Arts & Culture News

Romancing The Nerd: 5 Tips For Keeping The Proust-Toting Nerd's Heart A-Flutter

Everywhere you look, even in a posh city like Dallas, nerds abound. Sexy nerds, geeks and dorks.

While some aren't willing to claim their nerdery, others are out in the open, letting the geek flag fly. That said, it's important to know that nerds are not normal humans easily snowed with quotidian dating devices.

You see, the nerds, they are a passionate sort who can obsess and pedantically over-analyzing ideas largely disparaged as "uncool" or unfashionable. But, as a result, a healthy nerdy relationship will likely be one of great substance and insatiable desire. Insatiable. Desire.

While they may seem socially awkward from time-to-time, get to know a nerd and you get to know a human truly engaged, excitedly and honestly searching for thrills that are boldly life-affirming. That's assuming, of course, you actually take the time to listen to what the nerd-in-question has to say about his or her passions (rather than dozing off when String Theory or Jude the Obscure comes up in small talk). If you don't, at least a percentage of the time, you deserve your bored fate.

Do remember, though, not all nerds are built the same, so over the next few months we'll be examining the different types of nerdery and how you can tend to your beloved's pocket-protected heart. After the jump, we tackle our first species, the Literary Nerd. Hope you've brushed up on your James Joyce.

The Literary Brainiac is best found in one of Dallas' trendy coffee shops, so look past the hipsters at The Pearl Cup for a lovely lady or gent brandishing a Proust hardback. In the event that you stumble upon a graduate student, tread lightly. You will need to be conversant in at least one major tome of classic literature, if not familiar with the better part of the Western canon. Do not respond to questions regarding authorial intention. It is a trick and a landmine.

Should you and hot Lit Nerd hit it off, there's a strong chance that a long-term relationship can develop. We're talking falling in mad love here, brother. Sure, you two will have your differences, and occasionally Lit Nerd's not going to want to go to the movie theater for another date night. We're not suggesting you adopt a new personality or forego your own hobbies, but every once in a while it's nice to show Lit Nerd how much you care by catering to his or her soft spot, literature.

1. First-Edition Foreplay Your nerd already has copies of canonical literature, so consider presenting your erudite paramour with a rare or unusual copy of an old favorite. First editions are hard to find and can be expensive, but you might come across a hidden gem at spots like Rosedale Rare Books, Raven Rare Books or even Half Price Books. Signed copies are also coveted, but if you don't have the dough, consider a copy of something personally significant -- perhaps you discussed a sense of disorienting foreboding on your Kafkaesque first date, or lusted together over Milton's sexy Satan -- with a personalized inscription to the one you love (or could potentially see yourself possibly liking under certain contingencies). If this happens to be, alternatively, an inherently romantic text, consider highlighting certain passages and marking them with a nice bookmark.

2. Get Into Character For the truly adventurous, plan a date inspired by your beloved's beloved author or text. We don't suggest you head out to Ghost Bar duded up in full-on Victorian garb, unless of course this will guarantee your getting laid, but consider basing your meal and cocktails, even your clothing, on fun literary references. It can be as simple as a daisy in your gal's hair (or guy's boutonnière) to represent F. Scott Fitzgerald's glamorous, if shallow, Daisy Buchanan from his tragic of oh-so-tragic novels, The Great Gatsby. Or, keep an eye out for a 1920's- inspired cocktail dress at a local thrift store such as Dallas Vintage Shop or Dolly Python. For those on a budget, Goodwill rarely fails to impress. For dinner, you could take a cue from the aforementioned Fitzgerald and go with straight gin, but steer clear of any rotten wedding cakes or gruel for your Dickensian sweetie, and eschew War (in favor of Peace, naturally) by passing on cabbage.

3. Build The Love Sometimes a relationship just needs a little wood. Any true literature nerd's tiny, tweedy apartment is perpetually running out of room for inevitable additions, and there are likely three to five stacks of unshelved books lying about. We suggest checking with your nerd first, but you could take a big risk and just pop by with a new piece of major furniture. Nerds aren't typically known for strong inclinations toward trendiness, and many will appreciate a unique, vintage piece from a second-hand store such as Thrift Town in Oak Cliff or a true antique from one of the stores popping up every day in the rapidly gentrifying Design District. If you're crafty, a handmade piece (by you) would categorically guarantee an offer to procreate. Don't forget a ladder. Every really sexy bookcase has a ladder.

4. Picnic in the Park Summer is upon us and Dallas has a number of outdoor festivals, musical performances and plays. Shakespeare in the Park is the perfect way to round out an evening of cross-dressing and frolicking in the woods à la A Midsummer Night's Dream. This summer schedule includes Cyrano de Bergerac, As You Like It and Hamlet, so pack a blanket and a delectable (heat appropriate) dinner. Be sure to bring your well-read darling's favorite beer or wine (no hard liquor in the park, folks. Keep it clean). To go the extra mile, memorize a few lines of one of the Bard's more romantic sonnets to whisper to your swooning nerd, though, perhaps not when the Great Dane is really topping out the mind-losing.

5. Prose with Heart Create your own legendary romance (or tragedy) by penning an original poem or piece of short fiction. Chances are you're no Keats, so treat your own "Bright Star" to something short and humbly realistic. Self-deprecating (to a point) humor is always a safe bet. Just show that you've actually been paying attention by mimicking, or parodying, a piece your lovely literati has mentioned either adoring or hating. Disparage Kundera or offer a Kunderan homage -- just be sure to remember correctly whether The Unbearable Lightness of Being "totally rearranged [your nerd's] universe," for the better or for the worse.

Stay tuned for upcoming romantic ideas for politicos, mad scientists and nerds of all design.

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Brentney Hamilton