Nerds

I love nerds.

They make up almost the entirety of my social circle. I love the people who spend hours playing Halo 3. I love the people who spend a good 3 or 4 nights a week doing nothing but roleplaying games. I love the people who hold 3-hour discussions about who would win between the universe of Babylon 5 and Warhammer 40k, or what they would do if our campus was attacked by zombies.

I'm not even THAT into nerdy things. I like roleplaying games, and I'll play computer games or video games if I'm exceedingly bored, or if that's what everyone else is doing. And I certainly don't derive much pleasure from spending hours on end talking about it. And I kind of hate most science fiction and fantasy with a flaming passion.

But I really love the nerd attitude. People don't become nerds because they love computers and av equipment. They become nerds because they don't fit in in other places. They all like to think it's because of how they look, but that's not true. If you're just a little on the unattractive side, you become a metal kid or a goth kid or some other more socially acceptable subculture. You become a nerd because you're either crazy or entirely socially inept. Or both. And in a way, that's healthier than a lot of normal people.

Socially inept people often aren't afraid of telling people exactly what they think. They're not afraid to mention dead babies, swap.avi, and fire ants IN THE SAME JOKE. They don't get caught up in the subtle shades of meaning of a look or a touch. They honestly don't care what the normal people think. It's refreshing to be around them.

There are times when it's frustrating. Like when my exboyfriend became unstable, threatened to kill himself, and spent a good minute pounding on the suite door screaming before we called university police. Or when lengthy conversations become about who the voices in your head tell you to kill instead of "Superman or Batman?"

So I picked a damned good group to live with, the kind who only tend to become crazy under specific circumstances, and are generally high-functioning and awesome. They have annoying moments, but they're people who I'd love to spend a pretty much open-ended amount of time with.

And then everyone else figured that out.

The other thing that comes with nerdiness is the fear of new people and places and social situations. And the inability to take verbal and nonverbal clues. Hence the tendency to find one group of friends, and NEVER EVER LEAVE THEM ALONE.

I miss the days where the sci-fi club office was the group hangout instead of my suite. Then I wouldn't have to put so much brainpower into finding a polite way to say "Please stop coming over here every single night from 9-2. If you weren't here, I would be having sex right now. And when I say 'damn, I'm so tired. I think I'm going to go get some sleep' that's your signal to go home. Please. God damn it."

View Thinker #1f6774's profile

1.) I define geek and nerd differently, and I can't tell exactly but you seemed to have lumped them so i'll adress them further as such, with nerd/geek interchangable. 2.)That said, I don't think one necessarily becomes a nerd by being socially inept. That IS a way to fall into the lifestyle - i.e. you're socially awkward and nerd crowd is accepting of that so you get entered into the fold and then introduced to the geekeries of life. BUT I don't think that's always it. I don't see it as how I became one. I won't claim to not be socially awkward - I certainly am in many contexts. But even though in high school I had more friends online than I did in real life, I also didn't fully hang out with the nerd crowd. Me and my group of friends were fairly dorky, and flirted at times with some of the nerds, but more often the preps, and often even the jocks and in a few instances the rare cheerleader. That and as an artist/writer whatever person I DO notice the subtle signs. And as most nerds are of the intellectual type, I would say for the most part many nerds DO notice at least the more obvious signs. But the main reason I must contest some of your points is that A.) I know some fairly attractive self proclaimed nerds. I do not think i'm ugly at all - not perfect by any means but hey, nobody is. Becomming a nerd has fucking NOTHING to do with appearance. Hell, on the female end look up Josie Nutter or the Fragdolls and you can see that. B.) I would never have become a metalhead. Never never. Why? Can't fucking stand metal, and when people talk about it my eyes roll. But videogames? Now we can have a conversation.

Really, it's probably chicken-or-the-egg. The geekery causes one to be socially inept because some shun you for being weird and that just gets you to fall into geek culture further as it embraces you.

But hey, as an emerging game designer, i'm in the business of slowly making video games and computers more socially acceptable. I hang out with the likes of people who have designed games you've probably played and might not have even realized they were games...

Oh the best part? All the people I meet and work with in the biz are all tremendous nerds. It's so fun.

