Quick hit: How not to get yourself invited to a girl geek dinner by me

My friend @orenmazor tweeted this:

way to increase visibility for the girl geek dinner by challenging the male geeks to figure out a way in http://is.gd/2Cc3F

The guy in question (Will Armstrong) first talks about how awesome the girl geek dinner will be. Okay, great. Then he whines because as a guy, he’s not invited. Okay, less great, but understandable. And then he offers a contest, “with the winner having yours truly as your guest at girl geek dinner and getting a featured blog post on startup ottawa.”

Uh, seriously awkward? Insulting? Worst way to ask for a date ever? Over-inflated ego much?

Certainly, I’m not impressed, and if I see this dude at the dinner (I’m hoping no one invites him), I’m going to be seriously tempted to pour a water pitcher over his head. And it’s putting me off the startup blog, too, with that “hey, the easiest way for women get on our blog is to pimp themselves to Will” vibe.

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About terriko

Terri has a PhD in horribleness, assuming we can all agree that web security is kind of horrible. She stopped working on skynet (err, automated program repair and AI) before robots from the future came to kill her and got a job in open source, which at least sounds safer. Now, she gets paid to break things and tell people they're wrong, and maybe help fix things so that people won't agree so readily with the first sentence of this bio in the future. Terri writes/tweets under the name terriko, enjoys making things and mentoring others and has a plain ol' home page at http://terri.toybox.ca.

7 thoughts on “Quick hit: How not to get yourself invited to a girl geek dinner by me

  1. Julien Lamarche

    Comment left on Mr. Armstrong’s post:

    Maybe it’s a mostly-girl thing so they can talk freely about girl stuff, and not have nosy guys like you intrude on the conversation?

    1. Terri

      For the record, usually when girl events are guys-by-invite-only it’s not so much about girl stuff talk, but more of a way to keep out the obvious trolls. (e.g. creepy guys looking to pick up, guys who are so socially dysfunctional that they can’t get a female friend to invite them, guys who will dominate discussions in a bad way, etc.) It also keeps the ratio of women to men a little heavier on the women, which tends to heavily change the dynamics of the conversations… not so much that it’s about girl stuff (although it happens — my female friends talk feminism a lot more than the male ones, for example), but just that it’s a different way of talking.

  2. Kelly Rusk

    Hi Terri,

    The unfortunate part of the Internet sometimes, is that things–particularly humour–can be misinterpreted.

    The rule with Girl Geek Dinners (which started in London, England and now is in over 22 countries) is that men are allowed to attend, but must be invited by a girl. This is to ensure the ratio is never more than 50:50. The point of the event is to not have an all women event, but to have a majority of women present, since most tech-related events are dominated by males.

    So Will is not desperately trying to get a date, he’s just very interested in attending what will be a really awesome event.

    As co-organizer of Girl Geek Dinners Ottawa, I’m thrilled that in addition to the tons of women who’ve expressed interest in attending, there are also many men who would love to come. A great indication, before the event has actually launched.

    Finally, as a side note, I do know Will personally and he did actually speak to me (and another woman) about doing this blog post which we took in good humour. You can trust that he’s not some macho ego-maniac.. Quite the opposite actually. Perhaps it can be misinterpreted, but I do think most of the StartupOttawa regulars (male & female) know Will and would not read into it that way.

    I do hope you will come out, and I’ll even let you pour a water pitcher over Will’s head anyway, because that would also be funny.


    1. Terri

      First: yeay! Thanks for organizing the dinner. I’ve wanted to have them in Ottawa since I first heard about them, but I never quite had time and the people necessary to organize. I’m really thrilled, and will probably skip my regular Wednesday commitment to attend.

      Second: I totally understand that Will was trying to be funny, and I admit I’m amused as well as irked, but I think his “I’m so pathetic that none of my female friends will invite me, so let’s have a contest where random women on the internet can compete to have me on their arm” routine was demeaning to both him and his eventual escort. If he’d ended with a simple “pretty please, would someone invite me?” I’d have gone with the amused rather than the irked version of this post.

      Funny can be subtle, and I think he failed to pull it off this time. It happens to the best of us, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t pour a water pitcher on him. ;)

  3. Julien Lamarche

    So now that its been established that Will is “not some macho ego-maniac” and that it was taken in good humor by the organizers (if I understood correctly), maybe Mr. Armstrong can be invited so that he can go on-stage and Terri and friends can pour a water pitcher over him.



  4. Jamie

    Ah, there is some sanity out there after all. Hurrah!

    The problem with dry humour is that sometimes it’s mistaken for seriousness, especially when it pertains to a touchy subject like gender issues. Perhaps we need to establish a comprehensive guide to emoticon usage? ;)

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