Full Disclosure: Should your dating profile out you as a geek?

If you haven’t read “My Brief OkCupid Affair with a World Champion Magic: The Gathering Player”, go have a look; we suspect many of you have, since in less than a day up on Gizmodo it’s already flooded with comments, many of them from very, very angry geeks.

Here’s the gist: A Gizmodo intern went on a blind date with a guy, and it turned out he’s  a famous Magic: The Gathering champion. Yes, he has a Wikipedia page. And yes, she linked to it, in her story explaining why she didn’t want to date him. Accusations of nerd-bashing aside, many commenters took issue with the public airing of something private (presumably without his consent, though either way, he does have seem to have a sense of humor about it). She explains in a disclaimer to the article that whereas it “sounds mean”, it’s really just a comment on the human condition, and maybe a cautionary tale. The moral of the story seemingly being: Maybe something so monumentally geeky as being the Magic: The Gathering world champion should be disclosed on your online dating profile.

Putting aside the issue of whether the story itself was fair or mean or whatever, that is an interesting question – should your geeky tendencies be part of your disclosure? Or is your particular geeky obsession just one interest out of many, even if it is kind of obsessive? My intuition is that a lot of geeks prefer to date other geeks – you don’t just want someone who will tolerate your hobbies but rather celebrate them. And maybe they’re harder to find on OkCupid than some other venues, but I imagine there are lots of girls out there who would think it is wicked cool to go out with someone just like the jilted date in this scenario.

For those of you who use online dating sites, what’s your rule of thumb for how much to disclose?  Are you purposely trying to hook the people who think it will be awesome that you you’re on staff at Dragon*Con and are a world class dungeon master and build robots in your spare time, or are you hoping that whoever you get for a blind date will like you in spite of these things?  Of course, you could just google “geeky dating sites” and take your pick from the already filtered-out as well!

Image: The Blind Date / crises_crs / CC BY-NC 2.0

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53 Responses to Full Disclosure: Should your dating profile out you as a geek?

  1. The only person who comes out of this looking bad is the classless, psycho Gizmodo intern who somehow thought it would be a good idea to tell this story, as if she's the one who is going to get sympathy.

    • I don't think she wanted sympathy. She wanted to warn people to a) be forthcoming in their dating profiles, and b) realize that not everyone will be forthcoming in their dating profiles.

    • This. They're going to find out anyway at some point–why not be myself? I don't have time for people who don't like me for who I am :)

    • Agreed. Anything that takes up that much of a person's life, geeky or otherwise, should definitely be shared up front.

  2. I always put that I'm a geek. I mean…. They are going to quickly find out I play Quidditch three nights a week… Not to mention the stacks of Magic cards and the posters of Star Wars and Potter stuff lining my walls. Might as well rip that band aide quick!

  3. I choose to revel my geekdom in its entirety. i have tried to date people who simply tolerate it, but the fact of the matter is, being tolerated is no fun, under any circumstance. Being a geek is not just a hobby or a pasttime, it’s an entire personality.

  4. I tried online dating and I totally disclosed my interest in anime, WoW, Super Smash Bros., etc. and it was great to get in touch with good-looking guys who share my interest in those geeky areas!

    Online dating didn't workout for me, but that's totally fine. A mutual friend set me up with my future hubby and just when I think we couldn't love each other more, we outdo ourselves! lol (I also disclosed that I am very cheesy and grew up under a rock due to being home schooled, that I'm a die-hart Christian, and love blues dancing.)

    I think it's really just false advertising if you make a dating profile, but don't disclose that you're an avid Magic: The Gathering player if that's what you really are! How will a geeky-chick who loves Magic, too, know you have common interests if you don't post it?

  5. Why should that be some kind of obligation? There were a whole host of things I didn't "disclose" in my OkCupid profile- it's a *profile*, not an autobiography. I agree with Franklin that it was classless, and I agree with the author herself that it was shallow- and makes me hope I never have to be at the same party as she is. Grow up, girl. If you don't want him, I know tons of sweet, smart, funny, geeky folks who'd snap him up in a heartbeat just for being a sweet, smart, funny geeky guy.

  6. I'm pretty open on my various on-line dating profiles that I'm a geek. If someone is going to judge me for that than I don't want to know her!

    And, since I'm seeking a geek, being one myself and being open about it is a good idea anyways.

  7. Besides, how lame. Magic is a freaking card game. Would she refuse to date him if he were a famous poker player? Somehow I doubt it… double standards… what a shallow heifa.

  8. Definitely silly on her part, in my opinion. So the guy has a hobby he's really really good at that she knows nothing about. I wonder if she would have reacted the same if she ended up on a blind date with a guy who remodels vintage cars or if it was just the fact that it's a card game. I think it was her loss, this guy seems awesome.