View Thinker #1f6774's profile

Oh, forgot you mentioned goth kids. My comments on that: 1.) now goth I had considered being (though this was FAR into being into nerd territory already) because I am into the macabre, and thanks to a few goth friends and the girl I was persuing at the time I grew to find the subculture fascinating and that which it valued beautiful. But I didn't because it takes too much effort, honestly. I'm too lazy and cheap to buy the clothes and do the makeup. I'll forever find it sexy in others, though. 2.) You really think goth subculture is more socially acceptable to people than nerd subculture? Maybe it's because i'm too entrenched in, well, both really... but in this day and age it seems to me the other way around.

View Thinker #ff7d40's profile

My judgments on the nerd/geek/dork subculture come from the college Sci-Fi club that I've been on the executive board of for going on the fourth year now. I mean, I'm not saying "look, I'm an expert haha." I'm just saying that my judgments are from having a very clear and longterm view of a relatively large, but very SPECIFIC group of nerds. I understand it might not apply to everyone.

First of all, I'd like to say that I do make the distinction between nerds/geeks/dorks/etc. in everyday life, but for these purposes I'm speaking specifically of people who are nerdy or geeky or dorky and choose to make their predominant social crowd others of similar mindedness. This does not count people who have geeky or nerdy or dorky tendencies but ally themselves with other social cultures. So if you hang out more with goths or preps, or even really spend a large chunk of time with other social groups that aren't nerdy, I'm not talking about you. The vast majority of the nerds that I know ONLY hang out with other nerds.

Secondly I'd like to say that for the most part I agree with you. You just seem to have misinterpreted me a bit. I specifically said that people don't become nerds because they are unattractive. I've known a great number of attractive nerdy people. But I did say that often unattractive nerds blame their inability to be in a higher social group on their appearance. That is not true. Most of the people who say this are gigantically self-centered, socially inept, and assholey, and far too short-sighted to notice that people are getting pissed at them because they're acting like complete tools, and instead blame all of their social failings on their fatness or acne. I know far, far, far too many of these people.

You're kind of going very specific on the metal kids or the goth kids thing, but really what I said and what I mean is that they are examples of a simply more socially acceptable subculture. I mean, adult society may look down on goths and metal heads more than they do nerds, but isn't that what those subcultures want? We're different. Fuck the man. Nerds don't care about the man. The man just wants nothing to do with them. How many mainstream movies have their been glorifying D&D players as glamorous or sexy? But goths? Oh goths are hot. And I've been known to go to goth clubs sometimes. Seriously, the people there may not be much cooler than the nerdy people I hang out with, but they certainly have more social skills. They go to places with the express purpose of socializing with (or dry humping) groups of people they don't know. Nerds tend not to leave their familiar groups. All of that aside, I didn't mean anything specific about goths or metalheads. I just mean some other subculture that may not be "cool", but definitely involves socializing. Like musical theatre kids, hippies, or any musical subculture.

I made some overarching statements that I didn't mean to be interpreted as such. Not all nerds are incapable of noticing things. God, I have OCD. I notice fucking EVERYTHING and make way too much of a big deal out of it. But I really do think that most people who choose the nerd subculture to be the subculture they ally themselves with over all others has a little something going on with the way they interact with the world as a whole.

Now excuse me while I go turn my 7th Sea roleplaying campaign into a java game that plays like Monkey Island! WHOO HOO!

View Thinker #000000's profile

I think that in times like these, we should question the usefulness of generalizing people. If you have to backtrack so much to clarify what you do and do not mean by a vague term coined by Dr. Seuss, why not just refer to those specific definitions to begin with and forget the silly term? That leaves you less open to misinterpretation, anyhow.

View Thinker #ff7d40's profile

I generally only tend to run into issues like this when I try to communicate in a short, concise, highly emotional medium, formatted like a rant, and to people who are probably far outside my familiar community. I should have remembered the changing nature of the term before I used it, but honestly, this isn't a debate forum. I was just casting a thought into the Ether in a moment of frustration and not thinking of having to clarify. Sorry 'bout my lack of clarity.

As to this whole "don't generalize people" shit, should I refer to you as pot or kettle?

Log In to Leave Comment