For a change you get something a bit different concerning Fandoms, but I hope it’s still interesting.
If you look at Conventions and the like it soon becomes clear that nerds and geeks are a quite sociable bunch. They enjoy spending time with each other and meeting new people that like the same things.
But what if you want to do that, when there is no nerd-gathering around or you don’t have access to any of those things near you?
How do you recognize a nerd/geek in Everyday Life?
Before I look into the actual topic let me define what I mean by Everyday Life.
Everyday Life is the part of Real Life that is spent in the presence of so-called normal people.
This includes: Being at work, going to the mall, using public transport, spending time outside, etc.
This excludes: Being at Conventions, going to the Cinema for nerd-themed movies, participating in other nerd-themed activities like LARPs, Pen&Paper or Card Game groups, etc.
Now let us have a look at a few things you can go by, to be relatively certain that the person you just met is one of your own.
A view at the chest allowed
It is considered quite rude to look at a persons’ (especially a woman’s) chest, but the easiest way to determine that persons’ nerdy-ness is by checking if they are wearing a nerd-shirt. Such shirts usually have a logo, person or catchphrase from a Fandom as front print that would justify the inappropriate glance.
While shirts, hoodies and other clothing can be a good indicator, they also can be misleading. The more popular a character or franchise gets, the more possible is it that normal people start wearing these shirts, just because they can.
This is especially the case with the logos of different DC heroes – namely Superman and Batman, as some of them are available in all kind of variations in stores that aren’t just for nerd things.
The more specific a shirt is the more you can be certain that the person knows a thing or two about what they’re wearing. I am fairly certain that the girl and the guy I saw last year know why they are SHERlocked or what the Baratheon-stag stands for. Just as I knew what the anatomy of the Serenity meant and the other person acknowledged the Cyberman on my shirt.
Still, the shirt could be just a hand-me-down or simple fashion statement instead of actual presentation of that persons’ Fandom.
Hidden in plain sight
Back in the day dark rimmed glasses were THE symbol for calling someone a nerd. Nowadays the Hipster-movement has taken them up and claimed them as cool. Therefore you have to look at other accessories to make your conclusion.
Similar to the shirts are there bags and tidbits from different franchises that made it into mainstream clothing. Additional to the two I’ve already mentioned we have The Nightmare before Christmas in this category as well, as Jack Skellington has a face you can sometimes see as part of Gothic fashion.
Bags, ear-rings, bracelets, necklaces, keyring pendants and so forth can be of a Fandom. Neither of it would be something you’d notice to be something special on first sight and it is a subtle way of adding what you like to what you have to do. It might take a while for you to notice these things though.
A little more eye-catching are tattoos, but they can be hidden quite well, maybe even by a nerd-shirt.
And then there is Batman
It isn’t really an everyday thing, but it still deserves a mention. While festivals aren’t officially nerd-gatherings they are still a place where you can come across people dressed up in all kind of ways. During about every metal festival I’ve been at so far was at least one person wearing the full Batman costume.
Batman is one of the most iconic characters out there and you recognize him quite soon. Still, the costume doesn’t necessarily mean the person has any reason behind wearing it besides having fun with it – or having lost a bet. When I see them I mostly assume the fun-reasoning, as the ones I encountered so far weren’t really prime examples for the crime-fighting hero. One Batman I’ve seen and heard of was, for example, rarely sober, yet caused a bit mayhem as Fairy on the Feuerschwanz‘ stage. Another one just walked into the Pub we’ve been at on Halloween last year and looked a bit out of place…
And then there was that one time at the Metalfest Loreley were I was called Batman…
I can see that a billowing black coat over black clothes including a shirt with bats (not THE Batman-logo, mind you, just some bats hanging from a tree) could give off the impression. Yet, I cannot see how someone would actually make that connection as my clothes differ greatly from anything he would ever wear. Besides do I not even like the character and therefore not see a reason why I should dress in a similar fashion. Plus, I could have presented that person two major arguments that I would indeed not be BatMAN…
Judging by my description above: Would you have seen me as a Batman impersonator?
What to do with what you saw?
After knowing and recognizing the signs a fellow nerd/geek can show its Fandom by, you still have to determine if your assessment is correct. Every variation of the above signs has the possibility that the person just wears it for fashion or other reasons and not every person wearing these symbols wants to talk about it.
The easiest way to ensure your first impression is correct is to use simple gestures like a smile or a nod at the object in question. If the other person acknowledges that in a positive way, you can see it as an invitation to start a conversation about the displayed topic.
Still, don’t be rude about figuring out if the person before you is what you think they are.
We’re all just people that occasionally don’t want to talk or interact with others.
Even if we are quite sociable when it comes to what we like/love, we still need our shells at times. 😉