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Letter to America: Male-Pattern Bonding On:2022-08-23 06:06:36

My Dear Americans,
    I admit, right up front, that I am a utter, complete computer nerd—why, I even had a Venn Diagram outside my office, [Sigh] back when I had an office, that proved, or at least represented, that fact: that's, of course, if you happen to NEED more proof or at least representation of the fact than these my essays.
Of course that was in the ancient days of Then. Ah! those happy days of slaving away over a hot keyboard, churning out algorithms and code like a....well, like a nerd.

Back then, back when I had a job (or rather when I was inexplicably paid quite well for playing with the computers I was playing with anyway) I and my fellow computer nerds weren't necessarily the most ept of social beings but, in spite of this1, every so often our boss used to drag us out to socialise and indulge in some Male-Pattern Bonding. You know what male-pattern bonding is, don’t you? Male-Pattern Bonding (or MPB as psychologists call it) involves going out to lunch and talking about sport, or in extreme cases going into sweat-lodges and beating drums or something, possibly even whilst letting it all hang out, but since, since we were merely computer nerds, more likely we'd be talking about why users kept losing connectivity to that server and if it’s because of timeouts by that AppleScript that we hope someone has in an uncompiled version, and certainly doing it whilst not letting anything at all hang out.
Occasionally, more elaborate (though not sweat-lodgey) MPBs would be attempted we would go bowling, or play a strange amalgam of basketball, pelota, pickleball and bumper cars which if weird was great fun; once upon a time the boss had the bright idea of taking us all go-karting.
Now go-karting is what one might call male-pattern bonding par excellence: it's noisy, smells of gasoline, involves a lot of shaking and vibrating and excessive speed, plus the possibility of injury (or at least of a bit of a burn on the left arm from a badly placed, air-, not to mention arm-, cooled engine) and (last and the most significant of all) I was totally rubbish at it. I suppose it bonded me to something more than the little bit of my arm that bonded to the red hot engine part, but I couldn't tell.
Then there was the Top Golf shooting range, or driving range, or whatever they called it, that we went to, luckily just the once since I was even more rubbish at that. It took me a load of tries to bond my club briefly with that ridiculously small ball, though by the time that I did make contact I was so frustrated that I apparently got a really great distance so they told me, not that I could see the damn thing.
However the bondiest moment of all came when the guys got me to eat a burger WITH MY FINGERS!

Now, as a well brought up English person, to me 'finger food' was reserved for Henry VIII reenactments and fish and chips—and the latter only when eaten from newspaper whilst walking along the prom at the seaside. Everything else was strictly knife and fork territory.

And I of course maintained this distinction as a badge of Englishness and honour through all my decades of living in the US, that is until, finally noticing that I had lived in the US longer than I had in the UK, I bit the metaphorical bullet, studied arcane lore such as the Constitution, took the test, and became a Citizen. So my colleagues immediately organised a MPB lunch at one of the better burger joints to celebrate and combine it with an American-Pattern Bonding
To my surprise they insisted that I eat my burger in the proper US Citizen fashion, manually, and I really had to comply, since they were paying for it, and even more surprisingly this was largely a success. No burgers were launched across the table nor pickles across the room and there was very little evidence of collateral chin drool damage. Indeed no one even cringed in horror at the sight.
I had been assimilated, bonded in what might well be called Borg-Pattern Bonding2 since resistance proved futile.
Futile, maybe, but after a mere seven or eight years I noticed that it didn't take and so I've retired from the bonding and the US, not to mention the working hard cum playing, and I was left with one regret, that I never did graduate from mere (if utter and complete) nerd to being a full blooded wonk!
Kindest regards,
Richard Howland-Bolton
and, of course,
Cheerio for now
from me!


1 Or more likely because of this.

2 See this terrifying article.

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