Stay classy, geeks

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The other day there was a post on Gizmodo (of all places) about a woman who went on a date via OKCupid, and then got all indignant and turned off by the fact her date was a Magic the Gathering world champion. She then goes on to say it’s totally okay for her to judge him for this, accuses him of tricking her and others into dating him by not stating this fact on his profile, and basically just makes an ass of herself left and right.

My good friend John Serpico wrote a great rebuttal and chastisement of this woman on his blog (I also highly recommend his Friday edition ‘Sense and Serpability’ posts for more tough love fun!), and I’d like to add a little bit of my own. I don’t want to get into the same points of why this woman sucks and has no right to judge this guy for a hobby that he loves, has made friends through, and even excels in without any further thought. Let’s be honest–it’s clear that the hobby was what turned her off, immediately and as soon as she realized he was serious about it, and she obviously knows nothing about it except for its reputation among people who haven’t played it. I’ll agree his choice of theatre for their first date doesn’t really sound like a good one, but her disdain is evident before that’s even mentioned, and she focuses on the hobby for the entire article. Oh, and by the way, if you think I’m a Magic the Gathering fangirl who’s getting all defensive, I’m not. I don’t like the game either, and yes, I have played it.

As my About page states, I’ve “been playing roleplaying games since I was a wee Kater.” So I’ve been a geek since then, and yeah, I’ve dealt with all the wretched actions of judgmental people in elementary school, middle school, and high school. People in college and afterwards are usually less dickish–this OKCupid pariah is an exception, obviously. So, what lessons did that teach me, and most other self-identifying geeks out there?

People who accept you for who you are, are rare. And when you deal with arbitrarily being made fun of for things you find fun, you might cringe or cower or go into hiding about it for a while, but most of us grow to become proud of who we are and what we do, and we’ve got every right to be proud, dammit.

Other people may not like your hobbies, your hair, your clothes, what have you. And that’s just fine. We’re all different. But don’t go around disparaging someone purely based on a hobby they have that you know nothing about. That’s being an asshole. And when you then slander that person’s name on the internet? On a website that will without doubt support his name over yours, when you classlessly spread his name about at large in your article? That’s being a HUGE asshole who’s going to lose this argument. Geeks 1, Judgmental bitches 0. If you’re going to judge anyone, have the decency to make it about the content of their character, their actions and their words, not a superficial judgment based on a hobby, even one they greatly enjoy.

(But seriously, people, a one-man show about Jeffrey Dahmer is not first date material.)

ETA: Another excellent response has been posted on the Australian Gizmodo site by Elly Hart. Well-said, Elly!

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3 responses »

  1. Well said, Katie! If her goal was to get buttloads of hits to her article at the cost of complete character suicide, she definitely succeeded.

    I just hope geek girls like yourself don’t somehow end up catching any crap over this!

  2. Ever since I started playing RPGs, I’ve made a point never to be ashamed of my interests or hobbies. I obviously don’t want to badger people with the ephemera of Stuff They Don’t Care about, but if they ask about it, they recieve. Similarly, if I ask somebody a question about football (which I most assuredly Don’t Care About), I will accept the answer with a nod and a polite smile, since it was me who asked.

    One thing I wish more gamers had was more self-confidence in their own interests. Too many of use drop our eyes to the ground and shrug vaguely when asked if we play RPGs. This is born from years of being made fun of for it, naturally, but I’m an adult, dammit. I’m not going to blush and apologize for my Warhammer habit. It’s fun, and I like it, and if somebody thinks it’s stupid, then that’s fine too. I think plenty of things they do are stupid, most likely, but since *they* like them, I certainly don’t have a problem. If somebody asks me why I paint little toy soldiers, I look ’em in the eye and tell them. If somebody asks me (as an attempt to put me down) how many elves it takes to kill a green dragon, I’ll answer the question as truthfully and accurately as I can. They asked, after all, and no amount of their giggling is going to make me feel badly.

    From what I hear about this guy, Finkel, he’s in a similar category. He’ll be okay.

    Oh, and agreed on the choice of first date: Jeffery Dahmer? Woof, dude. Way to shoot romance in the groin.

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