in which my wife is nerd-adjacent and comedy ensues

I came across a bunch of posts that I'd marked as drafts, but never published. Most of them are ideas that never turned into actual posts, or things I wrote and decided not to post for some reason I've since forgotten.

This one was originally written in November of 2009. I'm not sure why I left it unpublished for over two years.

"Hey," I said to Anne while we stood in the kitchen last night, "remember that song from Avenue Q, 'The Internet is for Porn'?"

She made a gruff Muppet voice and sang, "The Internet is for porn, the Internet is for porn … porn, porn, porn." She stirred whatever was on the stove and said, "that song?"

"Yeah. That song."

I put my hands in my pockets, and leaned back on my heels, striking my famous I'm-so-proud-of-what-I'm-about-to-tell-you posture.

"I ordered a T-shirt last week, and it says 'The Holodeck is for porn' on it!" I smiled and waited for her to join me in laughter.

At first, all she did was blink. Then, she frowned, like she was trying to solve a puzzle. Finally, she just cocked her head to one side and looked at me like I had spoken in some foreign language, which I guess I had.

"You, um . . . you don't know what the holodeck is, do you?"

"I know that it's from Star Trek," she offered, helpfully.

I told her what the holodeck does, and how it works, doing my best not to speak in geek, which as it turns out is very difficult to do when you are describing the primary functions and inner workings of the freakin' holodeck.

"So, you see," I concluded, "if the holodeck was real, everyone would use it for porn, and that's why that T-shirt is so funny."

"…okay…"

We looked at each other for a few seconds.

I said, "I can't believe you've been married to me for ten years, and this is the first time we've ever talked about the holodeck."

"Yeah, I don't know how we managed that."

Sometime during the two years since we had this conversation, something changed for Anne. I honestly think it was when she got an iPhone, and was able to have quick and instant access to the sort of technology I've embraced since before we met. She's made friends who are into the same sort of sci-fi and fantasy that I'm into, and I guess she's just absorbed the things we love by being geek-adjacent all the time.

I don't think I'll be able to convince her to watch Game of Thrones or Doctor Who with me, and it's unlikely she'll want to read a stack of comic books every Wednesday like I do… but she knows what the holodeck is, and she agrees with me that it's for porn.

So… baby steps. Baby steps.

73 thoughts on “in which my wife is nerd-adjacent and comedy ensues”

  1. I think my husband is a more cultured nerd than I am; he actually prefers the Carl Sagan documentaries to sci-fi. But FarScape was our DATE NIGHT… so maybe I’m converting him slowly. He liked Game of Thrones but scoffs at Doctor Who (it’s like I don’t even know him).

  2. Whoa! I was watching Next Gen last night with my neighbor and started singing the song, but with “holodeck” instead of “Internet”. Great minds, my friend.
    Also, I would be so much more into porn if it was on the holodeck.

  3. This conversation could have easily happened, verbatim, in my house right down to the kitchen and awkward looks. There are so many times over the years that I’ve come to my girlfriend with something I thought would be hilarious, only for it to play out exactly as you described.
    And, like your situation, things changed a bit once (at about the same time) she got a smart phone and started using Twitter and Facebook to connect with other geeks and nerds.
    Great post Wil. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Don’t worry, Wil. We’ll get her to like Doctor Who and all things nerdy! You’re a great example, and Jeff (@cryanathus) and I will help as best we can!

  5. Of the myriad reasons I originally started reading your blog (mumble) years ago, your discussions of being a Dad were very close to the top.
    Now that there is far less about Dad-ness, I am THRILLED that it has (mostly) been replaced with Married-ness.
    Thanks for letting us into your life, Wil. In addition to every other cool thing you have going for you, you have a STELLAR wife.

  6. I've talked about this with Anne a lot since the boys moved out: we spent the first 15 years of our lives together being full-time parents, so that's where all our time, energy, and attention went. But since the kids moved out and grew up, we have more time for each other. It's sort of like we did it in reverse, and when our friends who are just starting to have kids ask us if we want a baby, we just point and laugh.
    We'll never stop being parents (I think and worry about my kids every day, and talk to them several times a week), but now we can give time and attention to being married people, and that's awesome.

