In relationships, there’s one title every young woman hopes to hear. Her significant other will whisper it on a breezy Saturday night, adding a welcome sense of clarity to their union.
Two months ago, my boyfriend finally gave me the label I wanted:
Strain your ears hard enough and you might still hear me squealing.
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The term was printed across a souvenir tank top he brought me from Atlanta’s Dragon*Con, a massive annual sci-fi and fantasy convention. Columbus State University’s Campus Nerds host a similar convention — Nerdacon — here this weekend.
I accepted the “gamer girl” tank while wearing a dress and heels. My boyfriend, meanwhile, still had patches of dye in his hair from his “Mystery Science Theater 3000” costume.
The scene, a lesson in opposites, echoed what one critic said at the onset of our relationship:
“It’ll never work. You guys are too different.”
After that line, I vowed to become an honorary nerd — even if it required building a time-traveling police box.
(That’s a reference to the British sci-fi show “Doctor Who,” novices. Booyah.)
I faced a variety of obstacles: My affinity for pink. My ambivalence toward the Harry Potter universe. My tendency to fall asleep during “The Matrix.”
Still, I eventually found myself posing for pictures at Dragon*Con and devising a three-year time frame for reading my first major science fiction novel. I agreed to savor cuddle time while watching aliens threaten to conquer the human race — though I offered one preference:
“Honey, can you find an episode with more relationship drama than action scenes?”
Hands down, the hardest thing for me to “get” was the gaming aspect of nerd life, chiefly the board games.
My boyfriend indulged in games that — aside from requiring at least a three-hour time commitment — included a complicated set of rules and no pink pawns.
I first met many of his friends when they were immersed in a complicated “Battlestar Galactica” board game, throwing around the word “Cylon” with excitement I usually reserve for the newest issue of Cosmopolitan.
However, the nerd world’s board games drew my attention to one of a relationship’s most important virtues: patience.
Thankfully, the threat of being “too different” from each other forced me to actively engage in interests I would have otherwise perceived as silly or insignificant.
Dating isn’t about becoming a carbon copy of your significant other. But the most successful relationships center on an appreciation for passions that define your partner.
Sometimes, those passions involve a crusade against world hunger. Other times, they involve a “Dungeons & Dragons” campaign.
Either way, this gamer girl is still in it to win it.