After Hours

Poll: How do you not meet the geek expectation?

Justin James reveals one way that he diverges from the geek stereotype. If there are ways that you don't completely fit the geek mold, tell us about them.

There are certain activities that are considered "must do" in the world of geekdom -- things like watching certain movies, being able to quote Spaceballs, and playing RPGs. But I've discovered that, while there is a geek stereotype, no one actually fits the image 100%. And sometimes it can be embarrassing.

For example, I admit that I absolutely cannot stand Monty Python. My geek friends marvel at that, but it's true. Indeed, I diverge from the stereotype in an awful lot of ways, especially since I got married and had a child.

When you look at the geek stereotype and compare yourself to it, where do you differ from it? Please answer the poll question and then discuss your answer in the forums.

As related reading, check out 10 things every geek should know and the Geekend entries on the ultimate geek movie, book, comic book, and video game.

J.Ja

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

148 comments
pdafanatic
pdafanatic

It used to be that admitting to being a geek was an admission of not fitting in. Now I don't fit in as a geek, too?! How come I have to do something popular (e.g. gaming, particular movies) to be a geek?

SycamoreISU
SycamoreISU

Long ago I gave up trying to "fit in" and decided to be myself. I became a much happier person after that, and I met people from all walks of life who became, and are still, genuine friends. I can dance--both of my PE credits in college were dance classes--and I can sing and play any single-reed instrument. I don't have time to play RPGs, but I enjoy the occasional game of Bejeweled 2 or other games on Pogo. I'm a "sports mom" and cheer on my child's latest big play while knitting all sorts of gifts or charity items. Star Wars is OK. Star Trek is great except for the fiasco series that is Enterprise. I generally don't have time for the other sci-fi series, but I'll watch MythBusters any given evening if I haven't already seen the episode twice. I don't have an iAnything, nor have I ever watched an episode of Lost, ER, or V (the new series). My home internet connection is dial-up; if I want a fast connection, I find a WiFi hotspot on my laptop. I try to be gracious and hold a friendly conversation with people, but if someone dislikes me because of my interests, or if I'm snubbed if I'm not interested in EVERYTHING they are, then that's their problem. Who wants to be a clone, anyway?

K James
K James

One stereotype about geeks is that they don't interact well with others. My totally non-scientific empirical observations tend to confirm this, to the point that I have a social theory - there are "techie people" and there are "people people". "People people" tend to work well with others, but DON'T work well with technology. These people tend to be nurses, doctors, social workers, therapists - in other words, professions that require good communication skills and lots of interaction with others, often on a social and even an intimate level. "Techie people" love technology, and can stay immersed in it for ridiculously long periods of time. They can even discuss it and debate it. But beyond technology, they get a little lost in the realm of normal social interaction. I think I'm an exception to this stereotype since I'm a nurse AND a "techie". This allows me often serve as a "translator" or "mediator" between the "people people" and "techie people".

jcommunications
jcommunications

I Didn't like the movies and couldn't get into the books either. So even among the socail rejects i asociated with in school I was different. I also don't speak fluent Klingon.....

yorhumbleservant
yorhumbleservant

A major way in which I do not meet the geek expectation is that I have yet to run into any other goth's... back in my youth there were a few of us long-haired head bangers who didn't give one the impression that we were geeks. I remember one time my son was very upset and was gonna beat up the kids at school who were calling his dad a geek. I explained to him that geek is cool. Geek is not high-water pants, pocket protectors, and thick glasses taped together... Geek is not NERD. And if the kids at school were calling his dad a nerd, well, that's a different matter... ;-)

rhino777
rhino777

Lord of the Rings didn't do much for me....I guess that's mine....

dpresley_50201
dpresley_50201

There are a number of those "expectations" I don't have is my "geek" resume. There are a number of geek movies I can't quote verbatim, I actually did play a sport (baseball), there are many geek books I haven't read, and I'm not good at advanced mathematics.

cary.ellis
cary.ellis

I try to totally break out of that mold. I wear stylish clothes (I recently bought some new T-shirts with great sayings and some cool vintage comic logos), I am always trying to learn new things by watching a wide variety of documentaries, shows, and movies that stretch my intelligence and my imagination (mostly science and sci-fi related - because anything else is a waste of time), I always have the newest gadgets, and I try to show others my knowledge & insight whenever I am in social situations. Oh, wait...

phurwitz
phurwitz

I think I break the mold in a few ways. I don't see the attraction to gaming and I love to be outdoors, especially riding my bike as much as I can. AND I don't listen to an iPod when I am biking.

