I’m now at that stage in life where everyone’s finding long-term love, getting engaged and married, having children, and living in homes they bought with their own money. I’m quite used to getting wedding, baptismal, and housewarming invites. My social media feeds are filled with photos of PDA-ing couples, engagement rings, wedding scenes, and kids (cute or otherwise — to quote a friend, “hindi lahat ng baby, cute!”).

Yeah. Everyone’s in love and settling down. Me? Nope. Not happening anytime soon.

You made my heart go BOOM. (♥ Love Explosion ♥ by Stuart Cale on Flickr. Used under CC BY 2.0.)

Being single does have many awesome upsides, particularly for people like me who do as we please. I’m generally fine on my own, and I find I can get very uncomfortable when not able to act autonomously. However, there will always be the spoken and unspoken pressure from society to settle down and not become an Old Maid. (I didn’t know I had a deadline.) There will also be random instances when I wonder why and how people get lucky in love in their first or first few tries, and I have a track record of kissing frogs, or just like-liking them.

These days, I don’t really dwell on singledom and lost love. I’ve become ambivalent about dating, though. I can get back into it, but sometimes I don’t think I want to. If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I also figure that if I’m going to be a spinster, I’m gonna be the best and coolest one there is. I guess I’m more annoyed with being “in limbo” than anything else.

(Note to self: maybe I can make it my mission to teach people that asking “may boyfriend ka na ba?” is fucking rude and intrusive, and deserves a strong high five to the face in response.)

Not everyone has the same attitude. I actually envy people who will do whatever it takes to find love, or even dare to say aloud that they’re looking for it. Like the unidentified people featured in two of the books I’m reviewing today, or the geeks who will buy and follow a modern manual on dating.

Light reads for the loveless and lovelorn.

What I love (hah!) about today’s featured books is that they tackle the complex topic of love, but are still very quick and light reads. They impart lessons without being preachy, or making anyone feel too bad about being unattached. Plus, as with men, I like books that can make me laugh out loud, literally.

Enough rambling. Let’s get to the love and light reading!

Good guidance for geeks

Geeks are cool these days. (So are nerds. One can be a geek and a nerd, but they’re not synonymous.) So if you’ve been called a geek as an insult when you were a kid, congratulations. Enjoy your revenge. 🙂

Prepare, Player One.

Basically, everyone wants to be a geek, or at least look like one. But I’ve “discovered” a way to separate the poser geeks from the real geeks: make them read Eric Smith’s The Geek’s Guide to Dating — one of my purchases at Solidaridad Book Shop a few months ago.

This hardbound 2013 tome is filled with geek-culture references, seemingly cramming a few of them per page. I actually lost count a few pages into the second chapter, and it got to the point where I needed my phone or tablet beside me while reading so I can Google certain references. Every dropped name, game, movie or book make for solid “man, I feel old” moments. But it can also get overwhelming, especially for those who aren’t that well-versed or are just starting to embrace their inner geek.

I think the author stuffed his book with geek references up the wazoo to make the “before, during and after” of dating more understandable and less stressful for the hardcore geeks. I’m just amazed that Smith always found the perfect example or analogy to explain things.

Which brings us to my next point: I don’t want to believe that you really have to spell everything out for men, geeky or not. It’s impossible that they wouldn’t know about the basics of dating, relationships, grooming and conduct. But maybe I’m wrong. This may be why I’m still single.

Geek lines presented like move combinations. Nicely done.

Geek lines presented like combos. Nicely done.

The book’s geared primarily toward male geeks, but Smith made it clear that lady geeks can read and follow his tips and advice as well. And with the way he doled it out, and explained/framed situations, I might do just that.

The author used clever and imaginative explanations for the different dating stages and factors, and even framed dating as another (but more serious) game for geeks to play. Cheat codes, game combos, and walkthroughs galore! I also really liked the book sections on the kinds of people in the dating pool, types of geeks, how to dress and behave during a date, where to scout for dates, and even how to deal with breakups and get back in the game.

Songs to get geeks in the right mood, pre-date.

The best thing about The Geek’s Guide to Dating is that, whether you’re old hat or n00b, you’ll be encouraged to jump back into the dating pool and actually feel optimistic about the whole endeavor. Smith used simple language and a lighthearted tone, took a modern approach (with references to social media and online dating), and offered sensible advice throughout the seven chapters. The discussions never became condescending, or assuming — valuable for those feeling the pressure to couple up and settle down, or even get out of their rooms or log out of their MMOs.

The only big downside? All those typos, grammatical errors and missing words. The book’s peppered with them! This book geek just couldn’t handle it.

The Geek’s Guide to Dating, Eric Smith
Hardbound, Quirk Books
Buy: National Book Store / Kobo Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Next: “All the lonely hearts”: Sexually, I’m More of a Switzerland, edited by David Rose