What is it about us geeks that makes us such great catches for non-geeks? It’s easy to see how geeks would find partners within the world of geekdom, provided they had compatible geek interests. But many of us have managed to find spouses or significant others who are if not completely “normal,” then at least significantly less geeky than ourselves.
So, how did we do it? Here, as a complementary piece to the Top 10 Annoying Habits of a Geeky Spouse list I wrote in March, here are 10 endearing habits:
10. Always having access to caffeine. And knowing all the various sources, relative amounts and prices. If you’re not a morning person, or need a pick-me-up in the afternoon, you can be sure the geek in your life will be able to find you some caffeine, even if it’s Sunkist or Barq’s.
9. Being romantic in unusual ways. Because who wouldn’t love to be wooed with Shakespeare in the original Klingon or a poem written in Elvish? Red roses are nice, sure, but they’re so … mainstream. When was the last time someone gave you a flashing LED heart?
8.Finding the best deals in grocery stores. Not everyone will notice that, even though the 12-pack of Coke cans is on sale for $3, it’s still not as good a deal per unit as the 2-liter bottle at its regular price of $1.29. But a geek will — we knew math skills would come in handy one day, even if nobody else thought so!
7. Watching, quoting and generally loving the Muppets. Even if the person we’re courting isn’t a huge Muppets fan, there’s no decent person who doesn’t like them at least a bit, right? I can speak from personal experience here: My wife freely admits that one of the things that she found particularly attractive about me was when, on our first date, I knew the punch line to “Good grief, the comedian’s a bear!” (The circumstances under which this fact was revealed are less interesting than you may imagine.)
6. Not being glued to the TV when a sports event is on. Now, I realize that plenty of geeks love sports (I’m a baseball fan myself). But as a general rule, the typical geek is much less inclined than the typical non-geek (particularly the male variety thereof) to insist on watching every minute of every game their favorite team plays in a season.
5. Having a lot of hand-me-down gadgets that are still perfectly good. While I can see how it might not always be endearing that we love to get the latest technology the moment it hits the street, if not sooner, this habit does have a fortunate side effect. “Why do I need to upgrade to the iPhone 3GS? Well … because I know you want an iPhone, too, and this way you can have my 3G!”
4. Owning lots of really good, though not mainstream, books. We geeks tend to read a lot, and we tend to be pretty picky about the books we buy. For instance, it’s only in the past eight years, since the first Lord of the Rings movie came out, that Tolkien has become more mainstream. My wife had never read any Tolkien until we met, so after I pushed her for a while, we read The Hobbit together; she became a fan quickly.
3. Being really good at finding things that go missing. This is an especially important skill in any household with children, since, as every parent knows, nobody is quite so good at losing things that ought not to be lost as is a small child. Geeks, at least in my experience, tend to have a good, methodical approach to finding lost items, and one that usually produces results with less fuss than would likely have ensued otherwise.
2. Providing technical support to friends and family. We may grumble and sigh about doing it so often, and we may get frustrated when our in-laws don’t know the difference between WEP and WPA. But don’t be fooled: We actually enjoy this on some level. Everyone — geeks included — likes to be needed, and geeks also love few things more than to look like an expert. So this is really a win-win: The non-geeks get their computers and gadgets fixed, and the geeks get to look like geniuses for doing things that wouldn’t impress a single one of their geek friends.
1. Cooking. I’m sure there are lots of geeks who don’t like to cook, or don’t think they do, but if you’re one such, I humbly suggest you give it another few tries. Cooking has so much geek potential it’s a wonder it’s not considered a “typical” geek activity: you’ve got lots of different ingredients to pick from, measuring implements, heat, chemical reactions, gadgets galore and a great deal of nuance. Plus, it’s like doing scientific experiments where you get to eat the results! And there are few things more endearing to potential life partners than being able to cook well (and not just on a grill).
So, what do you think — any more good ones? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.