Ah, love. That special feeling of adrenaline, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin coursing through your body like a biologic Zerg rush. Romantic, ain’t it?
I myself am not entirely unfamiliar with the concept of relationships. In fact, after finding a human I liked, I followed a one Ms. Beyonce Knowles’ advice and, “put a ring on it”, as it were. And let’s face it, I did a pretty good job:
Now, you may have noticed a subtle irregularity from the normal wedding picture. Without mincing too many words, I’ll come right out with it… I’m a geek. There. I said it.
I’ll be the first to admit that dating a geek can be a little rough. We’re a different breed. We speak in a strange language of references and hypothetical postulations. We obsess over oftentimes minute details from obscure things. Most of all, we’re weird. Happily so.
So what happens if you find that you’re on the deep end of a chemical imbalance, and discover yourself wanting to begin a relationship with a geek? Speaking as a success story, I feel entitled to share a few tips and tricks on how to sail these difficult waters.
…All with my wife’s approval, of course.
Human First, Geek Second
I think one of the most important things to remember when dating a geek is the order in which you introduce us to others. I’m of the opinion it should always follow the pattern of, “This is Person A. He’s a HUGE fan of X!”, rather than, “I’m dating a fan of X named Person A.”
While you’re probably meaning well in either circumstance (and thank you very much for introducing us to your friends!), the first shows who you are dating, not what they’re associated with. Yes, we may have every movie, game, action figure, and bedsheet set from our particular fandom, but we like other stuff too. Like the person we are dating. Our geekdoms are what we do, not who we are.
It can just be a bit pigeonholing to be defined before we are known. Trust me, people will know what our obsession is. We’re very good at slyly bringing it up in conversation.
Han Shot First, and So Should You
One of the most complimentary and wonderful things you can do for a geek is show interest in their particular thing. If it’s a show, ask to watch it with them. If it’s a video game, ask if it has a 2-player mode. If it’s a tabletop, buy a set of dice for yourself (there’s more than the normal 1-6 from your Monopoly days, trust me). Showing interest in our fandom is a fantastic way of saying, “you are important to me, and therefore what you do is important to me.”
And even if whatever your geek’s obsession is isn’t really your thing, you should give it a chance anyway. The effort is the important thing. Moreover, you may discover that you’re a fan yourself. I mean, they must have good taste, considering they chose you, right?
Also, a word of caution. If you’re geek is hesitant to share, or seems shy about it, don’t push, but continue to show interest. Some of us have been told many times by many others that our hobbies aren’t healthy or good, and may be a bit defensive. Remember, this shows we have personal strength and commitment. Excellent relationship qualities, wouldn’t you say? Once we get going though, you may have to just nod your head and smile while you try to follow along. My wife in particular has gotten very good at this, by her own admission.
Remember Who You Are…
Okay, I hope I’m not about to drop too big of a bombshell on you:
You’re a geek too.
What, do you think I’m lying? So you don’t stay out for the midnight premieres of the latest superhero movie, and you don’t know how much it takes to power a flux capacitor. Big Whoop.
A geek is just someone who loves something, and isn’t afraid to show it. Now think about yourself. Sure, you don’t collect comic books. But do you know the stats of players on your favorite sports team? D&D players have been using grid stats for years, try to keep up. Do you obsess over seasonal drinks at your local chain coffee store? That’s just a Limited Edition Release, talk to any Disney fan. Do you follow diet and exercise regimens like Atkins or CrossFit? Congratulations, you know how to grind. Contact your local World of Warcraft fan for more details.
The trick is to recognize your own geekiness for what it is, and accept your new beau’s in the same way.
Now, here’s the real trick, and this is important: Yes, you should share in your interest’s interests, and they should do the same for yours, but you should never lose yourself to their obsessions, or visa versa. When dating a geek, just as with dating anyone else, you should never have to give up who you are to be with him or her. We as a geek community would love to welcome you in to our particular fandom, and we hope that you will learn to love it as we do, but it should never be a criteria for a relationship to work.
Look at my wife and me. We share many of the same geekdoms, some of which I am very proud to say I introduced her too. We both obviously love Star Wars, and we get down to Dr. Who and Disney as well. But there are some things we just don’t see eye-to-eye on, and that’s okay. For example, I geek out over stand-up comedy. I can watch the same hour long special many times over if I find the particular comedian witty enough. Not so with my wife. Sure, she will come over if I want to show her a particular segment, and on occasion she will watch something with me, but for the most part, I leave her to her videos of corgi puppies while I shoot Crunch Berries out of my nose due to a clever Cold War reference.
So, my intrepid amorous readers, seek out your geek. If you fall for one, fantastic. Treat them with respect, and if you receive the same, you’ll have someone who will love you with both their hearts.