We’re Adorkable: Geeky Ways To Keep The Romance Alive

“Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togevvew today.”

OK, maybe not marriage per se, but if I’m thinking of all the adorkable ways my husband of 14 years and I keep the romance alive? Quoting The Princess Bride comes to mind. Besides, who doesn’t hear that quote in his/her head at every.wedding.ever?

Given the time of year, a lot of recent conversations lately revolve about the irrational desire to force romance for a fake holiday. In all this conversation, however, one topic seems to get lost. Love and romance, at least the ones that endure for the long haul, consist of small gestures as opposed to big ones.

If my entire relationship with my husband was based on those moments of grand overture? We’d either be poor or divorced by now.

The real romance in our home lives in the small, daily gestures. However, those gestures look different in a geek home than in a non-geek home. As a nontraditionalist, I openly admit that I’m the person who finds flowers a bit depressing. After all, it’s basically taking a beautiful living thing, killing it, giving it to someone in its rigor mortis, and watching it slowly decompose. I feel like everything says romance EXCEPT that. But hey, I’m a little weird.

So how do we keep the romance alive? What do we actually do that I feel is different from non-geeks?

Buy random books or magazines.

My husband is a much more romantic person than I am. When he goes out to run errands, inevitably he comes home with some little random thing for me. In our early years, before ebooks, Mr would run to the bookstore regularly and bring me home magazines he knew I wanted that I wouldn’t buy for myself. Between 205 and 2010, Mr bought more knitting magazines than he ever imagined.

Buy each other video games.

It’s funny that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve finally begun to enjoy video games. However, for Mr, they’ve always been a staple of his entertainment choices. Over the years, the things I’ve done for him mostly involve buying video games that I know he’d want even if he wouldn’t buy them for himself. For example, the year I was pregnant with The Child, I bought him the Sid Meier pirate game. Three days after giving it to him, the Xbox had the red ring of doom, we had to send it out, the kid came, and the poor guy never got to play it. But, the thought was there. This continues to be one of the things that I do for him to surprise him.

Buy Underoos and nerdy underwear.

You know how some women dream of La Perla? I dream of Underoos and superhero panties. When Mr goes to Target or WalMart alone? He has a tendency to bring home underwear. No, not that lacy stuff. We’re talking Wonder Woman, Batgirl, or Avengers cotton panties. I might have bought him some R2D2 boxer-briefs. No, they’re not necessarily conventionally romantic, but it’s the kind of thing we know makes the other person happy. Isn’t that what romance really is?

Share Lego sets.

I mean, for Mr, I’m talking those Big Expensive Lego Sets You Can’t Justify Buying For Yourself. This year, I gave Mr the Kwik-E-Mart set for Christmas. For some other holiday, I got him The Simpsons House set. It doesn’t hurt that we have a Lego Store in town now. I think, though, that one of the things I love about our relationship is that this is what constitutes romance for us. I don’t love Lego the way he does. Love and romance, however, are about recognizing the things your partner loves regardless of your feelings. For Christmas, my husband bought me General Organa’s ship. After putting it together, I took my Leia and the Han from his Millenium Falcon, posed them, took a picture, and changed the contact photo on both our phones.

Image Karen Walsh
Image Karen Walsh

Seeking out minifigures or other figures.

Between the Lego minifigures and the Walking Dead miniature figures, Mr manages to constantly buy me things that are small reminders that he’s thinking about me. Whether it’s for a major holiday or just a random treat, Mr has this tendency to bring home Walkers or blind minifigure bags. I find these particularly romantic because they aren’t huge. They’re not expensive. They’re not something unreasonable. They’re not rare. They are average and available everywhere from WalMart to Walgreens. They simply mean that when he was away from me, I was on his mind. That’s comforting. For Christmas, he got me Wash and Zoe Funkos and then said, “Because they’re like us.” His romantic gesture compliments me by likening me to one of the best big damn female heroes I know and reassures me by including himself in the relationship. I love that he views us as being akin to one of the most complimentary male-female couples I know in fiction. I love that he knows me well enough and thinks about our relationship enough to be able to make this kind of comparison.

Sharing trading cards.

Mr grew up collecting baseball cards. Over the course of the last few years, Mr has brought home trading cards for The Guild, The Big Bang Theory, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When we were at New York Comic Con this year, Mr had me sign up for the Topps Star Wars Trading Card app. It’s funny. I knew at the time that the only reason he wanted me to do it was so he could get the bonus points for referring someone. However, oddly enough, these intangible digital cards have become one of the most romantic things in our relationship. Every few days, Mr will ask me, all excitedly, “Have you checked the Star Wars cards today?” Theres a certain tone to his voice, the same one he gets at holidays, that lets me know he’s offered me a trade in the app that he wants me to see. Since he knows that my particular addictions are Leia, Rey, and BB-8, he does everything he can to find me the cards he knows I will love. One of the recent trades he offered me was a Purple Limited Edition General Organa. Another recent trade included a Leia and Han. Upon my effusive response of, “I love you”, he simply smiled and responded, “I know.”

Image courtesy Topps
Image courtesy Topps

Quoting popular culture as secret language.

I mean, this one is probably across the board for geeks as a whole. However, one of the reasons that I love this so much in my relationship with my husband is that when we quote to each other, it’s a short hand for a lot of the shared things in our life. Sometimes, that short hand also references specific times in our relationship. You know, the summer we watched New Who was the summer our son was one. Every time we quote “Funny the Way It Is” by Dave Matthews, we are brought back to the first vacation we took as a family of three. Every time we quote BSG, we have another shorthand for how we spent a whole summer watching it together and staying up late mainlining the show like crack. Saying “beer good, beer foamy” reminds us of how we made it through law school back in the beginning of our relationship. All of these fandom shorthands are meaningful outside of their fandomness and specific to our relationship.

In all honesty, nothing we do is particularly unique to us.

Every couple has their own shorthand. Every couple knows how to surprise the other person in the relationship. For some couples, it’s making a special dinner. For others, it’s watching football together.

For us, in our very special adorkable way, we share our geekiness with one another and that keeps us constantly engaging with each other outside the daily grind. The couple that geeks together stays together.

Karen Walsh is a part time, extended contract, first year writing instructor at the University of Hartford. In other words, she's SuperAdjunct, complete with capes and Jedi robe worn during grading. She also works as a contract internal regulatory compliance auditor for banks. In addition, she writes comics and artist reviews at www.cosplayconnectuniversity.com.She works in order to support knitting, comics, tattoo, and museum membership addictions. She has one dog, one husband, and one son who all live with her just outside of Hartford, CT.