By Teresa Jusino
I, like many ladies of my generation, have dabbled in online dating. I’ve never paid for it – sorry, eHarmony and Match.com – because I don’t believe in paying for something that I could just as easily do on my own and be out and about in the world. However, I’ve definitely put up my fair share of free profiles on those sites, and I’ve been active on sites like OKCupid.com, which I enjoy because it’s free, geared more toward the Under-35 demographic, and it works a bit like Pandora in that its algorithm continually generates profile recommendations for you based on your choices and ratings.
I’ve never gotten very far with online dating. I’ve been on several dates, but they’ve never gone anywhere, and it’s gotten me thinking. One of the problems with online dating is the fact that filling out a profile means that you will be matched with people who are interested in what you’re interested in. This doesn’t sound like it should be a problem, but let me explain.
I have a profile on OKCupid, and in it I mention that I’m a geek girl who’s into comics, sci-fi, etc. So all it’s done is send guys my way who are into those things. Those things, and nothing else. I’m someone who appreciates people’s differences. I enjoy it when a guy has a different life experience than I do so that we have something to offer each other. I want to be with someone who has something to teach me about life and the world, so if a guy is passionate about being a trader in the stock market, or being a farmer, or being an EMT, or an artist, I want to know about it. I find that interesting. The problem I’ve discovered about getting geek guy-only profiles is that the interactions tend to go something like this:
* Guy sends ice-breaker email and asks what comics/sci-fi TV shows/films I like.
* I reply answering his questions asking him same.
* He responds, discussing his geeky faves at length.
* I answer humorously, then try to shift conversation elsewhere.
* He gives one/two word answers to my questions about his life, then proceeds to make
At that point, my decision is: do I want to try going out with this guy to see if his conversation is better in person? Or do I not want to bother? The thing is, I don’t need to date someone to have geeky conversation. I have geeky friends for that. When looking for a guy to date what I want to know is, “What else have you got?” I’ve got other things going on, and so should you.
Now, I know plenty of geeky people who are dating other geeks, and whose individual geekery is either complimentary to their partner’s, or very evenly matched. Like, the dude is into film and the chick is a tech geek. Or the dude is into comics and the chick is into anime. It can work! I see that. But those geek couples out there combined with my interactions with geeks in the dating world make me realize something about myself:
Maybe it’s the feminist in me who doesn’t want to be in a geek couple and have everyone assume that my boyfriend got me into the things I like. Maybe I’m just really stubborn. But the fact is, I really enjoy geekiness being “my thing.” It defines me. This might be silly, but I enjoy being one of the few people among my friends who really loves comics, or Star Trek, or Doctor Who. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends who enjoy those things, and I love talking to them about who the best starship captain is, or what we expect from the next season of Caprica. But I also enjoy taking a break from those things. I enjoy being the “gateway geek” for my non-geek friends. They might never be as into sci-fi as I am, but I know that I’ve gotten them into certain things that they’ve enjoyed and never would’ve known about had it not been for me.
And so, rightly or wrongly, if I’m in a relationship, I want to be the geek in it. I want to bring the geekiness, and have the guy I’m dating bring me something totally unrelated, or unexpected. I don’t want to be half of a geeky whole. Anyone feel like me? I’d love to hear from you. Anyone in a geeky couple want to tell me the advantages of dating a fellow geek? I want to hear from you, too!
However, this desire of mine to wear the Geek Pants in my relationships isn’t stopping me from taking advantage of Speed Dating at New York Comic Con this year. You read that right! There’s going to be speed-dating at NYCC! The pre-registration is already filled, but you can just show up and register the day of. I’ll be reporting on that in a later column. I’m giving it a whirl, because despite everything, I feel like the more you put yourself out there to interact with people IRL, the greater your chances of meeting someone nice. Or at least meeting someone to fool around with during a comic con. That works, too.
Teresa Jusino was born on the same day that Skylab fell. Coincidence? She doesn’t think so. Her “feminist brown person” take on pop culture has been featured on websites like ChinaShopMag.com, Tor.com, Newsarama, and PopMatters.com,. She is currently working on several fiction projects, including a web series for Pareidolia Films called The Pack, which she hopes to debut at the beginning of 2011! Get Twitterpated with Teresa, Follow The Pack or visit her at The Teresa Jusino Experience.