?You know, after all the nerd bitching I do and horrible erotic fan fiction I post, it really does my soul good to produce something that actually helps people. This weekend’s contest — in which nerd girls offer do’s and don’ts for staying in relationships with nerd girls — was definitely one of these occasionally helpful articles that I hope Topless Robot will be remembered for when it’s gone, although it almost certainly won’t. If you’re really looking for solid nerd girl relationship advice, I recommend checking out the entire contest — not only are there more good lessons there, but a lot of guys asked for specific advice and the Topless Roboteerettes were happy to help, too. If you just want the most important lessions, I’ve compiled them after the jump as HMs and winners. And if you need it broken down even more than that, Ricky Namara happened to sum it up pretty well:
Mmm…lemme see here….
-sifts through 500+ comments-
Okay! I think I got it! The conclusion is pretty much this:
Nerd girls are people too. So treat them the way you want them to treat you.
Pretty much. Now, ladies and gentlemen and especially the ladies, on with the show.
Honorable Misses get Honorable Mentions!
Do NOT insult our intelligence. Respect our nerdy knowledge. You have a girl who most likely has similar interests as you. One issue I have had with male nerds is being arrogant about their nerdy love. For instance I was once told the following: “No way a GIRL beats me at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.” Its fucking obnoxious. Actually not insulting intelligence goes for any girl really. Listen to us, debate with us. But please Google before stating that “we don’t know what we are talking about.”
If you have a nerd girl who has an interest that is completely different from yours at least TRY to show some interest. We girls are trained to listen ad nauseum to guys going on about their great loves. Look at the bright side of having a nerd girl, they won’t think that you are a freak of nature for dissecting a Star Trek episode and all possible themes. Give us the same level of attention. My husband now can identify most characters of the Stargate franchise and even quote some episodes. And I know, in return, more about exploitation films than any rational person should ever hope to know.
DON’T: Stand in my way if I ever get the chance to kiss Bruce Campbell.
DO: Treat us as individual people. Women are not a monolithic entitiy – we’re each of us separate persons, just like you are. Don’t make assumptions on your past experiences, and try to demonstrate that you’ve made an effort to get to know us. And don’t be surprised if you discover that a night of watching “Blackadder” goes over better than doing what rom-coms have told you is “romantic”. Those Hollywood people don’t know what they’re talking about.
At the risk of sounding pandering, here is my true story. I once had a boyfriend who told me that he won me a Topless Robot t-shirt. I was understandably super excited and in turn decorated his whole house with rainbow colored snowflakes while he was gone, as a surprise/thank you. When he returned, he had to admit to me that he lied, and he was just really bad at conveying when he was joking :c
^ don’t do that
DON’T: The worst experience I had with a guy pursuing me, he’d ramble endlessly about Sailormoon or Star Trek or whatever. I’d get in a couple of sentences after 10 minutes of hearing him drone on. He’d respond with “mmmm yeaaaaah” just like in Office Space and then either ignore what I said or try to disprove me with asinine and inaccurate points. Have a life… seriously. I don’t want to hear about how Superman vs Goku would play out for over an hour. How about doing something outside of pointless nerdy babbling? Riding bikes, catching a play, something… This is almost turning into another “don’t” but just do not make your fandoms your identity.
DO: Use creativity to woo us not just buying crap. DVD sets won’t win me over, but clever little things you do that show you appreciate me and get me and my interests will stay in my memory forever. This may be me personally, I know a lot of women are pretty materialistic, but my favorite memories are of little special and quirky things that have happened on random days from people just showing they give a crap.
Let me play and dont sulk. If I have enough patience to watch you play any game and even look interested and be even content with watching (because it does interest me), then let me do the same. I always hated when my ex sulked that I am not paying attention to him, everytime I was playing something. And the dont create aversion to Mass Effect, Fallout, Dragon age or Kotor only because I like playing them and dont look annoyed every time I start talking about them. I really had no one I could talk to. It was sad. I am so glad internet was invented.