  7. My wife has never been a genre fan, but yes, you can make inroads! ;-) I started “converting” her with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, beginning with Season 3 when it first aired — the best season, IMO — and it grabbed her interest immediately. I got her quickly up to speed with VHS copies of Seasons 1 and 2. Babylon 5 was a hit with her, too, but not much else since then. She never got into Star Wars or Star Trek, aside from the huge crush she got on Chris Pine after seeing the Trek movie.
    Alas, she doesn’t share my love of Doctor Who. However, she did kind of watch the last Who Christmas special with me, even though she claimed she was doing “other things” on her iPad. I know because she laughed at a couple of the Matt Smith lines. ;-)

  8. I remember your holodeck scene most because you stepped out of the holodeck wet when you met Capt. Picard. That shouldnt have happened. #justsayin

  9. So, can SHE answer the question of what happens to bodily fluids after you’re finished in the holodeck?
    “The more savy checked the schedule carefully and never booked a holodeck visit right after Riker”

  10. Im befuddled. That means she has not actually watched any of your Star Trek episodes? I guess thats possible. My wife has never watched me configure servers and hook up networking equipment. I guess work is work, and old work is history to those who love you.
    Still befuddled though.

  11. The only time she's watched Star Trek with me is when I'm working on Memories of the Future, and then it's more like watching MST3K.

  12. The journey of you and Anne parallels that of my husband and I. Not long ago, he managed to work a Firefly reference into a conversation. I was so proud!
    (I’ve forced Star Trek upon him, as well as Stargate and several other shows. He enjoys them, but he’s still only geek-adjacent, not geek himself. Firefly, though, did the trick in many ways. He does really like that show. Still not like us, but getting closer all the time…*evil grin*)

  13. I read this and immediately thought of me and my partner, and how we first met. It started off with talking about Babylon 5, then the discussion switched over to Star Trek, and then, in a moment where he thought he was going to trump me, he said this:
    Keith: Then there was this show that I used to watch when I was in college, but you’ve probably never heard of it.
    Me: (Leaning forward) Try me…
    Keith: Doctor Who.
    Me: (Jumping up with glee) Doctor Who??? I have almost every episode on videotape!!!
    Keith: (I’ve just been out-nerded!!!)
    While we do stand nerd shoulder to nerd shoulder on some things, he does just “go along with the ride” with me when it comes to all sorts of sci-fi nerdy goodness!!! I guess what I’m communicate is, Wil… I get what you’re saying!!!

  14. My wife was a non-geek when we met, but I’m slowly working on it. She now plays board games with me (a little less time for that since our daughter was born), and I’m easing her into some of my shows. She watched “Blink” with us at a friend’s place last year, and watched this past Christmas Special with me, so Doctor Who is probably next…

  15. You might try “Vincent and the Doctor” from last season. An especially easy hook if she’s a Van Gogh fan and/or has been to the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, although obviously it does have that invisible space monster thingy (the Doctor Who episode, not the art museum).

  16. I have managed a not so small victory in having my girlfriend watch the big bang theory on a regular basis. We do not laugh at the same jokes but, as you say, baby steps.
    Speaking of the big bang theory, I believe that you ar more akin to your evil self than you would let us beleive because now I’m stuck in my cubicle humming “The internet is for porn” and shall probably do so for an indefinite amount of time.
    Well played Mr. Wheaton, well played.
    G!

  17. I’m less of a nerd than the husband… He cannot get me to watch Dr who, or Babylon 5. Sorry. But there is hope, after never having watched any show set in space- we are now on season 3 of battlestar galactica, and I’m kinda hooked. It’s all on Netflix.

  18. *nods and points* I created a Whovian in 3 episodes: Blink, Human Nature, and The Family of Blood. Empty Child and The Doctor Dances were awesome episodes, though they were Eccleston and not Tennant. Though I loved Eccleston as the Doctor.
    I can see not being a fan of Game of Thrones, though. I love the series, but it’s a bit harsh and unforgiving (one of the awesome things about it). But seriously, not a fan of Doctor Who? o.O How is that even possible? Oh well, we still love you wife!

