Tuesday, November 19, 2013

He Says/She Says: The Geek's Guide to Dating (Part 1)

Read 11/4/13 -11/12/13
5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best Book
Pages: 208
Publisher: Quirk Books
Released: Now

Reviewed by both TNBBC and Drew Broussard

When Lori and Drew both ended up with copies of The Geek’s Guide to Dating, a brilliantly insane idea struck.  While they both love books and are self-professed geeks, their lives are otherwise almost diametrically opposed:  Boy vs girl – check. Young twenty-something vs late thirty-something – check. Recently single vs long time couple – check. No kids vs kids – check.  

And so a read-along was proposed, with a running email conversation, as they delved into one man’s guide to love in the time of geek.

In this installment, Chapter 1 – discovering and naming your inner geek, talking tech, and the TMI begins…

TNBBC: First thing I want to know is what kind of geek are you?  I’m torn between Social Media Geek and Book Geek. Can I be two geeks at the same time or must I choose just one before I continue?

RB: I, too, am a little torn on the which-geek-am-I front, between Book Geek and History & Politics Geek.  I'd say I lean more towards Book Geek - I diverged from the path of the politician many moons ago - but it's always tough to be split between two.  But it's real life, so why not split the difference?  I say pick your power-ups and run with it - or does this mean that neither of us are True Geeks, for we have not specialized?  

TNBBC: Our inability to decide which geek we are may not be such a bad thing, now that I think of it. Does our flexibility and movement between geekiness that mean that we’re more likely to find a compatible mate? I mean, I’ve been married for 15 years, my hubby’s a sports and First Person Shooter gamer all the way, but he’s doesn’t fit the Gamer Geek mold at all. As for me, I’ve always been a Book Geek but only really grew my Social Media Geek wings over the past 5 years or so. I think it’s totally possible, and most likely more healthy, to mix and match your geekinesses.

 And now this has me wondering, do true ‘Geek opposites’ attract? I mean, a guy and a grrrl that fit one particular geek type only.  I think the answer to that is yes. The fiery flames probably burn hard and fast when geeks of the same type hook up. Cause, I mean, how many times can you talk JUST games, or JUST books, or JUST science before you both want to run screaming towards the hills? Yes?

RB: I think you're spot on about the better compatibility when one is a bit more flexible with their geekiness - and that sometimes people aren't exactly the geeks they might seem to be at first.  Of course, that's the fun of it, right?  Discovering the reality beyond the initial interaction? 

I've definitely had some of those burn-hot-and-fast relationships.  To add a geek type not included here, I went to school with a bunch of theater geeks (was arguably one myself, although I'd still rank Book and PoliSci over it) and if ever there was a place for burn-hot-and-fast, same-geek relationships... it's in a theater.  

I was a little nervous at first when I realized it was a dude-based book - years of sensitivity training at the hands of my sister and my close female friends, I suppose - but I really liked the way he addressed it and sort of said "this is still for you girls! just in a different way!" without it being sexist or condescending or anything.  Because I know plenty of Geek Grrrls who, already, would love this book but who will undoubtedly ask "but isn't it for guys?"   How did you react to that realization?

TNBBC: I think I’m going to dig the whole ‘Geek Grrrl getting insight into the dating geek mind’ thing. Though some of the references are over my head – like Hal Jordan and Parallax? And MMO? And NPC?

RB: I'm doing pretty well on the reference front (nerd knowledge: Hal Jordan was the first human Green Lantern, Parallax was a baddie who he became for a while, NPC is non-player-character... MMO I think is massively multiplayer online?  )  although there've been times where I've paused and had to search the mental rolodex. Example: I'm reading along and Ceti Alpha V sounds SUPER familiar, why does it sound so familiar, can't place it, uhhhhhhh let me just google it.  And then, oh, right, it's the planet they marooned Khan on in Star Trek.  And I am ashamed to've forgotten.  

TNBBC: Thanks for the definitions, by the way. While not distracting enough to pull me out of the content of his book, some of those references are just so far beyond my reach. I didn’t even think about googling it. I turned to my 10 year old son instead. I have a feeling much of the book is going to cause me to stop and scratch my head when the gamer and comics word-plays get chucked at us. Then again, I may surprise myself. I seem to have absorbed quite a bit of odd-gamer-and-superhero-knowledge over the years…

 I have high hopes for this book. It’s definitely sucked me right in from the start.

RB: I'm curious what you think about this online dating stuff.  You've been married for 15 years (which, awesome, by the way) so I'm guessing you probably look at online dating with about as much confusion as I do.  I mean, I went on a couple of dates with a girl who I met on Tumblr - which was a huge and terrifying proposition for both of us and our friends, who were all thinking one or both of us was gonna get murdered - but beyond that... My friends, when I split up with my girlfriend a couple of weeks ago, encouraged me to download Tinder (which is basically Hot-or-Not turned into an app) and it just felt kind of horrifying.  Addictive and so very 21st-Century... but I deleted it within days.  And so many friends talk about how online dating is de rigueur now, but I just can't get behind it.  Not saying I'm not going to Facebook-stalk a potential date, but I'm also not really interested in not meeting someone in person.  Call it the hopeless romantic in me, I suppose.

 All this said... I love the tips and tricks of this chapter, both for online and for IRL.  I honestly didn't think I'd be necessarily learning too much but I think it's Eric's really open tone that's making the book far more accessible than it could've been. He made a reference to how buying a girl a drink is super chivalrous but also potentially sends off weird signals - and I've never really thought about that flipside of it.  Again, too stuck in the chivalry bit.  And as a terribly shy individual (I just mask it really well), it's never bad to hear more tips on how to talk to somebody... 

TNBBC: I did have some initial reactions to the online dating that Eric was referring to. Any guy I’ve ever dated was someone I knew through friends or school or work. I never did the online dating thing, and 20 years ago, I don’t even think that was a thing. The internet was barely born back in the mid-nineties (oh my god am I aging myself?!?!) WebTV and online chat rooms were just really getting going and they were goofy and not completely serious. I count my lucky stars sometimes that my husband and I met young and stuck it out for the long haul.
 Now, believe it or not, my dad met and married two women over the years via online chat rooms, which completely blows my mind. The man could barely punch in a website address or log into his email account when he first started using the computer and yet he’s falling in love online! Hell, if he can do it… right?

 I just find the whole thing kind of terrifying, to be honest. Online stalking jokes aside, you can learn too much too easily about people online, not to mention how EASILY ACCESSIBLE everyone is. Create a second email account, use social media sites, delete your sexts as soon as you send and receive them, and voila, you’ve got a girlfriend on the side that your wife will never know about. Online EVERYTHING has forced today’s couples to be 100% more trusting and forgiving than ever before.

 Why do I feel like I am sharing way too much right now???

Check back tomorrow, on Drew's blog - Raging Bibiloholism, for Part 2: Chapter 2 – new technologies and falling in love online.

Drew Broussard reads, a lot. When not doing that, he's writing stories or playing music or acting or producing or coming up with other ways to make trouble.  He also has a day job at The Public Theater in New York City.

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