Art by Nidhi Chanani
So I’m on the train with a friend heading into New Jersey. We’re talking right, and I spot this guy a few seats ahead of me. If I was to get my Sherlock observation on I’d say he was late 40’s, banker type, ivy league-ish, glasses and a long black coat, he probably reads Wall Street Journal and his favorite movie is Ghost. Typical guy (he looked like Tim Gunn), except for one thing. He’s wearing a scarf… a burgundy and gold scarf. Now I’m looking at this guy and debating with my friend if this man is a Harry Potter / House Gryffindor fan. I’m not big on Harry Potter but I like to think I’m well versed in fictional gang colors cause Nerd Recognize Nerd.
At this point I’m literally debating aloud with my friend if my man is bout that life or if Johnston and Murphy just so happened to make scarf with the similar pattern by coincidence. Me being who I am, I can’t live on not knowing the truth, so when he gets off at our stop I ask him “Excuse me sir, you Gryffindor?” My man lowered his glasses, looked me straight in the brown stained glassed windows of my soul and nodded his head. To you that may be insignificant but to me (in the moment) it felt like….
It should be known that i hate talking to people because to quote Dr. Perry Cox “People are bastard coated bastards with bastard filling.” So talking to a stranger really isn’t in my criteria but there is something about recognizing said stranger as a person into the same nerd/pop culture genre as you are that can make one (temporarily) put aside that hate/disdain/distrust/misanthropic tendencies toward potential fuck boy-ness and give them the benefit of the doubt. Here is the thing, Every nerd is an island, man. We’re out in life either loving what we love keeping it to ourselves or at times flaunting in via T-shirt, accessories or what have you.
You don’t expect someone to be aware of what you’re “Sinestro Corps” shirt is or references but there are times when a person (another nerd) does and they give you that nod saying, “I understood that reference”. That nod is basically a ship passing by your island seeing your flare (nerd shirt/accessory). Usually it’s your choice if you wanna engage that ship or just keep by yourself on your island cause you not that pressed for conversation. Gotta recognize that might not always be the case for nerd girls as cats may wanna engage on how nerd you are AND come off as ass in some cases as Carrie touched upon in a prior post.
However, there is something about rocking your nerd shit via whatever apparel that displays the genre clan you belong to. I found myself a year ago heading on my way to an event and there was this fellow blerd rocking a Nightwing logo shirt. He was on the phone so I just pointed to his shirt and gave a thumbs up. To which, his response was,
“Ayo, Hold on. You pointing at my shirt but you rocking the Gaara gourd like that ain’t what up!? *dap* (gets back on phone) This dude out here reppin’ Hidden Sand Village fa real doe.”
If only exchanges were so pleasant (and brief). We are in an age where people are taking more pride in flaunting their genre, and more of the “In Crowd” has taken upon this as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone in a nerd shirt and felt shame due to not having mine on me at the time. All the while internally screaming, “I’m one of you! I swear!! I too am an island.”. This ain’t always the case though, I was watching Naruto at work once (they knew what it was when they hired me) and a dude from another department noticed and I got caught in a conversation I really didn’t want to have with this guy.
I was perfectly good with our hellos in the hallway AND THAT BEING IT. Sure, it was nice to meet another fellow nerd in the office (ehhhhhhh) but I ain’t want this dude on my island man. That’s like our islands are adjacent from one another and this dude swimming over cause he sees my camp fire going and I’m like “nah…nah I’m good… you don’t have to….. annnnd you’re here.” There are just sometimes you don’t want to engage man but being part of this means at times you gotta share that genre island… then keep your office door closed and change your hallway route.
This could also be argued as an introvert or an extrovert I suppose but I’m not really getting into all that. I feel like to me at least. Being part of this nerd subculture (black nerd= subculture within a subculture) is really about reppin’ your genre flag and recognizing the flags of other’s particular genres as well with respect. Whether that makes you an island, peninsula or just land locked all depends on you and how you choose to engage fellow nerds.