A few months back I met Dino Andrade, the driving force behind SoulGeek, the dating website that specializes in fanboy and fangirl love. Andrade came to the Los Angeles Times to give me his high-energy pitch for coverage and I had every intention to write about him but, well, we all get busy. Now I’m happy to say Elina Shatkin beat me to the punch. Here’s an excerpt from her piece for Brand X …
Dating isn’t rocket science. It’s harder.
Kevin Grazier is about as close to a real-life rocket scientist as you can get. He’s got a PhD in planetary physics, a steady job as an investigation scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and probably the most envied gig in nerd-dom: scientific consultant for the “Battlestar Galactica” and “Eureka” series. What he doesn’t have is a girlfriend.
“Don’t be sad and lonely — like me,” Grazier says and bows his head in mock shame when introduced at a recent meet-up for SoulGeek.com, a dating site for comic book, sci-fi, fantasy, anime, horror, manga and cosplay fans.
Actually, Grazier isn’t sad or lonely. By his own account, he’s had a fairly robust dating life. Recently out of a relationship, he isn’t looking for romance — at least not right now. He attended the event to support his pal, “Battlestar” actor Richard Hatch, who has a thriving sideline career leading relationship seminars. But like many self-identified geeks, Grazier has heard the disparaging refrain from potential partners: “You don’t dress up and go to those conventions, do you?”
“I stopped caring a long time ago,” Grazier says. “That’s a prerequisite for anyone I date: They either have to be tolerant or be [a geek] themselves.”
The secrecy, the shame, the self-loathing — voice actor Dino Andrade understands the tangled emotions that come with self-identifying as a geek. Andrade, who can be heard as such characters as Rice Krispies elf Pop and the Scarecrow in the “Batman: Arkham Asylum” video game, became a widower in his 30s when his wife and fellow geek, voice actress Mary Kay Bergman, committed suicide. When he was ready to start dating again, he did what a lot of people do: He went online.
“I went on every major dating site,” he says, “but I always created two profiles, a ‘geek profile’ and a ‘normal profile.’” It didn’t work. Sooner or later, he always had to come out of the geek closet. After giving up on mainstream dating sites, Andrade wrote his happy ending…
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– Elina Shatkin
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Photo: Above, Qa’bob, a member of the local branch of the Klingon Assault Group, helps Cammie Richardson, 27, try on traditional Klingon garb at the August 2009 SoulGeek.com meetup. Credit: Rob Takata. Chris Pine photo by Jay L. Clendenin /Los Angeles Times