Geek Appeal: “the trick is, don’t let them talk dirty”
November 24, 2003
Ladies, I’m here to spread the good word. To end your lonely, unsatisfied nights. To bring hope for a mature, fulfilling, sizzling hot relationship with a sensitive member of the opposite sex. The answer lies clearly before you: all you have to do is leave your prejudices behind at the convention centre doors. Allow me to present… geeks.
Geeks – not the freaky circus, chicken-head-eating variety, but the computer-lovin’, sci-fi readin’, comic book collectin’, video game-playin’ variety – are a vast, untapped resource of potent sexual energy. Don’t be put off by concerns about ‘societal norms’ and foolish “whatever will my friends think?” anxiety. The labels “geek” and “nerd” no longer carry the same pejorative connotation they held in the formative years of the information age. The Atari Generation embraced the idea that someone who can write code or rewire their CPU clearly has brains, could be viewed as ‘alternative’ and is therefore potentially ‘cool’. It’s only a short step away from ‘foxy’. The sexiness is there: it’s up to you to learn to recognize, appreciate, and manage it appropriately.
Why bother? I propose that the best reason for dating geeks is the least obvious – they’re more mature. Perhaps it seems strange to think of a man who owns scale models of the USS Enterprise as ‘mature’. But consider the psychology; there’s no repressed inner child hiding inside these men, ready to bust out and urge them to buy Ferraris and find trophy wives when they hit forty. These fine fellows work out their Peter Pan syndrome by indulging freely in game playing. Thus, they have no need to furtively play games with you. I guarantee that you will never wait five days for the follow-up phone call from a geek boy, unless he’s in traction.
The other perks of dating geeks cast them in a slightly less flattering light, but are still worth mentioning. Firstly, the solitary / sausage-party atmosphere of geek social activities means that your man is rarely presented with any opportunity for infidelity. Secondly, should you decide to accompany him to a convention, you can bask in admiration while your partner revels in the envy of his peers (also, while you are there you will NEVER have to wait in line for the bathroom). Lastly, most women remain unenlightened regarding geek appeal, so you get the double bonus of a wide selection of suitors to choose from, and not a lot of competition working against you.
STEP ONE: Are You Geek-Dating Material?
Not every girl is cut out for the stimulating challenge of making a geek her boyfriend. It takes a special lady to open her heart to a man who buys her RAM on their anniversary instead of roses, and a very special lady to try and connect with a guy who will (initially) value alone-time with Peter Parker and Bruce Banner more than quality time spent with her. It’s important to take a frank look at yourself: gauge your patience, and extrapolate from that your personal tolerance.
There is, without question, a hierarchy. Beginning at the bottom with low-level hipster types who wear mismatched corduroy and listen to a lot of Ben Folds and Sloan. Escalating dramatically to the very heights of hardcore, populated exclusively by men so deeply involved in the trivial minutiae of the Lord of the Rings appendices that they would rather sleep on a stack of White Wolf compendiums than feel the warmth of a woman’s touch. Yet I maintain that nowhere in the wide realm of geekdom is there a man (excepting those that are sexually oriented towards their own gender) who doesn’t yearn for a pair of X chromosomes to call his own.
If you’ve never ventured too far from the beaten path of clean-cut, suit-attired professionals, I strongly recommend one of the more low-grade alt/indy hipster models as a starter. You can upgrade later on to someone more mid-range – such as a model builder, chess grandmaster or a man with both a PlayStation *and* a GameCube – if you’re so inclined. Only women who can be described as ‘suffering from alley-cat syndrome’, who ‘like a project’, or who ‘enjoy fixer-uppers’ should consider really high-end geeks. If you’re not sure which category you fall into, take this simple quiz:
1. Do you watch a lot of ‘Trading Spaces’ or similar shows on TLC?
2. Have you ever bought produce at the supermarket that wasn’t really fresh because you felt bad for it and worried it would get thrown away?
3. When choosing a pet at the Humane Society, do you look for a healthy animal, or do you take home the one with a missing leg, chronic gingivitis, and/or herpes?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be in the market for a man with a nearly crippling addiction to Babylon5, anime, Halo, Magic cards and/or pin-ups. Start learning the lingo now.
STEP TWO: Finding Your Geek
Just remember my handy locator acronym, “C-3PO”. The three C’s are conventions, computer stores and comic shops. And if you’re not comfortable walking into the lion’s den, PO stands for “posting online” – message boards are teeming with geeks. A broad cross-section can be found at all of these locations, but not every geek is a proud self-identifier. There are those who are sub-verbal but still visually obvious about their lifestyle choice, and those who garb themselves deceptively to appear ‘mainstream’. Here are some helpful hints to sharpen your geek-dar:
Guys who are shy about broadcasting their inner geek often brand themselves with the long ponytail, unkempt facial hair, standard-issue black jeans/black leather jacket uniform, and of course, oversized wire-rimmed glasses. Many women of my acquaintance have been put off by this display, but it’s all a matter of adjusting your thinking. Not only are these men putting forth a clear display of geekdom (often a synonym for availability), they’re actively weeding out women who are only interested in dating Ken dolls wearing Banana Republic slacks. Remember: appearances aren’t everything. These are soulful guys, romantic guys, guys whose vocabularies include sweet, old-fashioned words like “troubadour” and “commitment.” Don’t overlook them.
Then there’s the CGI or “camouflaged geek incognito”. Many truly hardcore geeks slip by virtually unnoticed in polite society. Years of suppressing their desire to wear “Trogdor the Burninator” t-shirts compounds with careful mimicry of ‘normal’ guys in their Gap slacks and Eddie Bauer button-downs to create a fellow with an average appearance and a closet-full of mint CGC graded and sealed first-printing Fantastic Four issues. Occasionally, some other foreward-thinking female will have gotten to this jewel in the rough before you. Permitting themselves to be dressed by their girlfriends is the number one way teen geeks grow up to be CGIs.
STEP THREE: Managing / Appreciating Your Geek
First rule: accept what you can, change only what you must. If Friday is role-playing night, go out with your girlfriends and leave him be. If he insists on wearing his Starfleet uniform to Christmas dinner with your family, patiently explain to him that this is unacceptable behaviour on this planet and then hide the costume in the dishwasher until Boxing Day just to make sure.
Second rule: for your own sanity, realign your mental concept of sex appeal. Think of new and affectionate ways to look at your geek. A fun way to do this is to build a new vocabulary to describe his sex appeal. A close friend of mine refers to her man as “adorkable”: this exemplifies a good attitude. If conventional words don’t capture his special qualities, make something up.
Third rule: beware the bedroom. Discourage pillow talk, unless he is a highly-functioning CGI. Nothing detracts from “the mood” faster than someone moaning softly about plugging their universal serial bus cable into your rear port. Or whispering playfully in your ear that you give his weapon plus five strength and speed. Or barking sonnets at you in Klingon. To make up for this restriction, permit him to play ‘dress up’ from time to time. Doing it with a man in a wizard hat isn’t going to kill you, unless he puts on the Gandalf beard as well, in which case you may suffocate. Know where to draw the line for your own safety.