Where to find a geek/nerd/SUPERSMART guy?
April 29, 2005 12:31 PM   Subscribe

So, if it's really true that Geeks and Nerds Are Worth It, where does one find them?

In particular, single science PhDs in thier 30s in the Chicago area... but I'll take general advice, too. ;-)
posted by INTPLibrarian to Human Relations (64 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Just go to a local Unix(-ish) users group. You'll have all the slobbering nerds you can handle.

Note: advice does not apply if you are looking for a female nerd
posted by cmonkey at 12:39 PM on April 29, 2005

Seems like a lot of people are meeting up and making marriages right here on Metafilter. I'm not saying EVERYONE on Metafilter is a dork, but..... if the keyboard fits!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:39 PM on April 29, 2005 [1 favorite]

You're not finding them at the library/library school? That's where I got mine ...
posted by librarina at 12:42 PM on April 29, 2005

As a male nerd myself, where does one find the rare and elusive female nerd? Especially ones with the Tina Fey Glasses (tm).
If the ivory billed woodpecker can make it, there's hope for the rest of us.
posted by willmize at 12:47 PM on April 29, 2005

Depends on what kind of nerd or geek you are looking for, but...

If you're in Chicago, go to some of the weirder jazz/improv sets out there--the Empty Bottle seems to have a lot of them.

Mind you, these aren't necessarily computer nerds, but many of the characteristics still apply.
posted by hototogisu at 12:48 PM on April 29, 2005

Try the computer lab at a University. The one exclusively for use by the CS department. Or, if you like your nerds even nerdier then you can hit the labs reserved for the Computer|Electrical Engineering department.
posted by cm at 12:48 PM on April 29, 2005

http://matchmaker.metafilter.com ?
posted by terrapin at 12:48 PM on April 29, 2005

Wait 7 years.

A lot of people at the Empty Bottle, even their improv sets, and like-minded venues (eg 3030) seem more aligned with the hipster than the geek/nerd.
posted by kenko at 12:57 PM on April 29, 2005

Best answer: check the referrer logs of your blog, that's where I found mine.
posted by jessamyn at 12:59 PM on April 29, 2005

With driving directions, too!
posted by felix betachat at 12:59 PM on April 29, 2005

Venture down to the dungeon basement labs on campus and lure them away with promises of coffee and Sunday mornings. Be prepared to explain to them what that glowing orb in the sky is. Please hurry, you've not a minute to lose!

...the Tina Fey Glasses (tm)

Aw. Sigh.
posted by fatllama at 1:00 PM on April 29, 2005

Man, that craiglist link actually describes my boyfriend really well. I met him through an online dating service. Other places where you could meet people like him: playing Everquest II/World of Warcraft (90 % of free time); listening to jazz at one of those hardcore clubs where people hiss at you for talking (1% of time); at computer supply warehouse stores (3% of time); looking at documentaries or Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the local video rental place (4% of time); hanging out with his family or his nerdy friend(s) (2% of time). Before we started dating he also used to go to a weekly volleyball night at a community center, I think in hopes of meeting girls. Guys like him are totally worth it.

willmize: Female nerds can be found at independent/artsy movies, looking for pinochle partners on craigslist, reading and writing at coffee shops, wandering bookstores and libraries with blissed out expressions on their faces, wandering the aisles of computer warehouse stores with blissed out looks on their faces, playing online role playing games, writing on their blogs (which they host themselves, not through livejournal or whatever), and probably avoiding eye contact where ever they go because they are often shy and awkward until they get to know you. The eye contact thing, and a certain unstylishness or differentness to style are good ways to distinguish them from hipsters.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 1:01 PM on April 29, 2005

I've heard some buzz about consumating.com which is apparently for "hipsters, bloggers, freaks and geeks"
posted by stefanie at 1:02 PM on April 29, 2005

Yeah, and how does the male shy & socially graceless nerd approach the shy female nerd, croutonsupafreak? (And is your name "croutons up a freak" or "crouton supafreak"?)
posted by kenko at 1:06 PM on April 29, 2005

What a great link! Now, if I could just find some of those geeks/nerds in Houston, I'd be a happy camper. :-)
posted by Serena at 1:07 PM on April 29, 2005

If one is interested in female nerds of the attractive sort (i.e., Tina Fey Glasses types), well, you might as well ask "where can I meet Sports Illustrastrated swimsuit models?" because the two categories are just about as hotly sought after.

