'Nerd' and 'geek' are pretty loose terms these days. It's trendy to be nerdy, but not OG nerdy. I've always been more in the "geek" category, I suppose. Though I've never been fully clear on the difference, other than 'nerd' being perhaps more related to pursuit of academia, rather than being someone interested in what is commonly viewed "nerd culture" these days. It's all very confusing.
Anyone who knows me well knows I'm a nerd. I don't hide it. I flaunt that sh!t proudly. But I kept a lot of that stuff under lock and key for ages - apart from when I was a child, because nerdy stuff is often seen as stuff you do as a kid. But I was definitely isolated as a youngster and in my early teen years.
I was a massive loner in my first year of high school. I wasn't completely alone or anything, but i had no real core group of friends. My few primary school friends started doing other stuff by that stage: girls, parties. Blah blah blah. I still just wanted to play games, read comic books and talk about cartoons. My one "redeeming" factor was I was good at sport. But even then, it didn't win me many points. Lots of kids were bigger than me when I was about 11-12, so I guess they viewed me as still being a nerdy kid. Made state point guard!! Still viewed as a nerd. Feck em!
Some of the older kids would let me play ball with them but kids my own age didn't want a bar of me really. I was miserable. A cryer. My parents got divorced around that time, so i was a pretty emotional kid. But my best mate from primary school was part of the "in" crowd and he had my back. We hung out outside of school a lot, but never in the "playground" much.
I moved interstate the year after and I spent a lot of my next few teen years trying to hide the nerd aspects of my life. Comics, TV, fantasy... gaming to an extent. My demographic benefitted from growing gaming culture, so video games weren't as taboo from a social point of view. A lot of "cooler kids" had consoles and would borrow games from me. The one socially acceptable aspect of nerdery. Plus I had (have) a smart mouth, so I used cheek and clowning to keep myself from becoming a loner again.
They stuck me with the nerds my first day at my new school. Didn't last long. Didn't like being typecast as a nerd by that stage. Those kids would have been my saving grace a year earlier. But I ditched them. At least from a social point of view. Wasn't mean about it; I just wanted to see I could fit in elsewhere. A bit of a dick move, looking back. Started climbing the social ladder.
By then, the early days of the Internet became my main outlet for nerd culture. Chat rooms and forums like this and others related to my particular interests afforded me some escape from hiding my nerd tendencies. But by that stage the social circles I hung out with were the "cool" kids. Was easy. Drink booze, don't care about school work, play sport, be mouthy, get in trouble. Hid the nerd well, really. Played a lot of sport, went to all the parties, became part of the 'cool crowd', but I rarely spoke about any of the nerd shit I was into. As I said, it turned out that lots of the cool kids gamed heaps. Drunk and stoned teens love to game. But that was it for nerd stuff socially.
I always maintained friends at school who were typical nerds. Many of the ones I had kinda ditched. In some ways I was their protection from "normals". They pointed me in the direction of stuff I'd be interested in, but once I had an online presence I didn't need the old "playground nerd gossip" to find what I wanted. But I'd geek out with them and defend them when "bullies" came looking for trouble. But I never really hung out with them outside of school. Was too busy getting p**sed and macking chicks! Hahaha.
Eventually, I became "cool" enough that I didn't need to give a shit about my social image. And the nerd shit again became more outwardly noticeable. Had enough "street cred" that I didn't need to worry about what other people might think.
By the time my last couple of years of high school rolled around, I just kinda did whatever. Talked to whoever i pleased. Wore what i liked. Started telling off dickheads who picked on "nerds". Spent my free periods with the "goths", all who loved fantasy and "nerd shit". Just started being myself really. You grow out of giving a f**k what your social status is eventually and once see what people are really like once you get into their circles. Lots of them were dicks but most were just people like me, dealing with the typical high school politics. I was friendly with most folks. It helped that a had a growth spurt. When you're 6'4, potential threats start viewing you as too much trouble to deal with. Some of the "dicks" despised me for getting in between them and their usual targets. I'm tough, dudes.
Or at least i look like i could be. That's good enough for me.
The only time I slightly tone down the nerd these days is around women I'm "dating".
I don't hide it... but I definitely tone it down. Never quite managed to kick that habit. I remember being in a cab with a girl once, on our way back to her place and I started rambling about "nerdy" things. She'd mentioned she liked the Simpsons and I was too drunk to control my inner TV nerd. The look on her face... Hahaha. Needless to say, she got out and the cabbie took me home. That's always been in the back of my mind around women: "don't geek out", dummy. I'm thrilled when i meet women who geek out as well.
Whoa. Classic Kiks Ramble. Sorry. EDIT: Broke it up a bit. Still a rant, but not as bad of a "wall of Kiks text"