taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I am a stealth nerd. And you probably are one too.

Stealth nerds look like something else on the outside. Me, I look like a yuppie advertising woman. I have the blonde French twist, the high-heeled boots, the cute skirt. I may betray my nerdiness in various behaviors or gestures, but I've figured out how to hide my nerdiness walking down the street, at the very least, and in client meetings.

I know other stealth nerds--many of them women, just because it's easier for women to disguise their true selves through clothes and makeup--but men too. And all of them look like something else and even seem like something else until you get talking to them and suddenly discover they're really, really into grammar, or artificial intelligence, or word origins, or robots, or whatever.

And then you realize, with a shock of recognition and joy: a fellow nerd!!

It's not enough just to be smart and look cool at the same time. That doesn't make you a nerd--that makes you a graphic designer. You have to be a little obsessive. And on the inside you have to still FEEL like a nerd. A bit alienated and socially inept.

Here's a simple test. You might be a stealth nerd if:

1. ...you get your nails done weekly--and attempt to speak to the manicurist in her native language.
2. ...while waiting at the bar for your group of friends, you read The Brothers Karamazov.
3. ...the first computer game you ever played was one of those text-based choose your own adventure games... and you still, though you'd never admit it, wish you could play it again.
4. ...until you were thirteen, you had no use for pop music. And nowadays you listen to the Shins.
5. ...you ever read the dictionary for fun.
6. ...you blog.
7. ...you ever wrote a cultural studies paper.
8. ...you go to your high school reunion and the guy you have the most in common with is that AV guy you never ever spoke to, who now works on web sites and actually turned out to be pretty cool.
9. ...your favorite date is Library Date, where you go to the library and follow it up with beer-drinking, only you call it the "liberry."

Oh, there are more signs. Comments, please, from all stealth nerds--you know who you are!


At 5:29 PM, Blogger sweetney said...

uhh, need i even say "guilty"?

i scored 9 outta 10 (i don't get my nails done. ever.).

commence with the virtual wedgie...

At 6:39 PM, Blogger XLT said...

As you know, I'm about as stealthy as a bag of hammers. However, if I were to add anything, it would be the dropping of the "Star Wars" dialogue references into everyday conversation.

"That's no moon..."

"I find your lack of faith disturbing."

"You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."

"These are not the droids you're looking for."


A close second is a Monty Python reference. Ni! I've grown to embrace my nerdiness. It's warm like cocoa.

At 5:03 AM, Blogger dogfaceboy said...

Seems I am but a lowly graphic designer, not a nerd. I do blog, I do read the dictionary—yes, for fun—and I do think the Shins are real good, but the A/V guy was never cool, and I make fun of people who say "liberry." :)

At 10:35 AM, Anonymous tbtine said...

On the few times I've been to get my nails done, I have never tried to speak Vietnamese. However, I sat there the entire time feeling incredibly uncomfortable and wondered how obvious it was to everyone else that I *so* did not belong in there.

Ditto to the hair salon. No matter how much I need to go there, I'm always positive that the person cutting my hair knows how much of a dork I am. That's why I only get my hair cut once or twice a year.

I made up games for myself with the dictionary. Uber-nerd.

I get excited about organizing things. I know this verges on OCD. But aren't people with OCD sort of like nerd celebrities?

Oh, and every time I'm walking down the street and actually have the thought cross my mind that I'm so *not* a nerd, that's the exact moment that I trip over a crack that doesn't even exist. (You can't be high and mighty and be a nerd, for sure)


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