Android development pulls hot chicks. Who knew?

There I was, within earshot of the smoker’s bench outside the front entrance of the hotel hosting the World Boardgaming Championships, when I overheard the word “Android” from the three college students sitting on and around it, who I mentally tagged the Guy, the Gamer-Girl, and the Hottie. I moved a bit closer, to polite conversational distance for a stranger, and when they noticed me asked if they were talking about smartphones.

One of them (I think Gamer-Girl) said “Yes” and within about ten seconds I learned that they all had Androids and were huge fans, and had been discussing apps and fun things to do with the device. I smiled and told them I’d written some of the code in their phones.

The Hottie, a slender but pleasantly curved redhead in a tight black dress and fishnets, sat up a bit straighter and asked me what parts I’d written. I settled as usual for explaining that I wrote significant pieces of the code Android uses to throw image bits on its display. The hottie did a silent “Oooh!” and gave me dilated pupils and a flash of rather nice cleavage.

So yes, geeky guys, Android development can pull hot chicks. Well, it was either that or my rugged masculine charm; you get to choose your theory.

I had to run off to lunch, but I did learn one other interesting thing during this interlude. When I said that I was pleased that Android is attracting such loyalty from people who aren’t techies, they assured me that all their friends either have Androids or are planning to get them.

This being WBC, my sample was probably a bit above average in IQ and likely to lean towards early adoption. Still, it makes me suspect the iPhone is losing its grip on one of its core markets.

60 thoughts on “Android development pulls hot chicks. Who knew?

  1. It was probably the GIF-decoding library libungif; if it was Eric could almost certainly make the same claim about the iPhone. (He is mentioned by name in the copyright screen for my PSP’s system ROM.)

  2. I guess I missed my window of opportunity…If this state of affairs had occured 15 years ago, I could have cleaned up…dang & blast! ;)

    However, like you, I have experienced situations with younger lasses where, although in no mind to lead anywhere, I observed the firestarting attraction that manly, high-IQ geeks can evoke. Always makes my day.

  3. Don’t let Eric fool you, he’s just a smooth operator. I spent enough time hanging around late at night at science fiction conventions to see him in action (enough years ago that I won’t out either one of us by saying!)

  4. @Jeff Read: ESR is explicitly credited in Apple’s legal notices for iOS 4.3.5 (and earlier versions), as one of the authors and copyright holder of giflib. On an iOS device, in the Settings app, select General > About > Legal and scroll down a LONG way.

    (I went iPhone because (a) I was already an iPod/iTunes user, and (b) I was already an AT&T customer, so it was a fairly obvious decision. If either of those conditions hadn’t held, the decision might be less obvious. If I hadn’t already gone the iOS route, and were choosing a smartphone today, it’s likely I’d pick Android. Both Android and iOS users are well represented among my fellow developers in my office.)

  5. Wow, awesome way to function in the 21st century! Thanks for totally alienating the women developers in your audience.

  6. If you’re having difficulty attracting new women or sufficiently enjoying your existing relationships with them, or even want to improve your already satisfactory ones, study relationship Game.

    With Eric’s OK, I’ll post recommended links.

  7. > If you’re having difficulty attracting new women or sufficiently enjoying your existing relationships with them, or even want to improve your already satisfactory ones, study relationship Game.

    Eric has blogged on this before. Sounded pretty creepy to me.

  8. That may have been an `OMG I’m talking to a celebrity!?’ pupils-etc. response.

    In which case, uh…, congratulations, Eric–you’re finally famous! :)

  9. I’m not going to say a word about Eric’s rugged masculine charms, a subject on which I’m singularly unqualified to comment.

  10. You know the difference between a fairy tale and a manly story?

    One begins with “Once upon a time…”, the other with “No shit, there I was…”

  11. Sounds like I’ve got more ways to fulfill my quest to get laid by name dropping esr. ;)

    Eric, do you think the woman’s response has to do with fame or is it an example of natural selection predisposing women towards those who create memes? It’s interesting how people react to a whiff of fame.