I've spent much time trying to persuade (male) nerds that they really shouldn't limit themselves to just the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow which is cute female nerds.

Part of it, I think, is that someone, somewhere along the lines, convinced a lot of male nerds that they need a woman who shares their interests and thus "understands" them. That this is hardly the basis for a good relationship is a very difficult thing to explain -- passion isn't based on having hobbies or job skills in common. I think also they're a bit lazy -- the pot of gold cute nerd persumably wouldn't require the sort of companionship which a male nerd might find excruciating, you know, shoe shopping, hanging out with her other non-nerd friends talking about non-nerd things, etc.
posted by MattD at 1:12 PM on April 29, 2005

I think the universal problem here is that most of the ways that geeks'n'nerds of either sex tend to spend their time are either solitary (geeking out, writing theses) or in groups that have a kind of fixed membership (gaming). The unlikeliness of finding someone of a similar metal persuasion in a random sample of the population (e.g., at a bar) makes that kind of socializing less attractive.

One exception here in Seattle is hiking or climbing. It was unusually popular among the CS types when I was at school. One nice thing about it is that the activity doesn't really keep you from talking to other people, but if you don't feel like talking to anyone it's perfectly acceptable to just quietly enjoy the hike. And it's a nice change from staring at the screen all day.

Geekiness has become a lot more socially acceptable in the last ten years or so, which is nice, and has led to geeky events like dorkbot.
posted by hattifattener at 1:14 PM on April 29, 2005

Nobody's mentioned comic book stores yet? That's where all my single geeky male friends go.

And the great thing is that you know they'll be there every Wednesday, like clockwork, so if you see one you like you can "run into" them again, no problem.
posted by esperluette at 1:14 PM on April 29, 2005

Study computer science, you'll be up to your ears in them...
Seriously, though, a lot of the cute nerdboys I am friends with have profiles up on the various dating sites (salon/nerve in particular). There's usually giveaways in the profile to indicate dorkiness.
posted by ch1x0r at 1:18 PM on April 29, 2005

croutons up a freak

posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:29 PM on April 29, 2005 [1 favorite]

I work in Evanston with a guy that sounds like he might be what you're interested in. Very good and decent person, software developer who will be painfully and brutally honest about what records in your collection suck. Has two playful dogs that he sometimes goes home to visit at lunch.

If you're interested, I'm wiling to act as a proxy for the initial email exchange - my email is in my profile.
posted by jperkins at 1:30 PM on April 29, 2005

There's a Gaper's Block meet-up tonight! Hie thee!
posted by bonheur at 1:33 PM on April 29, 2005

No, I think the problem is that everyone wants "ampersand after ampersand" - sure, we want geeks/nerds in that we want smart, interesting people... but - they also hafta be cute, and funny, and it'd be nice if they were talented, too. And caring. And... you get the point.

So, yeah, "geek" is no longer a term of derision, but it's not like you'll actually want to date most of the guys down at the local unix group. I mean, who knows, maybe you'll have particularly good luck, but the reality is, there are "real" geeks who are semi-autistic, i.e., will not be spectacular in bed because they don't actually want to get all squishy-touchy; will not really empathize or connect with you; and will not be adorable - as in basically good looking but less macho and wearing glasses.

This isn't to say don't seek people out who you relate to, but I just think it's worth being careful about fetishizing stereotypes.

But, to answer your question more directly, I think you have to choose which geeky activities you're into, and then hang out in those groups. Music geeks hang out at record shops. Comix geeks hang out at comic shops. Programmer geeks join their local hackers list. Online geeks, well, you've got that covered, I guess. As for science PhD geeks, do you have a science phd, or are you getting one? A lot of conferences or lectures are open to the public. I'm in philosophy myself, but I know michio kaku (who is semi philosophical science) is speaking at CUNY in a couple weeks, and I'm planning to check it out (not to pick up a hot date, tho').

