Otaku Diaries Part 7: Finding that special person to watch Whisper of the Heart with.

#0047
Anime factors in because I would like to be able to share things I love with a person I’ll share my life with.

We start off the new year with what everyone is really reading the otaku diaries for: dirty sex secrets.  Who is doing what to whom and if farm animals are involved. Well, actually, that is no where near what this part is about. This is mostly a look at the romantic relationships or lack thereof of the various participants. Like it or not there is a stereotype that otaku are mainly lonely, dateless losers who know more about how to win hearts in visual novels than they ever will about talking to a member of the opposite sex. But the survey found a wide variety of people answered from hardcore 2D girl proponents to those who were happily married to love em and leave em Lotharios. The only commonality most people had was that their stories were always extremely emotionally involving.

The answers in this section may be the most varied of them all. Our group of participants ran the gamut from new to the dating scene to downtrodden, rejection of dating to belief in true love, and still much more inbetween. And what resulted were answers that certainly are very personal but still they will resonate, some views more than others, but very much every type of person can be seen here. Heck, this may be the portion of the survey that goes to show most how much fandom is a mix of many different types of people.

#0015
Obviously an interest in anime would be a big plus, or even just someone who would be willing to be introduced to my interest, and in return I’d be interested in hers.

#0009
My ideal mate would be someone I would want to be friends with, not just lovers. Sexual compatibility would be necessary. I’d like a good sense of humor, too. Looks are not really important. God, that sounds so fake and self-effacing, the kind of thing you’d expect in a personal ad, but in all honesty I’d probably settle for anything with two X chromosomes and a heartbeat.

#0049
A young cute girl who’s totally accepting of all my flaws and willing to take care of me.

I was amused that no one said that they would not date another otaku. For all the posturing that some people put on their surveys I think everyone wanted someone to share their hobbies with. I think it is the clearest sign that the otaku who hate otaku idea is merely a defensive mechanism. 70 percent of the participants had a strong preference for dating someone who also liked anime and only 30 mentioned that it did not factor into who they would date but they always said that they would date another otaku if they liked other things about them. Other fans might occasionally annoy us but in the end we want to be with someone who understands that aspect of our lives.

#0079
In considering dating though I would give more weight to “long-term” versus “short-term”; perhaps I am merely naive on such matters, but I wouldn’t consider a “short-term” liaison a relationship in this sense. For various reasons, I’m far more interested in mutual respect than mutual lust.

#0014
I don’t consider “dating” at all. It is an entirely abhorrent concept and one that exists in American movies and TV shows. No one actually does that bullshit in real life, do they?

I would really have liked to see, concretely because we certainly had some more indepth answers, whether the people who listed anime fandom as unimportant had mostly dated non-fans. No one in this section seemed to be adverse to dating a fellow fan which is interesting because of some of the answers given in the section about the word “otaku.” Though there were no answers, or questions to answer, about how deep their mates love of anime should run. Perhaps some wouldn’t want to date another engrossed like themselves, just open to it. While others made it quite clear they wanted to share this passion, for good and ill, because it was such a huge part of their lives that there was no getting around it.

I was a little heartbroken by some of the stories in the dating section. There were several people who had truly been beaten down by the dating world. There were confessions of rejection, misery, and loneliness that would move even the most callous of hearts. There were some people who had basically just given up all together. But they were balanced out by people in happy ongoing relationships as well. New love, casual flings, and even a few mature relationships were present, too. We also had several people who were happy or positive about being single. They might be alone but they had great hope for the future. It is the best sign that otakudom is not this barrier to love as some might think. It is just another aspect of a person’s personality that may or may not draw the attention of the people they meet. That did not make the sad stories any less sorrowful and meaningful but I did take some comfort in the joyous stories.

#0069
I’ve never been rejected, but only because I’ve never gone out on a limb.

#0030
I’ve been rejected enough times that I’ve lost count, and have never rejected anyone since no one has ever asked.

#0019
I’ve never been on a date in my life. The average person my age has not only had several dates, but at least 3-5 significant long-term relationships and possibly gotten married. Even “The 40 Year Old Virgin” managed to get dates.

#0034
I’ve never been rejected in a relationship context, nor have I rejected anyone, which is probably a pretty good sign that I’m not putting myself out there enough.

I wonder if these results broken down between men and women could be any sort of leveler. True there are really too few women as a whole for our survey, but the percentages are still engaging. They are closer to their male counterparts in terms of number of relationships than I would have thought. There is certainly a lot of talk about women having an easier time when it comes to finding a relationship, and it still looks that way here but maybe not so vastly different than many believe. But then I will reiterate that there are so few women on here to make any of that solid. Both genders spoke similarly of their trials and triumphs in love. I often found myself smile, even if it was sometimes a bit melancholy, that I could interpret so many people’s desires down to basically seeking someone who just loves them for them.

#0080
I’ve technically dumped every boyfriend I’ve had. Somewhere I’m restless. I enjoy the feeling of wanting something else even though I already have what’s in front of me. At some point having a boyfriend becomes boring.

#0045
She’s pretty much all I could ask for in a woman. Understanding and kind, also very giving. She lets me have sex with other women and doesn’t ask for anything more than my love and dedication in return. She knows I’ll always come home to her.

#0094
Anytime I have ever dated it has been the girl who has initiated. So it has given me this weird sense that maybe I should just sit back and hope that people I like will ask me out instead of trying myself.

We were going to put up a chart about people’s virginity but that got scrapped because we never asked the question point blank. We has assumed people would go into detail when we asked about how many serious relationships but since we were vague so too were many answers. However, much like everything else even the the most pessimistic interpretation had almost the same percentage of virgins in both genders. This combined with other questions goes to show that dating is hard for everyone it is just a little harder for otaku guys but otaku gals are hardly getting a free pass to love.

