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The notion that “I’m a nerd, so I should like this” is a misconception about what being a nerd is – one that comes from not having been a nerd until after the end of The Dark Times, when being a nerd was the cool thing to be.

Being a nerd isn’t about which things you love, but about how you love those things and how you express that love. The misconception comes from the fact that there was a time before. Before Robert Downey Stark Jr. made everyone with $10 think they’re a huge comic nerd. Before Halo and COD made literally anyone with hands and a Microsoft XBox think they’re a “1337 hardcore gamer”. Before Wizards of the Coast turned D&D into Pen and Paper WoW so anyone with a 3rd grade education could play it. Before being a nerd became “cool” and really just meant you owned a t-shirt.

See, there was a time when being a nerd meant that anyone who wasn’t also a nerd would either avoid you entirely or treat you like shit just because you openly and exuberantly loved something they thought was stupid or weird. In that time, the social ostrasization by non-nerds created a social obligation among nerds to be more than somewhat knowledgeable about as many areas of nerddom as possible, regardless of how much you enjoyed them. You didn’t have to like what other nerds liked, you just had to know enough about it to be able to have a conversation, because if nerds didn’t do this, their already limited social circles would get even smaller.

Fast forward to the mid-2000’s, when it started to become “the cool thing” to be a nerd, and suddenly you have shitloads of people who don’t even understand what it means to be a nerd, but call themselves nerds because they finally let themselves experience something they once considered “nerdy” and realized it was actually pretty cool. Those would-be nerds look back at the nerds they used to ridicule or just avoid entirely, and they remember how that guy/girl who wore nothing but Marvel t-shirts could have a 2 hour conversation about the fundamental social and philosophical differences between TOS, TNG and DS9, and they get it in their head that that means if it is part of nerd-dom, they must like it…and then they start telling other nerds how “you’re not a real nerd because you don’t like <insert franchise here>” or “you’re not a nerd because you don’t know about <insert tidbit of information here>” exacerbating the whole thing…

…the point is, If someone tells you “you’re not a nerd because you dislike/don’t know about…”, fuck them. They don’t even understand what it means to be a nerd.

Love what you fucking love and love that thing the best way that you can love it, and don’t try to force yourself to love things you don’t. THAT is what being a nerd is all about.

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