Social skills: over-rated?

(Updated: forgot the damn link) Twisty thinks so, after describing her own lack of compliance with social conformity:

It is an asset, not to mention a joy and a relief, to be unencumbered by social skills. What are they, after all, but a set of arbitrarily-conceived customs meant to sort people into classes, the more conveniently to be dominated by those whose mastery of the arbitrary customs is superior? I’m sure I need not point out to you, O my fellow blamers, that the stability of patriarchy as a system of social control relies on the mass assimilation of these customs. Customs are the currency of culture; the more you absorb, the greater your rewards. But closer examination reveals them to be nothing but taboos and commandments designed to restrict human conduct to a finite set of ritualized mannerisms constrained by foul ideals of deference, appeasement, and conformity.

“Attractiveness” is one of those mannerisms. You know what? Fuck attractiveness and the establishmentarian horse it rode in on.

So, back to the question posed by Person X, “is there anything about being a geek that makes a person more attractive?”

I am happy to say, no there isn’t, and isn’t that nice.

For the so-far unTwistified, be aware that she uses hyperbole and polemic like scalpels in her rhetoric. If you are confronted by some of her statements, you’re meant to be, and whining about it over there in discussions is counterproductive to say the least.

As the parent of children on the Autistic Spectrum, (and displaying more than a few ASD traits myself), I find a post like this most bracing. I might go outside and spin on the lawn for a while.



Categories: health, relationships, Sociology

Tags: , ,

5 replies

  1. Hm. I think it is often the case that the belief that “social skills are overrated” is an excuse to be rude and boorish. “I hate game-playing” was a favorite when I was young, and was too often used as an excuse for telling the whole truth all the time. It struck me that “God, your hair looks like shit! What made you think it would look good that color?” wasn’t (though it was); it was simply a way to be hip and cool and too far above the hoi polloi to bother with niceties.
    Personally, I am all for social skills. I think they provide a graceful way to get to know someone in a kind of dance to which both parties know the choreography.
    Now, when you’re talking about people with autism or autistic tendencies, that’s different. To hold someone with autistic disorder to the same standard as one would hold someone without the disorder is like spurning a paraplegic because he can’t dance well. Flexibility is also a social skill.
    I think today’s society suffers from a lack of civility, and that means that social skills are being ignored. I’m agin it.
    And you kids get the hell off my lawn.

  2. Oops. I messed up a tag.
    “What made you think it would look good that color?” wasn’t truth(though it was); it was simply a way to be hip and cool and too far above the hoi polloi to bother with niceties.”
    and so on.

  3. I fixed the italics tag, Vicki, although I left your missing word still missing so that your second comment makes sense.
    I agree that some people do avoid social skills as a reason to be rude and boorish. Twisty’s talking about fairly average geeks/nerds though, who are typically not rude/boorish but merely a bit unusual in their habits and also unconcerned with social trivia.
    I think it’s fair enough to say that it’s OK to enjoy doing silly stuff that other people are too self-conscious to enjoy, and OK to not care much about fashion and “attractiveness” conventions that attempt to enforce conformity. Go to, I say.

  4. I’ve thought the whole idea of ‘attractiveness’ was a crock ever since I figured out at school that it was a Boy Word for describing the effect a girl was having on him — ie, he was being attracted — as distinct from any innate quality the girl herself might possess. This made it very easy for them to then blame a girl for lacking, as they saw it, that alleged quality.
    (Heavy theory of subject/object relations to be unpacked in there. Also, a semi-disclaimer: I myself was somewhere in the mediocre middle of the pack, attractiveness-wise, so am pushing only a teeny-tiny personal barrow here.)
    I used this insight many years later when teaching as a comeback for students who whined (at university level, mind) about how ‘boring’ a book or subject was. ‘It’s not that it is boring, Narelle,’ I would reply sweetly, ‘it is that you are bored.’

  5. it was a Boy Word for describing the effect a girl was having on him “” ie, he was being attracted “” as distinct from any innate quality the girl herself might possess

    Yes, that’s it exactly. Othering, as you say.

    ”It’s not that it is boring, Narelle,’ I would reply sweetly, “it is that you are bored.’

    Snort. Did she roll her eyes?

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