Sorry for the delay on this one folks, I was trying desperately to get this one rant going that in the end I just butchered it entirely and got nothing from it so I’m going to drop that there for now and move on to something completely different. Now then, I’ve never really considered myself as part of any social grouping so to speak – not strong and sexy enough to be a jock, but with just enough basic hygiene and luck with women to avoid being pushed in with the nerds. However, I’m starting to wonder about the latter and just what it means – the word ‘nerd’ is a parody of itself now, a shorthand for enthusiast and loveable uniquity… or so we like to think.
As a child, I of course grew up with the tag of the nerd, the mute child who sat in the corner and drew comics for his own amusement and only ever spoke to give answers to questions that baffled my classmates. Nerd wasn’t a compliment, it meant someone who was the opposite to the desirable social standard of the school structure – unattractive, uncool, unconventional interests. Nerd was a name given to you, not by choice, it branded you as something and it was unshakeable, like geek, dork or freak. Nowadays, however, the word “nerd” is a cool thing to wear as a label with people call themselves a nerdy, myself being guilty of it at times but then I already had the label to start really, since I was six so what’s your excuse? You hear it thrown around a lot – A Doctor Who nerd, A Zelda nerd, A Netflix nerd – it just means enthusiast now ala memology law dictates. You can be a nerd about anything now, from Star Wars to Game of Thrones, and this doesn’t make sense. The term nerd isn’t for a passing interest or even enthusiasm, it’s for obsession to the point of madness. You’re not a nerd for watching Doctor Who, you become a nerd if you can recite all the actors to have ever played the Doctor, even Joanna Lumley, and then go on to state their causes of regeneration and reasons the actors themselves left. A nerd isn’t a fan or a big fan, they’re determined to know all there is to know about the fandom until they feel disconnected from the casual fans and ruin it for them by shouting at them for not knowing enough. Sure, nerds tend to like comic book heroes and collectible Japanese monsters but everyone did as a kid, the nerd just took that like and made it into love.
As well as this, the media has portrayed “nerdy” as the new buzz word for sex appeal. Look at your brainy characters in TV today, your Sheldons and Sherlocks, your Zooey Deschanel playing the endearingly awkward Jess. Nowadays, the TV is telling you that being socially inept makes you sexy and cute and these “nerdy” characters aren’t played by buck-toothed wimps with center parted fringes, they’re attractive people in reality and it glorifies this stereotype that being smart but awkward is stunning. Bullshit, I never had dozens of admirers marvelling at my aloof nature, they all thought I was a pretentious little dweep. The typical nerd isn’t a tall slender well-dressed know-it-all who has an endearing quirk of knocking three times, he’s the kid in the corner who smells funny and can’t kick a ball to save his life. You love your nerds served tall dark and sexy with a handful of behaviours you laugh at on TV but in reality, you’d hate someone who did that. Imagine actually living with Sheldon or Sherlock, not the actors, the characters. Could you live with a man who has a set period of bathroom time and reprimands you for any slight deviation from his schedule, even if you had a good reason? No, I doubt you’d enjoy it. Smart is the new sexy but in all honesty, the smartest members of our population don’t do sexy or by god Stephen Hawking would be drowning in womanly bits.
Of course, the true death of the nerd came about when it became a fashion. Thick black square frame glasses, tweed jackets becoming cool again, ironic t-shirt sales shooting through the roof. Oh what’s that, a Harry Potter shirt? Oh god you’re so awesome, you’re a Hufflepuff too? Mmmm have my babies now! Oh you wear a bow tie? Fucking gorgeous, I must ravage your body until it explodes. Nerdiness is a fashion statement now, you wear your geek slogans on your chest with a fez on your head and comic strip shoes on your feet. As a young child, I had no say in my dress sense, my mother dressed me up identical to my brothers so we were all matching little cherubs for her to trot about proudly. You know, the whole cute little suits and ties, matching sailor shirts and such? Yup, me until age eight at which point Dad took charge and stopped dressing us so my brothers and I just ended up wearing whatever we wanted. Wasn’t cool stuff though, I did not get the jealous glances from the other guys when I showed the ladies Mewtwo was on my chest. I wore shirts that had Pokemon all over them, tucked into my pants and big round glasses and I thought I was dressed to kill, not because I was fashionable but because I had a freaking great Charizard on my tummy, outta my way bitches! Nowadays, the nerd shirt is a commercial item and it sells hot for high prices with websites dedicated to getting shirts with Weeping Angels or Bilbo Baggins on them. If something anti-mainstream like being a nerd becomes a fashion, it dies. You can buy tie dyed shirts now, no need to make them so now you can buy your way into being a pseudo-hippie. You can buy a Hell’s Angels jacket online, no need to earn it through beating a mod into a bloody pulp with a rotted rope. You can deck your wardrobe out with moustache jumpers and fake glasses, no need to have these given to you by your Mum because she couldn’t afford better. If it’s a fashion, it’s dead as a way of being unique.
The nerd is cute now, it sells you this endearing underdog story of hardship and awkwardness but in the end the nice guy wins and the busty blonde sleeps with the asthmatic dork who wears white briefs at age 28. The nerd is a socially inept train-wreck in reality but if you buy into the media hype, the nerd prevails over all with his cuteness. Being a nerd is such a big thing that you can be accused of ‘faking’ it, not being a true nerd. Erhem, excuse me but what? I don’t remember that being a thing, when did people aspire to be like me or the kid who has teeth that can pick up Jazz FM? The nerd group isn’t this all-accepting circle of love and joy, it’s a branding iron for the misfits and we united to survive and to trade Yu-Gi-Oh cards, not because we wanted it for ourselves. I didn’t deny the hot blondes to go hang out with the fat sweaty kids because I love having my Game Boy smell of BO, I was pushed there because the hot blonde didn’t want to be seen dead with a guy who pointed his pencil at doors and make a noise to pretend to unlock them. I don’t hate people for identifying with this label of nerd now, even if they weren’t called one at the age of five by the big kids, but just remember what us nerds really are. We are annoying, out of place and most of us carry an insulin pen or inhaler, we’re not a club to beg to join and even if you did, we probably wouldn’t want you unless you had Arceus ready and waiting to trade with us. That’s what being a nerd is – an obsessive and crazed fan who has no choice but to reside in a virtual world and feel like a king there because in truth, they’re an annoying, smelly and weird little kid nobody picks for sports. That was my childhood, that was what it meant for me, to be a nerd.