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.

  • Mademoiselle

    @lola I don’t know what Weezer is, but I know I still have even family members that call me a nerd, and I know it stems from a time when being a nerd was not considered a good thing because they recently started tempering it with “oh, but we still love you” when nerd became a trend.

  • ChillyRoad

    Im not interested in nerds. They’re a tiny minority of odd balls of varying IQ points. Personally I like blue collar men. They make the world go round. They are the every day guys that people take for granted. I also love the tradition within the black community of auto didacticism. I love self taught men. Accredited or not, I love a man who takes a personal interest in anything i.e. sports, politics, history, religion, geography. \

    I have more use for a mechanic or a plumber than a nerd but then again a nerd can be a mechanic or a plumber.

    Still, give me a blue collar man any day of the week. An honest days work and a thirst for personal interest.

  • Anthony

    here are lots of blue collar nerds. Nerds are by definition autodidacts. Afterall, you are not going to get a degree in Star Trek or Civil War re-enacting.

  • Kay

    I’ve always loved so-called “Blerds,” and never needed instruction on how to deal with them. Usually a blerd is just a Black man who is extremely intelligent who has eclectic interests. If you’re a person that is on that level you will easily get along. I don’t see what the problem is. If you can’t accept someone wholeheartedly, then maybe one should rethink the relationship. Just sayin’…..

  • Kay

    Yes! I wholeheartedly agree. I hate how now all of a sudden “nerds,” are in. *rolls eyes* As a former “nerd,” myself, I always took offense to the idea that men and women can’t be intelligent without some term being thrown at them. Now all of a sudden there are guides on getting and dating a “geek.” If you’re going to be with someone, date them because you like them, not because it’s an “in” thing.

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