And the winner is…

The winning entrant for the most recent contest is listed below. In addition to including a pick-up line, the winner provided a story of “geek romance.” Thanks to “Cassandra” for entering.

I really am not quite sure how to start writing this, or what to even include here. I know that you had mentioned about pickup lines, and stories of the dating community. The same happens in and around the furry community. I can tell you that there is probably just about the same amount of sex going on at any other sort of Con, that goes on at a Fur Con. There are huge stereotypes going on about Furries, and I am not going to say that there are not people who don’t fit those to a tee, because there are.

Now, romance…I have seen it happen when I used to go onto the online chat rooms years ago. I have taken place in online ceremonies – furs getting married to other furs online – as well as have heard many stories, of people meeting their life mate online as well, and actually meeting them, and living happily ever after…or not so happily.

I think that the thing about the fur online community is that they provide a comfort to each other from time to time, and it is a place where you can turn off the world and step into something completely different. I remember being able to host my own “Room” within the chatting zone. Now, it would be hosted by either one of my two furs. KittyKatz Kozy Korner (uh…yes, dumb but oh well, that was what was voted on) or Cassandra’s Treehouse. Now, what a hedgehog was doing in a tree… Cassandra was my Fur of choice, and that is really the one that I had a lot more fun with.

There were times when other furs would stop by and chat. There were other times, when the furs would try to make their advances. I think the funniest line that I had heard was from a guy who took on the persona of a bulldog. He was one of the guys that I would pal around with from time to time…until he started to create drama. “Cassandra, come here and Give a dog a bone.” :::sigh::: yes, I know probably not the best one yet…mind you it has been so many years ago. I do remember that one because the next thing that came out was some other bloke making the comment that he could end up turning him into bones by being crass. 😛

Looking for love in Alderaan places

A few months ago, I was chatting online with a friend of mine who lives out in California (hey there, Angelica!). We were discussing what it’s like to be a single geek in the crazy ol’ world of dating. I shared some anecdotes of previous dates with her: the one that lasted exactly an hour – from the time I got out of the car to the time I got back to it after dinner – and ended with the guy basically evaporating from sight in the time it took me to put my coat on. The date who asked for a traditional Native story and then kept interrupting it and ended by saying “That could never have happened.” (For the record, the truth of a traditional tale is not the important part) The guy who threw pickles in my general direction.

Needless to say, I’ve had some interesting times over the past year and a half.

Angelica really got a kick out of the stories I was telling her. Truth be told, I get a kick out of them. There’s very little that happens that I can’t draw some amusement from. While we chatted about our dating adventures, Angelica brought up the idea of doing a blog about being a geek and dating.

Oh…why do people put these ideas into my head? Honestly, folks…by now you must know that, if you suggest something, part of me will go “That sounds like a GREAT idea!”, regardless of whether or not it actually is.

In this case, though, I think she kind of had a point. While a lot of the stuff on this blog revolves around costuming, ultimately I try to look at the whole wide world of geekery. And that, my friend, does include dating.

Think about it…we geeks want to find someone who’ll love and accept us just as much as the non-geek population. Even more than the non-geek population, I would argue. We want someone who, when they come home to find us snuggled up on the couch in a Jedi cloak, clutching a plush Jawa and quoting lines along with “Return of the Jedi” on the tv, won’t take one look at us and flee the house in terror. Or call the funny farm. Or call us weird. No. We want someone who will go back to the bedroom, return with their very own lightsaber, and curl up on the couch next to us.

Well, maybe not that far. But you get the point. You want someone who isn’t going to call your sanity into question because of your hobbies. If you’re of the Dungeons&Dragons or Warhammer persuasion, you want someone who can put up with the accoutrements of the game. They don’t necessarily have to play a tabletop RPG with you, or stay up til 3am helping you paint miniature hordes of orcs, but they’ve got to at least accept that it’s a part of who you are.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really proud of being a geek. It’s been a part of my personality for a very long time – I read Shakespeare for fun. I have a couple of Star Wars toys that friends have given me over the years. I built a lightsaber out of pieces from the plumbing aisle of Home Depot. I write about zombies and talking slugs and old monsters from traditional Native stories, brought into a contemporary setting. I read a few comics. I read random science articles. I go to conventions dressed in elaborate costumes…the list goes on and on.

The question when dating is “When do you let this all come out? How much?”

Personally, I see no problem with letting it all out early on. I mean, people are going to find out anyway and I might as well set my cards out on the table to begin with, and let them decide whether to move forward or not. This method has had mixed results. One guy LOVED that I had a full Jedi outfit, complete with homemade lightsaber. I’m sure the guy who left after an hour decided I wasn’t girly enough (and way too geeky) for him. I’ve got a number of guy friends who have told me flat-out that they prefer dating geeky girls, and I know that the opposite exist.

The thing is, not all geek girls are created equally. Although we’ve got shared interests – Star Trek, science, ghosts, mad scientists, etc. – we’re also just as complex and varied as any other grouping of women. I know geek girls who are super-feminine. I know just as many who aren’t. Like I said, each of us are unique.