  19. Start with Tennant’s video diaries from his first season. When he’s laying in bed and talking to you the camera and telling you the camera all about his day … *le sigh*. That will get her hooked. Then again, maybe that would be a bad idea.

  20. My husband and I are there right now – when we met, he had only recently gotten custody of his then-12-year-old son, and so the first years of our relationship were not just parenting, but parenting a teen, with no real prior experience for either of us. Kiddo is 19 now and leaving home in a couple of months. He’s already out of the house more often than not now.
    It was a fantastic experience and I love him to pieces, but being done with the formative years is such a relief.
    I’m really enjoying our “us” time. I’m nothing but happy for our friends who are just starting their families, but I have no interest in joining them.

  21. I like that story, Wil.
    Ironically on “Deep Space Nine”, the holosuites were used by many for porn. I guess you could still call hands on nasty with a hologram a form of porn.

  22. Ooh, I loved ‘The Empty Child.’ I started from the first series of ‘new’ Who and can’t watch them out of order… I have a ‘thing.’
    Husbeast actually hated the ‘Fathers’ Day’ episode, and thought that the Empty Child ep would give the kids nightmares. Please.
    Does this four-year-old girl look like she’s easily frightened? I think not.
    http://bit.ly/yMi8nG

  23. Actually, nobody had to do that. The Holodeck was specifically designed to syphon off any… fluids spilled inside. What do you think those starship engines ran on? Or did you actually believe that old “Antimatter” chestnut?

  24. Anne,
    My wife loves to watch Doctor Who with me and she isn’t much of a geek.
    She also really got into Stargate SG-1. I don’t think Wil has watched that one. If you want to experience an important pieces of geek culture with Wil for the first time, I’d recommend that.
    Also, make him read “The 13 Clocks” to you.

  25. I’m introducing my wife to Star Wars this weekend on the big screen, since she’s never seen any of the movies. I’m not overly happy that she has to start with Eps 4,5, and 6 to see them all but the saving grace is that she gets to finish with the *good* ones. She’s not a nerd or geek at all; she’s gone through her life happily knowing not a whit about holodecks or the classic Kirk vs. Picard argument.
    When you first were on Big Bang Theory and I got all nerdy, she looked up and said, “He was in ‘Stand By Me’, wasn’t he?” I honestly didn’t know what to say, apart from “Yes, among other things.”
    It’s a long road, I know. But I’ll get her there eventually. Until then, keep doing what you do so well. Often.

  26. Delurking!
    Been reading you here and following you on Twitter for ages. Seeing your name in the feed always results in something worth reading. This convo was no different.
    Thanks for sharing!

  27. When I watched TNG the first time, even as loserish a teenager as I was, I knew that Barclay’s hologram programs of Dr. Crusher and Troi weren’t going to be as PG-ish and watered-down as in the episode. I just assumed that Justice had so burned the writers’ fingers (“drop of a hat.” “Any hat!”) that they just couldn’t go there.
    Virtual porn’s impact on society is a rather interesting topic. I’ve heard believable arguments that, rather than the Kumbaya version of the Singularity, increasing technology will really result in the dropping of human relationships to nearly zero because of the availability of 100% realistic virtual porn. (Now THAT is a topic that TNG could of tackled, “The Cage” meets Larry Flint. Well, maybe not.)

  28. I’m just floored that your kids are old enough to be out on their own. You aren’t much older than I, and mine are 4/6/8. Husbeast and I often talk about how we look forward to having back the ‘just being married’ time. I just hope I don’t go from changing my kids’ diapers to changing his.

  29. ..and thats way my boyfriend loves me:
    – i know about the flying giutine
    – and i start screaming while watching a movie because i can identify Steven Segal by seeing his shadow before he appears in the scene.
    anyway.. not every person can be addicted to Star Trek, Star Wars, Star Gate.. or anything what starts with “Star” but they can learn. ;-)
    Greetz from Germany (sorry for my bad english)
    Yvi

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