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One More Place Where NYCC Showed The Real Diversity of the Comics Audience: Speed Dating

Audience Participation

Please accept this picture of the Flash representing the swiftness of speed dating, as I was unable to find anything more relevant. On to the story!

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Speed Dating has only recently become an event that one might associate with cons, only within the past few years, actually, have we at The Mary Sue even been hearing about it. We’re not sure if Lightning Fast Speed Dating started the trend, but they say they’ve been at it for two years now, and it continues to be a huge success at every con they bring it to. At this year’s NYCC, they planned on running five free sessions for the 100,000 attendees, and had to add a secret sixth one for everyone who was turned away from the other five.

But what’s most interesting about the demographics that they observe isn’t the obvious fact that geeks and nerds are looking for love just as much as other people. There’s more than that.

Here’s some of the things that LFSD told Slate:

  • NYCC was one of their younger cons, with most participants in their lowest age bracket, 18-26. Star Wars events, for example, are more solidly in their 40-50’s.

Nerds: not just kids.

  • In an inverse to regular speed dating, men vastly outnumber women—the ratio is skewed to provide three guys to every girl.

Still, you could point out that that 25% represents women who are probably not at Comic Con because their boyfriends convinced them to come along.

  • “Participants are free to indicate sexual preferences. While the majority of participants are heterosexual, there is a much smaller homosexual event that happens simultaneously… normally, gay men are the largest queer demographic at Speed Dating events, but at Comic Con, “girl-on-girl” action is taking precedence.”

The fact that single lesbians outnumber single gay men at Comic Con goes against a lot of assumptions about the geek population (and hopefully will be heartening news to many of our readers). Slate notes that “Even at Comic Con, the stigma for participating is high—even though we are at a convention where people run around in superhero costumes, it is still seen as uncool to admit to using a dating service.” so these statistics are obviously self-selecting for single (or poly, as the article acknowledges) geeks who don’t have speed dating hangups. However, the article also notes that the atmosphere of Comic Con’s speed dating scene, already sequestered in the middle of counter culture, is open and welcome to non-mainstream relationships as well.

Go geeks!

(via Slate.)

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Susana Polo
Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.

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