    About a year and a half ago, I noticed that android was being adopted by people whom I knew who were part of the indie music scene. Before that people I knew with smart phones were early adopter of technologies. About 6-8 months ago, I noticed most of my coworkers who purchased new smart phones purchased android. One thing I’ve noticed with people whom I know who have purchased a new iphone within the last year is that they have a strategy of paying a premium for cultural products that confer status. It’s not a perfect mapping, but android seems to be moving from an identifier of underground culture to ubiquitous main stream presence, kind of like Depeche Mode. :)

  12. >Wow, awesome way to function in the 21st century! Thanks for totally alienating the women developers in your audience.

    Augustina, shrill dingbats with amputated senses of humor like you are the reason I have increasing trouble taking anything with the label ‘feminist’ on it seriously. The Hottie is, as I overheard, an education major, not any sort of developer. I did not reach into her head and command her to wear fishnet stockings and a cocktail dress in the daytime, and a reasonable person would deduce from this that she wants to be thought of and related to as a “hot chick”. I did not require or expect that she would flirt with me, and I treated her throughout our brief interaction with respect for her intelligence and capacity to make her own choices. Please be so kind as to take your PC-puritanical judgment of her perfectly normal sexuality – and mine – and ram it up any bodily orifice of your choice, sideways.

  13. >Eric, do you think the woman’s response has to do with fame or is it an example of natural selection predisposing women towards those who create memes? It’s interesting how people react to a whiff of fame.

    I don’t know. If it helps, she didn’t seem to have any idea that I’m famous as an individual; the reaction was to “Android developer”, not ESR.

  14. >Don’t let Eric fool you, he’s just a smooth operator.

    Hm. It is true that I have a history of being interesting to women, especially intelligent ones. It is also true that this has continued to a perhaps surprising extent given that I’m on the far side of 50 now. But I stipulate these things because in this case I was joking about my “rugged masculine charm” – I really think she was reacting to “Android developer”, not so much me, and I wasn’t “operating” – that is, I wasn’t trying to hit on her.

    Well, not consciously, anyway. Might be that my behavior was subtly modified by presence of hot chick, and it might be that the forebrain label of “Android developer” gave her hindbrain permission to bat her eyes at a viscerally interesting man. But this is pure speculation which I report only to show that I’m aware of the possibility; I have no evidence for either supposition.

  15. > Creepy and unnecessary.

    I’d agree that the attitude of many of the practitioners is often creepy and borderline misogynistic. But their analysis of what women find attractive is absolutely correct. If you’re a stereotypical introverted geek, and your female friend tells you that while she personally isn’t attracted to you, you’re a great guy and if you just be yourself the right woman will come along, she thinks she’s being honest and helpful. But she’s not.

  16. Augustina, so … are you one of those people who doubt the existence of lesbians? You know … lesbians … they kinda think girls are sexually exciting. So, would it be a problem if Eric were gay, and describing some hot muscular guy? Not for me. So why is it a problem for you when he describes being attracted to a hot girl? I don’t want to prick your bubble, but guys are attracted to attractive girls (yes, I’m sure you will recognize that as a tautology but … but …).

  17. @ Brian 2
    > what women find attractive

    What on Earth do you mean?

    I’m absolutely certain that not all (or even most) women find me attractive. I’m also absolutely certain that my wife does (or at least used to, har har).

  18. @esr,

    Can we assume that ‘rugged masculine charm’ translates to something akin to ‘great face for radio’?

    Surely your acutely developed social skills, obvious sang-froid and topical, witty repartee on subjects of relevance, could equally explain your rapid acceptance into their social circle?

  19. Let’s analyze the interaction in Mystery Method terms:

    1) Eric approaches mixed 3-set, uses situational opener “were you talking about smartphones?” (points for balls.)

    2) Busts out massive DHV (Demonstration of Higher Value) spike with “I wrote some of the code in those phones you were talking about!”

    3) Makes explanation accessible (points for charisma and social intelligence.)

    4) Received massive IOI (Indicator of Interests) from hottie.

    Probably could have pulled the hottie with continued game at that point.

    Of course such massive DHV spikes combined with charismatic delivery make game easy.

    (As Mystery himself says, it’s not what your job is, it’s how you describe it.)

