently very direct, whereas I generally tend to take what I call the British approach (really a play on a stereotype, not necessarily related to how real Brits approach the issue). With the British approach, people start hanging out more and more and eventually ease through enough murky ground, all the time not acknowledging in words that anything is happening, until it's damned clear to both parties that they actually are dating, at which point one party delicately broaches the subject and then they're suddenly dating. After a bit of that, they then ideally switch to what I call the Scottish approach (referring to how Kilts, in theory, make everything rather visible), where it's very very clear to any onlookers that they're dating because of lots of signs everywhere. I then complained about how followers of the British approach loathe people who I call Hawks who are super-direct and start relationships on the drop of a dime with a blunt declaration, and how, as they're often passive-agressive, they'll like to shoot the hawks later out of the blue (figuratively speaking). Honestly, it pretty much was a lightly humourous description that turned into a joke as I kept running with it, but it contained some shades of truth. Not many though, as it turns out - my more recent dating attempts have generally been awkward admissions of interest over IM. Direct, self-defeating, and probably worse than the British approach as described above. Perhaps this isn't so much of a big deal though because I actually haven't been trying very hard to find someone to date. Oh, yes, I almost forgot that the sushi was rather good. We went to the place on Murray Avenue kind of near the supermarket that secular Jewish people tend to visit on Christmas. It's funny - thinking about it, I've been to that place under two names, with two girlfriends and many other people over the time I've been here. Hmm.
I was thinking recently about lies, basically the lies I've told in my life. I used to tell a lot more - probably I told as many lies in any one of the years I lived with my parents (after learning to talk) than the rest of my life combined. Why? I imagine that this is primarily based on three things - first, I learned that telling lies is difficult because it means remembering what actually happened, a different version of events for the lie, and who I told the lie to. Managing this can be a pain (especiallly when one tells the truth or some subset of it to one person and a lie to someone else), and so lies represent a burden. I think I learned this when I was about ten. Second, I began to develop a moral sense, which made me feel bad for decieving other people. Finally, when I was free of my parents, I no longer had so much of my life decided by so few people, and the usefulness of lies diminished. I don't think I've lied very much since University, pretty much for the above three reasons. It's amusing that the third reason is as strong as it is - right now I live a comfortable (if lonely) life and deception wouldn't really get me anything, even if it were not a burden and I didn't find it contrary to my values. I think I told the most lies I ever told to my parents. As parents have to be manipulative to do a good job, and as my parents are both clever, manipulative sorts, I had quite good teachers in lying and manipulation (having three younger sisters helped too). After the first lesson, when I did tell lies, I actually got quite good (I think) at it - I'll probably never know for sure the difference between when I tricked my parents, when they let me get away with things they knew were lies, and the murky grounds where they were not sure. Does it bother me now? Not really - my personality and identity were still being baked, and if I ever have children (hopefully), I imagine they'll do similarly to me and I'll do a lot of things that I swore I'd never do, now realising that much of that is part of being a good parent.
I don't remember much in the way of the lies - most of them were my attempts to avoid the blame for stupid situations I got myself into.. a few:
- Talking on the phone for two hours at 1am with some (in retrospect, creepy) 40-year-old guy I saw on my BBS who turned out to recently released from prison (yeah, that was bad judgement). My parents picked up the line at some point, he hung up, I hung up, they came downstairs, and I claimed that some guy was asking for information on the users of my BBS (whose name I made up by combining the names on some programming books in my room)
- Claiming that a several-hundred-dollar phone bill consisting mostly of many-hours phone calls to Prodigy (an old .. pre-internet nationwide online service), most of them between 2am and 5am, was a result of a program I had written to automatically dial and get info rather than my really late night geeking out.
- Flat-out denial when my mom found porn on the computer. I pled ignorance, then that evening went and deleted both the original and the copy she was going to show to my dad to prove it.
- Countless times when I screwed up the family computer with either viruses I was writing, stupid things I tried (like using stacker on a hard drive that was already managed by doublespace on the theory I would get even more compression), crazy experiments (mix-and-matching IBM DOS and MS DOS boot files (e.g. replacing IO.SYS with IBMBIO.SYS without similarly replacing MSDOS.SYS with IBMDOS.SYS and a version-appropriate COMMAND.COM)), etc, I also pled ignorance. Sometimes it was pretty obvious that I was I was lying there and I had to confess pretty quickly (never sign your viruses!). After losing a lot of data after one of these incidents, my dad got me my own computer and told me not to do anything dangerous on the family one.