We recently hit up the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2)—our favorite Midwest geek convention. Between interviews with well-known comic artists, we took a time-out to focus on another of our favorite topics—how to get cute nerds to fall in love with us. Luckily, there was a panel of experts for that, too.
Yes, experts. Those in attendance were lucky enough to get relationship advice from a who's who of amorous geeks, including Elliott Serrano and Kate Kotler (of the Bleeding Cool column Keep Your Pants On), "Sizzler" Alan Kissler (host of the Crazy Sexy Geek podcast AND author of a Game of Thrones cookbook), Keisha Howard (of the site Sugargamers, made by and for lady geeks everywhere) and Anna Allen (from Nerds at Heart, a geeky dating site). Together with moderator Laura Green (a Chicago musician and self-professed nerd) the panel helped audience members with their questions of troubled love. What knowledge do the kings and queens of geek dating want to impart to you?
1. Online is fine, but…
The panelists agree that meeting online is great (whether through Facebook, Twitter or specific dating sites), but you've got to plan to make the transition to real life ASAP. As Kissler said, people only put an idealized version of themselves forward online—you've got to get to the real thing.
2. The waiting is the best part.
If you enjoy geeky activities, you probably end up waiting in line for those activities a lot. Why not make that work for you? Serrano said that anything from movie releases (like the upcoming Avengers) to waiting for panels at conventions can be a great place to meet like-minded individuals, because it's a natural environment in which you're both interested. (Any Harry Potter book 7 hook-ups out there?)
3. Mutually assured fun.
When it comes time to pick the place for your first date, go to a place you'll both enjoy, said Kotler. This may seem obvious, but first dates are not the time to bring someone totally into your nerdy world if they aren't there already. Go to someplace that promises guaranteed enjoyment for both of you.
4. Only drop hints.
Speaking of your geeky world, the panelists acknowledged that you shouldn't delve too far into your specialized interests early in the relationship, although it's important to mention them. If the other person asks, then feel free to reveal more, but be engaging—don't lecture!
5. Keep it short.
Kotler again: a first date should only last one to two hours. Serrano said that it's important to save the big, grandiose plans for later on. Consequently, a casual environment's preferable.
6. The Friend Zone demystified.
Believe it or not, the responsibility of ending up in the Friend Zone is on you, Howard said. Make your intent known early on. Kotler added that it's important to be obvious, open, and direct (but don't be creepy). After all, not knowing whether there's any interest in the other party is awful.
7. Get on it.
Someone in the audience asked when it's the right time to get someone's number. Howard: "When you know you like them."
8. Don't wonder.
Not sure if someone is single? Just ask. Kotler volunteered the perfect question: "I'd like to take you out to dinner. Are you seeing anybody?"
9. Cut (to) the chase.
It's easy to get stuck in a rut of pursuing someone romantically who may or may not be interested—whether it's a friend or just an acquaintance. While Kissler said that such dynamics can work out if they're give-and-take (some people enjoy the game), Kotler pointed out that it's important to bail as soon as it starts affecting your self-esteem. If the object of your desire isn't giving anything back, cut your losses and move on.
10. Nail the approach.
All the panelists—all dating experts throughout time, really—agreed that when meeting someone for the first time confidence is key. But what if you don't have it? "Fake it 'til you make it," Green said. Serrano also suggested complimenting a nice trait about the person you're approaching for an easy opening line.
11. Be like Hal Jordan—have no fear.
Everyone on the panel confirmed that you can never be afraid of rejection. Kistser said that it's important to remember that when you get turned down, it's not a judgment on you but on your chemistry with someone else—and no one's going to be compatible with everybody.
12. Final thoughts.
Elliott Serrano: "You can't have somebody love you unless you love yourself."