Smith, Eric. The Geek's Guide to Dating
December 3rd 2013
by Quirk Books
Copy received from the author.
Disclaimer: This is NOT a middle grade book. It is clearly meant for men in their early twenties to thirties, but I know that many of my readers would identify with this book or know someone who needs it. This copy is going to my 18-year-old son, who will understand the references that I didn't! Books like this are the reason that preordering exists. If you are a geek of any description, you should probably buy half a dozen copies to keep on hand to give for the holidays!
Even though this book is a bit cute, with "8-bit illustrations" (which must mean that they look like Space Invader characters), it has really good advice. I especially liked that the first chapters were concerned with deciding who you are. Sure, it's cloaked in video gaming language, but it makes a lot of sense. The following chapters offer advice on everything from what to wear (a huge topic of concern for someone like my son, who owns only Weird Al, Pink Floyd, Star Wars, and travel t shirts) to how to ask a girl out, what to do on a first date, and how to deal with following up on a first date, and planning others. There is a little bit about sex (I could have done without the detailed description of how to remove a bra, but it makes sense given the target demographic), but it is not detailed and the information is good (Along the lines of: Think this is an awkward conversation? It is, which is why sex on a first date is not a good idea.). While this is aimed primarily at men, there is a very nice explanation in the front about how this books could be adapted for use by geek grrrls. Since my daughter (who is a sophomore in college) has her own coconut shells and can quote Monty Python, she definitely needs to read this, too.
Strengths: Even without the various geek references (some of which I got; many I did not), this would be a solid guide to dating and social situations. Narrowing the advice to a specific niche market makes it all the more useful. I can see this going off to college with my son (he got into the University of Toledo and will be majoring in pharmacy!), even though he might not admit it.
Weaknesses: No mention of Weird Al. This seems like a major oversight. This book should have been around in the early 80s, when it would have been most useful to me personally. The content would have been different (how to chat up girls while you are waiting in line to see Star Wars for the 70th time, how to use your love of Tolkien and D&D to connect), the advice would have been useful.
Of course, what I took away from this as a Mother of Geeks (I was an academic/poetry geek and their father was a Tolkien/Monty Python aficionado; we met in a Latin class. They had no chance.) was that I can buy my son a pair of desert boots so he can ditch his running shoes (hey, Chucks don't hold up to a lot of walking, even if they look cooler!), and that my advice to my daughter to get a job at a campus engineering library and show up in slightly tight Star Wars and Harry Potter t-shirts was spot on!