On the show Baggage, Nerds, and Hot Women

Don’t judge me, but I have a confession to make. I…. watch Baggage, hosted by the one, the only: Jerry Springer. I usually find it on television somewhere when I’m up at 3 a.m. and have no desire to go to sleep (You know, because 3 in the morning isn’t late enough already).

If you don’t know what it is, Baggage is a show where a lovely lady or a kind gentleman is seeking love and decides the best way to do this is to go on a game show (Naturally). Three eligible men or women are then lined up ready to be picked by the first woman or man to go on a date with. The catch of this game is that those three contestants all have dark or weird secrets. Basically, they all come with “baggage” and then must reveal their naughty secrets to the other and hope not to be eliminated.

baggage

 

The reason I bring all this up is that last night I caught an episode. A lovely lady looking for love stands up on the podium and announces that she is looking for a sweet, nerdy, quirky guy to go out on a date with. It was the nerdy part that caught my attention. I watched the show, and it was exactly what I feared. When this beautiful young woman claimed she wanted a nerd, she didn’t actually mean it. What she wanted was this:

Joseph Gordon Levitt

 

Or this….

Johnny Depp Nerd

 

But certainly not an actual nerd. This is how the show went. Three guys went up and revealed their baggage. One was eliminated. The remaining two revealed all three pieces of baggage.

Guy #1‘s baggage: was 35 years old and had never had a real job & had his parents pay for everything, powdered his junk every day, and couldn’t help snooping through his past girlfriend’s diaries and email.

Guy #2‘s baggage: made clothes out of duct tape, was in a polka band, and has a low labido due to growing up with a very “liberated” mother.

Guy #1 couldn’t stop talking  about how he likes to work with kids and how he was a camp counselor (for four months. Only four months. Seriously, the way he kept bringing it up it sounded like he’d been doing it for years. He wouldn’t shut up. It’s was clearly a ploy to try and snag the woman’s heart).

Guy #2 was a quirky, kind, adorable nerd who likes to explore new places and go on roadtrips. He even quoted Star Wars.

Both were physically attractive (though, Guy #2 was actually more handsome than Guy #1, in my opinion.)

All these things I tell you because from the first moment I met these contestants, I was rooting with Guy #2. I wanted him for myself. The man was adorable. He was exactly what this woman had described before the show had ever started. He was genuine and compassionate and silly and lovable. I think we can tell where this is going.

She didn’t pick him.

Of COURSE she didn’t pick him. He was the NERD.

But wait, didn’t she say she wanted a nerd? From the first moment that word escaped her lips I knew, I KNEW, she was not going to pick the nerd because she didn’t really want a nerd.

I am really tired of this new “nerd” kick that has been floating around, because it hasn’t changed anything. Nerds are not cool. They aren’t by definition. This new-age “cool nerd” thing is simply just another costume for cool, popular, well-adjusted people to like Star Wars or play video games and wear thick glasses and then call themselves by a different name.

Us actual nerds, the people who deserve this name, who have earned the title, are still the socially awkward, ill-adjusted, introverted, and unsociable on the bottom of the societal totem pole. And that’s fine. That’s where we’ve always been. We’re in our basements, our apartments, our nerd lairs and batcaves. The problem is when people like this hot woman claim they desire nerds when they actually do not. You know not the meaning of the word. 

Nerd whore

 

Sure, say you want the nerdy guy and then choose the untrustworthy, email-snooping, unemployed junk-powderer. (Right, I’m sure the cute nerd with duct tape lederhosen and a polka band was so much worse than that long-haired creep.) Just stop lying to yourself about wanting a nerd. Because you don’t. You’ve proven that. You sully the good name of Nerd by even uttering it from your perfect baby-pink lips.

To some, the title of nerd is an insult to designate superiority and inferiority. To others, it’s an honor to be earned and treasured. You disrespect everyone when you throw the word around as casually as “totes”, “lol”, or “cray cray”. And it’s pissing me off.

 

Being a Nerd is Hard. (Anxiety Sucks Ass)

 

When I say being a nerd is hard, I’m not talking about watching Star Wars for the seventeenth time… this month. Or reading comics books, or playing video games consuming your life and you can’t remember what the sun looks like because you’ve been too busy beating Ocarina of Time again. No, I’m talking about the other side of the word “nerd”. The introvert. The socially awkward. The Sheldon/Howard/Raj side of it. (Leonard seems pretty well-adapted to me).

I just went outside to wash a cup in the lounge kitchen area. People down the hall started to talk. Two girls and a guy. Just talking. I couldn’t see them. And suddenly a heaviness descended on my chest, like a fat raccoon with little beady judgmental eyes was sitting on me. I couldn’t breathe. My stomach felt like a tense fist. I just wanted to get out of there. Abandon the cup, save yourself!

(Thank God Harry didn’t say that in the Lestrange Vault)

Anxiety…. Anxiety is hard. My first year in college, I lived in the dorms. There was a community kitchen in the lounge area. I had frozen burritos and pizza rolls in the freezer down there. It was down the hall, not thirty feet away. It would literally take three minutes to go out, microwave a burrito, and get back into my room. I wouldn’t do it. I would go sometimes all weekend long with barely eating anything.

I don’t know exactly why I couldn’t go down the hall, I would just get too… I don’t know how to describe it. I couldn’t. I would sit on my bed and try to talk myself into getting a burrito for ten minutes, I would finally scrape up enough courage to go get food, and before I could open my door more than a crack I would hear voices of girls in the lounge laughing, and I would slam the door shut. The pit of my stomach would clamp up; my body would suddenly feel cold and clammy, like refrigerated meat; and a black, slick fear would replace my hunger.

Anxiety is not rational. No matter how much rationality and logic I poured down my own throat, I couldn’t break the unforgivable curse Anxiety had cast on me.

Just the other day, in fact, I had a little emotional breakdown (can breakdowns even be little?) at the prospect of walking the five minutes to one of the nicer eateries (which is totally a word. I Googled it) on campus because the closest one to me closes on Fridays. My friend offered the solution of asking one of the many girls who live on my floor if they wanted to go with me. That was even worse than going alone. In fact, that idea was at least five times worse. Don’t get me wrong, all of the girls on my floor seem super nice, and nothing bad or traumatizing has ever happened to me at said eatery. But I couldn’t stop crying while just thinking about going.

Now, you may think that this post is me fishing for comfort, or support, or sympathy, but that’s not what I want at all. I am ripping my chest open and revealing my red, beating heart to the faceless, nameless sea of people sailing the frothy, cold internet… and it’s terrifying. But it’ll be worth it if one person, somewhere, somehow stumbles upon this entry, reads it, and thinks: “That’s me”. My deepest wish is that someone out there will realize that they’re not alone, that they’re not the only one who has these sorts of fears and doubts. Because for a long, long time, I thought I was alone. In fact, for a while, I couldn’t even name these feelings. 

And I know anxiety isn’t an exclusive “nerd” problem, nor do all nerds have anxiety. But I know at the very least some do. I’m one of them. And if you’re one too… I know not who you are, nor how you came to find me, but may I just say…. Hi. How ya doing?  

I don’t have any sort of answers, but I still hope this helps. The best I can do is say I understand.

Best Wishes,

thenerdfightingfeminist