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A man, a woman, and Magic.

August 30, 2011

Photo by Acusticoz

It apparently needs to be said. None of us is perfect, and not all women are alike.

There is a tizzy on the tech blog Gizmodo over a blog post by Alyssa Bereznak. (The Australian version is a bit nastier.) Bereznak “got drunk” and made an OKCupid profile. After many responses from creeps and losers, she eventually made contact with a man named Jon. Jon seemed cool. No, that’s not right. In her words, “Jon seemed normal.” So the two of them decided to meet over drinks to get to know one another better.

We started talking about normal stuff—family, work, college. I told him my brother was a gamer. And then he casually mentioned that he played Magic: The Gatheringwhen he was younger.

“Actually,” he paused. “I’m the world champion.”

I’m going to jump in here and say I have played Magic. Back in the day, my school chums and I would play between Speech and Debate matches. I was really bad at it. I once traded a powerful lance card for a less valuable but much prettier unicorn card. I actually went to a gaming group recently and got five packs of Magic cards as a door prize, and might just take it up again for shits and giggles. But I digress.

To Bereznak, an editor of Gizmodo, a blog about technology of all things, a grown man playing Magic: The Gathering is akin to puppy kicking. He’s a nerd, and she is offended. She continues in horrified disbelief:

The next day I Googled my date and a wealth of information flowed into my browser. A Wikipedia page! Competition videos! Fanboy forums comparing him to Chuck Norris! This guy isn’t just some professional who dabbled in card games at a tender age. He’s Jon motherfucking Finkel, the man who is so widely revered in the game of Magic that he’s been immortalized in his own playing card.

As I read this paragraph, I thought, “Oh, that’s cool!” But while she went on a second date, Bereznak was unimpressed.

At dinner I got straight down to it. Did he still play? “Yes.” Strike one. How often? “I’m preparing for a tournament this weekend.” Strike two. Who did he hang out with? “I’ve met all my best friends through Magic.” Strike three. I smiled and nodded and listened. Eventually I even felt a little bit bad that I didn’t know shit about the game. Here was a guy who had dedicated a good chunk of his life to mastering Magic, on a date with a girl who can barely play Solitaire. This is what happens, I thought, when you leave things out of your online profile.

Wait wait wait. He was obligated to list his Magic hobby in his profile? Somehow you, dear lady, are inconvenienced by this aspect of his personality on the second date?

Earlier I said the version of this blog post on Australia’s Gizmodo is nastier. Here’s a snippet of that, bolding mine.

I later found out that he infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people I sort of know, including one of my co-workers. Mothers, warn your daughters! This could happen to you. You’ll think you’ve found a normal bearded guy with a job, only to end up sharing goat cheese with a world champion of nerds. Maybe I’m an OKCupid arsehole for calling it that way. Maybe I’m shallow for not being able to see past his world title. But if everyone stopped lying in their profiles, maybe there also wouldn’t be quite as many OKCupid horror stories to tell.

So what did I learn? Google the shit out of your next online date. Like, hardcore. Also, for all you world famous nerds out there: Don’t go after two Gawker Media employees and not expect to have a post written about you. We live for this kind of stuff.

Sweet Flying Spaghetti Monster. This isn’t just the silly sort of post about a bad date, this is calling a guy out. She uses the word “normal” four times in the Aussie post, making it very clear that poor Jon is not normal and is therefore, undesirable. Granted, I haven’t read the man’s profile and apparently he didn’t mention his Magic hobby, but how is that lying?

I met all my best friends through knitting. I like to knit. I meet up with friends about once a week to knit. Am I obligated to list that on my own profile? Should I worry that knitting is a deal-breaker? Here’s the thing: Knitting does not define who I am as a person.

But here’s my main beef. The editor of a tech blog, someone who should embrace geek culture, should know better. She isn’t saying, “Well, he wasn’t my cup of tea.” It was framed more like, “Omigod, can you believe these nerds wanting to date normal people like us??” It smacks of high school drama, and it’s reinforcing negative stereotypes of women to already socially awkward nerdy men reading YOUR NERDY TECH BLOG.