    • A lot of Douches are douches. Those that play mainstream games meet douches online that do nothing but be assholes because they are to weak to do it in their own lives.

  9. I purposefully made my profile very geeky. It worked ^_^ I think my username was TrekGirl… anyways I have a wonderfully geeky bf with whom I can play many computer games and watch Star Trek and other nice sci-fi :D

  10. Umm … I met my fiance through an online personals site … the ONLY reason I was compelled to send him a msg at first was because he had the balls to set his profile pic as him in a Harry Potter costume. He passed my "what are your favorite 3 books/series and why?" first question test. We were finishing each others' sentences via IM before we ever met in person. Imho, this chick is quite shallow & not able to appreciate what a geek has to offer. and I for one would be more inclined to be impressed rather than ashamed at his accomplishment there … but I'm just a geek, and a girl, what do I know ;p

  11. You pretty much suck, more so for trying to exploit him across two blogs. I hope you die alone with many many cats- like an episode of hoarders.

    • Dear Chuck, this is not the author of that damn article/blog. This a another person showing us the travesty that is that blog and asking our opinion.

  12. What I am wondering is if she is the perfect woman? Do we disclose all of our interests that may cause people's shallowness to kick in? Does she love shoes a little too much? Does she like watching Jersey Shore? Oops, I'm running for the door. I realize we may use these sites to find people we are compatible with, but how much do we really expect it to do for us? Is not the actual dating part to see if we are compatible? Isn't that part of the fun and charm of it? Perhaps Finkel was the one who dodged a bullet in this scenario.

  13. I actually find myself fairly irritated with people that call themselves "geeky" or "nerdy" in their profiles. It's become another stupid, meaningless way for people to label themselves. List your geeky interests, sure, but don't call yourself one.

    Not saying it's a bad title, just… I don't know, people who have a cursory interest in anything not mainstream might call themselves a "geek."

    However, I don't mind if other people call me a geek/nerd whatever. I don't want to say I'm a geek and be out-geeked, after all.

  14. I am perhaps not qualified to reply to this, being happily married without going through (to much) agony that is geek dating, but I do think one should be honest. As other have said, it will come out anyway. I've been trying to convince a friend that he needs to put "Dr. Who" fan on his profile, largely because he is obsessed with it. Anyway, dates don't seem to go well after the whole Doctor thing is revealed (never-mind the DnD) so I don't see the point in hiding your geekness only to later reveal it and scare off the normals. Again, perhaps I'm not the best person to yabber on about this. I agree with smurg… living in a town where it's "cool" to be geeky… I can't stand people using it as a cover for cool, but that's another rant. ttfn.

    • Also… wtf (yes, I just read it). What a horrible person. I don't think HE is missing much there. Geeze.

  15. Good grief, who would want to subject themselves to that kind of rejection? It's better to be straight forward about your favorite hobbies than to pretend they don't exist only to have someone stick their nose up at you later for them and make you feel like dirt.

    I think about what the average woman would do to my perfectly nerdy husband and it terrifies me. He has action figures (one of the biggest collections of Yamcha figures in the US, if not the world), tons of nerdy posters, and comics. He is wonderful, but I don't think the average woman would appreciate–much less understand–his interest in these types of things.

    Thank Goodness I found him before too much damage could be done! Our nerdy hobbies are different, but I appreciate what he's into. I'm quite proud of his Yamcha collection, I've read most of his comics, and I like almost all of his posters. We even have a whole room devoted to our nerdery, we call it "The Room of Nerding". I would not have it any other way.

  16. Should someone out themselves as a geek and/or nerd in an online dating profile? That's a good question. Did she disclose in her profile that, in the even that her date went badly, she was going to announce his name and the grizzly details to the world on a well-known blog?

  17. Ok lets turn things around a bit.

    He was a pro sports player that wanted to find people who liked him for who he is and not what he does so he does not disclose any info about being a pro. Would people have an issue with that?

  18. FWIW, I met my girlfriend though an online dating site: I was bored looking at generic profiles and on a whim did a profile search for the word "geek" and her profile came up. She had written something along the lines of "I'm a geek and proud of it".

    I've now happily been in a relationship with her for almost three years. Honestly it's hard to imagine how my life would have turned out if I hadn't done that random search.

    Neither of us are hard-core geeks with Wikipedia pages mind you.

  19. Here's my thing, I found my fiancee on OkCupid (though we turned out to live only two blocks away from each other). I fully disclosed my geekiness, and she disclosed her's. We both listed our geeky hobbies, and one of the ones we had in common is what resulted in her messaging me.

