ethelthefrog wrote:[Look, let me go back in there and face the peril.
I'm asking. People fascinate me (another contra-geek trait).
OK, so I've been "called out".
A good many years ago, the exact number of which is not important, before I became worldly and eloquent (yeah, right!) I was what might have been described as the ultimate technician; I lived and breathed computers and computing. I'd worked on more different types of hardware and software than better 99% of the population had, and I knew the most intimate details of more than a few computers (which, at the time were not PCs; some had board-complements running into the several hundreds instead of one). Of course it showed: I was absolutely, completely, and totally incompetent in virtually all things social.
And so it came to pass that the to-be-wife of one of my co-workers decided that I "needed some culture", and one evening I was rather unceremoniously loaded into the back of a car and taken to a wine tasting. Being a geek, I drank beer. Fosters, at the time, in the "oil-can" size. I looked right at home towering over a pile of yuppies and a smattering of my cow-orkers.
Wine tastings, it turns out, can drag. Interminably, sometimes it seems, and so it was. I'd been ready to go home after my first Fosters (My tastes have matured a bit since then; I prefer Bass and Guinness now. ), but was trapped by virtue of not having my car in the parking-lot. Whilst I was ready to flee the scene, there was somebody else there who wasn't and who thought I looked interesting and who decided to chat me up.
"What's your favourite computer?"
"What's your favourite computer?"
"The PDP-10."; Sapphire indicates that with this response I drew myself to full height and looked down my nose. I'm not sure if I did or not, but in retrospect it sort of makes sense.
"What model?" (There were four that made it into production and one that was more or less stillborn.) She indicates that I sneered on that one.
"I'm not sure. I'm a programmer."
At this point I was one iota from abject panic; Sapphire is a very attractive gal, and was more so "back in the day" (I'll get cudgelled for that remark), and here she was trying quite hard to actually have a conversation with somebody who was not particularly good at having such things that were off his chosen subject matter.
As what tried to pass for a conversation actually got going, it became very apparent that there was more in common than there was different; both of us had a large overlap in systems that we knew, her from programming and me from hardware, and had a mutual appreciation of how those systems were designed and put together -- enough so that we were able to converse about how various machines influenced designers and what those influences meant and how they carried back and forth not just within individual companies, but across many. Ultimately, the conversation wound up revolving around the history and evolution of computer instruction-sets.
We had a great time, and my co-workers were dumbfounded.
Telephone numbers were exchanged, and I can still recall the visceral fear of having my finger hovering over the last digit of her telephone number when I was to call two days later. (It took three tries to actually get all the digits off before the CO decided I was serious.)
It turns out that it worked out for the better. I'm a bit more grounded in social ways now (the less charitable will say that "I've grown up a bit"), care a bit more about my interactions with the humans around me, and at least have better sense in clothes. So, all in all, it's been a whopping big win -- for the both of us.
 Speaking of which, I need to make a beer run!