In case anyone didn’t see the entire Internet on fire yesterday afternoon, there was an article on Gizmodo yesterday entitled “My Brief OkCupid Affair With A World-Champion Magic: The Gathering Player“. The short version of this article is that the author made an OKCupid account, accidentally met Jon Finkel (a former Magic world champion), and then proceeded to not date him – because he played Magic. It’s true, Jon didn’t really play that first date as well as he could, opting for a one-man play about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer (that’s more of a 3rd date thing). Regardless, it was still all Magic that was the dealbreaker for the author, apparently so much that she thought it was a good idea to use Gizmodo as her personal Facebook page and blog about her experiences and decided to let millions of people know what a clearly bad date one individual guy is. I’m sure his self-esteem has never been better.
I’m not sure she really meant to paint Jon Finkel like a big creepy creep, but that’s the way a lot of us geeks are taking it. I’m not going to lie. I saw red and my mouth foamed for quite some time after I read this article. I am still sort of foamy. However, I’m not going to excoriate her in this here article. That would be unbecoming. Also, I think the Internet is going to do that all by itself without any help on my part.
Honestly, I’m not even sure what she was thinking. She writes for Gizmodo and does this to an epic-level gamer? It’s as if a blogger on MarthaStewart.com wrote about how she couldn’t bear to be with a guy because he ran a potpourri company.
There was a reason MBOCAWAWCMTGP made me so furious. It reminded me of junior high school, when I had a dream about a girl in my English class in which her head and hair grew to accomodate her brain getting larger (which, naturally, convinced me I was in love). I had a reputation as a geek even back then — and in 1986, geeks were not even remotely cool yet. No, Revenge of the Nerds does not count. I wrote a note to this girl telling her how I felt. It was over the top, because I was 11 and I had a large vocabulary. I was wearing a Legend of Zelda pin on my sweatshirt the day my crush’s friend snorted an angry and derisive “NO” at me and threw the note back in my face. To this day, I’m still not sure if I got shot down that day because I was a geek. However, I was absolutely fantastic at finding people to ask out who didn’t mind using “geek” as an insult in response to my affections well into my late 20’s. These days, I respond to such things with a phrase that ends in “OFF”, but back then I felt like I had to hide who I was or I was never going to have a girlfriend.
I started using online dating services back in the late 90’s, when the appropriate way to explain how you met your date to people who didn’t have modems was “at a bar”. If you told the truth, you would have a 45 minute explanation on your hands, at the end of which your parents were pretty sure you just hired a prostitute. A cyber-prostitute. All the dating sites back then looked like visual dog-ass just like everything else, but the idea was still the same. Make a profile to describe yourself and put pictures up, message 40,000 women within a 200 mile radius, and hope that you get any responses. (My wife tells me the process was similar for women, except they got to do something called “choosing” to talk to a potential match.) I was so careful about what I put in my profile. I didn’t mention gaming at all. The only mention of computers was in my job description. I put lots of stuff about karate in there because I was sure it was normal and manly enough to attract someone. (HINT: it is not.) Fortunately, I wound up finding a nice lady on a dating site with a big nerdy streak and we’ve been married 7 years now. We even have a little nerd. I am so happy that I never have to date ever again. It sucked.
I realize now that what I was lacking was confidence. And though I’m not in the market for a date with anyone besides my wife these days, I make no bones about the fact that I’m a big giant geek. It’s just who I am. I like things the majority of the populace doesn’t. I am not smooth or suave in any way. Ironically, I am a stalwart gamer and yet I have infinitely little game. It’s OK. I get weird looks sometimes, but since I stopped trying to hide I usually find people are laughing with me rather than at me. Though I get nervous sometimes and want to try to act “normal” in social situations, I fight the urge. I’m a good person, I am just being me, and most of the time people get it. Sometimes they don’t, and those people are to be disintegrated. It saddens me that it took me this long to figure this out. I could have had a lot more fun for the last couple of decades.
Nobody Else Can Do It For You
The point I’m trying to make here is be who you are. Talk about the things you’re passionate about. Love all the people and all the stuff you want as hard as you want (within federal regulations).
Can we all improve? Sure. We can learn social cues. We can learn to communicate clearly and make educated decisions as to how to do so to different audiences. We can be open to new ideas. We can upgrade, and we can do it all without sacrificing who we are. It’s our choice, not someone trying to make us like them because they’re uncomfortable.
You’ll never be happy in a relationship if you’re pretending to be someone else. You’ll never have true friends. Worst of all, you are placing what others think of you before what you think of yourself. That’s no way to be. That puts you at the mercy of everyone else’s opinion, and everything you are fades away. Why would you take to heart the words of someone so shallow that they’d write you off instead of getting to know you?