When Comikaze started announcing their lineups and panels, my friend and I were immediately interested in the singles panel. Why? Well, we like to put ourselves in the most awkward situations, obviously. We endured an hour of putting ourselves out there and while we didn’t find our soul mates, it was a fun experience and gave us a story to tell. It also introduced me to Dina “Lady Steam” Kampmeyer, the lovely lady behind Single Geeks in LA, otherwise known as SG:LA. I remembered her from the year before during another panel because when she does steampunk, she does it up.
Dina was able to put on three free events last year and plans on doing at least one every quarter in 2014. I missed the first one of the year last weekend because I was being a hermit and stressing over The Vampire Diaries. I would’ve loved a night of Cards Against Humanity, so us single folks need to pay attention so we don’t miss out on the next because they’re always free and, I’ve heard, always a good time. So now it’s time to learn more about SG:LA and get some awesome dating advice from Lady Steam.
Kendra: When and how did the idea of SGLA come up?
Dina: I’m one of the co-founders of the League of Extraordinary Ladies and each of the other ladies had a very unique talent that they brought to the group and I wanted to contribute something myself. I hadn’t quite found my niche and decided to try my hand at writing a dating/relationship column for our site. As I continued my geeky social life in Los Angeles, I found myself playing a bit of a matchmaker amongst my friends and a couple of years ago, I decided to throw a mixer just for the single geeks I knew. It went quite well and I’ve started doing events more and more frequently as time has gone by. The names comes from my love of Stargate: Universe and SG:LA (Single Geeks in LA) was just too good of an acronym.
Kendra: What kind of events do you put on?
Dina: I’ve been tending to alternate between a simple mixer at a bar and a more activity-based event like board game night or our last event was at a bowling alley. I always love anything that involves games, but I have also found that people tend to be a little less nervous about socializing if there’s alcohol available. I also, as you know, put on my first mixer at Comikaze Expo this year. I was so incredibly happy with the turnout and how open and social everyone was with one another.
Kendra: Do you think it’s better for people to stick to online dating or get out there and meet people in person?
Dina: Absolutely both. Dating is a numbers game. There are millions of single folks out there and it’s hard to find the one that is right for you. Go out there and meet new people, period. If you have some concrete goals in mind for a relationship (family, age, specific interests), you can’t beat online dating. You can get so much information on a potential date if you find them online. Chemistry is so important though too, so if you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, definitely just go out and meet people and discover what you like or don’t like. Either way, it is always good advice to go out and do something that you love and try new things. You never know who you’ll meet out on a hike, or at a Magic tournament.
Kendra: You did Comikaze this fall; any more cons you’re heading to with SG:LA?
Dina: I was so happy when WonderCon announced that they would be back in Anaheim in 2014, so I’ll definitely be submitting another singles mixer there. If it goes well and the organizers like it, I would be happy to host an event at Comic-Con. I tend to only do a few cons myself each year, but I am happy to spread the geek love wherever it’s desired.
Kendra: I thought you gave some good advice at Comikaze. Would you ever consider doing singles workshops here and there throughout the year?
Dina: Well thank you, that is mighty kind of you to say. I certainly don’t feel like any sort of an expert on the subject, but if someone were to ask me to speak on geek love and dating, I’d be happy to consider it. Goodness knows I have done a ton of dating myself and read up a lot on the subject, so I’m always happy to help out where I can.
Kendra: Speaking of, what’s your number one advice to geeks out there still intimidated by the world of dating?
Dina: That’s a tough one… I would say, be brave and try and make dating fun. Dating can be such an incredibly intimidating and scary experience. When I first started myself, each date felt like this monumentous experience and I ended up putting far too much pressure on both myself and my date because of this. Not until recently have I finally gotten to the point where dating feels fun. I try and think of a date as simply an opportunity to get to know someone interesting. It’s not about finding “the one”, but simply meeting someone new. If you end up falling for each other, that’s amazing, but don’t put that expectation on yourself.
Kendra: What about clueless daters out there — like, would you recommend letting your geek flag fly super high during the first date, coming in cosplay, bringing your entire Pokémon collection, etc.?
Dina: Hah, that probably depends on who you’re dating. A fellow geek may find it sexy. I went out with a man recently with a rotating Star Trek phaser replica and a huge Star Wars figurine collection. A lot of girls would find that a little scary, but I find it incredibly sexy. If something is important to who you are as a person, never try and hide that. If your date judges you for something you’re really into, they are absolutely not the right one for you. All that being said, make sure the focus is on your personality and not what you’re wearing on a first date. I wrote a column all about geek fashion and it’s one of my favorite subjects.
Kendra: Lastly, has SG:LA had any success stories so far?
Dina: We do! A couple met each other at my gaming event in early 2013 and they are still going strong. You could see the connection being formed instantly that night and it’s been such a pleasure to see them so happy together as a couple. I know that many a friendship has been formed at other events as well and it’s always been my goal to help geeks find one another, whether that be a long-lasting romantic relationship or a life-long friendship. Us geeks have got to stick together.