“We Don’t Have To Be Nerds”

A while ago, friend of the site VZMK2 directed me to a Youtube clip. We’ve referenced it in NTR Radio a few times. The clip is from an offline meeting of users from a particular forum, and the point of focus was on an interview with one user, who said:

“We don’t have to be nerds. We can actually sit here and talk about life, girls, football, y’know, whatever the stuff we’re into, and also talk about toys, naturally, but it’s laid-back…”

Nerd-dom is in somewhat of a binary phase right now. General society seems to be slowly seeing more and more value in nerdy people; however, there is still a general aversion (Even among nerds) to nerds who are too nerdy. This manifests itself in anime fandom as certain anime fans disparaging other anime fans for enjoying the wrong anime.

Among some members of the nerd community, there’s a desire to not be nerds, even for a little while, and I understand. A lot of it is not so much that being a nerd is a negative thing, but that being a nerd isn’t the only thing that defines any of us. So, there, the gentleman in the video is right.

I feel like, however, the approach leaves a lot to be desired as far as nerd interaction goes. A good friend of mine, a Youtuber who goes by “The Geeky Panda” throws parties every so often, and a lot of people, all nerds, show up. We talk about girls, alcohol, and other “normal” stuff, sure, but we also talk about airsoft, cosplay, anime, and videogames.

I mean, think about it. Have you ever seen small-talk between two people who watch football? They’re talking about last night’s game, or who they think will win the next game. People who watch football talk about football with each other. What’s wrong with nerds talking about nerdy stuff with each other?

My point is that, sure, we don’t have to be nerds, but at the same time, we don’t have to not be nerds. There’s nothing wrong with being passionate and sharing that passion with other people, especially other nerds. A lot of us don’t have a lot of people in our general lives with whom we can really share and discuss our hobbies. That’s why gatherings of nerds are so magical to me. It’s refreshing to see so much passion and dedication to the things we’re into in one place.

A big part of this, however, is that I feel like a lot of nerds who share the “we don’t have to be nerds” sentiment seem to see nerd-dom as something we have to apologize for, perhaps even to each other. It’s true that we don’t have to be nerds, but if that comes at the expense of having to tone down our passion for what we enjoy, I’d caution how far we go with that mentality.

We don’t have to be nerds, true. At the same time, however, we don’t have to not be nerds, and we don’t have to apologize for being nerds. We don’t have to confine our passion to internet forums and convention panel rooms.

When nerds come together, great discussions can be had about nerd interests, but that’s only if we’re secure in ourselves as nerds and as people. Let’s not apologize, let’s just be who we are.