  20. On OkCupid, I put that I'm geeky, and I'm into games. That's about it. Because, as was stated above, a profile is not an autobiography. More to the point, a dating site profile isn't necessarily the venue for a "hobby resume'", in my opinion. I generally save the specifics for when I'm getting to know someone.
    As for the dating sites that are targeted specifically to geeks, and I'm not knocking them, but they just aren't as effective in some areas. I'm signed up to a couple and even finding people in my city is difficult enough, much less going on a date with someone.

  21. I find it incredibly bad form of her to oust him for going on a relatively blind date. And why on earth should he list MTG as a hobby? The guy has a well-paying job and many other interests apart from it. It just so happens he sued to be the worlds best MTG player and still remains one of the stronger players in the sport. Chances are, though, he's NOT looking for someone else geeky. He's perhaps looking for a "regular" gal with her own hobbies and interests, someone he clicks with on many levels, but not all.

    Gods know, I don't click with all of my GF's hobbies and neither does she mine. We watch the same movies, enjoy much of the same music, then she goes off sailing replica viking ships and I go off judging Grand Prix' and Pro Tours in Magic.

    All that said, I'm happy Finkel dodged that bullet. He's a bright guy with a truly bright future ahead of him. Thank various deities that he wouldn't have to be slowed by a bigot like that bitch.

    • Being a former Magic champ isn't necessarily a reason to dismiss someone as potential relationship material, but I would argue that classifying Magic as a "sport" just might be…

      • They call computer-games eSports and Chess is categorized as a sport. why one arth wouldn't MTG fall udner the same category? It arguably requires more thinking than Chess- one has a finite set of situations, another is ever-changing ;)

        • Nice try…

          Also… Not to derail the current topic, but I've played both quite a bit and I don't think there should be any argument at all that chess requires much more thinking. Whether you win or lose in chess it's all about your mind and strategy. On the contrary, with Magic the cards you own and luck of the draw play quite a role. Magic is typically more fun though!

  22. I think there's a grey area here – on one hand, it would be good to weed out the people who aren't going to like you just because you're nerdy. On the other hand, if someone discloses that they're the world champion/hall of famer/whatever of something, they might get a bunch of responses from fangirls/fanboys. I know I wouldn't want someone to want to date me because I was famous, so maybe he was trying to avoid that kind of situation.

  23. If you don't read the whole article you'll miss the point of her writing, as I would have if I had quit reading before the last paragraph or two.

    She admits that she's shallow about being turned off by the guy's involvement in Magic and compares it to being turned off by someone who bites their nails. She might not care about someone being a nail biter any more than another person might not care about a person playing Magic. In her very unskillful way I think she was pointing out that it's impossible to include every bit of information about you, that might bug another person, in your online profile.

    What she is forgetting is that the same thing happens with anyone you meet, anywhere. If I meet you at the grocery store you're going to have to spend some time getting to know me before you know whether or not we click. In a 5 minute conversation, or even over a night of dinner and talking, you're not going to know everything about my life.

    The guy should consider himself fortunate. She comes across as a very unpleasant and superficial person. I would bet that a crappy car or small apartment would have turned her off just as quickly.

  24. I'm a geek and I prefer to date geeks. If someone doesn't get my Monty Python or Doctor who references, or anything geeky I have to say. Then I don't know if I talk to them, let alone have a romantic relationship with them. Sadly, people are getting picky and I haven't found anyone willing to date me

  25. I'm against full disclosure, I prefer responsible disclosure – say everything, but to a person you already know you can trust. therefore, do not use dating sites, only meet friends sharing your passions, and maybe, some day, you will realize you like one friend more than any other, and want to ask him/her a certain question…
    thought that's just theoretical, I do not engage in any unnecessary inter-human relationships myself, this is only based on my observation of human social interactions, and a person's happiness in a relationship depending on how the other person was met.

  26. There are plenty of attractive, intelligent, socially-adjusted, geeky females who would probably love to date a guy like Jon. The author of this article is an intern at Gizmodo for goodness sake, she should have been thrilled, or Gizmodo seriously needs to heighten their hiring standards.
    On top of that, Jon is no more required to disclose his proclivity for Magic any more than someone is required to state on their profile that they are a world-class athlete. If she had wound up on a date with Michael Phelps the reaction would have been substantially different, which means that she is judging on the geekiness alone, not on the fact that he has a hobby, is good at it, and spends substantial time in its pursuit.
    In reality, the girl is a cad, and she did Jon a favor by declining any more dates later. She did not do anyone any favors by outing herself as a judgmental shrew, nor by treating him as a paraiah, nor by doing so with mediocre writing skills and a stunted vocabulary.
    The only people she did a favor to are those who are geeks, potentially semi-closeted (like myself) who come across her OKCupid profile and can say for certain, "no thanks, I'll pass."