  20. @Gregory Markle:

    Don’t let Eric fool you, he’s just a smooth operator. I spent enough time hanging around late at night at science fiction conventions to see him in action (enough years ago that I won’t out either one of us by saying!)

    Oh, don’t worry. We’re not fooled. We read Eric’s diatribe on PUAs.

    @esr:

    I wasn’t “operating” – that is, I wasn’t trying to hit on her.Well, not consciously, anyway.

    Hm. You did refer to yourself as “a natural” in the blogpost linked above.

    @Augustina: My wife, who is a Wiccan high priestess — almost as feminist as you can get — has used the word “Hottie” when referring to attractive young ladies so attired. What does that perhaps tell you about yourself?

  21. Pretty much being inside someone’s daily fares without them knowing and letting them now will have them awed.

  22. Or, to put it another way: Assuming that she keeps her phone in her hip pocket at least some of the time, and given that said phone contains code that he wrote, ESR was already in her pants before the conversation even started.

  23. Hit on ‘em, don’t hit on ‘em, doesn’t matter, really. You’ll always end up on the wrong side of _somebody’s_ attitude no matter how you behave.

    > [...] given that I’m on the far side of 50 now.

    Gosh, Eric, we _are_ getting old, eh? Seems like just yesterday we were crossing paths at the TCF fleamarkets.

  24. “Assuming that she keeps her phone in her hip pocket at least some of the time, and given that said phone contains code that he wrote, ESR was already in her pants before the conversation even started.”

    There’s a great “bullshit baffles brains” routine in that, a la Mystery’s “You are a song/an mp3.”

    “I am in your pants!” Haha.

  25. Assuming that she keeps her phone in her hip pocket at least some of the time, and given that said phone contains code that he wrote, ESR was already in her pants before the conversation even started.

    Of course, assuming you have a smartphone, that means that ESR is in YOUR pants, too.

    ESR is not in my pants. I have a phone holster. :)

  26. >Of course, assuming you have a smartphone, that means that ESR is in YOUR pants, too.

    Isn’t there a spray for that? :)

    Seriously though, this is good news. The side that is able to draw and retain the hot chicks tends to win the culture war.

  27. Eric, maybe you treated Hottie with all the respect she deserved at that gathering, maybe you didn’t even think about her sexually then. What comes off as sexist is you reducing her to Hottie in this post, same as tagging Gamer-Girl as, well, Gamer-Girl, and you and everyone else here talking about girl programmers as different because of their gender. In this regard, feminists are centuries ahead of you. Maybe you don’t actually think that. Maybe you are the most respectful guy on earth. Still, your accounts of events such as this center on the sexual part of women. From this account, “Hottie” comes off as little more than a vapid bimbo, only characterized because she knows a bit about what code is, and because she pops cleavage in front of programmers and not football jocks. In this regard, I agree with Augustina. You aren’t doing Open Source any favors by describing women like this.

  28. @Adriano
    > you and everyone else here talking about girl programmers as different because of their gender.

    What?

    > Still, your accounts of events such as this center on the sexual part of women.

    Eh? The post was a light-hearted anecdote about _sex appeal_. Why wouldn’t it center on that? Chill out.

  29. @jsk
    > What?
    My quip might be overly broad, but in light of what I wrote, you should be able to see what I mean.

    > The post was a light-hearted anecdote about _sex appeal_
    Indeed. Shame it wasn’t anything else. Shame that you didn’t even realise that’s exactly what I thought was wrong with the post.

    > … Chill out.
    I am quite calm, thanks. I’m just expressing my dislike.

  30. @Adriano
    > Shame it wasn’t anything else. Shame that you didn’t even realise that’s exactly what I thought was
    > wrong with the post.

    I don’t see any language in your post that suggests that, only that you’re explaining your problems with esr’s description of the people in the story. Please do point it out, though; I may be missing it. Did you, however, miss how the tale was used both as a silly sex appeal story AND as anecdotal evidence for Android proliferation? It seems to do triple-duty, actually, but I’ll leave the additional unstated anecdotal refutation, well, unsaid.

