Ainslie Paton romance author

The Geek is the New Taciturn Man


Disinclined to talk


Closemouthed, dumb, laconic, reserved, reticent, silent, tight-lipped, uncommunicative


Blabby, chatty, communicative, conversational, gabby, garrulous, loquacious, motor-mouthed, mouthy, talkative, talky, unreserved


The Lone Ranger, Batman, any character played by John Wayne, Clint Eastwood or Steve McQueen.

Picture this:  Only the cleaners are left, there’s the distant drone of the vacuum, and the stale smell, part musty paper, part body odour that’s left when the air-conditioning turns off.  Office after office goes dark, but his cubicle is brightly lit and he’s only dimly aware in the recesses of his lizard brain, that he’ll soon be alone.  It’s nothing new.

On his desk are a dozen tiny, intricate sculptures made from twisted paperclips, half of a schnitzel sandwich, an empty bottle of OJ, and a cup of coffee he made when he got in and never took a sip of.  Hunger, thirst, daylight deprivation, social ostracism, none of it matters.  The only thing that matters are the codes that stream across his screen.

The codes are everything.  His past, his future, his present.  The reason he’s here now, borrowing company equipment under cover of ‘working back’.  The reason he doesn’t have a girlfriend or any inclination to get one.  They’d be a nuisance, demanding time, his most precious of assets.

He doesn’t hear her when she speaks, but he figures she probably did before she tapped him on the shoulder.  The fact he rockets out of his chair and almost knocks her over in the process is a dead giveaway he wasn’t really in his body.  He was the code.

“You’re last one here again,” she says.

A statement of the obvious, but she seems to want a response.  She’s smiling.  Far-out, she wants to chat.  She’s cute, soft looking, like a toy.  Works in accounts somewhere over, yeah somewhere.  They’ve had this conversation before.  He turns his back on her and sits, puts his hands on the keyboard.

 She’s still there.

“You need to get a life, Mace.”

How does she know his name?  He has no idea what hers is.  She’s going to think he’s bloody rude.

“Don’t you have a home to go to?”

“Just busy.”  He wonders if she can hear the rust in his voice.  He barely spoke to anyone today.  No need.

“On what?”

Shit.  “Just stuff.”  There was no way she could tell the stuff was his own, not work’s, but how come she couldn’t tell he wasn’t up for a chat.  Like ever.  She was a babe, so what did she want to chat to him for anyway?  Didn’t she have a life to go to?

“Okay, well.  See you tomorrow.”

Thank you, Steve Jobs.

He goes back to the code, to the mistress, to the time thief, to the dream.  He’s a geek.  He’s a man of few words.  But not in his head, in his head are a thousand conversations and absolutely no need to turn them into actual spoken words.

Talk is over-rated.

And people who can manufacture conversation from nothing, from an empty office and the last bloke on deck, are freaking scary.

Picture the man whose fingers rattle the alphabet, whose eyes see distant digital frontiers.  Who’d be light-headed from hunger if he let himself remember he’d hardly eaten all day.

This is Mace, he’s a taciturn man.  It’s not that he can’t string words together; it’s that mostly he sees no need to.  There are plenty of other people to do the gasbagging.

It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have thoughts to share; it’s that he wouldn’t know who to share them with, why anyone would care to listen.

But he’s not afraid to talk about the things he loves to the people he cares about.  Though it’s not a natural thing like breathing, like blinking, he has to be reminded to do it.  That’s another reason why girlfriends, yeah.  No, not happening.

The world is full of taciturn men.  The strong silent types.  They rode in on horses and saved the day.  They were nice to kittens and old people and tough on bad guys.  They got the girl and they never had to try.  They loved that girl because they were loyal and really, they spent the rest of their lives near doubled over in gratitude wondering what the hell the girl saw in them.

But there are no horses anymore, and girls like to do their own getting.

Now taciturn men ride in on spreadsheets and hunch over keyboards, they wrangle data and round up algorithms.  They create new worlds from their desktops and they don’t think of themselves as heroic.  They think people who can make small talk and like going to parties are the brave ones.

It’s hard to get to know a taciturn man.  He doesn’t give like other more extraverted men do.  Doesn’t make it easy.  His smile is never quite ready in time.  He’s mysterious or aloof or brooding bordering on angry.  He’s awkward and maybe he blushes if you catch him out with a simple question, like, ‘what did you do on the weekend?’

But if you’re patient and he lets you in, oh if he lets you in, you get everything; the passion and humour, the tight focus, the unwavering attention and appreciation and the fact he might just change the world.

Geeks are the new taciturn men, and the taciturn man has the heart of an adventurer, the devotion of a saint and the sex appeal of ambition.

Insecure is the story of a taciturn man with an appetite for risk and a woman whose career heights depend on her ability to persuade.

Do your own getting and spend some page time with a geek.

You’ll want to chat him up after hours when the office is quiet and dark too.



Hello, what are you thinking?

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