Oh, the wonders of modern-day dating. When you’re not being ghosted, haunted, or zombied, you have to deal with the chance that the cute guy you matched with on the app, and exchanged gifs with, is actually a bit of creeper in person. We’ve basically entered some sort of dating Russian roulette where, despite taking plenty of precautions, there's still a chance that the person sitting next to you at the bar will drop some of bizarre fact or comment as you sip your whiskey sour.
I don’t want to sound judgmental, because I always try to keep an open mind. But let’s face it, when you’re on a first date and the guy starts going on about some government conspiracy theory, you know it’s time to excuse yourself and then pretend you got a phone call about a family emergency while you were in the bathroom. But what happens when, after a couple of dates, you start developing feelings for the guy you’ve been seeing? Then, one day, you’re texting back and forth about the next time you’ll meet. You tell him you’re swamped on Tuesday but Friday’s cool. Then he answers he can’t, because he LARPs on Fridays. Yeah, he forgot to mention that once a week he’s actually a Wizard Warrior.
Okay, first off, put the phone down and take a deep breath. I’m sorry, LARP people and anyone who's into any kind of role-play game thing. For those of us who don’t engage in this sort of thing, it is a bit of a shock to hear that the guy who works nine to five at a bank also pretends to be a sorcerer every week. I mean, I’ve done very mild forms of cosplay, and by that I mean I dressed up as my favorite character but remained myself otherwise. Actually, to be honest, I was creeped out by all the people acting like Harley Quinn and the Joker. I mean, it’s cool to have a hobby, but let’s not act like this isn’t slightly disturbing.
Despite all the TV shows and movies telling me that nerdy geeks are the best boyfriends, I feel like I need to inject a bit of my own experience here: they’re still people, and some people really suck, especially at relationships. As women, we’re called shallow and stupid for not corresponding the guy who tells us that he just spent his entire paycheck buying a limited-edition sword online. But, has anyone ever told a man to give the woman who can quote her favorite Sci-Fi character verbatim a shot? Yes, being a male geek is now a socially acceptable archetype. But women who like niche activities are still fetishized or discarded.
If a woman comes out to her coworkers as a cosplayer, it’s inevitable that someone will ask her just how sexy her outfits are. She might even get a wink with a “I’d love to check out your whip collection.” Or she’ll be called a weirdo. There’s no middle ground. And, unlike geeky guys, nobody will judge the man who says he won’t date her because she’s too weird. God forbid she likes cats as well because that would make her a crazy cat lady.
Hana Michel, a comedian who has entire stand-up shows about dating guys who collect swords, talks about this. “We believe cat ladies have 'given up,’ but a guy whose bedroom is littered with weapons is still super-inviting.”
I’m not saying that a LARPer and a Non-LARPer can't be a couple. But, just because one party chooses to spend their time doing this does not mean the other person has to share this hobby. In fact, if someone is looking to date another person who does this sort of activity, there are plenty of dating apps devoted to just that. Seriously, look up LARP Dating and you’ll find your fair share of options. But in order to have a healthy relationship between two people who don’t have the same interests, it’s important to be honest from the start. Don’t judge the other person if they don’t think it’s the best thing ever. And the other side should not be so quick to discard their date as a possible serial killer. It’s about trying to focus on the things you both have in common and start building from there.
So, don’t run if the one you’re falling for tells you about their “secret life”. Ask them to explain it to you. Even if you never head out with them to an immersive experience of being a medieval sword master, you can support them following there happiness. And that’s more important. That both of you respect each other and understand that you don’t need to agree on everything, just on the stuff that really matters.