LarryD4
LarryD4

I pretty much fit the usual stereo types, aside from the fact that I am an outdoorsman and play sports. But my biggest thing I'm not, is slovenly. I've been to a lot of LAN parties, small local stuff and large corporate run events. And the one thing that it appears a lot of game geeks are, is just plain gross. I can understand that when you are at a 24-48 hour LAN event one might not sleep much and/or shower over the course of the party. But a lot of people who attend these events look like they've spent the last few years in there basement and from the smell, without showering either. And many of them have the worst manners known to man. I watched one guy stand in front of the snack table, pick up a plastic container of "Pub Cheese" and using his two fingers, extract a large gob of cheese and apply it to his tongue. Then as he is mouthing the cheese he heads back in with his two fingers and double dips. I actually said to this guy, "Take the whole thing, it has you saliva all over it now", his response was, "Nooo I can't do that, then no one else can have any".

rupyoda
rupyoda

If the thought of dirty, smelly geeks wasn't bad enough, the finger double-dipping was over the top!

rupyoda
rupyoda

Pro-geek factors: - have six Star Trek Christmas ornaments - programming in COBOL and FORTRAN at age 12 and went off to undergraduate school at 15 - X-Files and Fringe fan - get excited talking about methodologies, data governance, and decision support systems Non-geek factors: - not an early adapter, but my AAPL stock holdings appreciate those who are - bench 355#, leg press 1260# - enjoy serious cooking - organic gardener (sunlight, fresh air, and manual labor.... yikes!) - look like the leader of a biker gang

kenjwsu
kenjwsu

I'm another one of those "inner geeks." I'm the only dedicated IT person at a medium sized company with about 150 full time workers. I play basketball with the production employees everyday at lunch (sometimes even when its raining outside.) I love watching sports. There are a whole lot of books I haven't read, a few movies/shows I haven't watched, and other geek-related activities I don't integrate into my life. The only reason I get labeled as the geek type is because I love watching movies, I'm a comic-book nerd, love RPGs and gaming, I'm good at math, love playing pool just because of the physics involved, and I'm the "computer guy." I'm sure there are plenty of other people who are labeled geeks that fit a similar profile as me, but in terms of that list, I'm only a part-time geek.

PCCathy
PCCathy

Never read any Tolken, I can dance and play volleyball, and I can barely add 2+2.

Tater Salad
Tater Salad

I'm not much of a reader and I really don't like Science Fiction books. This may be a virtue of getting older, but I have not seen any of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" movies, any of the "Spider Man" movies, "Avatar", the newer "Battlestar Galactica" TV show, "Babylon 5" or any Star Trek after "The Next Generation". I did see JJ Abrams "Star Trek" movie though and though it was great. I only saw the first 2 Star Wars films back in the 70's one time in the theater and never since then. I'm guilty of all the other stuff though.

scampbell
scampbell

I like to think of myself as a renaissance geek. I find myself into all types of things (traditionally and non-traditionally geeky), but take a delightedly geeky obsession with knowing as much as I can learn about each thing. I have lots of traditionally geeky traits, but some of my non-traditionals include cooking, Gracie jiu-jitsu, motorcycling, woodworking, music (I'm a pianist by schooling), writing, camping and wood carving.

rjohnson12
rjohnson12

- I don't dance, but have always been in the 'jock' crowd - I have a Playstation 2 - I almost failed Math 30, twice - I have not seen Avatar - I don't read books

clavius
clavius

I'm geek through and through, and have many of the hallmark characteristics (WAAAY too much time on the computer, Monty Python, Star Trek & other sci-fi, etc.), but the one place I diverge is that I don't really care for Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide books. I managed to wade my way through the first one, but found it mediocre at best, and gave the rest of them a pass. I also do Tae Kwon Do, which is a sport; then again, many geeks I know have a thing for martial arts, so does this count for or against the geek aesthetic?

eestrada
eestrada

Straying from the geek path a co-worker and I go to the shooting range and fire our various pistols, rifles, and SMGs. We also hit the weights at gym daily.

andrew.beals
andrew.beals

[a] You're in Texas - it's required by law. [b] You've never run across the Libertarian flavor of geek? Have you never participated on Usenet or in an on-line forum where talk drifted to politics?

Squishem
Squishem

I too enjoy blasting away at something 200 yards away and watching it explode in glorious destruction. I think any System Administrator needs this hobby, because servers shred well when assaulted with 7.62X39.

kenjwsu
kenjwsu

I have taken my concealed/carry class and will be applying for the license later this month. Will be nice to actually keep one loaded and available in case I should ever need it. My friend and I are ready to go to the range at least once a month. Great stress relief!

