In which I explain Final Fantasy and also something about men

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

The thing you need to know about men – perhaps not ALL men, but nearly all the men that I’ve ever had the pleasure of fucking into a sticky paste – is that they love explaining things. If you happen to be a horny, slutty woman who wants to get it on with a man, in my opinion the best way to achieve that is to find a topic that he has expertise on, or a nerdy fascination with, and ask him to explain it to you. Today’s blog begins on my living-room floor: this dude and I are sitting cross-legged eating Doritos and vaping giggly weed while he explains to me the plot of Final Fantasy.

Why am I telling you this story? Well, just like men, I too enjoy explaining things. Especially if I think I have an insight that might teach you something useful. We’ll get to this later in the post.

Hearing people talk about their passions

There are two potential sources of joy in explaining things: first, the enjoyment of the listener. If they get to learn new stuff or see a glimpse of something that they wouldn’t otherwise see. In this case, I was struck by how delighted this dude was with the powerful ending of the Final Fantasy series: the fact that he seemed genuinely pleased with it contrasted intriguingly with my own experience of series endings. Though some book series I’ve read (His Dark Materials, for instance) have left me with a sense of satisfaction and completeness, most of the book series and TV shows that have run on for a long time have given me sad and angry feelings when they inevitably wrap it up in a terrible manner.

Final Fantasy has been running since 2011, and after all that time I’d expect any series to simply Game of Thrones it: spectacularly fuck up any semblance of satisfying conclusion just to get the damn thing over with. Yet, this guy seemed genuinely delighted by how Final Fantasy had ended, and I spotted an opportunity to get a dude to explain his passion to me. So I asked him: OK, tell me what it’s about. The following italics are the bits that my fallible-and-very-stoned brain managed to piece together the next morning.

Final Fantasy is a game in which you play a character who inhabits a planet with lots of different zones. There is one that is kinda foresty (and I think that’s in the west) and other zones too. You pick a zone and that is what determines your class.

NOTE: there is a chance (albeit a very very very slim one) that this post may contain Final Fantasy spoilers. As I say, it’s slim, because as you will see, despite my enthusiasm for hearing the story, I did not remember a huge amount of it. 

There is something genuinely warm and lovely about hearing someone wax lyrical about their passion. And I’ll have to be careful here, because I think there are threads both positive and negative to pull out of the scenario ‘a man explained the plot of Final Fantasy to me.’ Both threads are important to acknowledge, because if someone had held court like this without me prompting him to, on a topic I have only a passing interest in, I’d have filed it under ‘bad date, move on’ and you wouldn’t be reading a blog post about it. I explicitly asked for this talk, despite not being interested in the game itself, because there is often joy to be found in letting someone else’s love of something wash over you. Even if the details do not stick.

Each zone has a god and I think the gods are baddies. They are like lesser gods, who collectively can summon one big god. They have planet-based people who do stuff at their bidding. You have to fight these people and also maybe the gods.

I enjoy hearing people talk about stuff that they love. I might not be fully interested in the stuff itself (I absolutely suck at playing video games, for instance) but if someone’s deeply into something, or a genuine expert on a topic, it’s lovely to hear them chat away from a place of solid comfort. I like the stories behind people’s passions, because I like people and I find them fun. And cute, especially when they’re nerdy.

There are some people called Assians who I think are baddies. Their name has the word ‘ass’ in it, so it stuck in my mind. You, the character, go on quests, and there is something about some kind of power (the Source?) that you have that other people don’t – it makes you uniquely placed to do battle with the Assians/gods/whoever else turns out to be bad.

But one of my worries when it comes to this stuff is that my intentions in asking ‘men I fancy’ to explain their nerdy interests to me are not always pure. This guy was in my flat for the first time, and a bit awkward as we always are with new(ish) people, and I wanted him to feel comfortable. I knew – with the same certainty I know that the sun will rise tomorrow – that getting him to open up on a topic he loved would make him comfortable far quicker than anything else I could do.

Comfortable enough to… yeah… to fuck me.

At one point, someone gets LOCKED in the MOON!

The joy of teaching

As I say, there are two potential sources of joy in explaining things. First, the enjoyment of the listener. Second, the enjoyment of the person who gets to hold court: telling me the plot of Final Fantasy or the purpose of the latest SpaceX mission. The details of how to set up a web server or exactly how the blockchain works. You can probably tell from these ‘topics I’ve had explained to me’ exactly the kind of guys I go for. You are correct. I am horny for nerds.

So I ask nerds to explain things to me for a variety of reasons: I like hearing them talk about something they’re passionate about; it helps me to get inside their heads; they enjoy the chance to geek out on a topic; they feel more confident and secure in my presence; they are more likely to fuck me.

In order to summon One Big God, all the smaller gods need to get together. Each god is trying to gather loads of followers (which they do using the Source) because if they do that then they will be able to summon the Main God – summoning the Main God will take a lot of power and also wipe out half the planet. Your job (I think) is to make it so they cannot do that.

But it feels, because of the fucking thing, a little manipulative. And for various reasons I am always hyper-anxious about being deceptive. Perhaps that’s why my go-to strategy in any scenario is ‘blinding honesty’. The guy in question, incidentally, declined my offer to read this post before it went live, in part because he wanted to enjoy the surprise of how much Final Fantasy I’d managed to take in. Sorry, dude. I have never promised to be anything other than a disappointment. Anyway. I know he will not be surprised to learn that I wasn’t listening purely out of interest in the game, but because I enjoyed how much he liked it, and I wanted to get in his pants.

