Nerd alert!

I hadn’t considered the term “nerd.” I use it with some people in a playful way. It just so happens that these people are usually ones who I can converse with about fantasy and scifi novels. I like to read. I really enjoy reading series, epics, etc. I have read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyDune, The Wheel of Time, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Twilight (yea, i was stuck in bed with a back injury for a while), The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, Sookie Stackhouse and more! I intend to keep reading because I really do enjoy it. I like to get lost in these worlds that are not like ours. These seemingly impossible situations are fantastic. I especially like to read books that just keep going.  Dune was a bit ridiculous after the 4th book but I kept on and have even read some of the newer and completely terrible books. I somehow managed to crawl through the absolutely AWFUL Sookie Stackhouse series. ((Yea, True Blood was based off this series and THANK GOD they veered away from it.)) I really want to read Ender’s Game and all of the books that come with it!

Last year, I read the entire The Wheel of Time series and loved it. I was completely addicted. I would read it on the subway, while I waited in line at Costco, when a laser was zapping away hair from my lady parts, when my students were taking their tests, in the bathtub, etc. I felt like Belle from Beauty and the Beast when she walks through town reading and completely ignoring everything around her.

Because of that series, I have made friends and conversations with some interesting people. We have ‘nerd talk.’ And I didn’t think twice about that phrase. But today, a guy was trying to hit on me and said “Wow, it’s so nice to meet a fellow nerd.” And I thought to myself, “Wait. Am I a nerd?”

This led to me looking up the definition of nerd! According to dictionary.com, the American term:

nerd

[nurd]
noun, Slang.
1.

a person considered to be socially awkward,boring, unstylish, etc.
2.

an intelligent but single-minded person obsessedwith a nonsocial hobby or pursuit:

a computer nerd.
But the British version is:

nerd

/nɜːd/
noun (slang)

1.

a boring or unpopular person, esp one obsessed with something specified: a computer nerd
2.

a stupid and feeble person
So, naturally, after seeing this definition, I considered this. I am not “boring.” I am not “unpopular.” I am pretty sure I am QUITE stylish! I am not often “socially awkward” (although I have moments, but don’t we all?). I would go with “intelligent,” but definitely not “single-minded” nor “obsessed with a nonsocial hobby.”
Why, then, would someone hitting on me use this term? I had been using it as a term of endearment in a way. For some of these people, the word fits. For others, I would say it is a complete miss!
Does reading a genre and identifying with people who also read books like this group me in with them?

Plainly: no it does not. It is completely unfair to designate a title like that to someone. This deep thinking brings me back to other words and phrases used for people that are completely ridiculous. It’s not necessarily about stereotyping, however. It’s about how we use seemingly harmless words to identify people.

I know this train of thought could easily continue on into a black hole of opinion and debate, but I’m going to leave it here because I don’t want to get into it with myself.
I am happy to read the books that I do. I am happy to have conversations and be able to relate to people who have similar interests as myself.
I guess I am a fantasy book nerd. I know I am a musical theater geek. I am a style-conscious woman. I am who I am, but I know that I am also guilty of labeling people with terms that I have in the past considered to be harmless.
Maybe this rant is pointless. Maybe it is endearing. Maybe it’s time to go to sleep.
I
don’t
know.
Maybe I’m just being.

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