Growing up, I thought to be or date a gamer girl was simply socially unacceptable. In direct opposition to what the stereotype of the response to gamer girls claims, all I got was “friend-zoned”. In high school, I wanted to date and specifically wanted to date a gamer so that I wouldn’t have to worry about all of the traditional date night rigamarole - the nails, the hair, the small talk, the stress of coming up with something interesting to talk about.
I figured dating a gamer would be like hanging out with the guy friends I was with all the time - except with cuddling.
I always had an awesome time gaming with my guy friends and occasionally considered what it might be like to be with any of them but they each made it clear that they thought of me as a sister, so I never tried. Soon after the start of freshman year, what was a few times a week ritual of soda, potato chips and maybe ice cream if we were at certain houses, slowly dwindled to the sporadic invite to a “real party”(when we stood around pretending to have fun with non-gamers, wishing we were playing video games). When I got to college, the guys around me were almost exclusively playing Halo and there was no possible amount of convincing them that I did actually play video games after my consistent inability with FPSs. (Still don’t like shooters, but it wasn’t the game - those guys were jerks. Ah, college) There were no gamer dating sites and comic con was not even remotely cool to the general public.
By the time Jordan and I first met, I had done a pretty good job of learning to cover my geeky side in public. It wasn’t until he came over for what I call a party - I cook and we play video games - that he began to grasp the depths of the nerdiness concealed beneath my attempt at a cool exterior. My boyfriend looks like several of my childhood fantasy crushes because of his long, blond hair and elvish build. When my friends meet him for the first time there is almost inevitably a joke made about me having a type, followed by some embarrassing story of me being an adolescent far more capable of writing an epic imaginary relationship with Link, Legolas or the middle Hanson brother than convincing a local boy to think of me as something other than the dorky science bowl captain. Extremely lucky for me, Jordan thinks even some of my more socially awkward moments are cute and has never batted an eye when I emerge from our festival tent in some new concoction of fabric, yarn and glitter.
That didn’t mean I wasn’t a little nervous about asking him to cosplay Link for Portland Wizard World.
Like I often do with conversations I am worried about, I spent a few days gathering positive points to help me in case of a debate. Things like helping me destress with sewing and our friends want to, I even considered pulling the “I work for a gamer website” card. I’ll be honest with you here gamers, how amazing he would look was my biggest reason but I was sure that it wouldn’t be enough. Sometimes, I really annoy myself with how much I overthink things. When I asked, his reaction without blinking was, “that would be fun to do together.”
The first thing we had to do was decide on which Link we were going to emulate. After some rummaging around and deciding we didn’t have enough time before ComicCon to make our own weapons, we settled on Ocarina of Time which has tons of ready made replications available. We purchased a steel and wood sword online for about $30 and found a matching wooden shield. That sentence makes it sound so simple — in actuality, we spent at least five hours cuddled in front of my laptop to choose the best ones. With three weeks to go before Wizard World, I figured I could probably pull off a pretty decent Zelda costume but there wouldn’t be much sleep involved. Jordan pointed out that many of the pictures of Link we were looking at included Navi and my hair was a glowing shade of blue. In another perfect example of how much Jordan loves me: he easily listed off the costume components I had that would work and asked, “weren’t you looking for an excuse to add to your blue tutu?”
If you have ever worked with glitter tulle, you know this question is loaded with thousands of impossible to exterminate sparkle bugs. I can’t believe Jordan doesn’t complain more, let alone him suggesting I bring more in. Best. Boyfriend. EVER.
For the next three weeks we spent about every free moment together. After we finished work, we would hunker down in the living room surrounded by scraps of leather and random vintage patterns I cobbled together to make some of the pieces. It was some of the most fun we have had together. Every day there were new opportunities to be impressed by each other and to laugh with if something turned out funky. It gave us something to do together that wasn’t just the normal stuff and even better, it gave us something tangible that we could accomplish.
The day of our Wizard World was freezing. Portland gets a pretty early one, I guess they didn’t get the memo that we are kind of weird and are pretty excited about anything a bit on the offbeat. Lucky for us, the day looked pretty clear and I had saved money for a taxi. Frankly, I have zero problem wandering the streets of Portland in my faerie wings - there was just no way I was going to deal with the wind in that tutu. My favorite memory of the day came before we had made it ten minutes in the door. Walking hand in hand, trying to figure out where to go first, a little boy of maybe 7 years pointed at me, “Hey! Listen!” Guys, Ocarina of Time came out in 98. This kid was about half my age when that game came out. Parenting - someone is doing it very right.
Well, that or the collective memory of all the women who stopped Jordan to get his picture. And the many who didn’t bother asking but stood back and attempted to be sly with their phones. Yes, ladies, this amazing gamer guy is taken, but you can always find your own! Amazingly enough, gamers come in every way and sort - maybe your game crush cosplayer is looking for you too.
There isn’t a ton that I can say this about, but kid me was right - dating a gamer guy is great.
As expected, while many of my friends put a lot of pressure on date night, we are just more happy side by side slaying. I remember the years of dating guys I thought were “so cool”, all the time worrying that I was never going to be cool enough, that my suggestions of things I wanted to do with them were going to be laughed at. When I stopped trying to date the “best score” and simply allowed a similar minded guy into my life, suddenly I had found what I always knew I needed.