I have also found that if you read nerdy books on the subway or in a cafe, people will commonly start a conversation with you (if the book is specific enough to an area - e.g., I've been addressed when reading Kant, Ayer, Mead, but not Nietzsche or Plato, which people read for fun. But if I'm reading the 3rd critique, other philosophy types think I must be in it "for real" and will ask where I'm studying/teaching).
posted by mdn at 1:34 PM on April 29, 2005

Supafreak. I'm a supafreak. And I like croutons. That's about it.

Since I met my guy through the online personals, he just e-mailed me and then called me. In one-on-one settings it's tough, because shy nerd girls will probably erect a wall of defenses when you go up to them and start talking. I'd say the secret is to act interested in what she says, try to make her feel smart without being patronizing, don't over promote yourself, and try to get a phone number. Then call, and instead of asking her out just talk for a while and ask if you can call again. If you get to know her intellectually before you start doing stuff together she might be more prone to accept a date. You can substitute "e-mail address" for phone number and "write" for "call," even.

A lot of time the shy nerd female will say "no" and then hate herself for it later, because she was too embarrased to accept a romantic overture. Other times, she's really not interested. Unfortunately, there's no real way to be sure. You could try again, if you see her again. But if she says "no" to a phone call/e-mail/date twice you're better off dropping it.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 1:43 PM on April 29, 2005

posted by scarabic at 1:45 PM on April 29, 2005

(One thing I just remembered about girls trying to meet guy geeks: since the sex ratio is so skewed, guy geeks are sometimes very strongly conditioned not to make any romantic advances to the one female in their social group, lest they be stuffed in the "slobbering geek" pigeonhole. This means that a girl geek who's actually interested in someone may have to make that fact more than usually clear. This is in contrast to the traditional dating situation where it's pretty much always the guy's job to take that initial risk.)
posted by hattifattener at 1:55 PM on April 29, 2005

Meetups. Go to meetups.

(I'm so winking at my MeFi crush right now.)

Other than that, I'm pretty much what was described in that Best Of CL, and I play indoor soccer, dodgeball and kickball in a league, and I work. I hang out with my dorky friends or spend quality time with the interweb most of the time I'm not at dodgeball/kickball or soccer.

In general, talk to us. If you see a guy who you think is nerdily cute, talk to him. It'll make his day, and might make yours too.

(And if anyone knows where to find the female geeks with the tina fey glasses, please, sign me up.)
posted by SpecialK at 1:56 PM on April 29, 2005

I heard they opened up a Fry's in the Chicagoland area. That's where I find all mine in Silicon Valley, at least. Just stand there, looking at the hard drive case or holding a memory dim or something and mutter to yourself, "Oh man, is this what I'm looking for?" Throw in words like "overclock" at random for authenticity.

It helps to wear the tight sweater and the cute, thick glasses. (I knew I shouldn't have gotten contacts.)

I don't talk directly to cute, nerdily boys because I'm scary or something. I just mutter to myself about my wifi card acting up and I magically get talked to.

I know lots of wonderful, tech savvy guys in the Chicago suburbs, although the PhD type either doesn't have time for a girlie or have a former TA geekette girlfriend.

They hang out at LAN parties they throw themselves, hit Taco Bell at 2 am for quarter taco night and go to movies en masse. World of Warcraft is the only way in that I can think of, besides just going to the major sci fi movie openings.
posted by Gucky at 2:12 PM on April 29, 2005

As a nerd (although I think of myself as "high functioning" the way Rainman would be a super-high functioning autistic) I can say my girlfriend found me via the Salon(SpringStreet) personals, the system that is the back-end for what you see advertised on Salon.com, Onion.com, PuckerUp.com, etc. Same group of users but (well, 2 years ago - could be diff now) you have to log in through the same sponsor-site every time.

Seemed like a better class of folk than Match.com and no nonsense monthly fee either - you pay to contact someone, period. Just wanna look? Free.
posted by phearlez at 2:30 PM on April 29, 2005

World of Warcraft? C'mon now, that's almostg as bad as tryin' to meet someone via livejournal, and I love me both some LJ and WoW.
posted by jmd82 at 2:33 PM on April 29, 2005

Best answer: They're all around you. Despite what the link says, geeks go out to bars. But, the thing is, they're always the neighborhood, chill sort of bar where people just go to have fun (or be depressed, or weird, or whatever). You'll never find one at the "single's bar" or meatmarket. Look for the weird place with either a) a good beer selection, or b) cheap beer. "Dive" bars, and bars near universities are very popular. You're looking for friendly, Cheers-like places.

