It’s Good To Be Geek

Geek Inside

Only geeks could mock an already geeky logo

When I was a teen I was very selfconscious of my geekness and used to downplay it around strangers and anyone of the opposite sex. It wasn’t as if I was I one of those guys who went around with a ponytail, long black trenchcoat and a Red Dwarf t-shirt quoting Monty Python all of the time anyway (although I was to encounter a fair share of them in later life, so many so in fact that I now have to restrain myself from immediately punching someone in the balls if they so much as utter the words “knights who say ni” anywhere near me) but I just figured, without much to back it up, that people didn’t like geeks. Especially girls.

It wasn’t until I was 19 that I realised how wrong I was about that. I remember vividly going along to my first Creative Writing class at University (I purposefully picked electives that would put me in contact with non-males, especially important considering I was studying Computer Science which, to my surprise and horror, wasn’t filled with the abundance of bikini clad ladies I was expecting) and being very reluctant to tell anyone there what course I was studying. I just assumed that as soon as I said computing I would get laughed out of the building by all of the hip arty females that I’d managed to ingratiate my ungainly self with. Funnily enough though, when they did finally manage to prise the information out of me, my admission was greeted with coos with “wow, how cool”, rather than the “NERD!” alarm I was expecting. Yes, it was 2001 and being a geek was cool.

It wasn’t just my realisation that women actually didn’t run for the door at the first sniff of a computer scientist that changed my out look on geekness but also my gradual understanding that it was becoming accepted worldwide as a fundamental part of life. Everyone is a geek now. The guys who run countries are geeks, the people you work with are geeks, everyone you meet in the street is a geek. It’s no longer the hidden shame of D&D roleplayers and C++ programmers but rather another facet to our ever-evolving society. 20 years ago staying in at night to mess around with your ZX Spectrum would’ve earned you the sympathy of your peers; now everyone stays in at night to chat with their peers on Facebook.

In fact, in a world that is becoming consumed by geekery, knowledge is power. I mean, some of the richest guys in the world are some of the biggest geeks to have walked the Earth. The small things still count though like impressing your wife by fixing her laptop or spending time with your future wife under the pretense of helping her build a web site or dazzling cute receptionists in a hotel by helping them fix their computer system (and getting into trouble with said wife in the process).

Yes, the moral of this story is that it’s good to be geek and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. They’re just jealous of our awesomeness.

-Gordon

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23 Comments

  1. Gankalicious says:

    It’s funny how much gaming, and the perceptions of gamers by others (the game-less fools that they are) has changed over the years. I have grey-gaming hairs I’ve been at it so long but I can (and do) finally say ‘I game’ when people ask me what I do for fun and NOT get funny looks!

  2. Mallika says:

    Putting my name into the ‘proud to be geek’ pot.

    Love the ‘geek inside’ graphic. :D Where’s it from, or did you make it?

  3. Lycanthrope says:

    I do more gaming than the 20-30 somethings I work around and meet at church. Does it bother me? ffffffffffffft.

  4. amcl says:

    You’re the biggest geek ever :)

    – signed your very geeky programmer brother

  5. Nils says:

    Women like men who can sustain them and their future family – financially. Simple as that ;)

  6. Krytus says:

    Women like self confidence. Embrace your inner geek

  7. Bhagpuss says:

    When I was a teenager and big into superhero comics I thought it might be wise to put them out of the way when my new girlfriend came to my house for the first time. She spotted them, however, pounced on them and ended up taking as many as she could carry back with her to read. We got married a few years later (and divorced a few years after that, but that’s not part of this anecdote!)

    I could tell a somewhat similar story about Mrs Bhagpuss and computer role playing games. If there’s any moral in this, it’s probably “be yourself”.

  8. Ferrel says:

    You’ve certainly got it right in that regard. It is quite okay to be a Geek. I finally made the bridge between my real life and Ferrel not long ago on FaceBook. People can see my Epic Slant self in all its glory now. Not surprisingly I didn’t lose all my friends! Lucky me!

    Now having said that and being someone on the con circuit I have noticed that there are degrees of geek. Some folks do go so far to the… geek-left? that people do still give them strange looks. That isn’t the rule though!

    • Gordon says:

      I think people are starting to realise that being a geek doesn’t necessarily mean being socially inept and withdrawn. It just means have a healthy interest in technology and gaming etc, things which are becoming more and more commonplace every year.

  9. Shadow-war says:

    I think part of it, and you touched on this, is that technology has become so intertwined with society today, that what people thought of in the past as being a geek, is just being informed in today’s world. Most people know how to find a network to hook into, or basic HTML for making posts on forums/chat, or the rudimentary basics of HOW the internet works. As Ferrel said, there are always people that take it even further to the “geek-left” (I like that), but what once would have been an act worthy of societal ostracization now merely gets you a strange look at worst, oh a “Woh – look at that!” at best.

    Or maybe I’m just desensitized from my years spent in raver culture. When you’ve seen men dressed in giant foam bananas, women in acrylic (yes paint) police outfits, and an asian jesus with candy bracelets, judgemental thoughts tends to diminish.

  10. Epiny says:

    I was the same way Gordon. All through High School I kept my gaming hobby a secret, regardless of being on a top ranked SC IGN team for awhile. No one knew I played games save one or two very close friends. Even later on most of my friends weren’t gamers so I kept it a secret, my wife didn’t even know I gamed when we first started dating.

    Now I don’t hide it and some of those friends I use to hide it from try to make fun of me. I look them in the eye and always say the same thing. I’m married and have two kids, why do I need to pretend to be cool for you? I wear my nerdiness like a badge of honor now. It’s also funny when one of my wife’s friends claims they or their husband is a nerd because I always say I will out nerd them… and always do.

    It’s “trendy” to be nerdy now because it implies you are up to date on the current electronics and that is how people judge your social status now. Another point, I have a 4 year old flip phone that is held together by tape. My work pays the bills for it so it free. People all the time try and mock my phone because it isn’t a smart phone.

  11. Phaedra says:

    In high school, I didn’t really realize how unique my group of friends were until I was able to drive. My roleplaying group was almost entirely female. Indeed, my social circle of geeks was at least 50:50 female:male, if not more skewed to the female end.

    When I learned to drive and was able to leave my sheltered society, I learned how truly rare geek girls were in the late 90s. I’d walk into a gaming or comic book shop and there would be complete silence, along with a ton of stares (and more than one stalker). Thankfully, there are a lot more geek girls “out” now.

    And as for guys knowing more than girls about technology and computers – my husband would like a word with you. I’m the one who diagnoses and fixes are computers and technology – his solution involves using rocks of different sizes to hit stuff.

  12. Yay, geek culture is growing and I’m loving it. You know, there are people today who like geek things and don’t even realize it! And I love to point it out to them and burst their bubble :D

  13. Guaka says:

    Nice post, I think the point about zx spectrums and facebook is particularly cogent. Hail the geeks!!

  14. UnSub says:

    Taking away a different point from your article: I too hate the Monty Python-quoting Trenchcoat Brigade. :-)

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