Every day, in every way I’m getting nerdier. Okay, that’s a gross exaggeration but the sentiment is true.
The moment I first realized I had officially entered nerdom happened this summer while I was watching the new X-Men movie. (No, just the fact that I was watching it in theatres doesn’t count because who wasn’t enticed by that trailer?) At one point in the film, when Magneto and Xavier are young men they run into Wolverine. He looks the same age as he does in the other movies though the other movies take place years later. Due to some Wikipedia X-Men research the spring before (fueled by a debate some characters in the show “The Big Bang Theory” had) I knew why Wolverine wasn’t younger.*
Just as I was taking a mental note to fill my mom in on the history behind that cute little moment (which the writers clearly put in for big fans) two geeky looking high school guys sitting in front of us whispered to each other “What was that about?” That is the moment when I realized I’m a nerd. A 24 year old woman shouldn’t know more about X-Men mythos than high school guys.
Sure, I’ve always liked some nerdy things. I grew up loving Star Wars, Indiana Jones and reading some fantasy. I enjoyed catching an episode here and there of Buffy and Angel. (Okay, Christa and I cried during the epic fifth season finale of Buffy and taped it – but who could blame us? She sacrificed her life for her sister and saved the world!) BUT I never got too into nerdy things. I didn’t collect comics or read The Silmarillion (though I was in love with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings). I didn’t commit to anything nerdy.
Then in college my sister and her husband started loaning me seasons of Buffy and Angel on DVD. I got sucked into the Joss Whedon-verse. I tried to resist. I successfully pushed off watching Dollhouse until this summer. But then I just fell deeper in love. Now I’m watching “The Big Bang Theory”, “Fringe” and … “Star Trek.” That’s right Star Trek. Of course, I saw the new movie a long time ago. Now I’m watching one of the television series: Deep Space Nine (I know, I’m not starting in order but I’m totally getting into it).
As I’ve been texting my sister and fellow nerdy friends about the characters I’m loving and hating, I realize how much deeper I’m sinking into nerdom. Less than a decade ago I would have been in so much denial. Not because I look down on fantasy and sci-fi (I’ve thought since middle school, and still believe, these genres can be the most enriching and meaningful as well as some of the most entertaining) but because I didn’t want to be limited by a label or group.
The older I get, the more I’m convinced that labels and groupings don’t have to be limiting. I’m into nerd things and indie-things. I’m into hippie-things and mainstream things. There is no reason that I can’t be the girl who gets goosebumps talking about theological and philosophical elements in Buffy and also the girl who works out to Britney Spears, Dev, Chromeo and Hercules & Love Affair.
While I’m leaving behind my high school prejudices it would be naïve to say that everyone feels this way now that we’re “adults.” Every few months or so I have a friend who’ll say to me, “You know Lindsey, I really don’t know how you can be into … such and such thing.”** In that condemning tone. I’ll be honest, I never have a good reply in the moment. Because it’s hard to validate something to someone who has already written it off. And because taste is hard to justify, we all connect to and are amused by different things.
Me – I like nerdy, ridiculous, meaningful and beautiful. I can say that there are indie films that are just as formulaic as Hollywood films (and often more miserable to watch). A lot of realism is terribly dreary or unimaginative and shallow in comparison to fantasy and sci-fi. Some mainstream music is just as good, if not better than, some indie music. And I don’t see any good reason to shun music that gets you grooving or movies that make you smile.
* If you’re wondering, Wolverine is one of the oldest mutants. The same ability that allows him to heal quickly also slows down his aging so that it’s impossible to know how old he is. But he is believed to be one of the oldest. Having been born during the late 1800s.
** I wont lie. I do have some of my own prejudices. Like “Really you aren’t turned off by the pretentiousness of Toms?” “You like Dickens?” “I can’t believe you can stand Tolstoy!” “Wait, metal music is still made? I thought that genre died in the 90s/early 2000s!”