Don’t insult our fandoms. Telling me that Doctor Who “needs
more poop jokes” [true story bro]automatically translates to “physical contact
with you is the least tantalizing thing in the entire world”.
Do NOT: question our nerd purchases if we are spending money we earned ourselves. You’ve waited for that FPS 10 months until it came out? Well I’ve waited on the Sailor V manga to come out for 10 YEARS!
Do: If you find a out that a series/Movie/game (that is important to you) that your girl has never seen, ask her if she’s like to see/play it. Accept whatever answer she gives you. Pressuring her into enjoying what you like isn’t cool.
DO respect what your lady is into, even if you’re not into it too. My manfriend has consistently gotten me gifts in my preferred nerd interest areas, shares news about stuff I like, and is willing to let me babble about shows and stories he doesn’t really care about. I do the same for him. Everyone is happy.
Honestly can’t think of a DON’T from my own experience, glad to report. Although it would be nice if he would cosplay with me…Anyway, a general DON’T which would piss me off: don’t keep harping on the nerdiness of your lady of choice. It’s not that big of a deal, and constantly pointing it out or saying things like “I can’t believe you’ve read Shadows of the Empire! I can’t believe you like Blind Guardian! It’s so cool that you play Uncharted!” is annoying. You find a lady who shares some of your interests? Great! Talk about or engage in the interests themselves, not the mere fact that she’s interested in those things.
Don’t: treat us differently in games. We are there to participate just as much as anyone else. I participated in several games where the GM’s girlfriend was adorned with magic items, could do no wrong, and was the pretty princess of the group. It was like coming to a weekly magical-girl anime. We hated it so much. We were thrilled when they eventually moved away. When my boyfriend (at the time) GM’d, he punished me with XP demerits, so our friends wouldn’t think he was being too nice to me. After my third straight game of no XP when everyone else got fabulous rewards, I told him to shove it. I don’t have to put up with that.
My current boyfriend is amazing, and manages to keep it neutral. He’s also been doing this much longer, so I think he’s had a fair amount of practice.
Feel free to suggest new shows/films/books etc… for us, but please, please, please make sure that it is a suggestion and that it is because it actually relates to our own nerd preferences and not because you think we should like it! No nerd girl wants to be forced to play Medal of Honor or Halo if her game library consists of Katamari, the Lego games, and Plants vs Zombies (true story). My boyfriend is able to do this really well, and lads, I can tell you now that it pays off 😉
Once you have introduced your nerd girl to a new genre then mock her for her choice of shows etc… My ex, who is a big fan of everything Japan, did this with me after he introduced me to anime and manga. I spent the entire summer break from uni watching and reading Bleach, catching up on the Ghibli films I had not seen, and discovering Darker than Black among other shows. On return to uni, and throughout the following year of the relationship, he constantly complained that I liked ‘popular’ anime…
DON’T: Kiss us throughout every series or movie we happen to be watching. For me, this particularly rings true with animated super hero series, though I guess it could apply to anything. We don’t want to start a make-out session in the middle of each episode, especially when the guy happily agreed to watch it with us because, hey, he’s a fan too, and of course he wants to watch. Inviting someone to watch TV is not always a invitation to make out. So stop interrupting Batman’s monologue with tongue.
Maybe this applies to me more than other females. But, honestly, dealing with a blocked screen and a kiss every five minutes does get annoying. Worse is when they try to start making out. Now, I’m fine with kissing, but, considering how I gush about certain series, I would at least like some consideration. It’s incredibly awkward to have a guy all over you while you’re still trying to finish up the remainder of the episode. I even came out once or twice and said I’d rather just cuddle for now, but that only lasted about 2 minutes.
Don’t get mad at us if we happen to love Batman more than you. He’s Batman. You just can’t win.
DON’T lie about what you like to impress a nerd girl. Don’t say you like Advanced Dungeons and Dragons when you’ve only played 3E. Don’t say you love a movie or a series, and then pretend to enjoy it when she has you watch it over and over again and excitedly tries to discuss certain aspects of it, and you only reply with general responses. Same goes with books or games. Once we catch you in a lie about this, we’ll wonder what other lies you’ve been feeding us as well.