  31. “you and everyone else here talking about girl programmers as different because of their gender”

    Yes, women and men are exactly identical, with no differences whatsoever, other than that women are better than men, who are icky, and like guns and other icky things.

  32. Friendly amendment, Eric: “Android development pulls hot chick. Who knew?” Hot chick singular. There are some freaky hot chicks out there. I know one who’s a railfan! She loves to check out the dates stamped on the sides of rails, and turntable pits, and stuff like that. But she’s a freak; one of a kind.

  33. > Indeed. Shame it wasn’t anything else. Shame that you didn’t even realise that’s exactly what I thought was wrong with the post.
    I can think of two possibilities here:
    1) You personally don’t like reading about this topic. Solution: Don’t read about it.
    2) You don’t think anyone should ever discuss this topic. Solution: Go take a long walk of a short pier.

  34. I see this post as a introduction to a next step: Hot chick telling eric she has written some drivers/apps in his Android phone.

    Thats what we are going to.

  35. ESR, as a woman developer, I find your conviction that women may like you because you programmed part of Android absolutely bizarre. You boasted. Not attractive. For all you knew at the time, THOSE people could have written code within Android. Please don’t judge a book by its cover, not women by their clothes.

  36. @Adriano

    “What comes off as sexist is you reducing her to Hottie in this post, same as tagging Gamer-Girl as, well, Gamer-Girl, and you and everyone else here talking about girl programmers as different because of their gender.”

    So, what, can people not describe each other by their appearance without it bothering you? All the people in ESR’s story got a single label. College ___. College gamer girl, college hottie, and college dude. Which of those three descriptions is “most sexist”? Answer: none of them are. But to make the point – is it because ESR is sexist against dudes that he ‘reduced’ the guy to a mere gender label?

    Why didn’t he find out what the dude was going to school for, and what his favourite hobby is, colour is, what his stance on abortion, or if he likes bacon? He could have used all those as labels. But oh no. He just reduced him to dude. Like he has no other characteristics. Like his only purpose and use in life is to be a dude.

    Give me a break.

    Calling a chicken a chicken is not reducing it to anything unless you have something against chickens. Thinking of the descriptor ‘hot’ as a reduction is the true depravity here. Why does being a hottie have a negative connotation for you? Do you have something against beautiful people?

    “…and you and everyone else here talking about girl programmers as different because of their gender.”

    And nobody is talking about women programmers in a negative way. First of all, a female is different from a male. So girl programs are different from boy programmers. In that they are girls. That doesn’t say anything about the quality of their work, or who they are, or if they like X or dislike Y and like to do Z on the weekends and their IQ is W. It just says they are women. Someone giving someone a label is not an automatic reason for you to wave the PC flags. Labels are the cornerstone of language. You can’t talk about anything without labelling it somehow. I should say that none of that even matters, because ESR didn’t even talk about female programmers in his story. The most offensive idea you’re throwing out there, that somehow people here are talking down to female programmers, isn’t even evident in the post or in its comments. You had to pull it out of thin air because there’s nothing here worth getting upset about.

    I should also mention that I don’t understand why Augustina thinks ESR is alienating female programmers. If I met a girl and she had code as prolific as ESR’s, it would be a major factor for me being interested. It works both ways. The true accomplishment here is that intellectual achievement has become sexy. And that is something we should all be thankful for.

  37. >you and everyone else here talking about girl programmers as different because of their gender.

    I must have missed the part where anyone is actually doing this. I haven’t said a word about “girl programmers”, and I haven’t noticed anyone but the feminists and their male sycophants doing so.

  38. >ESR, as a woman developer, I find your conviction that women may like you because you programmed part of Android absolutely bizarre.

    I understand that you find reality bizarre. This is not reality’s problem, nor mine.

  39. >Please don’t judge a book by its cover, not women by their clothes.

    If any of them had written Android code, I’m certain I would have found that out after I referred to having done so, and the conversation would have entered the geek zone. But I (correctly) discounted that possibility, because the neurotype from which software geeks are drawn is generally easy to spot by a combination of clothing, body language, and speech-style signals.

