The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures. Everything from comic books to sci-fi has a fascination with sex and love. During my stroll along the convention floor at FanExpo Canada last weekend in Toronto, I saw a young man fondle the breasts of a comic-book statue and dozens of ergonomic Anime mousepads, where your wrist would rest comfortably on the padded breasts of a cartoon vixen. For those of you who haven't been to FanExpo before, this may sound weird.
But it isn't, when you consider that the event is a gathering of over 90, passionate nerds and geeks, many of whom have trouble releasing all their sexual tension.
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Some mask it by dressing up. If you're a woman, your costume is sexy. Think skimpy, dominatrix-like outfit from anime series. Or skin-tight spandex for a crime-fighting female comic book character. I wore decidedly the least sexy costume: The Next Generation uniform circa Season 1. It's polyester and goes from my ankles to my wrist to my chin.
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Despite this, I tested my luck at one of FanExpo's 15 speed-dating sessions, hosted by 25dates. A total of men did, and of them got stuck on the wait list and never made it to the dating tables. You're given three minutes with each suitor — a brief window, but it allowed me to peer into a culture that is equal parts sexually frustrated and misunderstood. A hip-looking guy in a tight shirt and black ball cap sat down. Before his butt hit the seat, he introduced himself and said: I remove my purple specs and flutter my eyes I think this is flirting, right?
Don't you have contacts? My glasses are kind of my thing.
Changing the topic quickly, he asked me how old I was. This guy was a jerk. I could see that at least. I didn't realize after the date that that was a line he used on all bespectacled ladies. Unfortunately for him, it backfired. About halfway through my 25 dates, a man lumbered over to my table. Probably 6 foot 2 or 6 foot 3 at least.
He wore a black dress shirt, black pants and a black tie. With his sleek black hair and muscular body, he was indistinguishable from a regular, non-Fan speed dater.
Except that he had looped the Blue Lantern ring through his tie. Fittingly, the blue power ring is fuelled by hope. His first question to me, after sitting down and introducing himself, was to rank the Star Trek franchises from best to worst. Frankly, someone who likes Star Trek: It's like pairing a cat person with a dog person. A few tables down from me there was a young woman dressed in the white robe of Princess Leia. A cleancut young man in an impressively authentic Star Trek uniform, parading around as a young Captain Jean-Luc Picard, sat down with her.
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I have no idea how their date went but from an aesthetic and sci-fi Fan point of view, this was easily the greatest crossover coupling. Leia's feisty spirit would be perfectly complemented by Picard's rational, steady approach to everything. A match made in the holy sci-fi nerddom. My last date was a man who used his income from his pharmacy job to pursue his passion as a costume designer.
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And yes, he was in a costume. Sporting a blood-splattered white dress shirt, brown slacks, a stripe tie and a Foree Electric nametag, it was clear even to me and I haven't seen the movie that he was the zombie-slaying Shaun from Shaun of the Dead. Because I am truly terrible at interviewing people, my conversation with Ryan quickly turned into my own monologue about the stress of being a geek girl in the dating scene.
It was at this point that Ryan suggested I participate in the 3pm session. For the most part, Sci-Fi Speed Dating is like any other speed dating experiences. Ryan runs the whole show and is very clearly in favor of the experience being safe and comfortable for the women participating. Before beginning he speaks to all of the female participants and tells them that if they are having problems with any of the gentlemen to let him know.
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The rest of the experience seems fairly self-explanatory. You have three minutes to talk to the person in front of you before the men rotate clockwise to the next lady. All in all, I really enjoyed the process. I also met some really cool fellow geek girls. Before the gentlemen callers were brought into the room, we ladies had some time to bond over both geeky and girly things. If I have one complaint about Sci-Fi Speed Dating it is that the ages of all participants varied quite widely. I talked to guys that were 19 to maybe early 40s.