Talk Nerdy to Me

benjyfeenphoto.com

Culture


On any given night in San Francisco, for every starchy, off-the-record tech-establishment event, there’s probably an uncensored gathering of bright-eyed young engineers.

Case in point: The Sequoia Capital partners and founders “Spring Mix 2014″ cocktail party — where WhatsApp and Airbnb execs mingled with tech reporters over lobster rolls — was explicitly no-comment on Wednesday night.

No one invited was allowed to share the conversations that took place in the dark underground San Francisco South of Market bar, 25 Lusk. (Some hints: Office space configurations, hiring decisions, veganism.)

Taking a risk, one reporter did tweet this image from the bar of pun cocktail names (which was then quickly retweeted by Sequoia anyway):

With no embarrassing quotes to be had, I headed across town to a place where nothing would be off the record — or off-limits.

Talk Nerdy to Me” was billed as a night for literary, libidinal programmers to tell their truest, dirtiest tales.

One of the speaker bios read: “Computer engineer by education, firmware engineer by profession, and sex geek by nature.”

Comedian Candace Roberts was already midway through her set at the Verdi Club, warming up the 300-something crowd with a song about body-hair grooming rituals. The host, Dixie De La Tour — wearing a tiny top hat, fake-diamond necklace and a black tea dress — told the audience that she’d been hosting bawdy storytelling nights for seven years. And, she claimed, never has one been as popular — or as raunchy — as these new nerd-themed programs.

“The nerds, they go into all this detail,” she said later. “We’re actually not normally this hot.”

After some stories about hooking up during “Dungeons and Dragons,” and engineers “gamifying” various acts of intimacy, Janelle Tavares, a young software engineer, stepped onstage for her first time ever.

“My story starts in computer science class,” Tavares began nervously. “Object-oriented coding concepts of polymorphism and inheritance.”

People stomped the floor. Someone shouted out “Emac.”

Her story continued: A lean, handsome RA came to her dorm room on a Friday night to help her install this powerful new software.

“He tells me ‘sudo’ is short for ‘superuser do.’ Whatever comes after sudo has to be immediately executed. My response is, ‘So sudo demands obedience?'”

As her story reached its zenith, Tavares’ heroine gasped: “While 1! Open curly brace, right there! Semicolon, don’t stop!”

After all, this is Silicon Valley.

After the show, audience members lingered by the stage and at the bar.

talk-nerdy-to-me

Chad Gholson walked out of the auditorium in a black zip-up hoodie, carrying a MacBook Pro box.

“I’ve had a long day and just needed to laugh,” said Gholson, 36, who works as technical support at a startup and lives in the Mission District. “This was just the best thing I could have done for myself.”

“This actually is how programmers talk,” said Andrew Glaros, a 27-year-old UX designer, who finds such chatter inappropriate. “People are always making dumb jokes about how, ‘I’m gonna put my disk in your drive,’ or like, ‘I’m gonna upload on your chest.’ We just don’t usually see it onstage.”

Of course, many don’t find such juvenile joshing in a work setting — too much of which can be explicitly anti-women — to be funny at all.

Here, in a performance space, it was more decidedly benign.

De La Tour said she was thrilled with the event, even though one speaker had flaked: “We had a really nerdy furry, but he backed out. Furries always back out. They have to be careful about their identities, but we’re always hoping to get more of them involved.

At an upcoming event, called “OkPervert,” De La Tour will invite people onstage to tell their best OkCupid stories.

You can see the rest of Tavares’ story here (Warning: NSFW):



4 comments
BwdyLover
BwdyLover

This is a poorly written article. I'm not even really sure what the point of this article is, exactly. Bawdy is an exceptional monthly storytelling event that brings all sorts of sexy, kinky, gender-bending people together to share their sexpliots in a friendly environment. Each month's theme is different. It's an amazing opportunity to meet new friends!

Rubeun
Rubeun

This article gives the impression that Bawdy Storytelling is targeted at tech people. The theme for that night (and the theme changes every show) happened to be Nerds. Comparing this as an alternative to VC mixers or other tech events is Apple's and PC's. 


As an example of the variety of themes Bawdy has had...the first show I attended the theme was StarF*cker where people went on stage and told true stories about a hook up with a celebrity. I went to support a friend who was going on stage for the first time, and I have kept going ever since.


Personally I loved the theme and hope they do another Nerd theme sometime soon, Janelle's story was amazing and especially sexy because we understood everything she was talking about...from sudo commands, vi editors, Ubuntu installation to OO concepts of Polymorphism and Inheritance. My other favourite story was Spidere's (a guy dressed up in full Jedi garb) story of a awesome nerd sex party with a space theme. With people dressed in costumes from Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, BSG, Bab5, etc. Amazing.


jdrch
jdrch

The problem with events such as this in which you make sexual innuendos about work situations among people you may work with is where do you draw the line so as not to create a hostile work environment?

bigfan
bigfan

@jdrch Would anything be solved by deterring all sexual innuendo? Because regardless of what kind of situation the innuendo includes, there probably exists someone for which that is a work situation. 


I don't think this event is problematic, at all.  In fact, it helps to solve the problem of adults having too few socially acceptable outlets for sex/kink/gender performance and conversation.  


What you may not be acknowledging is that people don't and shouldn't stop living their lives and having personalities throughout the work day; they think about and communicate about sex all day long.  It's not unprofessional to enjoy someone's company and conversation.  Coworkers frequently flirt, hook up, date, and marry.  These things are a healthy expression of sexuality, as long as the interactions are between consenting adults.  Hostile behaviors include many things, and no one should ever have to feel harassed, belittled, or unsafe at work.  But, every kind of sexual suggestion does not necessarily create a hostile work environment, especially when the suggestion is not made within that work environment.  Where's the line?  Usually around the topics of consent, objectification, and sexism.  

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 301,119 other followers