    As for not judging women by their clothes, no sale. Women (and men) choose their clothes to signal their taste, social status, interests, sexual availability, and many other things. The Hottie’s clothes said, loudly, “I want to attract sexual interest from men!” Ignoring that signal would have been perverse and, in a subtle but real way, disrespectful of her choices.

    It is perhaps interesting to note that I evaluated the Hottie as probably the most intelligent of the three based on alertness level and the way she used her eyes. Clothing does nothing to obscure those signals; it takes fatigue or alcohol to do that.

  40. >From this account, “Hottie” comes off as little more than a vapid bimbo, only characterized because she knows a bit about what code is, and because she pops cleavage in front of programmers and not football jocks.

    It was your preconceptions that wrote “little more than a vapid bimbo” into the picture. Vapid bimbos don’t go to WBC, because vapid bimbos don’t have the brains or the sitzfleisch for strategy games. Had I encountered at WBC a woman presenting that way, I would have wondered why on earth she was pretending to be stupider than she actually is.

  41. >It was your preconceptions that wrote “little more than a vapid bimbo” into the picture. Vapid bimbos don’t go to WBC, because vapid >bimbos don’t have the brains or the sitzfleisch for strategy games.

    Now you’re just making it worse, saying she has a big ass.

    (For the slower-witted and humor-challenged, ‘sitzfleisch’ is from the German for ‘sit’ and ‘flesh’. But it is used in various contexts to mean something like ‘having the fortitude to sit still and work through something’.)

    I am reminded of a quote, “…it is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood”. Especially when it’s deliberate.

  42. Kafka-Trap. By publicly assigning a label to a female based on her sexual attractiveness – attractiveness she went out to accentuate – Eric has committed thoughtcrime.

    Let me throw a counter example at you.

    At my local bus stop, there is a poster that reads “Someday, I’m going to find my handsome prince, who will sweep me off my feet….and rape me!” It then proceeds to say that women have no judgement, and men are all potential rapists until proven otherwise.

    Nice, simple rape prevention message. You Are In A Dangerous World! Older Men Are Scary!

    Posted on bus stops. And Men Cannot Be Offended, because, well, Men (outside of prisons) Don’t Know What It’s Like!

    So, let’s make its gender equivalent.

    “Someday, I’m going to fall madly in love with a woman, who in spite of being my legal equal, will get the kids, the house and half of my lifetime earnings.” It will then go on to say that men have no judgement, because women are gold-diggers until proven otherwise.

    Nice, simple extortion prevention message. You Are In A Dangerous World! The Court System Is Against You!

    Seems pretty facetious, doesn’t it?

    Except…

    Half of all marriages end in divorce. Roughly 90% of divorces end up with primary custody with the mother. Roughly 70% of divorces end up in financial hardship for the men. More than 90% of divorces are initiated by the wife.

    As a round figure, let’s say that 70% of 50% is 30% rather than 35%. This gives us 5% in slack for corner cases, and the percentage of men who never get married.

    FBI crime statistics say that 15% of all women between the ages of 12 and 25 experience some sort of sexual assault, up to and including rape (which is about 4%).

    Therefore, men are twice as likely to be gender-victims as women are.

    You’re not really equating paying child support with getting raped, are you?

    No, I’m not. If I were, the numbers above would say that men are roughly seven times likelier to be victimized based on their gender.

    But…rape is terrible! You’re not saying a divorce is worse than a rape!

    Most victims of rape and sexual assault who get adequate counseling – and the primary reason to report a rape is so that you can *get* counseling – make recoveries in about nine to fifteen months. It becomes a bad experience in the past.

    Most men who pay for child support end up paying for twelve years. The number of men who seek out psychological support for estrangement from their children is very low. The suicide rate among divorced men is almost 15 times higher than it is for married men, or men who never got married. (Suicide rates for men are already three times higher than they are for women, because men are generally more successful at it.)

    So – bad experience, versus a crushing financial burden that makes a man think the Willy Loman solution is the only way out.

    But you have no idea what it’s like to be raped!

    Roughly one in eleven reported rape victims is male. The social stigma against admitting admitting rape as a male is much much higher than it is for women. The disparity in percentages may be narrower than 11x.

  43. >By publicly assigning a label to a female based on her sexual attractiveness – attractiveness she went out to accentuate – Eric has committed thoughtcrime.