Do NOT tell your nerd girl that she is power leveling your relationship experience.
DO realize that for a lot of somewhat normal-seeming girls, the nerdery IS in there, we’ve just been sort of conditioned to bury it. I was a massive fan of comics and video games when I was younger, and was pretty thoroughly mocked for it. Sadly, I stopped reading and playing for years, turning my obsessive tendencies toward music instead. You live, you learn, life’s good.
Started dating my boyfriend, a rather unapologetic nerd, about seven years ago, and he kind of gradually brought it out of me. The culmination was when, about three years into our relationship, he bought an XBox and plied me with enough wine to play Marvel: Ultimate Alliance with him one night. The boy’s jaw dropped when we got to the trivia mini-games and, even after nearly a decade away from comics, I aced them. I swear, we fell in love all over again that night.
Flash forward to today… our apartment is a den of geek, we go to cons, we regularly get into silly pedantic discussions and fight over the XBox. Sure, my hipster-ish younger self would roll her eyes, but that girl rolled her eyes at everything. I’m happy, he’s happy.
I realize this doesn’t work for all girls, but DO have patience.
Do: If you want to ask us out because you are attracted to us ASK US OUT, plainly and directly.
Don’t: Do NOT try to “be our friend” and wait for us to realize how awesome you are – that’s dishonest, and involves non-existent mind-reading. Do NOT invite us to a geek movie/convention/over to your house to play video games as a thinly veiled attempt to get in our pants. If you invite me over to play video games I EXPECT YOU TO PLAY VIDEO GAMES because I have shitty hand/eye coordination that prevents me from playing them myself but I still like to see the story lines and graphics. My husband played FFVII for me for an entire weekend just leveling up/collecting materia to defeat Emerald Weapon because I really wanted to see it. The Sephiroth battle was sadly a let down after that.
Don’t mention Zooey fucking Deschanel.
Don’t try to hide us from your geeky friends in fear that we might leave you for them. Your friends might be cool people and we might like them as friends too. I had a boyfriend who became jealous if I talked to one of his friends. I understood that he was excited about finding a girl who was into Star Wars and kept a set of dice in her car at all times just in case, but he took it to an extreme. I wasn’t attracted to any of his friends, but he assumed I would cheat on him with them because I like them as humans.
Do Not: think that you both loving the same things gives you permission to make unflattering analogies just because you’re referencing a francise she enjoys. She may appreciate your mutual love of all things geek, but comparing her girly bits to the Great Pit of Carkoon will always be considered an epic fail.
I was raised in a nerdy household (hence
why I know about TR), and am therefore better suited than most non-nerd girls
at appreciating the vast realms of geekdom and nerdom. I wouldn’t consider myself a full-fledged
nerd though (not yet at least. I do own an original series Star Wars t-shirt,
cause imo it is the only REAL one).
DO try to involve your girlfriend in your
interests, even if it takes a couple of tries. Currently my boyfriend is
sharing his favourite movies/tv-series with me, and I am enjoying them. In particular Firefly, though it wasn’t
until my second time watching the pilot did I truly start to appreciate it. I just wish he took more of an interest
in my favourite things. Which
leads me to the don’t section…
DON’T belittle your girlfriend’s nerdy interests,
even if they’re not “classically” nerdy.
I’m a massive Victorian Literature nerd, which is no different to being
a comics nerd when you boil it all down.
I’m getting a masters degree in Victorian Literature and my boyfriend
likes to tell me how worthless all the women were during that era. He says, “all women did was wonder
if Mr. Darcy noticed their new petticoat and then faint.” (Don’t even get me started on the fact
Austen was not a Victorian novelist!)
I don’t like that he doesn’t respect the field I am getting an advanced
degree in, especially since he has completely misconstrued the era and is
unwilling to understand it properly. I have put a great deal of effort into
watching the films he likes and understanding the differences between the Wally
West, Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, and Bart Allen versions of The Flash, but he
won’t return the favour.
