blerd2012 saw the rise of the black nerd in mainstream media. Don’t believe us? Check with CNN. Or The Washington Post. Or NPR.

Though the concept of segregating nerddom along racial lines is a bit suspect and certainly has its detractors, the newfound attention black nerds are attracting doesn’t seem to be abating.

If you’ve ever dated a brother whose a Trekkie, a Civil War buff, a Nate Silveresque statistician, a robotics crafter, a fantasy enthusiast, or a comic book/gaming hobbyist, you already know that black nerds — also known by their corny portmanteau, ‘blerds’ — very rarely resemble Steve Urkel in fashion sense or in carriage. And the most interesting ones don’t often refer to themselves as “nerds” unironically. You may also know that what mainstream media identifies as nerddom may also be geekdom. (Apparently the two are distinguishable, but for the purposes of this piece, we’re going to use ‘blerd’ to refer to both).

In any event, there’s a bit of an art form to making a relationship thrive with a nerdy guy.

If you’re new to the game, here are a few tips to ease your tension:

1. Embrace, don’t efface.

Listen, if a dude’s a Trekkie or Star Wars buff when you meet him, and he has an annual date with a Con that involves cosplay, accept that. In fact, affirm that. If he’s not embarrassed that he dresses up like a Stormtrooper or Vulcan once or twice a year, you probably shouldn’t be either.

2. Allow for idiosyncratic conversation.

If you’re out to dinner and the conversation veers off into obscure territory, go with it. We’re not saying you should have to learn Klingon or bone up on quantum-controlled mobile robots to talk to your date. He should be able to balance discussion of his interests with discussion of yours. But understand that dating a blerd sometimes means listening to the various plot progressions of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age Batmans. If you like him enough, this might be a turn-on.

3. Don’t feign great interest.

It’s best to be upfront about just how little you know (or care) about your date’s nerdy niches. He’ll respect you for that. And you don’t have to pretend to be into touring civil war battlegrounds in your free time (which is a win).

4. Develop *some* interest.

You’d be surprised at how much insight you can gain about a significant other by making just a small amount of effort to infiltrate a very specific culture/field in which he’s deeply interested. Even if you never become a lover of small-scale model-building, trying to build a replica just once could help you appreciate how much patience and serenity that exercise can cultivate.

5. There’s no formula.

Take all these tips with a grain of salt. This advice applies to most personality types, not just nerds, geeks, and gamers. In any new relationship, don’t go in looking to change your partner or yourself. Honor who you both are, as you both are. Figure out how much idiosyncrasy you can tolerate, and above all, enjoy the process of learning how someone else thinks. That’s almost always worth the ride.

  • A.

    I despise the term “blerd”. Are black nerds really such a rare breed that they need to differentiate us from “regular” (white) nerds with a stupid name? -_-

  • binks

    This! I don’t get the needing to differentiate as well. A nerd is a nerd is a nerd wheather you are black, white, Asian, etc. let’s stop splitting hairs. But these are some good tips in any dating situation.

  • Anthony

    As a nerdy guy myself, I will confirm that the author gave some great advice. If you like the guy, don’t spend your time wishing he were “regular.” He is what he is, you can like that or learn to like that, but he will probably make a pitiful regular gut.

    By all means learn about stuff he likes, and if you can get into to it, do that too, but don’t fake it because inevitably, once you think you’ve “got him,” you will stop faking, and then the s**t will hit the fan!

    Of course, he should be into you and learn about what you like and appreciate where you are coming from too if you are going to have a prayer.

  • http://gravatar.com/retatas retatasJ

    ita a boy blerd would be best with a girl nerd- they would get along together fine with out someone faking they like what they like

  • Mademoiselle

    I’ll add that I also hate that “dating a nerd” (of any persuasion) is now the thing to do. Smart people/sci-fi enthusiasts/novelty collectors/etc aren’t (and never were) novelty items. If you’re into them, dating one is no different than dating a “non-nerd”. If you’re not, don’t expect these lessons to make dating one a cake walk because THEY ARE NOT NOVELTY ITEMS.

    I might be alone on this next thought, but that said: down with the words “nerd,” “geek,” and all those other terms that were once used to bully people based on their intelligence and niche hobbies. They still hurt even if the “cool kids” decided to start giving them some fake avante-garde hipster appeal.

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