Love in a Time of Mainstream Geekery

By Jennifer Allen

It's February once again which means that many of us are flooded with and pink reminders of Valentine's Day. Often the holiday is seen either as blight for those who are single, or an obligation for those who are not. With the current state of the world, a holiday such as this must be treated quite differently than in past years. While that doesn't mean we should write off Valentine's Day entirely, I do think we must instead think more creatively on how to make the occasion all the more memorable.

Finding love in a world now dominated by online matchmaker sites built on algorithms adopted from the same methods used in South Asian cultures for decades can feel intimidating for some. It's gotten so insane that there's a dating site for just about every type of person out there. It's safe to say that at this point in our existence, finding a long-term partner is so much easier than it used to be.

With my own self-construed lifestyle as a fan of many things considered “geeky" by cultural standards, I'm often lumped into a category that until around 20 years ago was generally ridiculed as being extremely unlucky when it comes to romance.

Now… to clarify, being a geek is so much more than just enthusiasm about pop culture or tech innovations. At the end of the day, geeks are just regular people who happen to be very passionate about specific fandoms. Also keep in mind that just because you happen to love the Marvel movies doesn't mean you'll get along great with someone who prefers the original comic books. The same could be said about someone who prefers let's say... ShahRukh Khan films as opposed to Salman Khan ones.

Honestly, geek culture has gotten so incredibly massive and spans all sorts of interests that just about everyone has some form of “geekery" entwined within their lives. Even if you don't think you can be that passionate about anything, just remember that something as simple as being a fan of a specific sports franchise, preferring specific clothing designers or collecting memorabilia still counts!

I still have fond memories of going to my first Star Trek convention a little over 30 years ago. At this point all we had was The Next Generation still showing new episodes on air and both The Original Series and The Animated Series appearing in syndicated reruns. As a 16 year-old at my first ever convention, I was absolutely flabbergasted to realize that I'd finally found a place where I fit in. I was no longer the weird girl who liked sci-fi, comic books and video games. I was just another person who happens to also love Star Trek.

Being a geek was such a niche thing back in those days that it's seen as a bit of a trope now. I still remember one particular day at my high school where they asked students to wear Hard Rock Café T-shirts and sweatshirts, I walked around proudly wearing a joke 'Ten Forward' sweatshirt (a popular hangout spot on the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation) and didn't even care when a couple folks told me my contribution “didn't really count" towards the spirit of the day.

Fast forward to today where Apple Watches are now common fashion wear, playing a video game on your phone is not frowned upon, and standing in line to see the next Star Wars movie is not a social death sentence. In fact, we now live in a world where some of the most popular movies and TV shows have sci-fi or fantasy themes. Video games have advanced to the point where their stories, visuals and even their soundtracks are now on par with their live action equivalents. If you want to acquire some specific knowledge about your favorite celebrity, then it's only a Wikipedia search away.

As far as finding love in a world before this all happened? Well, I actually first met my now husband at that same Star Trek convention 30 years ago and have almost exclusively had both friendships and relationships with fellow geeks pretty much my whole life. I've been one of the lucky ones, though.

It's never felt odd to me to be a woman who also happens to enjoy what's normally been considered 'guy stuff'. This is probably due in no small part to the fact that my mother was the exact same way. As a girl who collected comic books and baseball cards herself, she encouraged me to read various comics and fantasy novels and even bought me my first ever Dungeons & Dragons reference book. This attitude may have boosted my chances at finding relationships, but I think it more stems from the fact that I've always been proud about my enthusiasm for geeky things.

My advice for you is simply this: embrace your geekiness but also remain true to both yourself and your partner. Also accept the fact that you may not always appreciate the same types of pop culture. For instance, my husband enjoys military movies more than I do… and that's perfectly fine! As long you are willing to encourage your partner's own interests along with your own, then you can both have fun and ride along on this mainstream geek train for as long as it lasts.

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Jennifer Allen works at Saathee and is also a Podcaster, Blogger, Photographer, Graphic Artist, Gamer, Martial Arts Practitioner, and all around Pop Culture Geek.