How to tell her (or him) you’re a geek

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This post was inspired by a conversation between Amber Case, AriĆ© Moyal and others on Twitter, which revolved around the concept of geek dating tips. My girlfriend and I have struck an awesome, mutually geeky rhythm together, and I thought I’d share my tried-and-true tips for accomplishing the same in your current or budding relationships. This will likely be the only time you’ll see me with the “Relationship Advice” hat on, as it’s the only topic therein in which I have suggestions.

comic-book-guyFirst off, make sure you find the right person. I realize this is a bit of a tall order, but the fact remains that some people just won’t accept your mint condition Mego dolls or your imported Dreamcast copy of Shenmue II. The key ingredient to look for is inquisitiveness, their ability to be curious and express that curiosity. It helps if you meet each other through a shared interest, even if it isn’t necessarily in the Artist’s Alley of a comic book convention. If you meet each other at a concert, chances are you both dig similar music, which presents an opportunity for your geek paths to intersect. If you’re lucky, he or she may be a geek diamond in the rough from the get-go.

Secondly, be honest. If you’ve spent the time, energy and resources to amass thousands of comic books in your closet, chances are they represent a rather crucial part of your personality which they deserve to know about. Don’t be afraid to express how passionate you are about your interests, but maintain a sensitivity as in any conversation. If you don’t care to hear every type of lipstick or eyeshadow she has in her makeup case, do you think she’s going to want to know the details of every race in World of Warcraft?

It’s always great to explore one another’s interests; it allows us to learn about each other, our relationship and ourselves. That being said, most geeks (especially guys) will bombard their significant other with things far from beginner-friendly. Try to introduce approachable activities and topics which lack steep learning curves and require little knowledge of complex continuities or arbitrary worlds. Consider the person’s interests and cater to them. Some examples:

  • Instead of traditional superhero comics, try Sandman, Peter Bagge’s Buddy Bradley series or Blankets.
  • Before firing up Halo or Gears of War, why not set up the Wii and try Boom Blox or Mario Kart? Better yet, buy her a DS with CrossworDS, Brain Age and Animal Crossing.
  • Don’t make them sit through Tron or Blade Runner; pop in the original Star Wars trilogy, or a Pixar film like Wall-E or The Incredibles.
Who knows? By easing them into it, you may just create a geek monster. My girlfriend now lists Empire Strikes Back as one of her favorite films, and is stoked to see if the Watchmen movie remains faithful to the graphic novel she enjoyed so much. She’ll reference Shannon Wheeler and Scott McCloud, and plays her Nintendo DS on breaks at work. Mission accomplished.

Last but certainly not least, be patient and don’t force it. It isn’t essential, and potentially even a little creepy, that he or she enjoys absolutely everything you do. Don’t take it as an insult, but simply an indication that you’re both individuals who have a lot to learn from one another. As long as he or she doesn’t react in an outwardly negative or even abusive way, it’s not the end of the world.

Are you in a geek relationship?

Responses

Amber Case says

Wonderful, wonderful post! I’ll have to cite it in the post I’m writing for Nerdabout.com’s Valentine’s day ramp-up. Great great great! Thanks so much for writing it.

Responded

matt says

Cooool, insightful! I would love to see Mallory’s companion entry to this!

Responded

Michael Sigler says

Excellent post and something I will recommend to those social troglodyte friends I have when they bemoan their lack of companionship. I too am blessed in a similar manner. My wife and I recently watched every episode of Stargate together and she loved it all. We started out slower, with Angel and Firefly. She even set about beating D&D Heroes by herself on the XBox because she liked running around and hacking stuff up.

Another great introduction to the geek world is board games. I’ve found many ladies who rather enjoy a game of Settlers of Cataan or Carcasonne. If she enjoys those then it is likely she might just open up to an even broader array of geeky entertainment.

A couple of more years and she might take that first step to joining me at the game table.

Responded

Terra says

I’m totally in a geek relationship. However, I’m the female half. Half of our garage is full of comics. Most of our movies are science fiction. Dear BF introduced me to Firefly and our dogs are named Wash and Zoe. We play D&D together with friends.

I think you’re right about easing into it. That wasn’t really necessary for me, as I already loved Star Wars (I have a vintage Star Wars twin sized quilt that is one of my most prized posessions) and other geeky things (I live for a good RPG) but, I think it’s sound advice in general.

You’re also right about not having to like every thing. Sometimes geeks are way too entrenched in their own worlds and need to open up their horizons. A non-geek partner who is willing to tolerate most of your geekdom would be the perfect person to do that. Who knows, you might learn something about the “normal” world that you really enjoy.

Responded

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