Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fortress of Nerditude Part 1 - The Gender Female

One could say the reams of data on how nerds (geeks, dweebs, dorks, gamers, etc.) interact with the rest of society are underrepresented in print. On one hand you have the sympathetic girlfriend/wife who not only tolerates your nerdity but celebrates it, but these women are as rare as hen's teeth or a flawless diamond. They don't remain single for long, and their overall rate of production and procurement in newer generations is hampered by age of consent laws and travel restrictions. This assumes you're not a bitter, despondent nerd who adheres to Ladder Theory, but let's assume optimism. After all, there's someone for everyone, even if you need a +3 Pickaxe of Thunder to find them.

On the other hand, you have the women who fall somewhere between the innocent bystander and the gamer widow. They knew you were a nerd, but until they beheld the sheer majesty of your Lego Star Wars collection or expansive DVD collection (or happen upon the one not fit for public display) Alice had no idea how deep the rabbit hole went. The responses range from begrudging acceptance (surely I can learn to like/tolerate this), insensitive antipathy (he makes good money and is good to me, so let the dork have his stupid 'wizardry'), the sad epiphany (I cannot continue being around someone who loves his square-headed girl/boyfriend more than me) and finally, abject terror (run, do not walk away from this Asperger-wanna-be pervert).

Despite a lack of empirical data, I would like to propose a Gaussian distribution because I do believe many significant others lie somewhere in the median. As the article states, one person's football widow is another one's World of Warcraft widow. One is just more socially acceptable, more widely distributed and (depending on the degree of fanaticism), somewhat less expensive-- unless season tickets to the Rams appeal to your particular nerd.

At times, the befuddled LOON (Lover Of Our Nerd, to keep it simple) may attempt to integrate themself into the nerd's worldview. It happened to me in 2001 in the last half of Star Trek Voyager's Season 7. The wife wanted to know why I liked the show, so after several hours of patient backstory and watching tapes to fill her in with the gaps, we arrived at the coda of the series, wherein the resident ex-Borg drone Seven of Nine (played surprisingly well by Jeri Ryan) was slowly seduced by the 'humanity' of one Chakotay, the First Officer and Hispanic-playing-Native-American actor Robert Beltran. Rumors abounded for months regarding his distaste for the part, his lackluster scripts (all the Chakotay episodes sucked for the most part), so many fans felt that giving him the role of Seven's love interest was Paramount throwing him a bone to stop a last-minute Tasha Yar-style bailout.

Regardless, my wife oddly began to identify with Seven, and while she was certainly endowed in the bosom department, her stark lack of blonde bun and Borg implants made the correlation a tad bit difficult. I was...patient. She genuinely seemed to be getting into the storyline, sans any focus on the lack of (cough) science fiction elements. You could have knocked me over with a feather when in the last episodes (SPOILERS AHEAD), we learn that not only do the two crewmates fall in love, but in an alternate future where Seven has died, Chakotay dies of a broken heart after they reach home, prompting a then-somber Admiral Janeway to go back and "put right what once was wrong".

My wife is suddenly on her feet, MAD. It was the sum of all the anger and hate, as if Martha Stewart suddenly stopped in the middle of her show, said she was outing herself as a lesbian and hated every aspect of home interiors, cooking and people in general; one can imagine the sound heard thereafter was that of a million housewives crying out in fury. It was a cloud of dismay that could make Satan pee himself. I mean, how DARE they, Seven is better than that! She shouldn't fall for him just because he tickled her ocular implant with his dry wit and obnoxious facial tattoo!

Sitting there, surprised at her displeasure, realizing that this is what happens when the wrong soap opera character gets killed off, I said the words to her that I never thought I would ever utter as a nerd: It's just a TV show. Even the Next Generation episode, "Genesis", the one that took a massive, Apatosaurus-sized shit all over modern molecular biology didn't perturb me that much, I guess in hindsight because I knew what to expect. It kinda scared me, too. Would such a thing happen if I exposed her to Next Generation? Dr Who? Drizzt Do'Urden? I could be the only human being ever to be murdered by a dice bag if I wasn't careful.

In Part 2 of "The Gender Female," we will examine various aspects of nerd life and why it's our world, she just lives in it (pending a DC 20 Fortitude saving throw)...

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