    Fortunately, I live to commit thoughtcrime against the superstitions and lunacies of the day. Offending idiots is a pleasure and a mitzvah.

    I’m also quite, quite sure even on our few minutes of acquaintance that the Hottie would find her soi-disant defenders as ridiculous as I do.

  44. Esr says: “the neurotype from which software geeks are drawn is generally easy to spot by a combination of clothing, body language, and speech-style signals.”

    Not so sure I can agree with this.

  45. >Not so sure I can agree with this.

    Your agreement isn’t required. I’m reporting a fact of my experience; if you are unable to spot these cues, this simply tells me you are not as observant about people as I am.

    I will further note that the cues I rely on have an interesting false-positive behavior; on the very few occasions that I have been mistaken in assuming that a person emitting them is a software geek, said person has found the assumption to be reasonable and unsurprising. Usually it turns out they’re some other sort of engineer, or an applied mathematician, or used to program but now does something else.

    In the case of the Guy, the Gamer-Girl, and the Hottie, it is more significant that my test set is actually even more reliable for spotting people who are not software geeks; that is, software geeks who don’t exhibit at least some of the traits are very, very rare.

  46. esr, perhaps you should be specific about where your cutoff for “a software geek” is in this context. These days a large fraction of people do at least some programming, probably one and perhaps two orders of magnitude more people than you intend to refer to.

    I haven’t meet large numbers of software geeks in the flesh since IETF meetings in a previous millennium, but I see something comparable in the game of Go. I just returned from the American Go Association national tournament, where I spent 20 hours or so playing in the “strong player room” for the 80 or so people at the top end of an open tournament for 300+ people. It seemed to me there was a reasonably significant correlation between “clothing, body language, and speech-style signals” and being a good enough amateur player to play in that room (roughly 3-4 dan and up), but only a considerably weaker correlation between those signals and being motivated enough to fly across the country to spend a week playing in the national tournament.

    OTOH, it seems to me that further up, at the ridiculously high end, the correlation seems to get weaker again. Any time I’ve interacted with a professional Go player, I can quickly pick up “smart, alert, thoughtful person,” but to me it’s pretty much impossible to distinguish them from the larger population of smart alert thoughtful people whose interests have nothing to do with any exact detail-oriented analysis. One of my neighbors runs a nontechnical business, and the manager at a restaurant I like near here remembers everyone’s name; from a few minutes of casual contact I’d have zero chance of distinguishing either of them from the population of pro Go players I’ve met.

    For that matter, Go players and software geeks seem hard to distinguish from capable people in complicate non-”technical” work where there are still sharp complicated unambiguous determinations of correctness and incorrectness to be made. I don’t know any nontechnical business owners or managers who remind me of software geeks or of strong amateur Go players, but I know a tax lawyer and a CPA who do.

  47. In the case of the Guy, the Gamer-Girl, and the Hottie, it is more significant that my test set is actually even more reliable for spotting people who are not software geeks; that is, software geeks who don’t exhibit at least some of the traits are very, very rare.

    Quite a few of the most competent developers I’ve met could easily pass for non-geek.

  48. Calling the Game community misogynist is like calling the intactivist community penis-haters.

    Yeah, the intactivists want all children to be protected from genital mutilation, girls included, because they hate penises. Wait what?

    Yeah, the Game guys want everybody to be more independent, self-aware, and self-determining, girls included, because they hate women. Wait what?

  49. > Fortunately, I live to commit thoughtcrime against the superstitions and lunacies of the day. Offending idiots is a pleasure and a mitzvah.

    I suspected we had something deeply in common. Welcome to the Transgressivist school of art, brother.

  50. Oh, and Eric — do you want national sovereignty granularized down to the individual, causing the privatization of government such that people can join and secede from larger group nations, simultaneously and regardless of territory, according to their free market choices?

    I.e., are you too a pronational transgressivist?

  51. Esr says: “the neurotype from which software geeks are drawn is generally easy to spot by a combination of clothing, body language, and speech-style signals.”

    Not so sure I can agree with this.

    You’ve not seen my anime shirt collection?

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