Night of the living geeks

Romancing the nerds
By NEELY STEINBERG  |  September 10, 2008

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JUST ONE OF THE CROWD: Our correspondent dons complimentary geek specs for a photo-op with James.

I’ve never dated a geek. Nor have I ever envisioned myself doing so. I grew up playing sports; in college, I was a party girl. I know the basics of using a computer, but the only thing C++ means to me is that it’s almost a B-minus. Granted, I do have a couple things in common with geeks — like my affinity for video games and my obsession with Star Wars — but, as Master Yoda might say, a romantic connection that does not necessarily make. Lately, though, I’ve been expanding my horizons, which is how I ended up at Central Square’s Pandemonium Books this past Saturday attending Sweet on Geeks singles night.

Sweet on Geeks (sweetongeeks.com) is the brainchild of Joyce Dales, her husband, and her brother, all self-described geeks, who started the dating Web site geared toward the typically dateless, in 2006.

“We actually came up with the idea when my husband and I were joking that we needed a space just for geeks for my brother to find a wife,” says an ebullient Dales. Her company now also hosts singles nights across the nation.

I showed up prepared to stand out like a sore thumb. I dressed to the nines; my hair perfection; my makeup flawless. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after years of dating, it’s that you can’t (and shouldn’t) deny being your true self. Turns out it’s a dating tenet that geeks embrace as well.

The first person I met was called Hecht. He was a tall, lanky fellow, dressed in full army fatigues, and had recently returned from Iraq. Hecht was exceedingly friendly and candid. He talked a lot about geek life and attempted to “break down some of the lingo” for me. While he was completely proud of his geek status, he did vent his frustration about being labeled. “It’s unfair,” he said, “because you get stigmatized a lot.”

Then there was James, a sweet, gentle guy in a black shirt, black kilt, and Tevas, who is pursuing his Master’s in information technology; Joseph, a portly photographer who described himself as “a different kind of geeky”; the suit-wearing Gregory, a computer consultant who had once repaired Hawk missiles in Korea; and Kat, an affable woman with a Dr. Who symbol tattooed on her arm.

The night’s festivities included speed dating, raffles — prizes included Star Trek action figures, a Yoda stuffed animal, and the like — and lots of board games, such as Agricola, which, I was informed, is the most popular game on boardgamegeeks.com.

Three hours later, after an intense round of Jenga, it was time for me to beam myself home. Did I make a love connection? No. Did I boldly go where I have never gone before, only to meet some really nice people? Absolutely. Do I see myself becoming a part of the geek world? Probably not (although dressing up like Chewbacca at this year’s Arisia 2009 sci-fi conference does sound like a hoot). But I sure did appreciate the chance to let my inner geek come out, if only for a few hours, among a group of refreshingly non-judgmental, unpretentious people who are proud to be who they are.

For more photos from Saturday’s event, visit sweetongeeks.blogspot.com

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