Two girls, one Star Wars event, and dozens of geeky men. Could a lady’s chances get any better? Yeah, actually. Much better. Turns out they’re not a bunch of socially awkward, clammy-handed, scared-of-talking-to-women-types. Lots of those guys who spend thousands of dollars on Star Wars costumes, who can name every planet in that galaxy far, far away are taken. Sorry, ladies. These are the results of my research at GELF Magazine’s Star Wars-themed Geeking Out night a few days ago.
In attendance were members of the 501st Legion Empire City Garrison and Del Rey author Jason Fry was present to discuss his book Star Wars: The Essential Atlas and how he and co-author Dan Wallace conceived the project and went about mapping a fictional universe of more then 4,000 planets, moons, and other celestial bodies.
Surrounded by these guys, I thought I was sitting pretty. I thought to myself: “An event like this is too easy, you’re shooting fish in a barrel.” But instead of dorky come-ons, I heard guy after guy speak lovingly about his wife and kids. It was damn heartwarming but also a little surprising. What were these men doing right?
This is where you have to ask yourself, have you ever met a mean dork? Were the guys you knew in high school who played Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering at lunch unkind people? No. Has anyone ever written something dirty about you in Elvish in the men’s room? Lau, le hannon! Would a Trekkie ever kick a puppy? I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t. So it stands to reason that the kind of men who would choose this life of geekdom are also the kind of men who are decent human beings. Maybe it’s because so much of the mythology they follow features quaint old customs like chivalry, honor, and not being a jerk. Next time you’re turned off by a boy who starts talking about Retcon, think to yourself, “Would he get me a ham sandwich at 2.30 in the morning?” Yes. Yes he would. No wonder these guys are taken.
So, as I said, at this event full of happily married men, there were three Imperial representatives from the 501st: Eric Seemann (TB-4619), Chris Feehan (TK-6744), and Steve Iervolino (who dressed in civvies for the evening). They discussed costuming, charities, and, of course, their love of Star Wars. These are the guys that dress up like Stormtroopers so I thought I’d be hearing all about how hard it is to get movie-quality grappling hooks. But no, they’re not just guys who dress up like Stormtroopers. That’d be a little weird, right? They dress up like Stormtroopers and then go out in the world and do good! They go to hospitals and cheer up sick kids! (Side note, I discovered that I’m terrified of Stormtroopers in real life. You can’t see where they’re looking and it’s altogether very frightening to be around them when they have their helmets on and aren’t talking. They addressed this issue vis-à-vis sick children and said that no, they’re not afraid, they think it’s awesome. I guess when you’re a very sick child, you gain some perspective on what’s actually scary.) One of the guys even gave a kidney to a fellow member of the 501st. Isn’t that the sweetest thing ever? Guys who are comfortable with who they are, who like to make kids happy, and who will do extraordinary things for each other are rare enough, get a group of them together and I imagine it would be a pretty inspiring sight.
Do they learn to be nice guys by getting really into Star Wars, or were they just born that way? It’s a chicken and egg question, and I’m sure it’s been debated by more qualified people than I. And yes, yes, before I hear all about jerk ex-boyfriends who valued their special widescreen edition of the original trilogy more than their relationship, I’ll acknowledge that there must be exceptions. I’m sure there’s a guy on death row for killing people who also happens to like Star Wars. Not all great guys are Star Wars nerds and not all Star Wars nerds are great guys, but from what I’ve seen, the odds are good. It’s just a matter of finding one and then freezing him in carbonite and decorating your lair with him.
Elizabeth Paulson is the author of 98 Ways to Find a Great Guy. Number 24 suggests women go to Comic-Con, something Liz is rethinking now that she’s seen all the happily married Star Wars geeks. A version of this post originally appeared on Liz’s blog.