  27. It sounds cliche, but honesty is the best policy. If you enjoy something THAT much it will eventually come out that you have a 18th level Paladin of Freedom with a unicorn mount (Yo.) and shouldn't you want to find someone with similar interests? They may not enjoy the same things you do (or to the extent you do), but you shouldn't change or hide who you are to get a date.

    I know I have a bit of an advantage being a nerd girl, so people tend to praise you for indulging in geeky stuff, but I'd still think honesty is the best policy if I was just a normal girl who enjoyed generic thing too. Also, if someone is going to judge you by your hobbies (unless it's like a puppy killer, then I'd have to be judgmental too) and not get to know you, they probably aren't worth your time.

  28. I don't think the issue is so much about making the information readily available in your profile. What worries me is that her conclusion to "Google your date" comes after dating a gamer/geek/nerd, as if that was something incredibly negative.

    It's fine that she isn't into that aspect, no one is asking her to like it forcibly. But the article is written in a fashion that makes me belief she *wanted* to find something bad about him and that being a gamer was the trigger for her rant.

    Even though he didn't advertise it, he openly admitted his geekness on their first date. He came clean, cards on the table (as if that was something that should carry a warning sign or something). If she wasn't ok with it, instead of backing up, she even went on a second date just to ask him 3 incredibly debatable questions. And THEN she writes down the whole experience as negative because he was a gamer.

    It's really too bad that such classifications are still frowned upon.

  29. "Oh noes! He has a hobby I don't understand and aren't interested in! That means he's not going to be able to devote every waking moment to doing what I want! This date is a disaster!"

    Fuckin' pathetic… she needs to do some serious maturing before she starts looking for anything more than a booty call.

    On an unrelated note, I'm on OKCupid and available for booty calls…

  30. The girl is just an intern and already doing that…, climbing up in the wrong way eh? I haven't tried dating sites myself, but if I have to make a profile about myself would be like a few sentences not all what I like, dislike.

    And the girl can discriminate and whatever, after all, there's a lot of stupid people in the world who just likes someone because it's popular, or stuff like that but c'mon, on a dating site? Anyways posting the article, and pointing out who was the guy = attention whore.

  31. It seems to me that that girl is not only judgemental, but she is also not trying hard enough to find the type of people that she likes on OKC. Yes, if you don't put time and effort into it, OKC will seem like a "seedy, date-rapey bar" but the website tells you that you need to take the initiative and message someone even if you are a girl looking for a guy. Now I did delete my own profile, but that was for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that I had met someone who I was working up the courage to ask out. We met through Magic–that travesty of the dating world apparently. We've been dating for seven months now. I may not be as into it as he is, nor do I know as much about it. But just listening to him talk about it is interesting. But that just may be me, considering I can play solitaire AND spider…

  32. I feel he is in the clear about not broadcasting his status in the Magic: The Gathering community for the sake of women who are so judgmental, such as this intern. The stereotypes attributed to the community would have hurt his chances with girls he would have liked to meet outside of the geekdom. I feel it is like if he were a famous member of a band. He wouldn't want to broadcast it if his goal was to meet someone with different interests besides his career. He would have been flooded with geeks looking to attach themselves onto his fame rather than his personality.

  33. Ar eyou serious? This woman needs a slap in the face! Most of my friends are the sweetest, most talented and intelligent people I know and play Magic, WoW, RIFT, so on and so forth. We cosplay, we sing anime theme songs, and we have fun doing it. This woman makes me sick. BE HAPPY WITH YOUR GEEKINESS! DONT HIDE IT!!!

  34. BTW, my boyfriend and I met through playing DDR in the arcade, and have been dating for almost a year. Screw this woman.

  35. Wow. What a *. He’s a friggin’ world champion. I don’t care if its magic, knitting, or kitten bowling. He is the best in the world at something he does. That is something to be proud of. She should be excited that someone so exceptional would want to date someone as mediocre as her.

  36. You can list whatever the hell you damn well please on your online dating profile, and if he feels like adding MTG to the list, then the more power to him. However, there is no, I repeat, NO obligation whatsoever to add the words "World Champion" to said profile. If she didn't like his level of geekiness, why did she agree to a date with him in the first place, let alone a second? "I feel like being a complete cuntbag today, let's find some poor, unsuspecting schmuck and bash him all over the internet! Oh, he's a Magic the Gathering World Champion? Add fuel to the flame! Now time to burn myself!"

    ~headdesk~ Some people…