The Flaming Maiden
The Flaming Maiden

These links sum up how I am not really very Geeky (I just love them and their cool stuff ;) ) http://theflamingmaiden.blogspot.com/ http://sweetongeeks.blogspot.com/2010/05/geek-love-stories-i-used-to-be-cool-by.html

The Flaming Maiden
The Flaming Maiden

But does straying from the Geek path most traveled actually strip one of her Geek card? It seems that one can be a card carrying Geek and still have other interests (crafting, exercise, one guy mentioned range shooting)

trish.southerland
trish.southerland

I'm a) a chick b) not unattractive c) relatively physically fit . . . but I also have a child with Aspberger's and only date people if they're 'smart enough.' Call me elitist.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I'm a humanist! :p

santeewelding
santeewelding

And sin no more. It's what's getting you into trouble. Engineer "humanity" not only for your self, but for every other self in creation. Until you do, don't ever use that word again. Meantime, go sit in the corner.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Humanity cannot be engineered for others, for they either have it already, or are beyond it. Of course, you say "in creation", so if we're talking about the process of Creation, then I have to dissappoint you, I am not God, I only work here. I'm already in the corner, the corner is mine, and you can't have it. See, the adage of "always sit with a wall at your back" doesn't take into account the shortcomings of peripheral vision. Instead, always sit in the corner, it's got not only your six, but your whole 2 to 10.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Beware, though. It's radioactive. Too many, I see, shield their eyes and run the other way.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Having fought our way to the top of the pile, to the exclusion of all other critters, we have no other than each other to overcome. I keep me a cabinet full of sophistry, and, other measures.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I had always thought sophistry an essential part of humanism.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

But you cannot annoy me. I will teach if I am asked, and if I can. Or if I take offense. In all other cases I practice light-hearted sophistry.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Is all that you may, in your meager circumstance, begin to comprehend.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Yes, I know you stuck a cheat-sheet to the back of my jacket. You can't see it, and it stays that way. Now, answer the question, and no cheating!

santeewelding
santeewelding

I said to sit in the corner with your face to the corner and custody of your eyes.

Tink!
Tink!

I haven't seen all the geek movies or read all the geek books. (Since when is [b]liking[/b] Monty Python geeky?) I [b]AM[/b] athletic and have participated in a variety of sports. Tink :)

Brenton Keegan
Brenton Keegan

then you are not actually a geek and therefore not welcome here =p

Tink!
Tink!

I never fit any one category even growing up. I think it was actually better that I didn't. That way I had friends from ALL the cliques rather than just one type. :)

kenjwsu
kenjwsu

In school, I had friends from all different "crews." I had my friends from the computer classes, helped out the upperclassmen with math, one of my best friends was on the football team, guitar class, tae-kwon-do(god I miss it), weight training, the actors in theater, my writer friend, people in yearbook club. I could go on and on, but overall, a well rounded group of people I hung out with, important to be open-minded to all different types of people, why just limit yourself to one group of people?

cbader
cbader

I dont like Star Trek, and there are several other 'geek classics' or must sees that I either havent seen or dont like. Ive never played World of Warcraft and never intend to. The last RPG I played was Final Fantasy 10, and I dont see myself picking a new one up, especially an online one. I play in a band, and not a quirky quasi punk thing that geeks might be into, I play heavy stuff like Pantera, Slayer, and Lamb of God. I play baseball, golf, go snowboarding and love going to the beach and being out in the sun.

jfuller05
jfuller05

I haven't seen Monty Python, I cannot quote Spaceballs (I have seen it though), I exercise and eat healthy. My geek trais are: I like the IT field (obviously), RPGs, cartoons, movies, books and I'm very organized. Those are my geek traits, not many, but they are what they are. :)

Brenton Keegan
Brenton Keegan

-I can't stand anime and I'm really not that into Japanese culture (obviously have nothing against the Japanese =) ). Japanophelia seems to be a common geek trned. -I can play the guitar and bass guitar although I've seen other geeks been able to do the same. -I don't like reading fiction. Fantasy novels (yuck!). I respect fine literature but I really don't care to read thru novels of any kind. -I don't like comic books or super heroes. -I never have and refuse to ever play WoW.

bboyd
bboyd

Playing football and working in my dads autoshop during the same time I was into d&d. To many "categories" of geek to start thinking any list of things makes you one. I like to think that any cerebral hobby makes you a bit more geeky, i've run the gamut, reading fantasy, roleplaying, odd british humor, science fiction of varies forms. Quoting spaceballs the movie is just the tip of the mountain.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't game on-line or multi-player. I've got three or four PopCap's 'casual gamer' products, but nothing I can't either lose or advance a level in less than five minutes. Does running a fantasy sports league count? I don't participate in social networking. And no, I don't consider TR social networking. I've never owned a cell phone, of any make or model. I haven't seen a sci-fi show on the tube since the first season of 'Enterprise'. I've never seen any of the ones offered on Sci-Fi / SyFy. I've stopped going to comic-based movies; it embarrasses my wife when I scream at the screen about continuity problems. I don't have more than one computer at home, and it's a hard-wired desktop that isn't connected to anything except the DSL modem. No wireless, no servers, no connections to the TV or other devices. I don't watch many movies, but if I did it would be on the DVD player and television set, not on the much smaller computer monitor. But I went to the 10th anniversary get-together last year! If that ain't good enough for you, take it up with boxy!

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