Simply put, "Wus points are awarded to those house members, whipped or otherwise, who cannot do what they want to do for fear of disappointing their significant other, offer sorry excuses for why they won't do things they should or want to do, and/or exhibit other characteristics which would indicate their lack o' sack. Negative wus points can be earned for performing extraordinary acts of machismo."
One good metric is to determine whether the behavior exhibited was caused due to the presence or influence of a member of the opposite sex.
The key phrase we would like to submit as a necessity for wusness is "justifiable group displeasure". This phrase reflects the original purpose of wus points, to express our group displeasure at the actions of our roommates. Many actions covered by this guideline do not merit wus points, but no action not covered by this guideline merits wus points.
So by this guideline, romance is not a wus-point-meriting activity. The men of 1620 Spruce have no quarrel with romance, and in fact encourage it as such an activity leads to procreation and the production of the kids of 1620 Spruce.
This is not a difficult concept. However, here are some (real-life) examples from our experience that should aid the wus tradition in spreading to backwater areas of the world.
It is possible to earn negative wus points, but the acts involved must be truly extraordinary. This has been done once in the history of the wus point system, by an unnamed member of the house who went to a party, met a girl, got her to take her pants off on the dance floor at the party, went back to her place, had sex with her, wandered home drunk and had diarrhea of the mouth seriously enough at that point to tell the rest of his roommates about it, and never (to his knowledge) saw her again. [Note: The Spruce House does not approve of unprotected sex, and this particular individual was in fact protected. The individual involved in this case was also disciplined through taunting. But that's a whole different story, and does not change the extraordinary act of machismo, or Negative Wusness, demonstrated here.]
Finally, this discussion between John and Yee:
> > If I got play from either a passenger OR a flight attendant that would > > certainly be negative wus points. Both - well, nothing's out of my > > league, but that's approaching it. :) > > > You're absolutely right. There's a third state that I didn't specify: > If you (1) abuse the attendants, (2) get play from passenger(s), > (3)simultaneously, AND (4) still get play from a stewardess, then > your coolness cannot be successfully measured in double-triple secret > negative bonus wus points in any finite amount of time. It'll almost > be like a Heisenberg event: we can determine that such a person > is cool, but we won't know HOW cool. Or, alternatively, we can > precisely determine coolness, but the sheer, staggering magnificence > of the number would make us forget what we were calculating in > the first place. >> John talks to > Yee
And a postscript to the above thought, also by Yee:
There's been a significant scientific discovery regarding this issue: just last week scientists in Colorado (I think) were successful in cooling several atoms to 18-millionths degrees K. At this temperature, the Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) was formed and the scientists were able to defeat the Heisenberg Principle because they knew the exact position of the atoms (in a trapping magnetic field) and they were able to precisely measure the velocity of the atoms (very close to zero). The practical application for Negative Wus Points are clear -- in order to succesfully measure the coolness of someone who meets all four criteria mentioned above is to simply cool them down to 18-millionths K! Neat, eh?
But alas, physics student Sarah begs to differ:
From: Sarah Lipscy <lipscy@quake.Stanford.EDU> To: John Owens <email@example.com> Subject: Re: more url's Date: Tue, 11 Aug 1998 09:54:26 -0700 (PDT) i just checked out your wus page.. very interesting. a note on the postscript by yee. bec does not violate the heisenberg principle since bosons have no problem being all in the same state at once, it is just fermions that have that trouble. i'm sure you realize this, but just in case, i thought i'd point it out. sar