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Single Geeks Looking for Love Have It Tough

Store owner plays matchmaker with lovers of anime, Linux and Star Wars.

Posted: February 11, 2008 11:22 a.m.
Updated: April 13, 2008 2:03 a.m.

Canyon Country couple Chris Hudson, 20, and Megan Bunds, 18, keep each other company during Geek Singles Night at the Brave New World Comics store in Newhall.

Geek passions - whether they be reading manga, watching animé, coding in Linux or engaging in online debates over the merits of Lord of the Rings vs. Star Wars - often keep them alone indoors. Not necessarily the most conducive environment for romance.

So to increase the odds of sparks flying, Portlyn & Adam Freeman, co-owners of Brave New World Comics, decided to bring geeks face to face with each other by hosting the first annual Geek Singles Night on Friday at their Newhall store.
"We are the first-ever comic book store that I know of to host a singles night," sad Portlyn, who prefers to be called by her first name only.
The event, which was co-sponsored by the online dating site and Geek Monthly Magazine, offered three live bands, gourmet snacks, and a blind date raffle in which the winners got to share dinner and a movie courtesy of Edwards Cinemas and Spumoni's restaurant.
"We're big on community outreach," said Portlyn, who noted that the store offers a number of events open to the public, such as live music nights and gaming nights. "In addition to work and home, we're that third place where you can feel comfortable spending time."
All of the 100-plus attendees were encouraged to wear a "name tag" that didn't require a name, but instead consisted of a checklist of interests such as CGM, WOW, RPG, LOTR, and SCA.
If you're a geek, you should know what all those acronyms mean.
Despite all the inducements to mingle, many attendees shyly hovered in corners or perused the comic book racks. It was hard to get anyone to admit that they were there to find a date.
"I'm just here to see the band," said one pasty-faced, bespectacled attendee who requested anonymity.
"My friend works here and just told me there was a party going on Friday night," said another.
Seems that fear of approaching the opposite sex, which is common among even the outgoing, is especially pronounced amongst the geek population.
"I'm terrified of it," said Dave Polston, Portlyn's brother and a self-confessed single geek.
However, by the end of the evening, as the wine flowed, so did the conversation.
"I'm a movie buff first, a comic fan second, and a gamer third," one young man was overheard saying.
Lance from Granada Hills, who declined to give his last name, was pleased at the female turnout and happy to be in the company of like-minded people.
"Even 10 years ago there would not have been as many women at an event like this," he said. "But animé and manga changed that."
"There's a lot of on-line dating stuff, but it doesn't compare to actually meeting people in person," he added enthusiastically.
The feedback from the event was so positive that the store plans to host another single's night, possibly as soon as Valentine's Day.
Said Portlyn: "We had so many customers asking when we were going to do it again."


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