February 10, 2009

Geek Couples: Why is it that the girl converts?

This post is going to be a little bit different than some of my others, because it's solely based on my observations.  No links to articles or anything like that.  I know, you like it when I do something that's based on source material, but give this a try guys!

Since Valentines' day is near, let's talk about geeky couples.  Who's the Zoe to your Wash, the Zelda to your Link, the Cleric to your Fighter, the Mario to your Peach?

I find that relationship to be a weird one myself, but anyway you get the point.  Some of you out there are lucky like me and have a nerdy person to love.  Some of you are hunting down someone, and some of you are happy to fool around with any attractive female in the cosmos like our beloved Captain Kirk.  Whatever your position may be in life, we all know there are nerd couples out there, but there's an interesting pattern that I have noticed.

I recently started thinking about it with one of my housemates here at school.  She has a boyfriend who's a big nerd.  He taught my housemate how to play Magic the Gathering, which, for those of you who don't know, a game that is made of crack.  At least for a lot of my guy friends, collecting cards is a life passion.  I've had a couple exes who were into it, and tried to get me into it.  My housemate was never really into it before but now she's playing it with him a lot.  And then I started thinking about other nerd couples I know, and the pattern started to arise...

Why is it that it's the guy introducing the girl into something geeky 9 times out of 10?

Boyfriends are more likely to be the primary nerd in the relationship, passing on the info to the girlfriend who, either having the info thrust upon them or actually interested in the subject at hand, will try their best to pick up why the nerd hobby is so important.  Rarely do you get instances where the girl is showing the guy something nerdy.  And even if they are into something nerdy, it's usually because of another male influence.  I have friend who introduced her boyfriend to Star Wars, but she got into it because of her previous boyfriend.  I have friends who got into stuff because of their brothers or fathers.  Rarely do I hear someone, ANYONE say "my girlfriend/mom/sister/gal pal got me into [insert nerd hobby here]"

Now I know there are girls who got into stuff without a male influence.  My mom is the reason I'm so nerdy, and a good friend of mine from high school introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons (although, going back to my point, her dad was into it and introduced her to it).  My friend who does the Uncharted 2 blog got into a lot of this nerd stuff herself, especially her love of comic books.  But I find that this is not the norm.  Even I didn't get into Starcraft until the Boyfriend essentially thrusted it upon me.  Oh wait, I mean the game, he thrusted the game... oh goddamn it.

Why is it that girls are usually "pulled" into the fandoms?  Why aren't they attracted to it themselves?  That I have no theory on.  I just find it interesting that this is the current pattern.  over time I think it will become more even.

There are a couple exceptions to the rule: literature, web comics and anime/manga.  Those are some things that girls easily dig into on their own without a male influence.  Especially anime, with their cat girls.  Ugh.  

I want to know what you guys think.  Are my observations correct, or am I totally out of the loop on this one?


  1. My Mom introduced me to nerdy things like Star Trek and other sci-fi movies (she even appeared as a background extra in The Green Slime) and made it a point to buy me nerdy toys like Transformers because she thought they were cool. She also listened to my nerdy stories about everything from Star Wars to comic books and, upon seeing Two-Face in The Dark Knight exclaimed to my Dad "That's EXACTLY how he should look, based on all the comic appearances Bubba has of him."

    My wife is an uber-tech nerd and I can't keep up with her love of all things Mac. She's also an internet expert and is much smarter than I am.

    I think my experiences, at least with the women of value in my life, have been ones of mutual nerdyness. Heaven help my daughters, who already have a healthy appreciation for superheroes!

  2. Here's where I'm coming from on this- I didn't really get hardxcore into nerdy things until college because I thought that it wasn't okay for a girl to be into that kind of stuff.
    I got weird looks from other girls at school for being obsessed with Star Wars in middle school. Boys were more interested in dating a girl who knew what shade of eyeliner looked best with their skirt, not one that could argue about the philosophical implications of The Matrix. And I was too busy working to get into college to play video games.
    I wish I hadn't cared so much about what people thought of me in high school. I'd be a lot better at Smash Bros. now if I'd spent those years practicing instead of hiding who I was to get people to like/date me.

  3. I tend to agree with you on this one. I've always been the girl with nerdy tendencies. I was a bookworm in kindergarden for goodness sake! But my introduction to "nerdy" culture and interests all stemmed from the men in my life. My father used to bring home comic books every week for me and my younger brothers. We used to fight over certain titles, but in the end, I was the one who carried on the affection for the genre.

    My brother introduced me (unwillingly at first, admittedly) to both D & D and Sci-fi... again, I became a huge fantasy and sci-fi fan, and they have let those things fall by the wayside. I'm currently co-writing a fantasy comic book based on RP scenarios and worlds that my collaborative writing has fostered.

    Even more interesting... I met my boyfriend and the love of my life at a Comicon...

    The women in my life all snubbed their nose at these things, and even criticized me for holding those interests. They never quite accepted it, but they've grown to understand that I'm not going to change what I like.


  4. There is an old opinion that guys accumulating massive amounts of game cards or miniature figures are somehow using this as a substitute method of demonstrating their manliness and attracting a mate. That never made much sense to me though, and it certainly doesn't appear to work.

    I would suggest it is a matter of numbers. There are far more male geeks than there are female geeks, so there are far more women to be attracted to male-geekiness than there are men attracted to female geekiness.

    This is somewhat related.