Make Sure You Wear a Condom When Posting

When I first joined Hacker News, there was only one man on the leaderboard who consistently spoke with me. I viewed that fact as a big problem.

I mean, I viewed it as a problem that he consistently spoke to me. The fact that no one else did made it clear this was aberrant behavior, talking to a newcomer female.

It really didn't matter why he talked to me. The reason for it was irrelevant. I was clear this was going to go bad places.

It was one of those thorny issues where there was no good answer. I was clear that publicly asking him to stop would make the problem bigger. I was also clear that privately asking him to stop would make the problem bigger.

So, I spent about a year doing my best to just quietly walk away from discussion with him. I also put a lot of effort into formatting my comments in a way that I hoped would not draw his replies. In essence, I walked on eggshells.

He isn't used to being ignored. He got increasingly grumpy about the situation until he finally picked a fight with me in public. The content of the comments during that argument made me suspect that his problem was that he had a crush on me.

I was floored. He is an extremely cool cucumber and he had hid it well before that.

He had not been hitting on me, nor sexually harassing me. I have good radar for such things and neither was occuring

Then, a few months later, he announced his departure from the forum. I was tremendously relieved. I hoped this was the end of the problem.

Then a mutual acquaintance asked me one day "What is with you two?" This mutual acquaintance pointed something out to me that I had missed: That my HN handle was amongst those listed in the wall of text of names in his blog post where he bid HN adieu.

I think I wrote him at that point and tried to say something polite. It no doubt went incredibly awkwardly.

About a month after his departure from HN, I got an email from him. Our mutual acquaintance had finally let slip that they were also friends with me. He had not previously known that.

So, he wrote me and said something like "We seem to have a mutual friend. Is there anything I can do for you?"

Well, it was genuinely lost on me that this was someone rich and powerful. I thought he was a nerd with no social life who spent way the fuck too much time online. I mean, that is how I have ended up influential in various online forums. It certainly wasn't because I was Somebody.

So, I kind of chewed this individual out for two or three paragraphs over what a problem he had been for me on the forum and the many ways in which he had insulted me in public etc. I then very flippantly closed with "But, since you asked, I could really use $50,000. Why don't you take up a collection and get me that?"

I had said similar things to other people publicly, even on HN. Ordinary Joes read that exactly how I meant it: That my problems are too big for you to solve and how about if you butt out?

In spite of being under enormous duress at the time due to medical stuff, I had barely managed to refrain from calling him a jackass "to his face" in the email. Still, I figured I would never hear from him again. It wasn't a very nice reply.

To my shock, he wrote me back and said something like "I don't have that kind of money right now." And suggested he would still try to help me.

Whoops!

I wondered who the fuck is this guy? And I went and read his blog to try to figure out who he was, and I wrote an apology to him.

So, my Adsense codes were briefly on his personal blog. It made me about a hundred dollars all told before I asked him to remove them a few months later.

He had essentially stopped blogging during that time and I felt that was probably somehow connected to my ads being on his blog. I felt it was not going to make me money, it was only preventing him from blogging while also messing with my head.

A few months after he asked if there was anything he could do for me, he announced on his blog that his business was for sale. Our mutual acquaintance told me that he had been trying to sell it already, but privately, and the deal fell through.

The timing looked suspiciously like he probably put it up for sale after I flippantly said I could really use $50,000. Though, I really do not know for sure.

Nonetheless, I felt he was selling his business to try to rescue me financially, something I really had not been asking for. "Oh, sure, get me $50,000" was intended as an over the top, ridiculous statement that no one in their right mind would take seriously. Come on.

Please note, I did frame it as "Take up a collection." I honestly did not believe he had that kind of money, nor any hope of getting it. I absolutely was NOT asking for his money.

He did eventually sell his business. I never got a dime. The $100 in Adsense money is the only material benefit I got out of this whole thing that has taken up way the fuck too much of my time, energy and headspace.

I think the last time we exchanged emails was more than five years ago. There has been no affair. I have gone to great lengths to try to apologize for any misunderstanding, make it clear that I am not after his money, not interested in being a threat to him in any way whatsoever and in no way trying to insult him.

It is never enough. He remains a problem for me and incapable of granting me an assumption of good faith on anything at all.

I am rather tired of this whole thing and, at this point, rather angry about it. In case you haven't noticed, bozo, I have plenty of real problems in my life without dealing with this stupid emotional drama.

PSA: Just in case you are not aware, you cannot get an STD from talking to a woman online. You also can't get her pregnant that way.

I am having one of those moments where I think HN is unsalvageable for me. Because I committed the crime of being born female.

If you are a woman and you turn the head of a powerful man in your social circle, there is no winning. If you get with him, people will say you slept your way into power -- assuming you get any power out of it. He may just treat you like a bauble on his arm and that's it.

If you don't get with him, about 99 times out of 100, he will be an obstacle to you getting anywhere. He holds the keys to the halls of power and you will likely be barred from them because he is terrified there will be talk, even if absolutely nothing happened.

This man is guilty of the following things:

Talking to me in public.
Offering to help a desperately poor woman out of her financial mess.
Not actually getting me the help offered, at least not anywhere near the scale suggested.
Probably having a crush on me.
Remaining entirely faithful to his lady as far as I know. (At least, I didn't have an affair with him. But I barely know the man. So, maybe he is secretly a swinger and I did not get the memo. Whatevs.)

I am guilty of the following things:

Being born female.
Participating on Hacker News anyway.
Being desperately poor thanks to a birth defect.
Flippantly saying "I could really use $50,000" as a polite fuck off, something I had said to several other people without drama ensuing.
Trying desperately and consistently to resolve personal friction between him and I without public drama.

There, now you know The Dirt.

Can this stupid drama die already? JFC.

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