As a female who is a fan of fantasy and all aspects of nerd lore, I was lucky enough to be introduced to the extensive universe at a very young age and in a way that wasn’t overwhelming or too far beyond anything I could relate to at the time. If you’re a guy looking to pass on a passion to an important gal, follow my advice and hopefully, you can get your girl involved in a way that exposes her to your passions and is still friendly to feminine interest.
Keep in mind, I am not proposing that you attempt to change or influence a woman in any way, shape or form but rather, give her the opportunity to share an appreciation for what you love (without overwhelming her, of course). The purpose is to provide advice from my own experiences and offer guidance to someone who is looking to have a stronger hobby-centric bond with their significant other.
First and foremost, gauge her interests and her general level of innate nerd appreciation. If she has no idea who Gandalf is, that Nintendo doesn’t make the Xbox One, or just downright can’t stand medieval fantasy, you should take this into consideration when introducing her to your world. All of these things and more are detrimental to a successful hobby hand-off.
When it comes to fantasy/sci-fi films, try to avoid any productions that involve a vast complicated universes such as Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, or The Lord of the Rings (Star Wars can be debated since it is both complex and relatively easy to grasp). These films are a little extreme for a novice fantasy enthusiast and it may be wise to start with films that are funny and contain classic “crowd-pleasing” but still off-beat themes.
I would suggest Princess Bride as a starter and if she likes the medieval fantasy/comedy theme I would continue the exploration with a few Monty Python films. As you progress, segue into a few popular Mel Brooks works with great films such as Spaceballs or Blazing Saddles. If she is a huge Disney fan, a good idea would be to sample a few Studio Ghibli productions like Spirited Away or My Neighbor Totoro to evoke an appreciation for Japanese animation. It is very important not to forget to discuss these films to receive feedback and to inspire excitement for bigger and better films to come.
I’ve come to find that most of my female friends who aren’t very well-versed in comic books are more-so drawn to comics with a more detailed story as opposed to the typical superhero grind. As much as women are creatures who are drawn to beauty and empowerment, they are innate thinkers who appreciate stories with a little more substance and maybe a little less flare (every woman is different of course). The number one comic series I can’t recommend enough is Saga. Although this story has a strong romantic presence, it is by far one of the most beautiful tales I have ever read, not to mention the comic’s gorgeous illustrations as well.
Another great comic I recommend for women is Fables. This long-running series revolves around the lives of fairy tale characters living in the real world while facing numerous challenges (It is also the base universe for Telltale’s episodic, The Wolf Among Us). As a whole, comic books require far more investment in terms of preference in comparison to film, due to the fact that imagination takes a stronger presence in the reader’s experience. So once again, make sure to pay attention to feedback so that she doesn’t lose interest.
Choosing the proper anime might be your most difficult challenge, considering that there are anime shows that include monsters, sexy centaurs, and even magical ninjas. If you find that she enjoys horror or aliens, perhaps Parasyte –the maxim, Claymore, Attack on Titan, or Hell Girl would make for good picks. If she likes bubblier, “kawaii” anime, Sailor Moon Crystal, Ouran Host Club, or Karen could possibly suit her preference.
Lastly, no one is complete without a core gaming affiliation. First thing you must take into consideration is that nothing is harder to categorize than a person’s video game preference. Not all girls like playing Sims and not all girls like first person shooters. While some ladies like Harvest Moon, others may be into Skyrim or League of Legends. The best thing to do is to provide a variety of choices and observe the way she adapts to the game’s functions. If she is not great with accuracy or focus, perhaps a grinding game with less action or more strategy is better. If that is the case, try out games such as Pokemon or any general dungeon crawler for size.
I would suggest introducing her to AAA titles over the more underrated, complex, or indie titles. Perhaps Batman Arkham Asylum, Assassins Creed, or the Bioshock games would be a good start. It is also important to note that cooperative gaming makes the first time experience more enjoyable. This sense of companionship alleviates the overwhelming feeling of being too in control and allows the player to relax and enjoy the partnership. In terms of co-op games, I would consider trying Left 4 Dead 1 and 2, Gears of War, Minecraft, or Portal 2. Although video game styles may change, the love for strategy, exploration, and a rich narrative never really leaves a player, so let these tools guide your recommendations.
If she enjoys a simpler experience that involves a more grinding style of play than anything, titles such as Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, The Sims, Viva Pinata, or Rune Factory would be perfect picks. If you find that she enjoys RPGs; Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, Fable, or Dragon Age are life changers. In the event that she only enjoys first-person shooters, well, you know which titles to pick; Halo, Call of Duty, Resistance or Battlefield.
The goal is to not be too overwhelming but to not hand her garbage either. Also, take her general preferences into consideration. If she hates being scared or despises everything horror related, perhaps Left 4 Dead and Bioshock wouldn’t make the best picks. If she isn’t very feminine and enjoys more rough and tumble activities, than I would avoid showing her the cutesy fantasy grinding games. Either way, getting her on board at the right time and at the right moment is make-or-break. You got one shot kid, so make it count!
Also, if she does end up loving all things nerd, please don’t let her pose in selfies with headsets and cleavage with “#gamergurl” for the caption. Most importantly, advise her against engaging in arguments over things she just recently picked up. Although you should guide her passions, you should also consider informing her that the nerd community includes harsh judgments, bold statements, and everyone’s preferences are different. The road for a girl nerd is a rough one; make sure to prepare her for it.
Lastly and most importantly; don’t ever try and change your friend or significant other into someone that they are not, even if it makes your life easier. Your lady could possibly be on the Internet at this very moment reading a similar piece on “how to turn my boyfriend into a vegetarian.” Bottom line: life is all about choices and learning new things, so exploration should be on both of your agendas. Learn more about her and in turn, she should try to learn more about you. Good luck nerding!