Finding 'Geek Love'

A new web series about Comic-Con romance is just the latest example of nerd culture going mainstream

January 25, 2013

Whenever I meet someone with the slightest bit of dating potential, I wait for the inevitable statement of identity that all hipster elitists seem to share: "I am such a nerd." Some people define their expertise by category (gamer, techie, film snob, music geek etc.) while others claim to be masters of all subjects. Many of them are just poseurs, hoping to woo me with their extensive knowledge of Internet memes and coffee table books from Urban Outfitters. Still, the trend speaks for itself: nerd culture and pop culture have become inexplicably intertwined. 
 

So, what happens when you fall somewhere in between? I'm way too nerdy to resist a marathon of Doctor Who or a midnight premiere of Harry Potter (in full costume, of course!) but I'm also not quite geeky enough to attend a robot convention or learn advanced Klingon. While I enjoy playing Galaga at my neighborhood barcade and reading obscene amounts of Mulder/Scully fan fiction, I've never played a video game (my parents didn't allow them in the house when I was growing up) and I've only read a handful of comic books from cover-to-cover. Does that make me ineligible for geekdom? Is there a nerd hierarchy that I must adhere to in order to claim membership? 

Obviously, putting on a pair of hipster glasses and watching PBS on occasion does not make you a real nerd. However, with the rabid popularity of superhero movies like The Avengers and television shows like The Big Bang Theory, even people who don't go around describing themselves as nerds secretly wish that they had more nerdy qualities. 

Enter Geek Love, a reality show about Sci-Fi Speed Dating that began as a one-hour special on TLC and now thrives as a web series on IGN's START YouTube channel. The nine-episode series premiered on January 3, 2013 and airs new episodes every Thursday at 12 p.m. PT. Check out Episode 1 below, as a bonafide Brony named Alex tries to step out of the friend zone (been there, man) and find a geekmate for life at New York's Comic-Con:

Although Chicagoans will have to wait until August for the Wizard World Comic-Con at the Rosemont Convention Center, several smaller-scale events are coming up soon.

Lauren Rapciak of Geek Girl Chicago  just posted her list for the spring, which includes the Chicago Nerd Social Club's Newbie Welcoming Party on February 2, the Nerds at Heart Sixth Annual Lovefest on February 14 and even a Chicago Sci-Fi Speed Dating event tentatively scheduled for C2E2 on April 26. Most of these groups offer queer-friendly meetups as well, so everyone has an equal chance of finding someone special. 

Here's my advice for those geeky singles who would prefer not to spend the dreaded month of February alone: keep your options open. Instead of searching for a carbon copy of yourself, be open to the possibility of new experiences and adventures outside of your comfort zone. Believe me, not sharing all of the same fandoms can be a good thing (unless the other person doesn't know what a fandom is, in which case you should get out quick).  

What are your thoughts on nerd culture and dating in Chicago? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @leahkpickett