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An Otaku's Guide to Dating Outside the Species
By Jake Forbes
Ah, February - that special time of the year when all the Ranmas out there look for their Akanes, the Relenas look for their Heeros, the Heeros look for their Duos, the Tomoyos look for their Sakuras, the Sakuras look for their Yukitos, the Lis look for their Yukitos, the Toyas look for their Yukitos, well… you get the picture. It’s time for Valentines Day! For those of you otaku lucky enough to find a mate who shares your love for all things Japanese, congratulations! For everyone else, here are a few tips on how to keep your love life and your love for anime separate.
1) If you know all 251 Pokemon, make up some story about how you used to baby-sit your little brother/sister/cousin/nephew and they obsessed about it and you just played along. Better yet, best to let the potential mate think that you’re still under the illusion that there are only 151 Pokemon.
2) Tell him/her that it’s role-playing, not Cosplay. You’re dressing up as a mighty samurai warrior, come to make sweet love to the Daimyo’s daughter- you’re NOT legendary swordsman Manji who’s made immortal because of the worms in your blood. Girls- your dream guy probably won’t have a problem with the Sailor fuku, but it's best to leave the Moon Scepter in the closet.
3) When you take your date to see the Lion King on Broadway, don’t rant about how it’s completely ripping off Tezuka’s Kimba for at least a few hours.
4) The only reason you have a room full of toys is because you’ve got a friend who works at Toys R Us. Yeah… 'cuz they have EVAs and Monev the Gales and Kubricks and Michael Lau figures at Toys R Us.
5) Don’t tell your would-be partner about your DDR obsession until one day, you “just happen” to walk by an arcade featuring 5th Mix, and after talking about how dumb it looks and how you’re so embarrassed, you get on the stage and bust out your mad skillz on “Rhythm & Police” Maniac mode double pad.
6) If you have a “hugging pillow” shaped like a life-sized Belldandy, let it stay at a friend’s house when your date comes to visit.
7) Japanese snacks make GREAT presents! EVERYONE loves Pocky, and I can assure you that girls LOVE to collect Hello Kitty charm pendants that come with the novelty candy boxes. Mochi ice cream is a definite clincher for a good night out if your date’s never had it before.
8) Tell your date that the reason you build Gundam/Macross model kits is because you want to be an engineer. This works better if you can adlib with some fancy math terms. (I’m a liberal arts guy- don’t come to me for advice on how to make this work!)
9) Best not to try and play your j-pop around him/her. At least we all went through the 80’s, but importing another country’s saccharine pop songs…
10) Guys- if your potential girlfriend sees that you have a video in your library called “The Dirty Pair,” just tell her it’s porn. It’s easier that way. Don’t try to explain it. Believe me. I know.
The lesson to be learned is, be proud of the otaku you are -- just keep that side of you very, very hidden. Trust me, it’s better this way. So when the relationship goes sour, as it inevitably will (Unless you’re like Usagi and Mamoru = True Love Always!), it will be much more dramatic as your web of white lies collapses on you like a house of cards.