At the end, there is a lot of emotion. It is powerful and good. Someone who has been a cool mentor figure/amazing warrior dies a noble death – as he passes away he tells the main character “Don’t be sad. A smile better suits a hero.” We, the audience, shed a tear and frankly this powerful climax is what I was in it for. Emotion! Passion! Satisfying conclusions! I am not 100% sure this is the ‘end’ end, because presumably you also defeat the gods at some point, but it is the ending that gave me an emotion when he told me about it, so it’s the one that stuck in my mind. 

Giving people space to discuss their passions

If I were a Pick-Up Artist trying to let you in on the Big Secrets To Getting Laid, this would likely be one of the ‘secrets’ I disclose: if you want to shag someone, top of your checklist should be ‘ask them about something they love, then give them time and space to answer.’

And if I implied that you were only listening in order to get to the shagging, then I think manipulation would be a fair word to describe it. Especially when you flip the genders, telling men to do this feels creepy and tokenistic, like ‘listen to women talking because – and ONLY because – it means they’ll allow you into their pants.’

But behind this, as I hope you can see from the above, at a very basic level there’s a genuine desire to understand more about what makes someone tick, and a method of not necessarily getting their pants down, but just helping them to banish nerves and get comfy in your presence. Or, in the case of someone who is already comfy in your presence, listening to them explain things is a nice way to help them feel loved/valued/appreciated. I think it’s a good ‘trick’, as long as it’s never seen as purely a means to a selfish end. Broadly, I like hearing nerds talk about nerd stuff because I just really love a fucking nerd. Although I can’t tell you much about the actual ending of Final Fantasy (naturally I became more stoned as the talk progressed), I enjoyed hearing this guy explain how it had touched him, and bask a little in the happiness that was radiating from him when he spoke.

So why does it feel like a creepy PUA trick when the genders are reversed? I think it’s because men don’t often do it. Instead men are expected to perform/hold court/lead rather than tease out information from someone else. As I say, I’m a straight woman, and my experience is going to be skewed, but it’s quite rare for men to ever do this kind of thing with me – say ‘hey, GOTN, I have a question about feminism/sex positivity/your work/your expertise/your passion – please tell me about it’ and then sit and listen enraptured as I explain it in gleeful detail, interjecting only to ask clarifying questions (“are the Assians goodies or baddies?”) or request that I slow down if I go too fast. Those who do this are notable, and noted in excited WhatsApp chats with my straight female friends, who will often express similar desires to be not just asked about their passions/expertise but actively listened to as well.

Sadly, our stuff is more frequently treated as the foundation of a debate – we cannot just explain, we must also justify. Men don’t usually want us to share expertise like we’re giving a Ted talk, they want us to set a stage on which they can come and join us as well – explaining why our opinion is wrong, or why our grasp of this or that TV show/book/film isn’t as enlightened as theirs, etcetera. This is not true of the man who features in this post, by the way – we haven’t had those kinds of chats yet, which is why I feel safe to use him as an example in the post. Nor is it true of all the men I know – if it were I’d have given up on shagging and become a nun by now – it’s just something that happens quite a lot. It has happened far more often than ‘me explaining whatever my equivalent of the plot of Final Fantasy is to a dude and him sitting there listening, letting my passion wash over him like sweet summer rain.’

I don’t expect men to absorb every detail of what I say, nor to remember more than the broad brushstrokes (as I hope is evidenced by my woeful memory of the plot of Final Fantasy). But if you’re a guy who dates women, think back to the last time you held court about something and ask yourself: how did that feel? Did you experience joy? And could you offer that same joy to her in the future? It’s why straight women bang on so much about the importance of asking questions. What many of us are looking for is this exact feeling.

There are two sources of joy in explaining things: for the listener hearing something new and getting to understand the other person a little better, and for the teller who gets to spend time in a place of comfort and expertise, being understood and valued for what they have to say.

The thing you need to know about women – not ALL women, but certainly the ones I’ve met – is that we love explaining things too.




  • Longtime reader and fan says:

    Final Fantasy blah blah blah … pick-up artists blah blah blah … gender role reversal blah blah blah. Get to the important part — did you get in his pants?

  • Longtime reader and fan says:

    That was meant to be jocular rather than derisive. I may have missed the mark.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Haha, thank you for clarifying. And yeah it did seem a little dismissive, but I appreciate you popping back to clarify =) And yes, I definitely did. We had a lovely time.

  • Neil says:

    Another excellent piece, GotN. Taking an interest in what interests someone else, and actually listening to them, is a great way to really get to know someone, and make them feel valued.

  • Purple Rain says:

    This is great.

  • Emma says:

    Women like to explain things too! Let them hold court as well. Truly, I almost exclusively get that feeling with my female friends, with a few notable male exceptions. Thank you for this!

  • Llencelyn says:

    Final Fantasy?! My favorite series ever! There’s 1 through 16 (16 isn’t out yet). And several spin-offs. Like Tactics, Tactics Advance, Tactics Advance 2, Mystic Quest. They even have novels and stuff. Most entries offer a unique story/setting, but with some recurring elements. Like chocobos (yellow ostrich bird), or that almost every title has a character named Cid. Or th-…

    I see the point. It rarely occurs to me that I may ask someone what they really like.

  • Germain says:

    Great share,, I like to believe that I’m a great ,, It’s much more pleasant for me to listen weather than talking,, same application to intimacy,,

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