Posted this the other day on my Facebook page, and boy, did that open a can of worms. Almost 100 comments, many from women who have had the same problem: men who fake relationships with us. Every single woman I know in fandom has had to deal with this.

I’m not talking about some poor, random deluded guy we’ve never met. I’m talking the bizarre phenomenon of men we actually know or have met at conventions who, unbeknownest to us, are telling everyone in sight that they are banging us. If you note something odd about their behavior and call them on it, they tell you you’re crazy and conceited for thinking their wonderful self – a guy you wouldn’t touch with anti-septic – would ever be interested in you for a minute! Even though he follows you around, writes a lot of emails, calls a lot, and is practically your shadow.

Here’s the original text of my post with comments.

Geek Guys and the Unattainable Fake Girlfriend Who is Real But Not His.

I gotta throw this out there, because this has been on my mind lately. I really want to know what you think. I had a long conversation with a friend of mine about the tendency of some men in Geekdom (I mean pro and fan as well) to coopt the autonomy of every woman they find attractive. I don’t know if this is some universal creepy guy thing, or if this is particularly bad in fandom. We’ve both had very serious issues with people we knew who behaved in very bizarre and inappropriate ways, did things and said things no real friend ever would.

Some men just cannot seem to have a relationship with any female that they do not then try to reframe as a male-dominated romance. The little woman becomes part of their mythology, and they use their fake relationship with her to blow up their egos like blowfish.

If a man does a minor favor, he brags to everyone in sight that he is practically her slave and does just everything for her, even if he’s an incompetent klutz who can barely get by. If they have lunch, he’s telling everyone he’s banging her.

A male friend to whom I gave my art to take to a couple of conventions as a consignment sale because he needed extra cash, was soon telling everyone in sight he was my agent and manager. He even set up pages of material on his website to take commissions for me, something I never gave him permission to do. It took quite a bit of manuevering to get my art back. “But hey, Colleen can barely make a business move without consulting me!”

The relationship conflation is utterly bizarre.

I’ve had at least 3 men I thought I knew pretty well decide our having lunch or coffee meant we were really having a relationship.

OK, I get it that unbalanced fans would do something like this, but the guy I had the worst problem with was a non-fiction writer, married, someone I’d known for years whose odd behavior sometimes alarmed me, but who always denied there was anything funny going on – until a third party forwarded hundreds of letters that proved without a doubt that there was a lot of funny going on. I was absolutely furious. I still have the letter I wrote confronting him about what I thought was his inappropriate interest: and the letter he wrote back angrily denying it. But to third parties? Heck, he was a man in looooooove. Sheesh.

It’s not like this is keeping me awake at night, but when almost every woman in fandom I know has had this problem not once, but repeatedly, isn’t this a trend? And is it a Geek-Centric trend?

I’ve never had this problem with any man outside fandom.

I’ve always been puzzled and horrified by this behavior, having had to deal with G, the writer, who spent almost ten years pretending a romance with me, while denying all to my face and in writing: a retailer who hit on every woman in his shop and told the local fans all of us, including me, were his conquests (and he wonders why his shop went out of business): and the repulsive Doctor Lizardo, a former assistant who suddenly proposed marriage, and after being firmly rebuffed, for years thereafter, told everyone in sight he was my SEKRIT artist background dude, my business partner, and future husband.

Fortunately, another good doctor has stepped in to explain this creepy behavior: Doctor Nerdlove.

Doctor Nerdlove has a terrific advice column for the Geek Set, and his analysis of this phenom is an eye-opener.

There’s also more than a little frustrated desire to be part of the magic involved in their favorite fandom – they’ll want to believe that they somehow contribute materially to the creation of the things they love, so they’ll try to position themselves as the “secret muse” behind some story or character. Occasionally they’ll even insist that they are the talent behind the talent, that some magic contribution of theirs is the real reason why X is successful or Y is so popular.

It’s a misogynistic way of trying to boost one’s profile by treating women like playthings or trading cards.

Get thee to Doctor Nerdlove’s website and read it all.