Here's what to look for: the slightly overweight/underweight boy sitting with a few friends at a table, talking, laughing, etc. How do you know he's a nerd? Well, you can't *really* tell from across the room. But, they're not hard to identify.

Well, first, look at his clothing. He'll probably be wearing something witty or geeky on a teeshirt; almost never a teeshirt from an unknown, indy band or branded clothing. His pants/shorts will probably fit, in a general sense of the word, but not necessarily be flattering. Look for lots of pockets, actually *filled* with things. Cargo pants with nothing in them == not a geek.

Remember that, for many geeks, we wear clothes simply because they have pockets, and we'd get arrested if we didn't. We may co-opt clothing to make a statement, but it's rarely a fashion statement

Second, look at his friends. Likely, they'll be similar to him. If there're girls in the group, they're likely to be part of the conversation on the same level as the guys. When I watch non-geek groups interact, I tend to see that the group has segmented itself along gender lines often. That almost never happens amongst geeks (even with non-geek members of the group). A conversation is for all people present, although it may splinter momentarily into esoterica... but, we do try to include everybody.

Third, go up and talk to him. First off, you have to be nice about this, especially if you're attractive. Geeks have been burned so many times, used as the butt of jokes since high school, that they may have some reservation and cynicism about your intentions.

One option is to just ask if you can sit down. I guarantee that you'll get an, "Uh, yeah, absolutely."

Ask him what he does. If he says, with a little bit of shame, that he works at McDonald's, ask him what he really does. You're looking for words like hacker, programmer, blogger, engineer, mathematician, guru, [blank] guy. If you don't understand his job title, or what he does, ask him. Be prepared to have to learn some terminology. Ask questions. Ask for diagrams--we're so used to having to explain bizarre ideas to people, we can generally at least give you a working metaphor.

At this point, you should know whether or not he's a nerd. You can continue the conversation as you see fit. Ask questions, if you want him to talk. Just talk, if you want to. Most geeks are capable of doing either one. However, you cannot expect him to be conversant with pop culture... talking about that indy band, American Idol, or the new NYT bestseller is probably not going to go very far.

This is also the point where you do not ask about that annoying computer problem you've been having, how to do XYZ on your system, or discuss how you think technology is destroying modern culture. We're really very tired of having people use us for technical support. We do it, mainly because it's more painful to see somebody having computer troubles than it is to fix the problem, but we know we're being used. Also remember that technology is what your geek has devoted his life to; he's obsessed, immersed, and in love with it. Telling him that it's destroying society won't get him to love you.

Likewise, bookstores are good. Seriously. Wander around the computer books section, the sci-fi section, or the technical journal portion of the magazine section. If you see a cute boy checking this stuff out (and he isn't grabbing "Computers for Morons"), he's probably a geek. And he probably already saw you. And I guarantee that he's not going to say a goddamn thing, because he doesn't want to bother you.

Walk up to him and say "Hi". Ask him what he's reading/buying. Ask for an explanation. Ask if he'd like to go get some coffee (right then; no, seriously (lots of big bookstores have cafes in them, so it's no big deal)). See above notes about bad topics of conversation.

Here's the biggest thing, though: once you've seen a geek you find attractive, you almost always have to make the first move. Most geeks out there are either so wrapped up in their own thing, or so convinced that nobody attractive or "normal" could be interested in them, that they're unlikely to do a goddamn thing even if you're staring at them across the bar and smiling your face off. We spent all of high school as the outcasts, all of college locked away in our labs, and all day staring at code. A girl smiling from across the bar is probably just happy, ya' know?
posted by Netzapper at 2:39 PM on April 29, 2005 [5 favorites]

World of Warcraft? C'mon now, that's almostg as bad as tryin' to meet someone via livejournal, and I love me both some LJ and WoW.

I actually know of more LJ hookups than WoW hookups, but LJ isn't exclusively geeky.

I met my bf on usenet. Does that make me geeky? Or just old?
posted by Gucky at 2:48 PM on April 29, 2005

Nice primer, Netzapper!

