Monday, 25 March 2013

Geekery is the new chicery, apparently.

I was in Debenhams the other day and spotted these T-shirts. There was one that said 'NERD' as well. Now, while am happy that geekism is a condition to be aspired to by young women, sadly, I have to offer some sobering advice. WEARING ONE OF THESE T-SHIRTS WILL NOT MAKE YOU MORE INTELLIGENT. Wearing a T-shirt that says 'Geek' will not make you a geek. Sorry, ladies.

Now, I'm aware that the definition of geek may be contested, but I am fairly clear that you will not find any true geeks in the ladies fashion dept of Debenhams on a Saturday morning. I'm not saying that fashion and geekism are irreconcilable. Its just that I wouldn't expect to find a fashion geek in Debenhams, frankly.

Places you might find a geek on a Saturday morning may include:
  1. Wikipedia
  2. A library
  3. An obscure specialist shop in a dirty backstreet, looking for the item that will complete their collection of (insert geekism here)
  4. Round the back of the enclosure at a medieval re-enactment, trying to figure out how the trebuchet works.
This is because being a geek involves work. You can't just buy it. Being a geek takes devotion. It requires time on the internet. It needs visits (pilgrimages, if you like) to the sites of your devotion. It requires some special signals that can be exchanged should you meet a fellow devotee. But more than that, sadly, it requires a little pain. And suffering. Until you have endured the ridicule of your non-geek brethren, you cannot be a true geek. Remember girls - the cruel laughter of your peers when you confess to an interest in the breeding behaviour of lesser-spotted Chilean pine-nuts - will, thirty years later, lead to you being the only world expert in said phenomenon, while they'll all be working down Tesco's. Build up that head of resentment, it's the only thing that'll get you through the wilderness years.

Yes, being a geek requires hard work, late nights, and humiliation. So why, I wondered, would people who don't naturally belong to the world of geekism, suddenly aspire to be part of it, to the extent of coughing up £10.99 for a rather horrid T-shirt?

Well this is what I figured. There used to be two kinds of people. There were thrusting, alpha-kind of people with long legs and sharp suits who did smart things with money and drove fast cars and had lots of sex and in between they kicked the other people, the small ugly people in unflattering coats who collected and categorised, say, old British Rail badges, because they couldn't get laid and needed to take their mind off it.

And then, after about 25 years, we sort of noticed that the alpha-kind of people had basically stolen all our money and sold us a load of rubbish. And then we sort of noticed that all the things that had changed for the better over that time had been done by the people who collected and categorised and invented things, and were despised and kicked by the alpha-people. And thus, there is a bit of a cultural backlash going on.

Personally, I think this is a good thing. Although if, in about ten years time, I witness a baying mob in anoraks chase a man in a smart suit down the street, and pelt him to death with World of Warcraft figures and old British Rail badges, I may have to call time and say it's all gone too far.

Anyway, I don't think we're done on this swing yet. Next step of the takeover: Prime Minister Nerd, circa 2014. Suck it up, Britons. 



  1. An unfashionable or socially inept person.
  2. A person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest: "a computer geek".


Pronunciation: /giːk/

Definition of geek


  • an unfashionable or socially inept person.
  • [usually with modifier] a knowledgeable and obsessive enthusiast:a computer geek


[no object] (geek out)
  • engage in or discuss computer-related tasks obsessively or with great attention to technical detail:we all geeked out for a bit and exchanged ICQ/MSN/AOL/website information
  • be or become extremely excited or enthusiastic about a subject, typically one of specialist or minority interest:I am totally geeking out over this upcoming film

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