After reading a post by Geordie Tait, I began to do my own thinking on girls and the nerd world. His post deals specifically with Magic: the Gathering (something I don’t play) and the gaming community in general after the upset over the article written by Alyssa Bereznak. In her article, she dismisses Magic players as potential dates as a whole, dismissing one man in particular. I’ll admit, the whole Magic thing is beyond me. I’m not entirely certain what the game is about or what it entails, but the situation got me thinking.
Why don’t girls want to date gamer/geeky/nerdy guys?
Popular culture has it that the nerds are actually the best boyfriends. They’re the lambs of the male world, ready to see to a girl’s needs at the drop of a hat. They REALLY understand, or at least they want to try. They look beyond looks to see the real soul of a person. It’s always the super popular, butch guys that get the girl, though, leaving the poor nerdy guy in the corner alone. If a girl just tried, she would realize that he’s a diamond in the rough. But no, she goes for the jock jerk who is sexist and will abuse her emotionally, and probably physically. Obviously, the clear choice for a boyfriend would be the nerd.
I think that’s bullshit.
Perhaps I’m not the best person to examine this because my boyfriend is delightfully nerdy. He plays Warhammer 40K, World of Warcraft, various consul games when he gets the chance, adores war history, and keeps religiously up to date on current events. I also am often categorized as a nerd. My fish is named Arsinoë due to the fighting nature of beta fish. I am a recovering WoW addict (rogues ftw), and in love with God of War, Doctor Who, Joss Whedon, and fairy tales. I even delight in discussing the English language and its subtleties. To top it all off, I study International Relations. (I’m sure, however, that some would say I’m not really all that nerdy. Matter of perspective.)
However, I think my relationship highlights some of the issues of dating gamer guys. Hardcore gaming takes up a lot of time. Most hobbies associated with general nerd/geek status do, in fact. Painting miniatures, putting together models, etc. are time consuming. It’s not even something you can do while paying attention to something else very well. It’s easy to get sucked into any of these things full time to the point where all other things are placed on the back burner. It’s happened to me, and I’ve done it to him as well. Nerd types tend to be characterized as obsessed with one thing or the other, and I think that’s not far from the truth.
Women don’t want to be second to a game or hobby. They want to be the first priority. To be honest, in a healthy relationship, a girlfriend should come before a game or hobby unless she doesn’t want it that way. I feel that many women feel that they’ll be second when they’re dating a gamer, so they choose not to do so.
Furthermore, nerds are not the lambs of maledom.
Most of the games played today are sexist. They often portray women as sex objects or sexless if they’re strong. Games I have loved and played are guilty of this. That’s not to say that gamers are all sexist themselves, but they certainly aren’t buffered from these types of images just because they may operate outside of mainstream culture.
The attacks that Alyssa Bereznak has gone through due to her article speak to the fact that just because a guy is a geek doesn’t mean he’s nice and gentle. She’s been called a whore, cunt, and slut. Her looks have been attacked, as has her general nature. Was it a good article posted in an appropriate place? No. But it certainly does not justify the disgusting way she’s been treated. It certainly won’t help women have a better attitude towards the type of guy that Alyssa disparaged. A girl that’s an outsider, and even those that are nerds themselves, are going to see that backlash and automatically not want anything to do with men that could be a part of it. These are supposed to be the guys that understand! That will treat women better than the jocks of the world will.
I don’t feel like this is an isolated issue, either. Back in July, an article was posted about how women were banned from a LAN party because of how they are notoriously treated horribly if they attend. Want a bad experience? Get on XBox live as a woman. Luckily, I haven’t personally experienced this sort of treatment because I tend to play by myself on my consuls and when I played WoW I was buffered by an amazing guild. The fact that the gamer guy I live with makes sure that I know that I shouldn’t try to talk to other players normally is a bit alarming, however.
I also found it interesting when Geordie Tait mentioned that he used to have a lot of problems with women. He makes it sound as if he grouped them all as shallow. When my boyfriend was young, he dealt with issues like that as well. I have a feeling that won’t be the last time I hear that, either.
Ultimately, I think the stereotype of the nerd/gamer/geek as the perfect guy is hogwash. They have just as many problems as any other guy. Do they have to fight against a difficult stereotype when it comes to getting dates? Yes. Absolutely. Does that mean they’ll automatically appreciate a girl? No. Any given girl might not want to date you because they don’t understand why you like what you like. They might assume that you’ll care more about your activities than her. Plus, it doesn’t help if you forsake all other forms of being social for the sake of your hobby and don’t know anyone outside of it.
I don’t really have any advice on how to snag a girl beyond maybe finding a girl who has similar interests. Don’t forget to check out the nerd girls, they could be diamonds in the rough, too.
This is a post that paints with broad strokes. It’s more rambling of thoughts than something solid and coherent.