Jon Finkel Dodged a Bullet
I just read this article by Alyssa Bereznak on Gizmodo (and cross-posted to Jezebel, Gawker’s lady site), in which she describes an OK Cupid date she went on with a World Champion Magic: the Gathering player. That sounds like a great article, right? That sounds like a really interesting date! Too bad Bereznak is, according to the intro to the piece, mean and shallow.
On their first date, Bereznak discovered that Jon Finkel played Magic: The Gathering, when he casually mentioned it in response to her saying that her brother is a gamer. She Googled him when she got home and found that he’s a really big deal. Despite the fact that she found this repulsive, she arranged a second date, where she quizzed him and found that he still plays and he made friends through playing the game. Appropriately horrified, she then felt compelled to post her story to a tech blog, where she linked to his Wikipedia page so everyone could have a good laugh I guess?
According to the comments on the article, I’m not the only one whose brain exploded upon reading it. After all, it’s not easy fighting to destroy the damaging stereotype that women are shallow bitches who not only won’t date nerdy men but also laugh at what dorks they are behind their backs. That stereotype feeds into the Nice Guy syndrome that infects guys who come to the conclusion that all women only want to date stupid jerks.
So god damn it, let’s get something straight: there are many, many women, myself included, who engage in geeky activities. There are many, many more women who are open-minded and supportive of their partners engaging in geeky activities that they themselves have no interest in.
When I traveled to New Zealand last year, I got to meet a few of the cool people who work at Weta Workshop. They commented that I’m geekier in person than I come across on The Skeptics’ Guide. I explained that SGU needs a non-geeky voice sometimes to remind the guys that not everyone cares about what episode of Star Trek most closely predicted the most recent technological breakthrough. So, there are times when I deliberately downplay my own geekiness in order to improve the show’s flow and up the comedy.
But screw it, I gotta get this out there at least as some kind of anecdote to combat Bereznak’s idiocy: I enjoy some things that some people think are geeky, and every partner I’ve ever been with has been geeky in some way. I played Magic: The Gathering in high school (white/green deck) with a girl friend, and I currently play Rift as a level 27 bladedancer* (I haven’t been playing for long, though). I played the trumpet for 10 years or so. I was in the marching band and there were only about a dozen of us because it was a small high school and the band was deeply uncool. I was a magician and a juggler. I’ve seen every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Twice. I love Deep Space Nine.
This is not an attempt to pretend I’m geekier than thou – only to point out that I am a woman, I’m open to geeky interests, and I am not a unicorn. There are plenty more people like me.
OK, I feel a little better.
Look, I did the online dating thing for awhile a few years ago, and sure, you meet a lot of people you don’t click with. And yeah, some dates turn into disasters that we can all laugh at later. But unless your date did something completely over-the-top inappropriate, there’s zero reason to name and (attempt to) shame him.
As it is, I’m pretty sure that Bereznak is the one who is embarrassed right now, though she’ll probably be able to work through it thanks to the check she’ll get from all those blog hits. Finkel is probably swimming in date requests right now. After all, who wouldn’t want to date a world champion game player who is modest enough not to talk about it incessantly and who also plays poker, manages a hedge fund, and takes a first date to see a play about Jeffrey Dahmer’s life? He sounds fucking awesome and I hope that one of you fine single ladies who reads this Tweets him (@JonnyMagic00) and scores a date.
Even if it doesn’t work out, maybe Gawker will pay you to write an article about it later.
*Edit 8/30/11 11:30am: Level 29 now.
Edit 8/30/11 7:30am: First, Finkel has Tweeted his “side,” and it’s clear that he’s being incredibly kind:
Thanks for all the support internet. People want “my side” but it was really a complete non event. Go out on a date that’s kinda blah.
Next day the girl tweets me about what shes reading about me, my reply is merely a prophetic, “Remember to use your powers only for good”
She then texts me about serial killer dreams and I dont reply because I didnt think we had much chemistry. A couple days later I’m home
and I’m a bit bored and I know she works right by me and seemed like the sort of girl I should like so I text her about grabbing a bite
Since I know she works around the corner. An hour later we meet up and it quickly becomes clear I’m bored, she’s bored(I assume)
But its raining heavily out.Eventually I suggest we head out anyways and luckily I find a cab. We go our separate ways and never speak again
At that point I just thought she was a nice girl, which I still mostly think. God knows we’ve all made poor decisions in our lives.
Id like to thank everyone for their messages, and Im sorry I cant reply to them all – especially all the date requests from cute nerdy girls
To be honest the article doesnt really say anything bad except that she doesnt like guys who like magic?
The only thing I really quibble with it “hedge fund uniform” – I’m not sure what that is, but I doubt it includes jeans and boots.
@Jonnymagic00 This should read ‘texts’, not tweets #freudianslip
Meanwhile Harry is demanding more of my attention. He doesn’t understand how important the Internet is. yfrog.com/j217778429j
He is one fine looking cat though. Hide your kitty daughters! yfrog.com/mfqbevj
Also, someone in the comments below linked to the Australian version of Gizmodo, which I didn’t know existed. There, I found an even worse version of Bereznak’s post, which includes gems like:
This is what happens, I thought, when you lie in your online profile. I was lured on a date thinking I’d met a normal finance guy, only to realise he was a champion dweeb in hedge funder’s clothing.
But if everyone stopped lying in their profiles, maybe there also wouldn’t be quite as many OKCupid horror stories to tell.
She’s even worse than I originally thought, calling him a “dweeb” and outright accusing him of lying because he obviously considers that there are more important facets of his character than anything involving Magic: the Gathering. And she ends with this:
Also, for all you world famous nerds out there: Don’t go after two Gawker Media employees and not expect to have a post written about you. We live for this kind of stuff.
I have no words.