The typical geek/nerd is often characterized by the T-shirts they wear, whether it’s a character or logo from their favorite video game to a smart, tongue-in-cheek nerdy saying that maybe only fellow geeks/nerds would think is funny or would get.
Hordes of geeks/nerds flock to conventions where they let their pride show by wearing more of the same T-shirts they wear on a daily basis or take it a step further and cosplay as their favorite comic book or video game character. As I find myself surrounded by friends who love video games, comic books, or any other geeky hobby you can think of and regularly attend conventions like New York Comic Con (largely because I’m a New Yorker and it’s one of the closest conventions I can attend without needing to fly to another state or take a bus to attend other conventions), I don’t wear it as obviously as others.
It isn’t because I don’t like to make it obvious that I’m a geek/nerd––I’m just not the graphic tee or cosplaying kind. I’ve touched upon this before in another post. I always think the geeky/nerdy shirts my other friends wear when we get together look cool. I find they wear it better than I ever could. When I imagine myself wearing the same kind of T-shirts when I’m casually dressed, I can never quite see myself pulling it off with a pair of jeans. I tend to think it looks all wrong and just not “me.”
Maybe it’s because my geek/nerd cred didn’t really quite extend far beyond books until junior high to early high school when Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, and all that stuff started airing locally in the U.S. Being a fan of any of these shows in high school and an avid reader of shojo manga would be slapped with the “dork” or “uncool” label if anyone, who isn’t your friend, didn’t understand it. High school is a different time where it’s all about parties, getting the popular kid in school to notice you, or hanging out at the mall and going shopping.
My pursuits have largely been a combination of doing what “normal” teen girls did at that age and being home and consuming every anime or manga I could get my hands on after homework was done. Eventually, Sailor Moon T-shirts and all kinds of related paraphernalia were being sold. I could have emblazoned my love for all things Sailor Moon by buying a T-shirt and wearing it in public but I didn’t. I was a teenage girl back then, an awkward phase of wanting to fit in and not wanting to be singled out as someone to pick on. Luckily for me and my friends, we were the in-betweens in high school, not popular kids but not the tormented outsider kids either. We were just there.
As time wore on and I figured out what my personal fashion taste was, I realized I wasn’t the T-shirt girl. I’m largely polished and dressed up. It has been a running joke among my more casual, dressed down friends that even when I’m more dressed down for hanging out, my definition of dressed down is still dressed up to them.
I think part of the reason why I haven’t ventured into wearing and showing my pride for loving a certain geeky thing is because I never found a T-shirt cut I liked. Most T-shirts run a little long for me because I’m a petite girl and the right length for any shirt is a big deal for me. If it’s a bit loose and shapeless, then it’s looking less likely I’ll want to wear that too, unless I’m going to sleep in it.
I’ve come to accept that the right people will know and accept my geeky/nerdy self when they take the time to really talk to me and dig deep into what I’m interested in. Or we’ll convene under the geek mecca that is comic or anime conventions and have geekgasms over how cool Sailor Moon still is after all these years or how FemShep is still the best video game character to ever be created.
You may not know I’m a geek/nerd, but it’ll come out somehow, whether it’s through conversation or if you catch me playing my Nintendo 3DS on the train.