P.S. When I told my boyfriend I was
entering this contest, and what I wrote, he said that if I won the t-shirt he
would watch the 2006 miniseries of Jane Eyre with me to make up for the “don’t”
part of my post. (I’d also love to
be able to whip out the shirt whenever he gets on his “classically” nerdy high
horse, cause it would prove I’m a better nerd.)
I was seriously considering sending Clj a shirt just to spite her boyfriend, but I wouldn’t wish any adaptation of Jane Eyre on any man. Except maybe Hitler.
Don’t – You know what I’m looking at on livejournal. Don’t look over my shoulder when I’m checking updates on my phone or on my laptop. You know I occasionally read fanfiction; you occasionally read fanfiction too. I let you watch porn, we sometimes watch porn together. Don’t get horrified when you find out I read, err, certain types of fanfiction, especially not if you’ve been pushing to find out.
Don’t: If we best you at an argument, disregard it immediately because we’re girls. I have actually had guys even disregard it when I google it and show them they’re wrong, as if the fact that I’m a girl automatically means I can never prove them wrong. This is doubly true if we best you at something you introduced us to- we aren’t dumb and we do know what we’re talking about, and just because you introduced us to it does not make you ‘sensai.’ We can be as knowledgeable as you can.
Do: In large, treat us like you would another gamer friend- not as a trophy, and not as someone that ‘wouldn’t get this series’. It’s great that we’re both nerds, that means there is so much common ground ready to be tread. Give us a chance to explore your interests, and give us a chance to share ours- but also respect that not everything will be shared. Invite us to your D&D session, not to show us off to the guys but to let us see what all the talk is about, and humor us -even if only once- to try cosplaying at a con. If it doesn’t work out, mutually agree that it didn’t, and accept it- and if you have a new toy and we want to try, be willing, and don’t be afraid to ask to try out hers. Overall, don’t expect anything to be off-limits to you- or her- just because of gender.
DON’T: Bother me or try talking to me during a boss fight. And NEVER offer to beat it for me, even if it’s my third try, because I CAN DO IT OKAY?!
Oh-Do NOT ask me to dress as your favorite character if you won’t do the same. You want Slave Leia? Show up as the Tenth Doctor. Cheetara? Malcolm Reynolds. Etc, etc.
Do: Make passes at girls who wear glasses.
Do not EVER tell her what to do while playing a game unless she asks or doesn’t know what is going on in the game. Don’t tell her to turn on Detective Mode while playing Batman, or switch weapons in any other game, unless she asks. Holy shit this is so goddamn annoying. “Go to the hospital building, your next objective is there.” NO SHIT! Is that why there is a little marker on the map at that location??? Shit!
DO NOT stalk nerd girls back to their facebooks and try to friend them without a friendly message or explanation. This has happened to me so many times and it just gets creepier.
DO, if said nerd girl was kind enough to give you a chance, make witty, funny comments on the things she posts, especially if they relate to her fandoms. This indicates that you are a prime candidate for sweet cerebral sexing. Don’t just agree or make pointless comments like “this is awesome”. Agreeing too much makes you seem spineless.
For the love of god: don’t, don’t, DON’T scream “Suck it, bitch!” while playing video games. Even if it’s not PvP and you’re yelling at an enemy NPC it’s still a MASSIVE turn-off. Ditto for other misogynistic bullshit.
Look at it this way, if I think you think fellatio is a bad thing, how likely do you think you are to get it?
DO NOT: put Dungeons and Dragons before sex. The morning after my husband first spent the night, I snuggled up next to him in my sexiest red satin nightie and made a few choice suggestions about how to start off the day. Unfortunately, he got a text just then asking him if he was going to his on-again-off-again gaming group, and his clothes went back on in a hurry. I love roleplaying just as much as he does, but clits before crits, okay?
