Aug 19, 2012

[Technicolor Musings] The Dilemma of the Gay Geek

Our gay geek hero: George Takei
I am a gay geek. I'm very proud of this fact and it sort of defines the tone of this particular blog - just look at the lovely graphic behind the blog title as donated by the amazing Mikko Vartio. There's a rainbow there. Welcome to these wonderfully modern times.

Now that I'm single, I find myself thinking about things a wee bit more - all of this is in fact a relatively new experience and thus does provide for a lot of fuel for the brain hopper, if you get my drift. And something that has been somewhat nagging at me is just how tricky it is for gay geeks to balance our dating and such - what more full-blown relationships. I have far too many gay geek friends who are constantly asking me or someone else for referrals - or at least that's what used to happen when I wasn't quite on the market.

But whether you're single or not, there are a lot of quirks to the gay geek lifestyle that are certainly tricky. And yes, I'll concede that you can argue that the geek part of the equation could apply to any significant differences in personality or interests that you and your significant other or hook-up for the night may have. But come on, I get to take my liberties as they come and I will talk about gay geeks. So there.

So what exactly do we mean about a gay geek? Well, label (and don't get started on how you're past labels) pretty much applies to guys who like guys but also like some piece of pop culture with a passion. Don't limit yourselves to science fiction - you can geek out about anything these days including Apple gadgets, practically any TV show or even perfumes. But yes, the easier stereotypes are those who totally geek out over comics like the Gay Comic Geek or who love Transformers even more than I do like Ethan from Shortpacked! to give a few examples. So we'll focus on these types of geeks for now.

Whether we like it or not, not everyone understands the lengths that gay geeks will go in terms of supporting their passions. This includes dressing up as your favorite characters, investing thousands and thousands of pesos into buying various toys and action figures or being able to talk about a comic book character for hours on end. We will attend conventions that celebrate our unique passions and basically do stuff that not everyone fully understands.

This lack of understanding between geeks and geeks in denial non-geeks leads to a lot of friction whether in the dating scene or even in relationships. There's a sort of general adage that it makes the most sense for geeks to find fellow geeks to be involved with so there's a greater degree of understanding. And yet we still encounter a lot of geek / non-geek relationships that seem to work, although how they work varies.

In some cases we see geeks needing to reinvent themselves given their partners or boyfriends or whatevers aren't too comfy with the hobbies and passions of their significant others. It's a sad thing to deny oneself and as much as I constantly advocate never denying the things that you love, we know that it's going to happen time and time again.

And I suppose that has more to do with the fact that it's hard to be single and the dating world isn't typically nice and it's even harder when you're a self-proclaimed geek. There are too many negative connotations of the term and thus when you try flashing that around sites like Planet Romeo or services like Grindr, you'll notice that the average Juan won't immediately invest the time of day unless you happen to have an awesome chest shot for a profile pic. And even then, they'll pay no attention to your carefully worded witty profile about your love for My Little Pony (go Bronies!)

We all know that being gay naturally comes with some degree of feeling like an outsider or even ostracized at times for who we are. And gay geeks go through that twice over since not everyone understands our passions and thus it naturally leads to certain introverted behaviors. So we see that instead of trying to find a guy in the gay club scene or whatever, gay geeks are just as likely to see if they can find fellow geeks online and then figure out the gay side of things. I've seen people flirting over online computer games and I'll admit that I got into my prior relationship through the NetRunner collectible card game. Seriously.

But really, where are gay geeks supposed to meet other geeks? Should we resort to the online cruising venues and post photos of ourselves in costume instead of your typical shirtless photos? Should we invade forums with geeky avatars and talk about how hot certain 1980's cartoon characters are really hot? Should we hit the bars but wear suitably geeky attire that includes references to old video games, obscure science fiction movies and the like?

I don't have all the answers and I'll see if I can figure any out during this period of being single. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you guys about your experiences with the rigors of the gay geek life and what you do to cope.

But the one thing that I can say is don't be ashamed of who you are. Gay geeks have two closets to escape from. One's the usual pink one that covers telling our friends and family that we like boys. The other is the more intricate one that tells the world that no matter how old we are, we still enjoy our toys, our costumes, our tabletop games and our comic books. And proudly so.
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