Someone is scratching his head. Probably a whole lot of someones.
Most people upon meeting me would think, "No. No way. She's not a nerd." And I'm not, at least, not like many of my close friends are.
I never played Magic. I don't do MMOs (probably because I would end up crashing my computer in the middle of a raid or something causing my team to lose abysmally). I never did table top anything (ick - text-based?! Bleh!). I didn't own a console growing up - of any kind (Jill of the Jungle anyone?).
Instead, I went outside (despite my unfortunate lack of hand-eye coordination). I learned and made art. I tried new things. I learned about music. I played popular games outdoors and indoors. I went swimming. I even liked cars - like, a LOT (not enough for me to get posters mind, but enough to enjoy them as toys).
But here's the secret, I DID read. In fact, taking after my beloved mother, I read OBSCENE amounts. One of the great pleasures of summer was the ability to read until my eyes were bloodshot and scratchy with tiredness.
I also devoured information. I loved learning so much my favorite magazines and books from the library were usually historical or scientific in nature.
And here is where the line blurred for me - I absolutely loved science-fiction and fantasy. If there was magic or myth - I was there. I watched all the super hero shows (never got into comics though, sorry - still, I do love The Dark Knight). If there was a space ship and aliens, I was all about it. I watched all the space shows with my dad growing up. It was like our bonding time. So when I was old enough, my dad and I went to watch action movies (superheros included). My dad and I went and saw everything involving science-fiction together (Star Trek anyone?), because my mom really couldn't be bothered (let's face it, it's not for everyone).
The result? Even though by all accounts, I'm not a nerd, I had a heavy dose of nerd culture. So when Big Bang Theory came out, I got ALL the jokes. Seriously. All of them. Because I know those guys. I know Penny. She's my party friend who I talk to about girl stuff...and I help her navigate the world of the nerd.
Where is this going? Well, here's the thing. Nerd culture has become sort of cool. Yes, everyone doesn't love it, but it has gone mainstream in a way nerds have fantasized about for years (Honestly guys, you know you did - somewhere in the back of your brain. Don't lie.). The result? Nerds are now interesting. It's alright to go cosplay at the comic convention, and well, flaunt it (Incidentally, I'm seriously considering going as Sif one year, assuming baby weight is a non-issue. Christian is totally Thor.).
The openness of flying one's nerd flag high and free has created some interesting dynamics in the dating world, which leaves a whole lot of Pennys wondering what the hell is cee-pee-tree-dough and why Dr. Spock should have pointy ears. Poor Penny. She's left needing to research a whole lot about her prospective date's interests, and often finding herself confused because she just can't get into it.
Except she and I both know, it's worth it. Nerds are funny, silly, and don't care what anyone thinks about their interests. Many of them are absolutely brilliant. They challenge us in ways other people can't. And while some of them have the social adeptness of a rabid opossum, they can be as loyal and loving as a Labrador. Let me tell you, I would take my adorkable nerdtastic husband over a jerky high testosterone jock any day (and I do, :-)).
So, if you find yourself looking across the table at someone who's idea of a good time involves playing Settlers of Cattan followed by a Star Wars movie marathon, hear him out. He might be the Leonard to your Penny. And I will help you get through that awkward phase of learning the differences between trek and wars, comics and movies, science and spirituality, video and board. I promise. It can be done. And it has.