For another perspective on the nerd culture please welcome our newest guest blogger, Sarah……
As a resident of what some would say is the weirdest town/city on earth, I have definitely encountered my share of interesting people. First, as an undergrad at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em Horns!), I was propelled into a world with two different labels: frat vs. hipster. Now what does that have to do with being a nerd? Stay with me, and my stream of consciousness will get us there.
As a member of a UT sorority, I am no stranger to wearing norts/leggings to class, and I pride myself on my shameless collection of oversized tshirts bearing the logos of my sorority, spirit group, and fraternity parties and events. These things would automatically earn me the label of “sorosti—-fill in the blank however you like”. But this one label definitely does not encompass my entire personality. I also consider myself a jock, spending three years on the UT lax team. I’m somewhat of a brain, as I graduated from a top ranked university in four years with a 3.8 GPA. And now that I work in fashion, I can dress the part of an Austin hipster. And even after five years here, as an east coaster born and raised, I definitely still get that weird feeling in my stomach that I look like I am straight off the set of Dallas or Big Rich Texas whenever my blonde hair is in big poufy curls.
Now that we’ve covered my colliding college social worlds, I can get to my point. The best benefit of being involved in so many different things at UT was that I got to meet all kinds of people. And while most of my guy friends are inevitably “frat guys” you’d be surprised to know how many of them live in the engineering, computer science, and medical buildings, studying their lives away so that they can indeed enjoy that Friday night (or Saturday afternoon) party (without these boys how else would I have gotten to see such B-list rappers as Afroman, Chamillionaire, the Ying Yang Twins, and Roscoe Dash?!).
So now we get to the topic of this post: what exactly makes someone a nerd vs. a dork vs. any other label? And while the lovely Liz has touched on what it means to be a nerd, I had a friend tell me something pretty interesting the other day that made me think again about this subject. One of my guy friends, who calls himself a dork, said that the difference between him and his friend, a nerd, was that while they both liked the same “nerdy” things, as a dork he still liked to go out in social situations (ie, going to sixth street in downtown Austin). On the other hand, his friend, the nerd, comes up with every excuse fathomable to avoid doing anything social.
By this definition, those frat guy friends of mine would all be considered dorks. They study for their classes and play board games (they play Risk anytime they can, its ridiculous) but are still able to converse with normal girls at parties and bars (sometimes even really hot ones). So my point is this, you can never judge someone by a single label, most people have various overlapping labels that could quantify their personality, and that is what makes them interesting. And who knows lady, that cute guy across the bar might actually be a much less intimidating dork underneath all his pastel brooks brothers and Polo attire.