There’s an on-going joke between Maggie and I that I’m basically a guy in a woman’s body. I like movies with explosions, I don’t like to cry in front of people, I have a ridiculous potty mouth when I’m playing certain videogames, and I love classic cars. In reality, though, those aren’t exclusively “male” characteristics (something that touches on the issue of gender identity and performance, which is a bit beyond what this particular post is meant to be about — perhaps we’ll touch on that at another time). 

I’m sure that I’m a complete conundrum to many men who try to figure me out. In fact, I’m sure that most of us women are. There are times I feel like I should just hand guys a sheet of paper that gives them an overview of who I am but, really, what would I put on it? That’s one of the major concerns with online dating sites – how do you go about trying to sum up your personality in a short profile?

Also, quite honestly, sometimes I think it might not even make much of a difference if I were to give a list of “things to consider” to people I’m interested in. I had an experience with someone who asked me questions outright but never bothered to remember the answer I gave them. I’m not talking about little things like what my favorite color is or whether I had a dog growing up. I’m talking about important things that spoke volumes about the core of my identity and the way I approach and deal with the world. Despite what I told him, he went ahead with his own assumptions, and I was left wondering if he had actually liked me, or just the idea he had in his head of who I was.

For those of us who fall into the category of “geek” or “nerd,” that behavior is likely to be the biggest obstacle to continuing a relationship. No one likes to feel as if their words are not heard, just as no one likes assumptions to be made about them. Geeks usually have to deal with this kind of thing from the non-geek world. We’re not all that likely to want to experience it from someone who’s trying to work themselves into our life.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and bemoan the romantic pitfalls I’ve encountered and turn this entry into some morose pity party. While I do, occasionally, feel like pissing and moaning, I usually prefer to look for the silver lining. Like I said, a great many things in this world amuse me. The bad dates and heartaches I’ve experienced have all provided me with fodder for my repertoire of stories (perhaps the greatest gift you can give a storyteller, by the way). And, even though I’ve lived most of my life as a single geek, there have been some wonderful moments along the way.

So now, after some meandering through the topic, I come to the point of this entry. I want to start a new segment of the blog: Geek Romance. Since I’m not able to write exclusively about being a single geek at the moment (beyond sharing past stories), I’ve got plenty of single geek friends who are, themselves, trying to navigate the murky waters of the dating pool. I’ve got other geek friends who are in the middle of relationships – some with geeks and some with non-geeks. I’ve got still other friends who have entered into the world of matrimony. And yes, those friends are geeks as well.

I’d kind of like to incorporate the varied elements of geek romance into this category. For that, dear readers, I would like to enlist your help. There are some people I will be asking directly for help with this new segment. Some of them you have heard mentioned in previous entries. Others are visitors to the site but have yet to be make an “appearance” in my little corner of the digital world. And others are unknown to me.

“But Meg!” you chime in. “How can you have contributors to this segment who are unknown to you?”

Simple.

I’d like your help with this segment. Got a story that can fall under the heading “Geek Romance”? It might be a geeky date that went well. It might be one that went horribly awry. Perhaps it’s an anecdote about a wedding you attended where themes from Star Wars were played instead of the typical wedding music selections (In case you’re wondering…I’ve attended a wedding like that).

Basically, I’d like you all to share some thoughts of your own about what it’s like being a geek trying to find romance in the world. As a way of kicking this segment off, I’m holding a little contest.

I want to hear some really awesome geek-related pick-up lines. And don’t just google them. Believe me, I’ve read my fair share of those. I want some nice, new, original ones. Don’t be afraid to be obscure (although, if you are, you might want to shoot me a message regarding the source material for your particular line).

You can either attach your submission as a comment to this post, post it as a comment on the “Contests!” page, or email your submission to: nerfgunbobbinsATgmailDOTcom

And now…the prize…

The winner of the pick-up line contest will win a Doctor Who-inspired scarf made by yours truly.

That’s right, people. I’ve learned basic crochet, and I’ve fashioned a long scarf reminiscent of the one worn by Tom Baker’s Doctor. Now, I want to specify that it’s not screen accurate. In any way. Since I was learning as I made it, I used extra yarn my mother had left over from her earlier projects. The colors aren’t the same, and a number of the bands are wider than they should officially be. But it’s still a frigging huge scarf that looks sort of similar. It will doubtless keep you warm in the midst of the frigid winter. And all it will cost you is a little creativity.

So go ahead and start thinking of some wonderful geeky pick-up lines. You have until January 31, 2011. The winner will be announced on February 4, 2011…which is the 2 year anniversary of the start of this blog! All the entries I receive will be posted (and the creators given credit) on the blog. And, lest you need more incentive to enter, I’m hoping to have some small tokens for runner-ups. Nothing as swanky as a giant scarf, but something more than a handshake.

Light-Speed Dating and (ahem) “other” activities

We leave for Dragon*Con on Thursday of this coming week. There’s a little geek inside of me, singing and dancing around, bouncing off the walls, unable to control her excitement at being back amongst her people.

