My Mass Effect playthrough was the most straight-laced, male heterosexual journey you could imagine. I boned Ashley, despite her space-alt-right leanings. Then I boned Miranda, because I mean, I’m only human. Garrus was just my mechanic. The guy stuck at the bottom of my ship fixing shit.
But then I discovered something. Women dig Garrus. Like they really dig Garrus. Despite being a bird-insect-alien with mandibles, women really want to bone the ever-loving heck out of Garrus.
I had one question: why?
So I asked. I asked a bunch of female Garrus worshippers why they were so comfortable boning an insect-alien in the virtual world. The answers were... eye-opening.
Garrus is a guy who wants to do good things, and has to do some bad things along the way to do so. Very appealing. — Lauren
His father taught him to “do things right or don’t do them at all”, I’m into this very particular calibration. — Tegan
He’s great because he’s not ego driven, he’s out for justice and always seems surprised when you show interest. — Sophie
He’s really sweet and committed to causes he thinks are right! — Milly
So I think the real seller for me was that he starts off as just a friend. In the first game they don’t try and sell him to you as a boyfriend or partner, he’s just a really good friend. So the relationship feels very organic. — Liz
He is a genuine and caring friend, made all the better by 2 full games of companionship and support for Shepherd before it can become anything else. It’s only in Mass Effect 3 that you can make it clear you’re interested in him as more than a friend, and he’s incredulous and nervous at first. You have genuinely cultivated a relationship first with history, not defined by sexual tension or being a love interest from day one. — Lauren
He’s got a pretty hot voice — Liz
His voice-rasp-purr-thing is really cool. — Lauren
For me it started with the voice, to be quite honest! — Paris
If I’m looking at it objectively, I probably liked that Garrus was a little bit broken. Christ, that explains so much about my past real world relationships. I really need to take a look at my life and my choices.
Garrus had been betrayed. He didn’t feel like he had anyone left. He had a bad-bitch scar. I wanted to make it better for him. Without pants on. — Tegan
When it came to romance, I genuinely loved Garrus’ awkwardness. It’s cute when a guy is kind of nervous around you. It’s endearing.
And shit, the guy rolled up John Cusack style with a Boom Box and cut sick on the whitest dad-at-a-wedding dancing I’ve ever seen. You have to respect the commitment. — Tegan
The sniping date on the Citadel was just so cute and appropriate for these characters. — Sophie
Also I think he’s just kind of.... Funny? Like he’s a funny guy? And being with an alien would be awkward at times, but garrus owns that awkwardness so it’s kind of... Cool? — Liz
His character is confident but gets a bit bashful when you get to know him outside of Spectre business. — Milly
There’s something really exciting about getting to be with an alien as well. It’s like this real unknown to explore, and the trust you already have with Garrus by the time that’s an option makes it feel safe. — Liz
In the end, Garrus is a polite gentleman who slays in combat. And bed. What isn’t hot about that kind of duality? — Tegan
Trying to have sex with him (or trying to research how) is new, awkward, a bit embarrassing. Liking someone so much that you’ll try to figure out their physiology is actually something that can feel really important for some queer folks, or those of us that feel sexually strange. I mean, he has mandibles - he can’t even really kiss! Having someone that likes you so much, they’ll try to figure out how to make sex good for you — that is a really, really powerful and rare thing. — Lauren
We went on a date and it was obvious he had no experience dating humans but that didn’t matter to me. — Lisy
He’s confident in his job, loyal and fierce as a friend and squadmate, but unsure and gentle as a lover. — Lauren
He’s very charming in a kind of dad joke way, a little cocky, even. Sort of like of Han Solo was a nerd. — Liz
His writing hit my sense of humour perfectly and out of all the romances from the original trilogy, none really hit me emotionally like his did. — Paris
His whisker-esque mouth and strong stature really made this human space hero hot under the uhhh helmet. — Lisy
Those hips are perfect to hook your legs over tbh. — Liz
In Mass effect people come and go a lot and Garrus is a constant. It’s comforting, especially when the game starts getting REALLY dark. None of the other romance options really offer that level of trust and consistency. Kaiden is an asshole in the second game, Liara goes MIA, Thane is great but he’s new to your story and not long for this world, and Jacob... Exists. Garrus is always there. When you’re being Shepard, you just know him the best. — Liz
My romance arc with Garrus was great. In 1 and 2, I romanced Liara as FemShep. When Liara becomes Shadow Broker she hardens up and becomes a very different person. My Shepherd loved her, and was thankful for what she did, but the love between us had died. This made my relationship with Garrus bittersweet. He was the friend who comforted me when I chose to walk away from a relationship that didn’t fit anymore. It was my choice to say to Garrus I was interested. It felt new and powerful to have a character acknowledge my history with a mutual friend who had been my girlfriend, and then slowly and carefully try dating me and changing our dynamic. — Lauren
Garrus was never my #1 squeeze in the series. My heart was with Liara; but he was always a constant in my ME experience and was just always ‘there’. His strength and his fearlessness made me become super attracted to him after having my heart broken by Liara and it all just fell into place. — Lisy
I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, it’s a combination of voice, reliability and familiarity, ability, confidence and even the way he holds himself. — Olivia
Also, finally. One of the women we spoke to for the purposes of this story has a pet snake called Garrus.
This is Garrus, he is my danger noodle and has a calibrator in his terrarium — Gin
When you name your snake after your video game boyfriend... that’s how you know it’s true love.
Thanks to everyone who participated!
This story originally appeared on Kotaku Australia.