Dear Anon-O-Box: Too Normie for Geek Girls?

mailboxDear Anon-O-Box,

See, I ain’t exactly what most folks would think of as a “geek”.  I was a two-sport Letterman in high school.  I lift weights.  I drive a truck.  I drink beer.  I watch NASCAR.  Folks usually steer clear of me ’cause I’m kind of a tough guy in general.  Folks just don’t wanna mess with me.

And that’s cool, some of the time.  Keeps folks off my back.  But deep down, I’m as much a geek as anyone else.  I’ve got a CS degree.  I know C++ and HTML and my “day job” is working in IT. When I come home… yeah, sometimes I’m either shooting pool or playing cards or drinking beer with friends out at some bar, but the rest of the time when it’s just me I’m booting up my laptop to spend the entire night online, playing video games till my thumbs bleed, roleplaying, or watching anime and reading manga.

Really, all I want is to find someone who understands me.  Not someone who asks what a grown man is still doing watching cartoons, much less why they’re in Japanese or even why I’m watching some sappy shoujo series instead of something more “macho” or “manly” like DBZ.  But I’m reading your site here and your uberawesome GeekMMM newsletter and hearing tell of how girlgeeks all want someone like the guys from Big Bang Theory and I wonder if maybe I ain’t geeky enough?

I’ve rolled my share of initiative.  I’ve read my share of comic crossovers, cosplayed at cons, and compiled source code.  But a shy, 90lb weakling with glasses I ain’t.  And I suppose a full-time geek could outfrag me in a FPS or prove he’s more well-read as I keep myself busy with such a wide variety of other things besides just that.  I thought I was being well rounded, but now I worry I’m just not geeky enough to win the heart of the geeky kind of girl that’s about the only kind of girl that I could stand to be with.

Reckon my question is just whether there’s any hope at all for me.  What do I gotta do to try and attract the kinda gal I want to be with, when I just ain’t what most people think of when they think of as the stereotypical “geek” even if I’m just as geeky as the rest?

-WeakGeek

J answers:

Dear WG,

This is a loaded question, and I think it has more to do with culture and psychology than whether you have enough geek cred.

I don’t know, for sure, whether you live in the South (or have in the past).  I’m assuming you are from the South.  See, a guy who drives a truck, watches NASCAR, etc, and lives in a suburb of a city in a northern state is making a lifestyle choice; if you’re in the South, that’s the norm (so if you don’t live there already, maybe you should).

So let’s operate under the assumption that you are from the South.  If you’re looking for geek girls across the nation, it’s really easy to get into some culture shock here.  Whereas someone local can look at a guy, see past the wallet chain and the baseball cap and notice the video game t-shirt and identify as geek, well, you might all look the same to someone from San Francisco.

Trying to find someone regional has its pros and cons.  See, girls in your area are at least aware of your brand of non-geek culture.  Maybe some of them even grew up heading down to Talladega with their families.  But then you have to watch out for a different phenomenon: Angry Geek.  See, you notice how you said in your email that being a tough guy “keeps folks off [your] back”?  Well, not everyone had it as easy growing up.  If a girl wants to leave her home town behind, she might currently resent the sorts of things that remind her of bad experiences (even if she comes to embrace them later).

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, however.  Believe me when I say there are definitely geek girls out there who would consider a guy like you a catch – a guy who, to them, possesses the best of both worlds.  Someone with whom they can talk about manga and play video games.  Someone who won’t run from them screaming when their daddy shoots bottle rockets out of his hand at the 4th of July picnic.

My advice?  Any girl can probably look at you and see the ‘normie’ aspect of your personality.  They can’t tell you’re a geek just by looking at you, however, so you’ve got to be proactive about it – on your online dating profile, in conversation.  Don’t cover up the other aspects of who you are, but emphasize the stuff you want the geek girls to know.  Human beings are multi-faceted; any geek girl worth her salt should understand that you’ve got different sides, varied interests.

Sure, there will be girls who just aren’t interested in your physical type; no one person is universally appealing.  But if a girl is literally too closed-minded to accept you as a geek, that’s her problem, and she’s more hung up on image than true compatibility (yes, it happens in every culture, even geek culture).

It’s also possible the girls you’re interested in are as intimidated as everyone else by your tough-guy look.  Maybe work on being more approachable, as well as approaching girls who seem to have common interests (“Hey, have you read this? …”).  If you meet them within the context of something geeky, it’ll be easier to believe you when you talk about your interests.

Ultimately, your problem is the same as most guys’ – you’re afraid you won’t meet the standards of women you’re interested in.  But if you’re earnest (not scary), and confident (not confrontational), I think you’ll do just fine.

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