If only I could harness her energy to finish everything. 🙂 That’s right, I’ve still got a few things on my “to do” list. It’s those darn Kowl feet that are tripping me up. Quite literally, actually. The original feet that I started constructing were just too long and were not going to be safe to walk in. I’ve since changed my design. Instead of creating a foot-like flap that will cover the top of my own foot, I will be gluing foam extensions onto a pre-existing shoe. I’ll then cover said shoe with felt, much like I did with the Kowl head.

The feet are on my agenda for today. I’m determined to at least get the shoes covered with the foam today, if not covered with felt. Time to break out the hot glue!

Maggie’s pretty much finished with all her bits and pieces for Dragon*Con, I believe. She was putting the finishing touches on the paint job for her Castaspella shield. The shield will cover her backpack, disguising the fact that she’s carrying stuff around.

I’m really excited for the parade this year. Maggie and I decided to try out walking in it this year, instead of just watching. Personally, I think it’ll be a much more pleasant experience than last year’s Masquerade turned out to be. We were originally going to be allowed to toss candy to the crowd, but the rules have since changed. Apparently the city of Atlanta didn’t want to have to worry about cleaning up any mess. Party poopers.

Speaking of the parade…we’re going to have a slightly bigger group than we originally thought on Saturday. Maggie posted information about our She-Ra/He-Man characters marching in the parade on a cosplay site. The other day, she received a message from a woman who will be dressing as She-Ra. Turns out the woman also has a body-builder friend who will be dressing as He-Man. They wanted to know if they could join us in the parade. Of COURSE they can join us! Our group is going to be great!

I’ve started going through the massive schedule of activities, circling panels and events I’d like to go to. I want to try to hit a few more of the costuming panels this year. Of course we’ll be going back to “Mr. Star Wars,” the ultimate fanboy competition. I don’t know if we’ll be attending the Alderaan party again this year, or if we’ll be picking another party to check out. I figure we’ll wing it, as far as the parties are concerned. I do, however, want to try to get to the con site in time to catch the lightsaber demonstration. People dressed as Jedi and Sith, bashing each other with bright sabers? I’m in!

The one thing that we’ve been joking about attending is “Light Speed Dating.” That’s right. They have a geek-themed speed dating event at Dragon*Con. I’ve never been to it and, despite our joking about attending in full Jedi gear, I don’t think it’s really something for me. I’m good at chatting with random people at a con, but speed-dating would be a completely different sort of experience. I am curious as to how successful the whole event is, though. Conventions – particularly Dragon*Con – actually do function as a great starting place for relationships. There are tons of stories out there of people who met at Dragon*Con one year and ended up getting married. It’s as good a place to meet your future partner as any, I suppose. I mean, you’ll be assured that you share some of the same interests.

Of course, in addition to the serious relationships that get their start at the con, there are also a goodly number of random hook-ups that occur. I’m not speaking from personal experience, but I know it happens. It’s just something that’s bound to happen when you get that many people together for a weekend of fun. Some folks are going to look for – and find – more types of fun than are included in the official schedule of activities.

Which brings me to this week’s Geek Culture tidbit.

The Penny Arcade Expo – or PAX, as it is known – will be taking place the same weekend as Dragon*Con. Although it’s something I might like to attend one day, it has so far not been on my schedule of events. I still like reading up about it. The other day, as I was sitting on the couch at Maggie’s house, my friend Andy brought something to my attention. Apparently, someone had created a Craigslist ad, trying to organize a party/meet-up at PAX. This wasn’t just your average table-top gaming or LAN party, though. Oh no.

The title of the ad was “Nerd Orgy at PAX.”

You read that right.

Nerd. Orgy.

Apparently, the organizers of the party had gotten a fair number of responses from single guys wanting to join in but, as of the time I read the ad, they hadn’t heard as many favorable responses from single women or couples. I don’t know if they’ve gotten any responses from the latter two groups. The ad didn’t say anything.

Now, I’m not judging. We’re all adults and we’re free to make our own decisions in this life. If people want to get together with a bunch of strangers for some extra-curricular fun…that’s their prerogative. It’s not something for me, but if it happens to fit in your cup of tea that’s fine. I do admit to a bit of curiosity about the whole thing, though. I mean, how many people are going to show up and actually be comfortable in that situation? While this by no means goes for the entirety of the geek population, it is a widely accepted fact that a number of us (I’m willing to include myself here) are socially awkward. It’s not a bad thing. It just happens. Awkwardness just gets included in the mix for some of us. With that in mind…imagine how some aspects of that nerd orgy are going to pan out. The awkward foot shuffling. People not really knowing how to start things out. And I imagine more than a little bit of the dirty talk is going to revolve around aspects of gaming and geek culture.

The existence of this particular party came to the attention of the folks responsible for the existence of PAX – Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, the creators of the Penny Arcade strip. Maggie and I were hoping that they would have a comic about it, and they did not disappoint.