​Ask Dr. Nerdlove: My Date Doesn't Approve Of My Geeky Hobbies

What's going on, everyone? Welcome to the latest installment of Ask Dr. NerdLove, dedicated to solving your dating problems and making nerds just a little sexier every day. I've got a trio of questions for you this time, centered around some of the most common issues geeks face out in the dating pool.

Hey Dr. NerdLove,

I'm an Japanime/comic enthusiast and I'm recently dating this girl who says she doesn't understand why grown people are into comics and cartoons. I have literally been keeping this secret from her to the point if I watch an anime on HULU and netflix I literally leave my PS3 on to watch other shows so that way it doesn't come on my queue for recommendations/recently watched. I was wondering what's the best way to introduce my girlfriend to the idea that I'm one of these supposed weirdos?

The OtaKING

I'm gonna be honest Otaking: If you feel like you have to hide your interests from the person you're dating, it's worth asking why you're dating her in the first place. One of the keys to a successful, lasting relationship is that your partner needs to at least respect your interests. It's cool if she doesn't necessarily share them, but if she can't appreciate that they're something you love and doesn't like you spending time on them… well, that's a recipe for disaster.

To give a personal example: I'm a table-top gamer. I've been playing AD&D since the first edition. RIFTS, Robotech, TMNT, Mage… I love pen and paper RPGs and I've played them most of my life. In my younger days, however, I was dating a woman who thought those kinds of games were the province of man-children who couldn't deal with the real world. The few times I actually blocked out time to game with my friends she would come and literally drag me away because, as far as she was concerned, I was wasting my time. Small wonder that our relationship ended with the worst break-up story ever.

Seriously. It had a body count.

Now, to answer your question: How to introduce your girlfriend to the idea that you're into the stuff you're into? Start by bringing up the topic in a way that doesn't necessarily come across as picking a fight. Say that you've been reading X lately or just watched Y and you think she'd really enjoy it. The key is the way that you roll it out. Being into anime and comics is nothing to be ashamed of, but if you present it like it's something disgraceful then all you're doing is confirming that she's right to be looking down on you for it. Instead, you want to explain why you like it and what draws you to it and then provide some examples that she could check out.

Pick titles that are related to what she already enjoys. When in doubt, I recommend Saga, Perfect Blue, Criminal, Blue is the Warmest Color, Spirited Away and Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind as good ways to introduce newcomers to the potential of comics and anime.

With luck, she'll understand that she's had a mistaken idea about anime and comics fans. But if she can't at least appreciate that you like the things you like... well, I hate to say it, but you might be better off dating somebody else.

Hello to the good Doctor,

Avid reader of Kotaku and glad to see you on board!

So, here's my question. Can you give some hints on where exactly a nerdy girl can find a nerdy guy? I live in a horribly small town of a few hundred people. I went off to college and now I live back here. Dating is limited to, well, local...farmers. They don't exactly know what an Xbox is. Last date I went on I made a Zelda reference and he asked me if Zelda was a friend of mine. Does a girl like me have better luck going to comic cons or video game cons to find someone? Is there forums for this kind of thing? Either way - I hope you can help!

- Looking for Nerdy Love

If you'll forgive a really awkward metaphor, dating is like hunting: You have to seek your prey where they congregate. If you're looking for nerds, then you have to go where the nerds are.

Online dating is the most obvious answer; you can look specifically for geekboys or gamers, although you are may have to expand your search to include nearby cities within a reasonable driving distance.

But don't neglect online forums - not ones specifically for dating but just places where people hang out and chat. I've had several friends who met their spouses via World of Warcraft, comics forums and even on Reddit. In fact, I officiated at the wedding of a good friend who met her husband via the Warren Ellis Forum back in the day.

I'm not the biggest fan of going to comic or game conventions specifically to find a relationship. While love can bloom on the convention floor, cons tend to be pressure-cooker situations where emotions run high and simple flirting suddenly turns into A LOVE THAT WILL LAST FOREVERRRRRR, only to fall apart after Sunday.

It's easier to hook up at a con than it is to really get to know someone well enough to know whether or not you have actual compatibility. But hard doesn't mean impossible—I've seen it happen. If there's a convention near you, I'd actually recommend volunteering as part of the staff. It's a great way to meet lots of people and plug into the community, allowing you to get to know people better than just trawling the artist's alley.

Conventions can also be a great place to meet up with people you've met online. You don't want to go with an agenda of actually getting together - I've seen far too many hearts be broken when one person assumed that bangin' was all but guaranteed - but it's definitely a great place to find out if the two of you have as much chemistry in person as you do over IM and email.

And to be perfectly honest: If you don't have responsibilities that keep you in town, it can be worth your time to save up your money and look to move to a larger city. Wanting to improve your romantic options is a perfectly legitimate reason to pull up stakes, and if it's at all a viable option, there's no real reason not to at least consider it.

Good luck.

Hi Doc,

I wanted to ask you a simple question when it comes to women. Should you call them out on their behavior if they act disrespectful? For instance, if a girl takes 2 days to respond to a text message or if she flakes on you, do you blow it off, move on or call it out? I tend to gravitate towards the middle and latter but I'm also single and have been for a while.

Thanks,

The One Who Texts

If a person flakes on you, then he or she simply isn't that interested in you.

Let's start by defining terms: Flaking is when somebody decides to cancel a date at the last minute without rescheduling for a specific new time. Someone who has a legitimate reason why they can't make it and wants to make it work will propose a definite date to meet again. "Maybe some other time," on the other hand, is a way of saying "I don't want to see you after all."

Now, it can be tempting to call them out. It's totally understandable. You're feeling hurt, even a little insulted. You've been excited for this and now you're getting the rug yanked out from under you without warning. The patronizing excuse they offer can feel like the lemon juice of "go fuck yourself" on top of the paper-cut of rejection.

But here's the thing: Calling her out on her behavior isn't going to accomplish anything. To start with, most of the time, it's not about correcting her behavior, it's about the fact that you're mad and you want to lash out. You're hoping that by scolding her, she's going to realize she was wrong, have a change of heart, and beg your forgiveness. SPOILER ALERT: that's never going to happen. She's not emotionally invested in you, so why should she care about your opinion of her?

Now, it is theoretically possible to reverse an impending flake if you catch one early. But the question is: why would you want to? If she's going to be so rude as to flake out on you at the last minute, why would you go out with her at all?

In the end, it's far better to recognize that her flaking is doing you a favor. She's showing that she's not only uninterested, but she's too self-absorbed to even be polite about it. You have a limited number of fucks to give and she's just shown that she's unworthy of any of them. The best thing you can do is shrug your shoulders, realize you dodged a bullet and go talk to the other women out there who are actually awesome.


Have you found a way to share your geekier hobbies with your significant other? Have you found love - or something like it - on the con floor? Let's hear about it in the comments. And we'll see you in two weeks with more of your questions!


Ask Dr. Nerdlove is Kotaku's bi-weekly advice column for matters of the heart, hosted by the one and only Harris O'Malley, AKA Dr. Nerdlove. Got a question you'd like answered? Write doc@doctornerdlove.com and put "Kotaku" in the subject line. Man, woman, single, married, he's got advice for everyone.

Harris O'Malley is a writer and dating coach who provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr. NerdLove and the Dr. NerdLove podcast. He is also a regular guest at One Of Us. He can be found dispensing snark and advice on Facebook and on Twitter at @DrNerdLove. Dr. Nerdlove is not really a doctor.

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