DO: Feel free to geek out about the wedding. If you want to have a Gollum ring bearer, but you’re afraid Auntie Muriel won’t like it – screw her, it’s your nerd wedding and you do what you want. Get married in a gazebo that has a bunch of +5 arrows stuck in it. Have a WoW wedding cake; use a sword for a cake knife, and be sure to yell “For the Horde!” when the two of you cut into it. My husband and I were married by the DM of the game we met at; he happens to be a justice of the peace. We’re already talking about renewing our vows at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter if Universal ever allows it, and yes, that was my hubby’s idea. Fuck Martha Stewart Weddings.
So, this has been a recurring theme for myself and some other nerdy girls I know, and I think it merits saying: we nerd girls may be strong, outspoken (in a world of guys who challenge you over something as silly as Scrabble skills, for instance), and possibly a bit brash from time to time. Do we want to be your Buffy all the time? No. I’ve known way too many guys who turn into overly submissive pushovers at the prospect of being in a relationship with a nerd girl. It’s not cute, and undermines the relationship.
Nerd culture has taught us that a female nerd icon is the height of badassery, and always in charge! Buffy! River Tam! River Song! Oracle! Huntress! This is great. But…don’t forget to be Han Solo once in a while, okay guys?
DO quietly sort out and then surprise us with essential but annoying tech maintenance, like auto-backup for the hard drive. My husband does this all the time WITHOUT going on about it. My laptop died from the illegal power spectral analysis software I was using and completely corrupted the hard drive in the process. As I was tearing my hair out he quietly reproduced the last chapter and a half of my thesis and a copy of the results I was analyzing. No crowing or “I told you so”s. Similarly, I was away on a business trip that involved long haul flights recently. When I opened up my iPad on the plane, I found that he has quietly put the whole season of Game of Throne, the last 4 seasons of Dr Who, the new season of Big Bang Theory which I hadn’t caught up with yet, several new movies I hadn’t got around to watching and some of my old favourites (like The Princess Bride) as well as a dozen old favourite science fiction ibooks on for good measure. To a nerd girl this was far more romantic than flowers or candlelight dinner.
DO: actually ask us out! I didn’t go on my first date until I was 22. I hung out with geeky guys who either a) just thought of me as “one of the guys” and didn’t think to ask me out (which is fine) or b) liked me but were to afraid to ask me out because I’m a girl and girls are scary (not fine). Yes, it’s possible that we don’t share your feelings, but I PROMISE we’re very nice when we reject you! Being asked out is very flattering, even if we aren’t interested in the guy as more than a friend.
Don’t.This happened to me about two weeks ago, actually:
I walked into my favourite local comic shop on a relatively busy day with a male friend of mine intent on buying a little something for myself. I browsed around the crowded shop and at some point caught the eye of one of the guys there waiting to play Magic. I’ll call him Creepy Nerd 1. I got in line to pay and he proceeded to saunter up to me with his friend and started cracking awful jokes (“A Battering Ram? I’d sure RAM that elf….” you know the sort of thing.) All whilst leering at me when he thought I wasn’t looking.) His friend then said something to the effect of “What the fuck are you talking about?” and Creepy Nerd 1 gasped dramatically and cried, “Don’t swear infront of the lady!!” to which my male friend replied, “Don’t worry, she’s not a real lady.” We both started laughing, but Creepy Nerd 1 looked scandalised and started glaring and spluttering like he’d just killed someone.
What I’m trying to say here is that I, as a geek girl, can’t stand the ‘nerd chivalry’ act. There is being courteous and then there’s just being creepy. I’m not in there looking for a prince charming to save me from this cruel male-dominated world, I just want to get some comic books and maybe some outrageously priced merchandise. I appreciate people holding doors open and saying ‘Thank you’, but don’t treat us like we’ll break or the real world is going to offend our sensibilities. We might read fantasies, we don’t live in them.
If you’ll forgive me for giving my usual spiel about how hard it is for me to pick the winners, holy fuck was it hard for me to pick the winners. I take some small solace in that no matter who I picked, four more awesome nerd girls will be wearing Topless Robot tees in the near future.
