There are three things you should really avoid talking about on a first date. Food, politics and science fiction. Star Wars, Star Trek, comic books, Doctor Who, Alien, the lot. Just avoid it if you can until you’re “going steady”, because if the sci-fi chat comes out too early on, the chances are you’ll have an intergalactic battle on your hands before you even get to the bedroom.
So why is sci-fi a no-no? Put simply, it is extremely political, and sci-fi fans get very touchy when you don’t get their hobby.
If you’re not into it and the other half is, you will find yourself competing with Batman and/or Spidey for your lover’s affections. And Batman will always win – he’s Batman.
There’s nothing wrong with liking sci-fi, it’s just if you’re going to do it, you have to do it right . It’s a lifestyle choice, and unless you’re committed, you’ll screw it up. You’ll call someone a “Whovian” and before you know it, you’ll be a permanent resident of social Siberia.
If you’re not a sci-fi or fantasy fan, trips to the cinema will be ruined for you, as every other new release is based on a comic book, and he will want to see them all. You never realised you could become tired so quickly of watching buff blokes suited up in rubber bounce around a giant screen.
There will be conventions too. You will avoid these at first and just leave your man to his hobby, but this is a mistake. Conventions are a hotbed of drunk, awkward regrettable sex. Don’t believe me? A room – nay a hangar – absolutely packed to the rafters with people dressed up as your lover’s favourite characters? Have you seen these outfits? There is an ocean of flesh on display, and some of it is toned and tattooed and on its way to steal your man.
So you’ll go to them, you will traipse around after your man while he gets his forearm signed by the guy who played Adric in Doctor Who (Google it) so he can have it inked on permanently later. Your lack of enthusiasm won’t be accepted, by the way, so if you want to cling on to your Klingon (sorry), you’re going to have to fake it to make it.
And then there is all the merchandise. There’s nothing huge entertainment companies like more than foisting their substandard “who is that supposed to be?” merch on their franchise’s unsuspecting fans. Every time you sneeze at your boyfriend’s flat, ten R2-D2 pepper pots will fall over, and you’ll awake after a night of passion with a Starship Enterprise alarm clock staring you back in the face.
Comic books, action figures, DVD boxsets (all unwatched), novelisations – this guy’s pad would make a fortune on eBay, if he ever took enough time off arguing on message boards to put it all on there.
“Why do you keep these?” you will say, picking up a dogeared annual from 1976.
He will mumble something about it being worth a bit of money, but this is just to shut you up – he has no intention of selling any of it, and he’s already plotting the delivery of his next tonne of ephemera.
And if, by any chance, you like sci-fi too, don’t think you’ll escape the hell. For a start, it is very unlikely you will like the same branch of sci-fi, or even the same company who makes it. Arguing over which is better out of Marvel and DC Comics is the biggest cause of divorce among sci-fi couples – that’s actual science fact.
Even if you both – miracle upon miracle – like the same brand of sci fi, there’s no escape from conflict. I watch Doctor Who, so I have often used this to hoist myself up on the first rung of any sexual ladder I hoped to climb upon meeting a sci-fi guy I have wanted to sleep with. This was usually met with derision and quick-fire release of cliches like “It’s a kid’s show” or “It’s too confusing nowadays”, but if by any chance they liked it too, there would be immediate tests to check how authentic a fan I was.
“Who was your favourite Doctor growing up?” Peter Davison. This occasionally elicited an eye-roll.
“Who’s your favourite modern Doctor?” This was a tricky one. If you say David Tennant, you’re boring, and if you say Matt Smith, well, “you’re just pandering to the Moffat mafia”. No, I don’t know what that means either.
The rivalry between fans of the same show can get disturbingly granular.
”But what’s your favourite episode of Doctor Who?” said one date. There are right and wrong answers to this, by the way. No such thing as opinion when it comes to Doctor Who.
I’d read enough Digital Spy forums to know there were some episodes that could never in a million years be anyone’s favourite, so obviously being king of the trolls, I picked it.
“Fear Her,” I said, before motioning for the waiter to bring the bill. I was alone in my flat googling pictures of Jamie Dornan within the hour.
So if you’re on the verge of dating a Superman lover, think long and hard about whether you can compete with the Man of Steel. If you can cope with a roomful of Wookie action figures, being blanked by your boyfriend’s mates because Amy Pond was your favourite Doctor Who companion, sitting through a 35-year-old episode of Blake’s 7, then go for it. But you’ll need to go totally native. You’d better get on eBay pretty quickly – you’ve got a flat to fill.
FYI: I am really looking forward to the new Star Wars movies and, yes, Amy Pond is my favourite Doctor Who companion, so fuck you.