Last night, someone on Twitter asked if I was single... from his company's account. I found it unprofessional, but I also felt for him. The month before Valentine's Day can be lonely. Thankfully, Chicago is filled with places to meet that very special geek guy or girl.
Partially in response to this odd exchange, I've assembled a list. I have personally tried and enjoyed all of these local ways to meet geek singles. Best of all, for most of them, you don't even have to leave your couch! ...Well, at first. Eventually you should leave your couch. Dates are fun.
1. The Chicago Nerd Social Club - This organization has been around for years, sponsoring everything from book clubs to science pubs. The Chicago Nerd Social Club offers casual, non-committal environments for groups. I judged the costume contest at their last Nerd-o-Ween party, and can attest to the amount of single, smart, creative nerds present. Their next gathering is a board game night for new members- the perfect opportunity!
* Next Event: Newbie Welcoming Party- Saturday, February 2nd, 5PM. Fat Cat, 4840 N. Broadway. FREE.
* Official Website * Facebook
2. Nerds at Heart - If you're serious about pursuing a relationship, a paid organization might be for you. Nerds at Heart is a national operation with hetero and queer branches in Chicago. Their monthly events include activities like board games, speed dating, or "Nerderati" field trips. Each one costs about $30, but there's no permanent subscription involved. NaH's next Chi-town event is on Valentine's Day itself. Nobody has to spend the holiday alone.
* Next Event: Sixth Annual Love Fest - Thursday, February 14th, 7PM. Rebel Bar and Grill, 3462 N. Clark. $30, sign up HERE.)
* Official Website * Hetero Meetup * Queer Meetup
3. Geeky Singles Meetup Group - This group was created in direct response to Nerds at Heart's fees. The Geeky Singles group is free to join, and advocates being honest about who you are and the things you love. As far as I can tell, they are Chicago-exclusive. They've had one event so far- a board game night- and it looks like need more attendees. Sign up, say hello, and help boost the signal.
* Meetup Website
4. Sci-Fi Speed Dating - While you won't be able to do this before Valentine's Day, it's worth remembering. Sci-Fi Speed Dating happens at conventions across the US. Host Ryan Glitch has mastered the logistics of a fun, smooth event. There's even a TV Show- Geek Love. Something so huge naturally has its issues; bristling remarks about geeks' social skills are made now and then, and there have been reports of trolls showing up. However, the pros outweigh the cons. Sci-Fi Speed Dating was at both major Chicago conventions this year... hopefully we'll see a return!
* Next Event: Unknown. Possibly C2E2 - Friday, April 26th- Sunday, April 28th? McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive. $25+
* Facebook Page
5. OKCupid - I know what you're thinking. OKCupid isn't geek-oriented, and could seem downright scary thanks to shaming tumblrs like OKCenemies and Nice Guys of OKCupid. Actually, it's pretty rad. I know from experience that you get out of OKC what you put in. If you create a rich profile and answer lots of personality questions (I did over 300), you'll be given matches that are just as invested... and geeky! Yes, you'll have to tolerate sex-seekers, bad grammar, and easily-angered folks galore, but it's worth it. I met cosplayers, scientists, video game designers, and comic artists... for free!
BONUS! Sites to Avoid - While doing research, I found a few places that aren't worth your time.
* Geek2Geek - Don't bother. There's nothing geek-specific about its clientele.
* OtakuBooty - The interface is pretty tough to deal with. Plus, the site has become less about dating. If you're on the Internet as much as I am, you don't need another funny pictures/commentary resource.
* Geek's Dream Girl - To be fair, the lady behind GDG appears to have talent and good intentions. The writing prompts are helpful, the GenCon panels look fun, and there are some sweet testimonials. However, I just can't get behind paying money for someone else to write a dating site profile. The biggest issue for me is that the "Great Dates" list for Chicago is full of tourist-y spots. I'll be posting a much more local-friendly list of my own soon.
Good luck, gentle readers, and remember to be yourselves when meeting someone new. :)
Where's your favorite place to meet local geeks? If you have a significant other, how did you meet them? Post your stories below.
GGC Valentine's Day articles will continue through the next few weeks with gift ideas for Bronies, video games for couples, and much more!