Valentine’s Day is this Friday. In celebration, we’re spending the week celebrating love in all the forms it takes throughout the quadrants. L(ove)LAP ?.
What do you do if your Imzadi doesn't even know what Imzadi means? Some Star Trek fans are lucky to find their significant other within the fandom, but what about those of us who find ourselves in love with the unassimilated?
I myself was one such fan, but I have since successfully brought my life partner into the Star Trek family. I've been a Star Trek fan for as long as I can remember, thanks to my parents introducing me early with The Original Series and The Next Generation. For years though, I was the only one among my peers who watched Star Trek and discovering Deep Space Nine and Voyager on my own was a fun but very lonely experience. When I started dating my partner, I saw a golden opportunity to finally have someone to enjoy all iterations of Trek with. Though he initially knew very little about the franchise, we're now halfway through DS9 and he considers himself an emerging fan.
I know there are plenty of fans like myself who want nothing more than to share their love of this franchise with their Par’Mach’kai, and I’m here to tell you that there’s no need to for it to be as painful as the Borg assimilation process! Using the strategies I’ve described below, you’ll soon find that your significant other will go from wondering what a Tribble is to begging you to watch just one more episode with them.
Ideally, you’ll initiate your partner during the courting phase, when they’ll do anything to impress you, even listen to Klingon opera. If you’re lucky, a few dropped hints about how much you love Star Trek will be enough to have them scrambling for their remote, eager to watch a few episodes and pronounce themselves a Starfleet Academy Cadet in order to win your favor.
Unfortunately, though, it’s not always that easy. Your partner may be like Data and not catch your subtleties, in which case a direct recommendation to start watching may be best. Or, even worse, your partner may have a predilection against Star Trek, whether from disinterest or the silly belief that Trek is in direct competition to that other franchise set in the stars, and thus they can’t be both a fan of those movies and this series.
If that’s the case, or you’re already far enough in your relationship that it takes more than some maneuvering thrusters to nudge them into watching, you’re better off moving onto the next strategy.
Did you just cringe at the mere mention of compromise? You’re not alone — if you’ll recall, Odo also wasn’t a fan, describing it in none so favorable terms:
“You want to watch the karo-net tournament; she wants to listen to music, so you compromise - you listen to music. You like Earth Jazz; she prefers Klingon Opera, so you compromise - you listen to Klingon Opera. So here you were ready to have a nice night watching the karo-net match and you wind up spending an agonizing evening listening to Klingon Opera.”
It doesn’t have to be that way though! Fair compromises can actually be an effective way to slowly ease your partner into the fandom. Is there a show that your significant other is a huge fan of, but you’ve never gotten around to watching it? I’m willing to bet there is. So why not propose a trade-off? For every episode of Star Trek that they watch with you, you can agree to watch an episode of the show they love.
It’s a win-win situation, really, because they’ll be much more inclined to try and enjoy Trek if they know you’re doing the same for their show. Plus, you both get to share something you’re passionate about, and that’s always a great way to develop and nurture a healthy relationship.
So now that you’ve got them to agree to watch, where do you start? There are now more options than ever before, with even more new series on the horizon. With so much on the line, it’s important to set your phasers to stun— that is, to make sure they’re immediately astonished that they never watched such an incredible show before.
Of course, there’s no right answer for which series to start with, as every person is going to be drawn to something different. Does your partner love keeping up to date on the latest and greatest that television has to offer? Definitely get them hooked with Star Trek: Discovery or Star Trek: Picard. Does your partner already enjoy fun romps through expansive sci-fi universes? Star Trek: The Next Generation or Star Trek: Voyager are natural fits. What about the history buffs, or those who love nothing more than to discuss politics? The Original Series or Star Trek: Deep Space Nine are your best bets.
If you have a feeling your significant other may balk at committing to watching an entire series of television, you’re in luck— the newer J.J. Abrams films are a great introduction to the fandom, with a much less daunting time commitment. And once you’ve piqued their interest with one series or film, before you know it, they’ll be ready to “boldly go” and watch all the rest with you!
Remember Your Prime Directive
As you embark on this voyage with your new fan in tow, it’s important to remember your Prime Directive— this should be fun! The last thing you want is to be like Ensign Vorik when he tried to force B’Elanna into the Pon Farr. Push too hard, and your partner might turn against you. Just because you know that their resistance is futile, doesn’t mean that they have to feel that way.
In the end though, it’s important to remember that Star Trek is all about acceptance, even if it means accepting that your partner might never learn all 285 Rules of Acquisition. However, with enough enthusiasm, patience, and gentle encouragement, I feel confident that you can help your significant other see the light and convince them to join the ranks of Trekkies all across the globe. If I could do it, so can you!
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Madison Vaughn (she/her) works in entertainment PR, which essentially means she’s a professional geek who watches movies and TV for a living. She’d give it all up though to join Starfleet Academy, if she had the chance. You can follow her on Twitter @vaughn__boyage.