I’m getting a Casio calculator watch for Christmas. I’ve wanted one since I was about twelve, when I first saw one on the wrist of my first crush, a sweet, shy redhead with braces who was much more interested in his PC than he was in me. Even though – as I saw it – I was his perfect girl. I mean, I read Terry Pratchett (his favourite author) and knew every line from Labyrinth and Electric Dreams (his favourite films). I was gangly and skinny, with frizzy hair and eyes too big for my face. I dressed in jeans, Converse and oversized tee shirts (layered, of course, over long-sleeved stripy shirts) with slogans about global warming or pictures of The Beatles. I was the perfect geek girlfriend.
Of course, over the holidays between grades seven and eight my crush discovered hair gel, got his braces removed and learned how to skateboard. And then he started going out with a girl who was not only pretty and popular but two whole years older than us.
I was, naturally, devastated.
Being geek, it seemed, just wasn’t chic.
Over the years, I learned to try and hide my innate nerdiness. I forwent my predilection for sixties music, Ben Folds Five, Weezer and Nick Cave. I stopped playing my mum’s old New Romantic records, and my dad’s Bruce Springsteen and Willie Nelson, and I discovered a new (and genuine) fondness for pop. It was the heyday of The Spice Girls and Take That and pop music was fun and silly and easy to love.
I also discovered if I wore my hair in a messy bun it looked like its chaos was on purpose. I ditched my baggy tee shirts for tighter ones like the other girls wore, and I started wearing glitter on my eyelids (hey, don’t judge. It was the nineties).
I even got a boyfriend. He was a footballer. He was cool.
Outwardly, I was now cool too.
Inside? I was still very much the geek.
I still read Tamora Pierce and Pratchett and Tolkein in secret. I still kissed my posters of John Lennon and David Bowie every night. I still watched Star Trek, the Next Generation when I knew nobody would catch me.
I still spent weekends in front of the Back to the Future trilogy.
Being a geek still wasn’t the sort of thing you did in public.
Now? It seems like things have changed.
This book is doing the rounds on Facebook:
The following is the blurb:
For every girl who marches to the beat of her own drum, Leslie Simon has your manifesto: a smart, expansive, and winningly entertaining celebration of comedy queens, film geeks, bookworms, craft mavens, indie chicks, and other all-star women. Following the breakaway hit book Everybody Hurts, Simon’s energizing look at today’s pop-culture and counterculture heroines—like Amy Sedaris, Tina Fey, Sofia Coppola, Regina Spektor, and Jenny Hart—is an empowering, eye-opening, and, above all, fun journey. Readers of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking and The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life will love joining forces as Geek Girls Unite!
My Facebook friends are joyously sharing and liking the link to this book. Why? Because most of them, like me, were closet geeks as kids. And they’re happy, like I am, that it seems our time has finally come.
Forget spray-tanned, bleached, bronzed, fake-eyelashed, mini-skirted Rihannah-loving, Vodka-Cruiser-swilling clones. They’re so yesterday. Geek, it seems, is the new black.
But I’m not just getting a Casio calculator watch for Christmas because it’s now cool. I’m getting one because I realised years ago that I could not deny my inner geek. This revelation happened when I married my very own geek, a man who was not ashamed to love video games, Lord of the Rings, Linux and the odd metal song about hobbits. My husband taught me it’s fine that I prefer Blind Guardian over Beyonce and Kamelot over Kesha (or however you $$$$ing well spell it). He made me see that if I read Gaiman instead of “Grazia” and if I have no flipping idea what “primer” is, that’s fine.
He loved the geek in me like I love the geek in him.
It’s cool that geek is the new black, but next week something different will be in.
And Husband Bear and I will greet the news with a shrug of our shoulders, check our Casio calculator watches and see that it’s time to get off Thinkgeek.com and read another Lovecraft story.