Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Welcome to the nerd show.

I'm going to a neuroscience retreat tomorrow, where graduate students, postdocs, and faculty will mingle and determine whose nerd power is the strongest. There will be epic battles and fights to the death over computational models and fruit fly genetics. There will also be "music and dancing" although I am picturing a junior high school dance with all the boys on one side and the girls on the other side. However, the program of events informs me that alcohol will be served! So perhaps in addition to being awkward, some people will also become belligerent! It should be a good time. The BF and I came up with an idea. You've all seen dog shows. There's best in breed, then best in group, and finally best in show. I think you could do the same thing with types of nerds, if you could call nerds a breed (and I think most people would agree that you probably can). There's the typical bookish computer nerd, characterized by thick glasses, pleated trousers, maybe a pocket protector (although that's a little cliche, now isn't it?), maybe a TI-83 stashed away somewhere on his person for easy access. But there are other types of nerds as well. The long haired nerd, or sci-fi nerd, who plays D&D and dresses in black, usually some kind of computer programmer or at least a gamer. We're all familiar with that one. There's also the nerd who is the coolest among his circle of nerds and so thinks that he is cool among the general population. The hipster nerd, or the nerdster. He is probably not that cool at all, but usually has a wardrobe that suggests that he thinks he knows what's up. An ironic screenprinted t-shirt, say, and Electric Six on his iPod, and he thinks he is worldly and edgy. We came up with another new category that I think is a new one: The nerd-bro. This is a nerd who tries to be a dude-bro, or thinks he is a dude-bro. Who uses his intellectual powers to be a complete jerk. Usually nerd-bros also think they are incredibly suave with the ladies (also a complete illusion). This category of nerds usually results from a lifetime of being picked on by actual dude-bros, and the desire to prove one's superiority in any way possible. Tragically, the nerd-bro turns into the very thing that he once despised. This is the worst of all nerd breeds. Most nerds are harmless and even lovable, but the nerd-bro is deadly and should be avoided at all costs. We tried desperately to come up with female breeds of nerds but came up somewhat dry, except to note that there are also female sci-fi nerds. Sadly, other female nerds tend to be somewhat nondescript. Or perhaps female nerds just end up more well-rounded or well-adjusted, and don't separate themselves out quite so nicely when dumped into a social setting. So now I have totally lost my sense of identity, being a self-proclaimed female nerd. I guess I should be pleased not to be so labelable, but really I'm just sort of sad that I can't be best in show. I'm also sad that I can't come up with a category to fit the word dominerdtrix that I just came up with just now. Because that would be awesome.

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