Lovefool 04.09.12 | R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Lovefool wonders: can’t all us nerds just get along?


Nerdlings! Happy holiday! I don’t know if you guys out there celebrate a religious holiday—whether it’s Easter, Passover, or Pass Me the Cadbury, Don’t Look At It, Don’t Think of Eating It, Just Pass It Over, That is Mine Day—but it’s happening as I write this and, tomorrow, when you read this, it will be over and we’ll be back to our usual routines and will eventually have to throw away approximately 10% of the candy we purchased and then didn’t eat. Since we’re pretty far away from our families and most of our friends locally seem to have gone temporarily mad, today’s been a pretty quiet day. I’ve spent most of it just kind of messing around online, reading Facebook and things about Doctor Who and trashy celebrity gossip. It did kind of deviate from the norm in that I frankly and openly admitted that sometimes I get very, very angry, completely enraged, at some of my nerd dudes. That’s not something I talk about very much, mostly for fear of someone telling me not to get my panties in a twist or something like that, at which point I will, in fact, go completely nova at them and probably say something very regrettable. Anyway, at one point, one of my nerdfriends mentioned that talking to nerd girls might be a good column topic.
Seriously, though, if the internet storm of ire centered around the whole Fake Geek Girls thing that meanie at Forbes wrote is any indication, everyone needs to take a timeout and remember that we’re all people first and interests second. We here at Lovefool, Inc. want everyone to love each other. It’s how we roll and what makes the world go ’round but, frankly, it requires a lot of work sometimes. Being a nerd girl in the world often requires a heaping dose of tolerance and a lot of calm, mixed with a smattering of reason. And when that doesn’t work, we dig through the cupboards for our jar of gentle smackdown. And if that doesn’t work, walking away from the situation—be it not visiting a message board for a few days or just saying “You know what? I’m not going to change your mind but don’t you dare ever say that in front of me again.” Not that, ahem, your Lovefool has ever found herself in a place where that’s been necessary.
Honestly, though, the best way to talk to a nerd girl is to remember that while you may be close in interests, she is not necessarily coming from the same place you are. That means that the language that you might normally use, the things that you might normally point out to your nerd bros, might make her a little uncomfortable. For example, most girls get a little tetchy when you immediately ask if they’re on their period if you disagree with them. That’s pretty specific to the female of the species but is also a pretty general thing, not limited to the geek girl. And for Zombie Christ’s sake, don’t automatically think that because you’re a boy who likes Portal and she’s a girl who likes Portal that you are automatically in the running to enter her secret room. Maybe she just wants to talk nerd things with you. I mean, yeah, it might be a good start, as common interests always are, but be cool about it.
And you know what? Swap out “girl” for “boy” in that last paragraph. Maybe you know a dude who actually liked the Green Lantern movie. [Maybe that dude even edits your online comics column! –JG,FE] Yeah, most people didn’t think it was that great, despite Ryan Reynolds being all hot. That’s no reason to still be giving them a hard time about it, what, nine months later? Let it go. You don’t have to ever, ever watch it again and there are volumes of comics out there that haven’t changed because someone made a movie you didn’t like. Nerds don’t have to like the same things. Anime nerds and cosplay dorks and cape fans, Marvel zombies and the DC Nation—there’s a place for us all in the world. Maybe you know a nerd girl who doesn’t know about Batman’s multiple Robins, OMG, but she might have rushed home every day to watch Teen Titans back in the day. Starfire was her favorite and she has no freaking idea what is going on with that now but whatever, she’ll always have 2004. It’s a start, isn’t it? Or maybe there’s a girl you know who knows everything about every Superman buddy in the universe and you’re a guy who is really more into indie stuff, Sweet Tooth and Walking Dead books and all that. There’s opportunities there for everyone. Let your nerdgirl buddy borrow some of your Batman trades. Let your nerdy guy pal borrow Planetary. Maybe give Sweet Tooth a try, it’s delightfully weird. There’s no reason to be a jerk about it. Everyone has to learn about something somewhere.
Ultimately, though, my point is this: think about who you’re talking to, sweet nerdlings, but don’t assume anything. Just because someone is a girl doesn’t mean they just like manga and Archie books, just like guys can read something other than X-Men. And don’t be scared, it is possible to respectfully disagree. “Respectfully” is the key word, there: spewing hate speech and calling someone stupid isn’t respectfully disagreeing. But, again, don’t be afraid to disagree about which Robin was the best, but also don’t immediately disregard someone’s opinion because they don’t happen to like the same one you did. Remember that we’re all people and if everyone liked the same things, exactly the same way, the world would be a boring place. | Erin Jameson

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