Monday, January 7, 2013

I was uncool before it was cool or haters gonna hate

(Update: friend just sent me this article. Brills <---- short for brilliant. I'm trying to make it happen. Tell your friends!)

As I may have mentioned (or not), I have many older brothers - more than 3, less than 5.  None of my brothers ever played sports past grade school. And I believe only one played a team sport at all and that was my youngest, older brother who played on a community soccer team around age 5. Other than that, to the best of my knowledge, my brothers only fenced. Yes, fenced. My father, a lover and player of organized sports, was gifted with 4 sons who could not care less about team sports and don't to this day. What did they care about? Theater. One sailed. Oh, and role-playing games.

Really, in a nutshell, that's all you need to know about the environment in which I was raised.

Due to this environment, I believed it was cool to watch Woody Allen and Monty Python. Before I was 10, I had a crush on Martin Sheen after seeing him in Apocalypse Now. Blackadder? Where it's at. Billy Idol? The ultimate music to listen to, unless you have the Rocky Horror Picture Show available, but, really, you should just watch the latter. I had bifocals until my eyes got so bad that I just needed straight glasses, even to read. I had braces from age 10 to 14. I did go to sleep away camp twice, both times at colleges, where I took classes, including fencing and international economics.

What did I wear? Well, thanks to my mom's love of Laura Ashley and the fact that I was a girl after 4 boys: a lot of dresses and, when those weren't available, pastel corduroy pants with matching turtlenecks. Around 11 or 12, I rebelled and began to pick out my own clothes. My favorite store? A Canadian outpost called "Northern Reflections" that made it all the way to the Paramus Park Mall. I owned some awesome shirts from there. One had a large sunflower on it. Many had animals. All were extremely comfortable. Did I wear them ironically? Hell, no. They were awesome. Would I wear them today? Probably under something because I wouldn't want someone to think I was wearing them ironically.*

Dressing myself circa 1992 in Disney World. You can't make it out, but I'm wearing socks with white sandals and I still remember just how soft that flag shirt was. God, it was so soft.

Which brings me to my main point: uncool is now cool as long as you are doing it in an ironic way and that's not cool. Or that was my main point until I read the following: "Why the 'Fake Geek Girl' Meme Needs to Die."  For realsies?

I was raised playing role-playing games because it was the best way to keep an eye on me when my brothers were in charge. Also, there wasn't much else to do in our town until you could drive, so my brothers' friends would come over to play. Hence, I was pretty sure role-playing was cool, although I did eventually realize it wasn't mainstream cool, if you will. In college, I joined the role-playing game club because I was a little homesick and these guys seemed familiar and nice and they were. I never pretended to know the back story on most of what we did, because I didn't, but the whole point of playing is to create a character and stick to it, which, thanks to the emphasis on theater (also by my brothers) I can do.

Am I a poser? Shut your mouth.

Am I a true sci-fi nerd? No, nor have I ever pretended to be, even though, yes, I sometimes let out a "frack!" but I blame that on TWOP.  I suppose, if we were going to try and categorize it, while I am not a practicing sci-fi nerd, I am a cultural one.

I am, however, a nerd. I have logged countless hours playing games with 20-sided dice, I'm getting a PhD in medieval history, and, to toot my own horn, I won a Harry Potter trivia contest during my study abroad at Oxford. One Christmas, one of my brothers received a Sega Genesis and a game called Star Fox. My brothers decided the best way to play this game, which was pretty much about flying spaceships and not dying, if I remember correctly, was to wear another brother's Darth Vader helmet backward and see who lived the longest. I am proud (proud!) to say that I did. It might have been a full 60 seconds, I can't say for sure as the moment is lost in the mists of times and glory.  I have most of Ellen DeGeneres's comedy bits from the late 80s/early 90s memorized. I used to "do them" for friends while waiting for play practice to start in high school. Also, Father Guido Sarducci from Gilda Live! But now I'm expected to prove myself to some guy that I know as much as he does about an obscure topic just to defend my nerdness? HA! Bring it and I'll respond by asking you celebrity gossip questions.

I say to you, fellow geeks** of the world, stop trying to make yourselves "cool" by forcing someone else to be uncool.  Because, let's face it, you could never rock a sunflower t-shirt the way I did, so you're pretty much all posers.

* H just said that he doesn't think anyone outside of our circle wears animal shirts and he doesn't do it ironically, but wasn't that 3-wolf-moon t shirt a thing?
**Not the ones that bite heads off chickens.

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