I finished reading the first volume of My Girlfriend’s a Geek (Fujoshi Kanojo), and despite having enjoyed the author’s wacky adventures with an otaku girlfriend, I can’t help but identify with both the pleasure and pain of his experiences. After all, I have dated girls who liked anime before, and it just so happens that the tsundere that I spoke about on monday was also a yaoi fangirl.
To be precise, she happened to be a yaoi fangirl devoted exclusively to Axis Powers Hetalia. Unlike Pentabu, who first met Y-ko at work and had no initial idea that the she was crazy about BL, I first met the girl (who I will now refer to as J-chan) at an anime convention, so I know what I could potentially be getting into.
I met J-chan at the moonlight ball on Friday, and she was wearing a glamorous black dress that made me forget that I was at an anime convention at all. Contrast that with the very next day, when I met up with her again: this time, she was cosplaying as Canada from Hetalia, red sweater, blonde short-haired wig, teddy bear, et al., so yet another layer to her hobby obsession was revealed.
Not that I had a problem with it. Back then I would have thought it weird, but nowadays, there’s something exciting about the prospect of making out with a girl dressed as a boy.
Of course, that’s just the exciting stuff. Having not appreciated Hetalia before, I had the tedious task of slogging through J-chan’s endless rants about Hetalia fandom. The deviantart comic community. The fanfiction. The youtube cosplay+roleplay videos.
Even from the viewpoint of a regular anime enthusiast, I was quite surprised at that last aspect. J-chan would forcefully sit me down at my chair and make me watch these fan-made videos of them dressing up and acting out in-character comedy skits in front of a camera. It was…eye-opening, to say the least. Reading Pentabu’s complaints about being forced to sit through Evangelion (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but he is the straight man in the relationship after all) was both amusing, yet evocative of those same memories of sitting through all those videos (They even have a United Nations of youtube roleplayers for each country! What!?) and not knowing a single thing about what I was seeing.
In the end, it wasn’t Y-ko’s geeky fanaticism that made Pentabu stay in the relationship, but rather all the other things that made him fall in love with her in the first place. He accepted her for her eccentricities and learned to love the awesome parts that would come with it, including her penchant for cosplaying as a maid and greeting him at the door with a “Welcome home, master!”
J-chan’s tsunderism aside, I learned a thing or two about her fandom for the show, and even watched the anime series on my own. And in the same way that suddenly something clicked in Pentabu about BL tendencies and mindsets, I reached a similar level of appreciation with Hetalia.
One episode hadEnglandandAmericahaving an emotional argument with each other, which supposedly coincided with the revolutionary war in world history. I couldn’t help but feel the slightest bit heartbroken that their relationship would be beyond repair. Err, as brothers, as um…adopted brothers.
It didn’t help that a nagging thought at the back of my mind that associated England’s nickname, UK, with uke.
I’m not into yaoi, boys-love, shonen-ai, or however you call it, but having experienced the Hetalia fandom firsthand through J-chan, I can sort of appreciate the nature of fandom itself, regardless of what franchise that fandom is aimed at.
In fact, I’ve come to notice that such an appreciation is an asset when it comes to breaking the ice with yaoi fangirls. During this year’s Anime North, I attempted a small social experiment. I went to the convention’s manga library and repeatedly requested to read various BL doujinshi, with the straightest face possible. No giggling, no squicking, nothing. If the volunteers asked or warned me that I was about to read explicit content, I simply said “it’s fine” or something like that.
It drew attention. Quite a bit of it.
I’d sit down in one of the chairs, and as I read and paid attention to my environment, a number of random girls that sat close to me would see the cover of the manga that I read, and look at me quite intently before moving on with their own enjoyment. Perhaps had I not come to the manga library with another girl at the time, I might have been approached by one or two.
As I will explain in my review of My Girlfriend’s a Geek coming up this Friday, I conclude that yaoi fangirls are a-ok in my book. I’ve learned enough from dating one that a lot of the negative stereotypes associated with them either don’t exist or don’t bother me all that much. And as long as you don’t get on their bad side by saying stupid things like “Sebastian is absolutely straight,” then they’re one of the nicest people in the world, and at times, act the cutest, too.
My name is Kriz, and I ship US/UK. Come at me, brahs.