Let me say as a straight woman that I would cheerfully go on a date Jon. Hanging out with a bunch of friends and playing games is my idea of a perfect evening. Ms. Bereznak doesn’t speak for all of us women, and she certainly doesn’t speak on my behalf. You keep on doing what makes you happy, nerd men of the world.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    August 30, 2011 11:37 am

    Grrrrrrrrrrrr. Reading that thing made me so angry.

    I like the blog post that Elly Hart made on the Australian one calling her out for being a vapid bitch about one guy’s AMAZING TALENT. I mean c’mon, he’s a world champion. And he’s won millions at poker too. The dude’s like a playing card savant. Don’t hate a man for being the best in the world at his hobby.

    If she didn’t like him because of his personality or humor or looks, that’d be understandable, but screw her.

    • August 30, 2011 11:39 am

      Exactly. The only thing she nitpicked in the whole article was his hobby and his choice of entertainment (The Dahmer play) that evening. And I just read the Elly Hart post, and it’s wonderful. It can be found here:

      • Chris permalink
        August 30, 2011 2:21 pm

        I didn’t even read the whole article she posted, because my blood just boiled up too much whenever I’d hit another one of her bitchy comments. I skimmed as much as I could.

        I have OKC as well, and my profile is LOOOOONG because I put in everything. I’d rather someone never bother to contact me in the first place over meeting someone and having them turn their nose up at me.

        Hell, I still have Magic cards. I have no one to play them with, and I don’t miss it really, but I’d still play with anyone who was interested.

        (Also, the Dahmer play sounded interesting. I’d totally take a girl to see that if she didn’t have a stick in her butt.)

      • August 30, 2011 2:33 pm

        The Aussie version seems to be an earlier version, while the US version seems to be an edit with all the vitriol trimmed down.

        I’ve been reading Jon’s side of it on reddit, and he said the play sounded interesting, too. Eeeh… I dunno if it was a good choice for the *first* date, but that wasn’t her deal-breaker.

        I throw a lot into my dating profiles as well, including labels like “atheist, liberal, and feminist,” to scare off those who wouldn’t gel with me at all.

        ETA: Just found out the Dahmer play is a musical. My opinion has been changed thanks to the addition of dance numbers. This is made of Win.

      • Chris permalink
        August 30, 2011 4:01 pm

        I just tried to Reddit stalk you. I failed.

        A musical about a serial killer sounds even better than I expected (I figured it’d be a dark comedy anyway), but I can’t find reviews. Hrm.

  2. lesbatwin permalink
    August 30, 2011 12:39 pm

    I play for “Team Ellen” so I doubt I would have looked at him profile or given much thought to a message he sent me, platonic or romantic. However, let’s say he was a she…I wouldn’t care that she was the World Champion of Magic and I certainly wouldn’t expect her to include that bit of information in a profile. Actually, I wouldn’t expect that information to be included. OKC, like all dating sites, has its fair share of, ummm, let’s say unique, people. If someone is well known, even if he/she is only well know to a certain group of people, why should they be required to share that fact that they have a wiki page with EVERYBODY who looks at their profile. Did the woman who went on these dates mention in her profile that she writes for Gawker and will share with all her readers her experiences if any potential dates didn’t meet her expectations? What if he was a world chess champion? Scrabble? Monopoly? Halo? Madden? What activity would she deem acceptable for her date to be a champion of? Bowling? Hunting? World Champion wine maker perhaps. Somehow I doubt if he “failed” to mention his private vineyard in his profile all would have been forgiven.

    I don’t know how to play Magic. I’ve never played it before in my life. But if someone shared with me on a first date that they were the world champion I’d think that was pretty cool.

    • August 30, 2011 12:47 pm

      Team Ellen is looking pretty good this year. I have Queen Latifah in my Fantasy League.

      Anyhow, very well said. What’s slightly less geeky than MTG and therefore acceptable? Is there a chart somewhere we can refer to?

      Magic’s okay. I like board games more than the card games, myself. It’s just really sad that this was her deal breaker. I’ve been reading some of Jon’s tweets, and he’s being incredibly cool and gracious about the whole thing, so kudos to him.

