As I write this, the battle sounds of Terran Marines ambushing the Zerg trickle in from the next room — my boyfriend is hard at work vying for galactic dominance in the newly released StarCraft II. As a museum–going history nerd who can go days without turning on my TV or PC, it is minor miracle that I know StarCraft II exists, much less that I can name alien species.
It’s safe to say that I never thought I would fall in love with a gamer.
And I really never thought I would meet him on an online matchmaking site for geeks.
It’s not that I have anything against meeting people online. In fact, without meaning to I seem to have made a habit of doing exactly that.
My freshman year romance was full of the emotional intensity one expects of hormone-crazed 18 year olds, only it was largely carried out via AIM with a boy I had met in an AOL band chat room. How could I know that an innocent quest for b-side rarities would turn into marathon chat sessions and midnight phone calls across seven states?
And then there was the Teaching Fellow I dated for 8 months in grad school after he poked me on Facebook (this was obviously before the era of privacy settings).
So it wasn’t that I was averse to online dating, I just didn’t give dating much thought at all. Then one day I took a break from moping about a recent breakup and decided to shake it up – I logged into Geek2Geek.
At this point you are probably wondering: what the hell IS Geek2GeeK?
And perhaps you’re questioning why I had a login (or after reading the first paragraph, perhaps you’re not). The first part is relatively easy to answer – GeeK2GeeK is, in its own words “the best place on the net to meet geeks” – for most people, this means a place to find geek love, the Leela to your Fry, the Link to your Zelda. Now, I may read a lot of historical fiction but I’ve never really thought of myself as a geek. This brings us to the second question.
Well, to be honest it started out as a joke.
Two guy friends were visiting and we were hanging out with two of my girlfriends. They conveniently paired off for the weekend, leaving me as the single matchmaker (or pimp, if you prefer). In an attempt to make me feel better, girlfriend No. 1 showed us Geek2Geek. After browsing for a little while (and laughing at some of the profiles) they decided to make me a profile of my very own. Sadly that original profile has since been lost to posterity, but you should know that I was an obese, alcoholic chain smoker with a Princess Leia costume fetish. (And yes, I got some winks and even a message from a fellow Princess Leia fetishizer, which I will not reproduce here.) (Ed. Note – BUMMER!)
Laughs aside, I logged on every once in a while (gradually making my profile more “normal”) to browse around but it had been awhile. Eventually I felt that there was no time like the heartbroken present to dive back into dating. Frankly, if I couldn’t score a date with someone on the geek website then it was time for some serious soul-searching and a makeover. At the very least I would get some stories out of it.
So I fixed up my profile.
Pictures updated: check. Sufficiently witty yet unpretentious bio: check. Geek Interests: Check (OK, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings aren’t that geeky, but it was all I had).
I went through all of my “Matches” but wasn’t impressed – really, Geek2Geek? Was this the best that you could do? A guy whose username is “New York Man” and whose tagline is “Looking for women in New York?” Weren’t there any tall handsome medievalists who also played bass in a punk band?
It was time to put in a little leg work — to the search box.
I put in my requirements: male between the ages of 23 and 28, lives within 5 miles of me and is over 5’10 (hey, if I’m browsing a geek website I can be slightly superficial). The third picture down caught my eye; I clicked to see the rest of the profile and actually laughed out loud. Plus he was a musician as well as funny – double points. So I winked at him.
The next day, I had a message in my inbox which included not only a spontaneous emo parody song, but also his email address. (Guys, take note: girls don’t like to pay for dates, much less potential dates. Always include an email because she probably has the free version and can’t message you back). Witty emails were exchanged, we proceeded to slightly less witty phone calls, and within a week he asked if I wanted to go to a café.
Our first date went well – not amazing, not terrible, but solid.
He wasn’t strictly a computer geek like I had originally thought – he even did theater and opera in college. The next day I left work and boarded the 7 train at Grand Central, iPod securely in place to ward off against advances from crazy people or teenagers selling M&M’s. Before I go further, let me remind you that this is the 7 train at rush hour, which runs approximately every two minutes and is still consistently packed. Despite this, when I got on the train and looked down the person sitting in front of me was my date from the night before. He hadn’t noticed me because he was completely absorbed in his Pokémon DS game. Not wanting to look like a complete stalker, I maneuvered to the other side of the car. Now I’m not overly religious but I do believe things sometimes happen for a reason – this had to be some sort of sign, right?
So we continued to hang out.
He spent the day before he had surgery at my apartment and from that point on I was smitten. Now it is three years later, we live together and are ridiculously happy. I realize that most people don’t end up with the first person they wink at (my girlfriends on Match, EHarmony and OKCupid will vouch for that). But sometimes by opening yourself up to someone who isn’t your “type” you can get lucky — I found a man with whom I can be totally myself, dorky parts and all.
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