Ok, so, where does a nerd-boy find girls with nerd-fever? Preferably a double-wammy of yellow-nerd-fever?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 2:52 PM on April 29, 2005

PurplePorpoise: I find that utopia is a good place to look.

I dunno... I'm fairly unsuccessful in the female lover department. (I do better with guys; but, I'm a well established "type" in the gay community, and it has nothing to do with my geekiness.) (I'm bi, by the way.)
posted by Netzapper at 3:03 PM on April 29, 2005

that's almostg as bad as tryin' to meet someone via livejournal, and I love me both some LJ and WoW

I met my husband via LJ. I think we were the first couple who ended up married. We even invited Brad to the wedding (he didn't go).
posted by chickygrrl at 3:17 PM on April 29, 2005

If Utopia's in the middle of Winterpeg... I'll pass.

I was just trying to be playful instead of actually requiring a concrete answer.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 3:20 PM on April 29, 2005

PurplePorpoise: I know. But, being a geek, my tendency is to take all questions concretely. I suck like that. :)
posted by Netzapper at 3:21 PM on April 29, 2005

Ok, so, where does a nerd-boy find girls with nerd-fever? Preferably a double-wammy of yellow-nerd-fever?

When I was a victim of "yellow-nerd-fever", I was in the back row at the campus Anime festival and going to Magic:The Gathering tournaments. I have no idea what this decade's equivalent would be.
posted by Gucky at 3:28 PM on April 29, 2005

Netzapper hehe. Gucky - ugh, how about I rephrase that to banana-nerd-fever? Besides, I'm more of a science nerd although I'm an on-the-wagon ex-RPGer.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 3:41 PM on April 29, 2005

To all the good ideas above, let me add:

science fiction conventions (or tech cons or comics cons... ) Wiscon's coming up in Madison on Memorial Day weekend.

book readings by sf or technology authors

My wife met me through match.com.

If you keep up on U Chicago's and Northwestern's events calendars, it shouldn't be hard to find lectures and such that would attract science Ph.D.'s.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 3:48 PM on April 29, 2005

I hear MetaFilter is a hotbed of nerd activity.
posted by kindall at 4:21 PM on April 29, 2005

Work. Get yourself into a geeky company and get to know some of your co-workers. Sure, there are difficulties associated with "fishing off the company pier," but I find that it's worth it. That's how it happened for me! My husband has admitted that he initially thought I was cute, but it wasn't til he noticed me reading Slashdot at my desk that he developed a serious crush. Then it just took a few months of company outings at the pub to cement the relationship and coax him out of his shyness.

And for the record, I have totally cute glasses.
posted by web-goddess at 4:56 PM on April 29, 2005

I can't believe no one's mentioned MySpace! TONS of nerds on there!
posted by Livewire Confusion at 4:59 PM on April 29, 2005

OMG! stefanie's link to consumating.com brings up an interesting catch for you MetaMales in MN looking for company!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:15 PM on April 29, 2005

Oh yeah. That's Zosia. Seen her around the 'net before. She's the paragon of what a nerd wants but can't catch. ;)

(Sorry, hon, but you know you got what we want already.)

And that was a paragon of why nerd guys never hook up. We start out jaded.
posted by SpecialK at 5:52 PM on April 29, 2005

Kindall, now there's no hard proof of that. Only, nerd-related program activities.
posted by fatllama at 5:53 PM on April 29, 2005

Hey, I went ahead and wrote up a longer primer on how to pick up geeky boys. Send me comments, I'll make changes.
posted by Netzapper at 5:54 PM on April 29, 2005

Netzapper, you're wasting your time. Free pizza and a hammer to the back of the head is the time-honored method.

If it ain't broke...
posted by felix betachat at 5:58 PM on April 29, 2005

Netzapper, I could have used that a while back!