  3. August 31, 2011 1:58 pm

    Because you ladies are always so awesome and post so many interesting things, I just had to nominate you for the Versatile Blogger Award. For the details: The Versatile Blogger Award

    • August 31, 2011 3:31 pm

      You’re wonderful! I’ll check it out!

  4. August 31, 2011 2:54 pm

    Wow! I got so mad reading that! I met my boyfriend while playing Vagabond’s Quest online eons ago! We play MTG together with friends and that’s actually how he started making friends when he moved down here. I may not be the best at it, and I adore my dragon whelp more for the art than the power, but it’s a fun way to get people together and start a conversation. Let’s just home men know that there are women out there who would understand and support such avid nerdgeekery 😀

    Referred here by: Amanda Rudd 🙂

    • August 31, 2011 3:32 pm

      Apparently, we should all be ashamed of ourselves and never leave the basement. And if we dare to leave said basement, the normal people should be given advance notice. Thanks for the comment!

  5. August 31, 2011 4:34 pm

    What an awful person that woman is. It’s too bad she spent her time looking for ways to ‘not’ like her date, rather than ways to like him.
    Well, better for HIM that she showed her true colors early on, because I doubt she listed in her online profile how much she thought of herself!

    • September 1, 2011 10:17 am

      Exactly. Her loss!

  6. Encrazed Crafts permalink
    August 31, 2011 4:40 pm

    This is the problem I have with modern media. Let’s just out on a very strong, oak-n-titanium hybrid limb here and say she only worded it in such as way as to raise a stink to purposely generate hits. (As she did surpass .5mill in like a day I think.) Even in that best case scenario… how long does it last? Make another venomous post to get another boost of hits before the falloff happens? How many times can you strike the anvil and expect people to keep coming back to see the hate? Is the adshare that profitable to damn your name? (I mean it’s working well for Fox, but they got guv’ment ties/pockets.)

    Just seems like a bad spiral to willingly jump into and many, many people are mimicing this instant-fame idea for all the wrong reasons. Quite a few of the current ‘celebrities’ are pulling this as well, like Bella from Twilight. She always appears angry or constipated, like it is such a chore to be getting paid too much for staring vacuously at an equally hollow husk across the screen for hours and hours. She should be thanking the casting director for signing her on to print money for such a wasted movie series, not take it out on the fans and media who got her rehired again and again. (For whatever reason, I still don’t know.)

    Just seems like the article chick isn’t playing with a full deck. HAH! Ah, good ol’ punz. I loves em.

    • September 1, 2011 10:23 am

      I think her mana pool is empty.

      Cast that woman directly to your graveyard!

      When brought into play, she gives -1 to life enjoyment.

      I wouldn’t tap or untap that!


      • Encrazed Crafts permalink
        September 2, 2011 11:23 am

        Looks like this time Jon rolled a saving throw.

        Admiral Ackbar called Jon just before the second date, but he let it go to voice mail.

        The chick must have a low amount of Charisma. And Wisdom.

        On a side note, from what I gather, the guy that actually told her she had ‘strong-looking legs’ was Twisted Metal co-creator David Jaffe. I found that to be awesome.

  7. September 2, 2011 11:08 am

    Ok…so admittedly I did play Magic in my youth, and just found all of my classic cards when Dad cleaned out my old teenage bedroom…and kind of wanted to play a game. But putting that aside, how could you come down on anyone for being passionate about their hobby??? And since when was one hobby more “normal” than another? Is “clubbing” somehow more “normalized” than cards? I honestly don’t care about someone’s profession or hobby, but what IS important to me is someone who is passionate about what they do- whatever that is! I think Jon would be a wonderful date- at this point I’d go out with anyone with a brain who would actually be able to talk to me about real things…beyond what this celebutard is doing and what is the coolest club. Vapid people like this really muddy the waters for real people to connect. I’m sure Jon’s level of confidence and success will allow him to shrug off this twat’s rants…and if not, he can call me anytime for an ego boost!


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