Otaple Talk: My Fujoshi Valentine?

February 14th….

The date sends chills down the spines of many a single person, and mental images of high numbers through the brains of chocolate & confectionary companies. It’s hardly any surprise that so many of us fall sucker to the week-plus wait for our opportunities to proclaim admiration for our hopefully mutual adored. It’s practically wetwired into our consciousnesses soon after grade school. It sometimes even haunts our dreams during those crucial high school years, where often awkwardness ensues. All those expectations, it’s easy to be swept away by the bland uniformity of it all.

And what of the “lowly” otaku/fanboy/girl/outcast? What of them? As human as anyone else, those on alternate social scales experience most to all of the same desires, so why shouldn’t they be allowed the same experiences? This is why sometimes, it seems only natural to lean more toward others with similar interests and tastes. We all know that one friend, acquaintance, or classmate that captures your imagination, makes your day, and perhaps even seems to understand you. The time may eventually come to speak up.

In this; what will hopefully function as a continuing series, I’ll attempt to seek out some sweet, simple ways otaple courtship can actually work.

BUT FIRST. A WARNING

It is vital to know your surroundings when considering the feelings you have for another. There is a sense of propriety in matters like this, so keep in mind that while these tips may work in certain instances, they are by no means definitive solutions. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can share here is to be extra attentive to the other person, and know that anything you may try may or may not be reciprocated. Feelings evolve, and as such aren’t always on similar paths. So before taking such unexpected move, just know what you’re getting into…



1. It Pays To Be Casual

Seriously folks. Nothing sells a potential like a good foundation of trust. Which is why it’s very important to know the signals from mere actions of friendliness. The person you’re interested in needs to give off a real sense that they see you as an equal. Someone they can confide in. A person they not only see as a buddy, but as someone they can open up to. This might seem dull and facile to some, but is imperative in keeping one from looking like a candidate on one of those stalker cases one sees from time to time. And a really good, simple way to read another is to just keep it cool & just run with whatever it is that you both enjoy doing.

2. No Two Fans Are 100% Identical

Another thing worth considering. Being mutually intersted in Japanese cartoon characters isn’t remotely enough. It’s the equivalent of mutually liking music, without ever considering genre or artists. Your passions may stem from hard lines, and shaded cels, but there may be diverging reasons as to why. In fact, aside from this mutuality, you may as well be from another dimension altogether. This is why it’s also good to consider conversations as to why it is you both like what you do. The answers may surprise, and even reveal things you may have never considered.

3. Otaku = Surprises

Unique minds think alike. So in the tradition of breaking tradition, think of some really cool ways to spend time with him/her. Again, some of the simplest ideas are often the best. Heck, very often the best ideas are within short distances and no budgets. Whether it be a trip to your local bookstore, or even an art gallery. The key is getting to know the other, and the influx of culture may be just the thing to spur greater amounts of good conversation. Concerts may work, but exercise caution as shows with a lot of noise (rock, dance, or even J-pop shows unfortunately) may remove this important goal from the night’s plans. Have a creative side? How about a gathering for a project? In this particular situation, your knowledge of the other’s interests are helpful, so make sure to make it something you both can have fun putting together!

4. The Rival Factor

When many think Valentine’s Day, the atypical images that emerge are ones of eternal bliss, happiness, and cooperation. Real world has dictated time and again, that this is far from any semblance of the truth. As a matter of fact, any good relationship has its own share of healthy strife. But before your tsundere dreams start reloading, keep in mind that certain amounts of adversity can indeed add a much needed dose of alertness to the relationship. Too often, some individuals shy away from even small amounts of this type of dissonance, but as it turns out, it can be quite a good way to keep the match alive. (Again: this isn’t always the case – this one is something I have found that often works well with me. So don’t take this as a lead-in to look out for trouble. Contrary to old saws, girl punches can inflict serious internal & external damage.) But a little competitive banter couldn’t hurt.

5. A Re-Stressing Of Mutuality

You’re into yuri/moe madness, she’s mad nerdcore for the bishounen coupling. A recipe for success, or disaster? No matter what it is that you and your other see in each other, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of mutual respect & understanding. Simply put, the other must be willing to, or even naturally understands your quirks. And this is likewise for you. There’s no substitute for coolness for each other’s unique oddities, so there’s no reason to keep things like this downplayed in the presence of another. After all, this is a person whom you have seen as exceptional out of all those you’ve seen out there, so live up to those feelings and get to know them already. Patience and attentiveness are important elements in any relationship, so take the early stages as an opportunity to work out these areas. Who knows? The more of these you apply, the more you may discover about your other than you may have ever considered.

Sure, we’d all love to have that one other who is willing to watch all kinds of anime into the wee hours, but to step away from this from time to time helps a great deal to see what it is that draws the both of you to the same hobbies. And the inspiration from this alone may spawn some great ideas indeed.

As for me?

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that great friendships are where it’s at. And it does take time, and a lot of patience.  But don’t let the Valentines, or White Day dictate to you about when the iron feels hot enough. There’s always room for an Un-Valentine Day anyway.

Happy Chinese New Year, Folks!

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