When starting this portion of the Otaku Diaries, I was looking for patterns that hearkened back to other portions of our results, I was looking for correlations in other questions, and I was thinking that fandom would show me something just a little bit telling. However, that didn’t happen here which really threw me. I thought surely there would be some pattern for the people who found anime an unimportant factor, perhaps they hid their fandom or perhaps they had dated a lot as the result, but it was a mix without any clear signs. Other results and my subsequent look back at previous questions further eluded my grasp on any sort of pattern to be had. Of course this could all be chalked up to our small 40 people, but with those 40 people other sections showed pattern and equality in certain issues. Perhaps dating is just that personal and different between each person.

#0021
Being 32, it is rather difficult to meet women who are of at least legal age at anime conventions . . .

I hope if nothing else that people who read this section take away a little hope if they need it. It is easy to fall into depression when you are a lonely anime fan assuming you are doomed to be alone. But this does not have to be the case. Hardcore anime fans were able often able to find some companionship with either their fellow nerds or people who were sympathetic to their interests. Also most of the people who responded to the survey were young so they still were finding their way in the world of romance. I assume that a good deal of the young and inexperienced participants will eventually make their way into the world of dating. This does not mean you ever have to stop trying to improve yourself or connect to other people. It is just a reminder that finding someone who you can find love with is still possible.

There were so many questions I wish we had asked in this section! It is as if when I saw people’s answers, I know exactly how to follow them up. For example, after seeing how much of an essential quality liking anime was, it would be wonderful to know how many people had/were dating other otaku and vise versa. This was answered by some people in their paragraphs, but obviously not as a whole by the participants. If ever there was a part of this survey I would like to dig deeper into, it is this.

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11 thoughts on “Otaku Diaries Part 7: Finding that special person to watch Whisper of the Heart with.

  1. Joe says:

    I always look forward to results from your poll and wish I’d taken part in it.

    Fwiw, and as shallow as I fear it makes me sound, sharing a fondness for anime has been an important part of my relationship. Not because it’s a dealbreaker or a huge priority in my life or anything, but just because it’s a huge relief to not have to hide that stuff or apologize for it. Finding someone who accepts you as you are and doesn’t judge, for whatever things you’re into or whatever kind of person you are, well… isn’t that what everyone wants?

    I’ve got to say that I really don’t know what “normal” people do in a relationship. “Normal people” not just referring to non-otaku, but to any couple who doesn’t share a specific interest or hobby in their time spent together. What is there to bond over and escape to? Collecting friends? Throwing parties? Having lots of kids? Endlessly remodeling the house and buying furniture? I can see the appeal in all these pursuits but have never been able to strongly identify with any of them, myself. Is it selfish to want to indulge in these escapist fantasies with someone else instead of pursuing all the goals that society has deemed the most important priorities for adults? This is a “grown-up” question that probably goes beyond any of the concerns of most younger readers but I guess it’s the one that everyone faces once they get out of college, both in their personal lives and in their relationships.

    To put it simply, just finding someone else that you can truly be yourself with, and who you can share your once-solitary interests with, is fantastically rewarding and shouldn’t be written off as unimportant.

  2. Anatole_serial says:

    I share Joe’s sentiment, that I had participated in the poll.

    I can’t say my stories are as positive, though.

    Been in a relationship once. Lasted a month, which is why I don’t quite count it. It was a mess, and a mistake, but it’s OK. It was one of the most important lessons in relationships I could ever have.

    Been in love once. It wasn’t with the girl I had a relationship once, but with my best friend at the time. Of course, it ended up messy, mostly because what I felt was the most confusing feeling I’ve ever felt, due to various factors. I essentially ended up cutting her from my life entirely, in one fell swoop.

    I have, in fact, consciously and unconsciously destroyed every chance I’ve had. Most of the girls that have liked me, I’ve found a way to drive them away; most of the girls I’ve liked, I’ve either been foolish enough to like (And then get better and forget about them), or go far enough to realize it just wouldn’t work (Again, for various reasons).

    I haven’t dated in years. Before, I just wanted somebody to love me, then I wanted somebody to love. Now, I feel pretty fine. Sometimes I feel lonely, but then I fight back. I look at the world around me and realize that there’s nothing here for me. Everywhere I look, I see that what I seek is not here.

    So I just live.

    I talk with people, laugh at things, enjoy life. I don’t care about my relationships, and when someone asks for advice, I use what I’ve learned (From my own experience, and from observing other people) to help people.

    I have no hurry anymore. No desperation. Nothing.

    I just feel fine.

    But sometimes… I just look at some of my otaku friends, married, or in long-term relationships, and I can’t help but feel a bit lonely.

  3. The Otakuologist says:

    Great post. I wish I could be as detailed as the previous commenters but the only question I ask myself is: Is it possible for two otaku to be in love.

    Granted some shared interests is great but most of the otaku I know spend waaaay too much time on their passions to even have a girl or boyfriend.

    In any case I love this blog and I think now there is another addition to my blogroll.

  4. reversethieves says:

    *UPDATE*

    Sorry I forgot to put in this brief part about meeting and dating online! We found that only 7 people had ever met someone online and then turned that into a relationship. And almost no one met through a dating site specifically. In fact, there was a distinct stigma against using dating sites and people who use dating sites are still seen in poor light for the most part. Just another interesting piece of the puzzle!

    -Hisui and Narutaki

  5. Jrockjake says:

    Well even though I am young, I’ve still never had a relationship (or friends XD).

    I liked this one girl, a Japanese exchange student. But could never work up the nerve to even be her friend. I am pathetic.

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