The last time I was at a comic book store I was my mom and my eleven-year-old cousin, so I wasn’t exactly cruising for chicks. And, luckily, I am butch enough that the guys browsing the bins weren’t cruising for me. But it made me think. One of the hardest parts of approaching an attractive potential date is finding common ground to do it on. At the comic book store, half the work is already done for you! Of course, if you’re gay, there’s the extra step of determining if said potential date is also gay – or, at the very least, not going to give you a black eye for taking a chance on it. But once you’ve decided to make your approach (you lucky dog), keep in mind these six simple dos and don’ts.
Do: Start a conversation
While talking about how much you love Spider-Woman might get you weird looks at the park, it is actually a fairly decent topic of conversation here. Take cues from what your target is browsing through. If they’re combing through back issues, ask them if they collect, or what they’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to admit ignorance; if you’re not familiar with the titles they mention, ask about them. Asking questions and listening to the answers is one of the best ways to show that you’re interested in them as a person and not just a conquest.
Don’t: Start a fight
Donald Glover said that being a nerd is about being really enthusiastic about weird, specific stuff. And nerds can get very defense of their specific brand of weird, specific stuff. Insulting your object of attention’s choice, or trying to convince them that your choice is better, is not a good way to start a conversation. It’s a good way to get shut down, and fast. It can be hard, I know. What you may see as good-natured ribbing or rivalry can come off as aggressive.
Do: Be a gentleman
These two apply specifically to those attracted to women. Be a gentleman. Stand aside, hold a door, offer to reach for things on high shelves. Smile, and be polite. This can have a huge effect on being read as more than a fellow nerd – you are now a fellow nerd who knows how to treat a lady.
Don’t: Be a misogynist jerk
Yes, girls read comics. Ha ha, you are sooo funny for commenting on it. No, not really! Telling her that she doesn’t belong is not going to win you any points, nor is making assumptions about her interests and level of involvement. I had a straight female friend in college who would happily discourse for hours about Preacher but would cut a butch if I suggested that she read Revolutionary Girl Utena.
Do: Be interested
Check out what she’s checking out, ask her questions, and listen to the answers you get. If you are attracted to her, don’t be afraid to compliment her on her taste or appearance, as long as you keep the compliments small, safe, and non-threatening.
Don’t: Be a creeper
Women, by the very nature of women, tend to feel unsafe around strange men, especially in a place as usually claustrophobic as a comic book store. This is probably the most important tip I can give. Do not stand too close. Even if you don’t think you’re too close, pay attention to her body language. If she is leaning away, or turning away, back off. Don’t loom over her, block her way, or invade her personal space. It might not only get you turned down, but get you a key jammed into the fleshy part of your stomach
Go forth, my comic brethren, and be lady- and/or gentleman-killers.
Actually, please don’t kill anyone.
Have you ever been hit on in the comic book store? Done the hitting on? How did it go? Let me know!