I still regret not saying 'hi' to the cute geek guy I saw in the university computer store last year....
posted by spinifex23 at 6:03 PM on April 29, 2005

felix_betachat: Don't give away the secret that men are so easily manipulated. Seriously, though, men are easy... "Hi, I think you're cute. Come back to my place with me," and we're yours.

spinifex23: I'm sorry to hear that. Live in Philly? Free tonight?
posted by Netzapper at 6:21 PM on April 29, 2005

I met my bf on usenet. Does that make me geeky? Or just old?
Old? Nay! I was moreso playing off the stigma of LJ being a haven for a bunch of 14 y/o girls who right nonsensical stuff...then again, I'm 22 and write nonsense so ignore me.
posted by jmd82 at 6:36 PM on April 29, 2005

Net - heh.

No, Seattle. (Though Philly is a nice city; I've visited a couple of times). And I have to level my undead rogue in WoW tonight. So, I'm all booked up :)
posted by spinifex23 at 7:04 PM on April 29, 2005

40ish single bi plumpish female geek with Tina Fey glasses right here. Seattle. Digs scientists.

I should try the bookstore thing. I've done Nerve Personals but it was a mixed bag - found a couple of good friends and acquaintances there though.
posted by matildaben at 7:09 PM on April 29, 2005

...and matildaben has great taste in music!
posted by fatllama at 8:21 PM on April 29, 2005

Hi. My name is j, and I'm a geek enabler.

I'm also not averse to throwing myself at a geek to get his attention. (In at least one case, literally!) That probably helps. :)

I met my primary geek through the science fiction club at college. I met my other geeks through a different group which is (loosely) associated with the alumni branch of the SF club, at Chicago area SF cons.

There's a SF convention coming up in Chicago in the beginning of June. It's got a pretty geeky science track, if past years are any indication. (I won't be there this year, alas. Week before finals for my 8th grader.)
posted by jlkr at 8:41 PM on April 29, 2005

pff not impressed by zosia at all... you can tell she's a cool girl who likes the tease...

now Jennatar.....

what the hell now geeks are the new in-group? It's those damn emo-boys and hipsters' fault...
posted by stratastar at 1:06 AM on April 30, 2005

Last time I looked, the demographic at online dating sites was skewed a little towards the geek area, as there is a higher tendancy to do stuff online in this group :)

As for online dating sites, many are just sharks after your wallet. Check out OKcupid.com for a site that is fun, genuinely actually free (as opposed to merely claiming it is), and fairly big.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:35 AM on April 30, 2005

matildaben had me at "when I buy the 'Best American Short Stories'/'Best American Essays' " and her taste in comix. Uh, this is the flirting thread, right?
posted by mlis at 8:19 AM on April 30, 2005

Response by poster: kenko: Yeah, and how does the male shy & socially graceless nerd approach the shy female nerd

Ask them about what they're reading and actually be interested in the answer.
posted by INTPLibrarian at 11:30 AM on April 30, 2005

In the Mid-West, Penguicon is one possibility.

And just because I'm a female geek, please don't assume I'm straight, or that my gentle, "thank you, I'm not interested" is shyness.
posted by QIbHom at 2:25 PM on April 30, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all the concrete advice.

hattifattener, I agree that geeks/nerds tend to spend a lot of time alone. I know I do. Which is why I had to ask where they do go when they go out.

ch1x0r, I actually did study cs for a while in grad school, before I switched to library science. And that's how I know I love 'em!

Anyway, the advice about how to approach this hypothetical guy out there is good, but I have no problem with that part. I just need to find them first!

Looks like finding a photo of myself to scan for an online dating site is going to be my first step...
posted by INTPLibrarian at 5:16 PM on April 30, 2005

Huh--I strongly self-identify as geek, but don't really recognize myself in that guide. May be I am mistaken.
posted by kenko at 5:36 PM on April 30, 2005

I recently met a very interesting female geek at a local coffee shop. She noticed the "Microsoft must die" sticker on my laptop. She asked if I was running Linux on it. I replied that a hypocrite like myself must keep a sense of irony. We talked.

It turns out she doesn't frequent that coffee shop. It was just a convenient public place to meet the blind date who showed up a few minutes later. In a serendipitous case of good-cop/bad-cop, I was apparently more interesting than Mr. Singles-site. Thanks for making me look good, man. I owe you one if I ever run into you.
posted by Myself at 1:44 AM on May 1, 2005

kenko: Sorry. Can't please everybody all the time.
posted by Netzapper at 8:32 AM on May 1, 2005

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