Gentlemen, listen closely. I know this may seem obvious, but far too many of you fall victim to such a silly mistake. At a convention, LAN party, movie premiere, Magic tournament or other likewise nerdy event, don’t assume we are simply there as someone’s GIRLFRIEND, WIFE OR SISTER. Feel free to think it. Feel free to ponder it alone with your friends, but do not ever, ever say it to our faces, for it will invoke a wrath like you have never seen.
If you have any interest in dating a nerd girl, NEVER DO THIS. Certainly, some of the women will be non-nerds and/or taken. But by assuming they all are you’ve effectively screwed your chances with all them.
For DON’T, I have to say, don’t pick at what male characters we might fangirl over. I’ve had plenty of guys gush over a female character and her “abilities” or “skills”. But when I bring up my favorite male characters, I’ve been told I “just like him because he’s hot”. I get tired of hearing that, especially from a nerdy guy who just told me his favorite female character is one who has huge boobs and not much else going for her. I might like attractive male characters, but I can usually also tell you their backstory, their strengths, their weakness, and what skills they might possess. Never found a nerdy guy who can do that for their favorite females.
In guys’ defense, “huge boobs” are often all the character development we require. However, that means we should be even less inclined to mock your fictional nerd crushes, as we have zero credibility.
Don’t ignore her for your nerd hobby. We may be gamers, and we are understanding, but nothing is more heartbreaking and kills self-esteem like vying for attention against a videogame. I spent many nights trying to get my boyfriend’s attention from his game, and I’m a gamer, I would wait till he wasn’t fighting a boss or dealing with plot, but he couldn’t be bothered. He would come to bed late, wouldn’t touch me because he was so tired and had work the next day. It didn’t matter that I would offer to give head while he was playing slow parts of the game, he was busy.
And this isn’t just me. My other girlfriends have boyfriends that they have to fight to get attention from, because the guys are so caught up in their hobby. I’m understanding, I love gaming, I love watching people play games, I will cuddle against you while you have your arms around me and holding the controller, because I GENUINELY enjoy watching videogame story lines. What I don’t like is being replaced, and not even by another girl… or hell another guy! But feeling like that I am so inadequate that a game and pixilated romances are more important than our relationship, at least when they cheat you can just write them off as a dog.
And this has happened in a couple relationships with me and MANY other girls I know, one of my friend’s marriages almost ended because of his neglect of her for gaming. Maybe I’m just choosing jerks, but really I just want someone who will hold me and play Heavy Rain with the lights off. Who remembers that there is a pause button and that you have a girlfriend who not only loves gaming with you, but wants to have sex with you, and putting Fable down for half an hour to go screw her won’t kill you. That any time you choose your hobby over her, you are probably hurting her in ways you can’t imagine. No, I’m not asking you to give up your hobby, or even to drag her into it. I play videogames, D&D, Magic, I love being a nerd, but I also love just being two people who don’t have to have an activity to maintain a relationship. I’m just asking that our relationship has more value, that I have more value, than a hobby.
There were several entries that covered this same material, but I think Ms. Martini did it best. Obviously, nerds often ignore things for their nerdy pursuits, but relationships should never be one of them, nerd girl or otherwise. I thought this was a message well worth promoting. Also, the idea that any male would willingly turn down naughtiness for their nerdy pursuits makes me genuinely furious. Look, I love videogames, but I’d toss my Xbox out the window if I thought it’d get me to third base with Ms. Robot. If I were single I’d start my own personal gigolo service for ignored and sex-starved nerd girls. No no, don’t congratulate me. That’s just the kind of hero I am.
Please stop asking to see my tits when I’m playing video games.
If I ever, ever get a Topless Robot store going, I’m making this a ladies’ shirt right after WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS?!, the ComicsNix Seal of Approval, and MISSION: SHENANIGANS.
And that is that, folks. I hope this weekend’s contest helps — not just nerdy guys in relationships, but their nerd girls as well. Anything so Topless Robot’s legacy isn’t solely horrible fan fiction and shame. Congrats to the winners, and thanks to everyone who entered!