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

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This post was inspired by a conversation between Amber Case, Arié 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?