True Story: I'm a Nerd

It is happening again. I am totally disoriented at a social gathering. I don’t recognize the music that is playing. I am lost. The only thing I know is that I don’t understand what the people around me are saying and they don’t understand me.
Am I studying abroad? Negative. This culture clash is of the domestic sort.
Maybe you wouldn’t know it by looking at me, contrary to the stereotype, I take care of my appearance. My nails are manicured, my brows are perfectly groomed. I am wearing what you could consider fashionable attire. But make no mistake about it, I’m a nerd.
I am really trying to listen, to find the value behind what people are saying. But I can’t get over their constant misuse of the subjunctive and the fact that the girl I’m speaking to is using the word “literally” before a metaphor. Not to mention that I have no idea who they are talking about.  I’m sorry, but determining whether or not Ashley should text this guy back involves learning their entire history. Also, I’m not sure if she’s someone you actually know or someone on TV. Either way, she kind of sounds like a bitch.
It always happens like this: by the time I’ve found something appropriate to say, the moment has passed. I’m increasingly uneasy, so I try to break the tension by cracking a joke. No one laughs. A pun? A little sarcasm? Major fail. A Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century reference? Mayday Mayday! Where is the eject button? Someone get me out of here!
And while some might use alcohol as a social lubricant, nothing is worse than a sloppy nerd: “Did you know that fermented beverages date back to the Neolithic period?” Yeah, I’m the cerebellum of the ball. (Want to date a nerd? Check this out!)
I am lucky enough that my school is so nerd-friendly. Believe it or not, I’ve even felt cool once or twice at campus parties. It’s because everyone here is a nerd, they just hide it behind horn-rimmed glasses and regrettable haircuts. I am happy here, but I can’t help thinking this bubble is far removed from the real world, a world where we are commonly seen as liberal elites despite our views or upbringing.
But it’s not just nerd prejudice that is holding me back.
I feel as though despite my earnest efforts, I misjudge people sometimes, especially girls. I think it is because so much of social interactions between girls in general seem superficial. Regardless of her IQ, a girl is more likely to start a conversation by saying “I like your shoes” then to ask who your favorite playwright is. While I acknowledge that it might be safer to stick to small talk, I wish we could share more with each other. If everyone has unique passions or stories, why must we talk about crash diets or how drunk we are? Can we at least talk about our pets? Please?
I think more than not being in the know, it’s the underlying fakeness of these situations that make me feel like theatre actor who’s forgotten his lines.
Sometimes I feel like I should get NERD tattooed on my forehead so that people would know the following:

  1. I don’t recognize most people on magazine covers.
  2. My Netflix que is full of quirkly coming of age films (likeHey Hey it’s Esther Blueburger) and Frontline documentaries.
  3. I do not wear uncomfortable shoes. No matter how tall/skinny/proportionate they make me look.
  4. I do not enjoy Rom-Coms or Chick Lit
  5. I HATE places where is too noisy to talk to people
  6. My car has a crappy stereo because I don’t need “sick” bass to enjoy Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me.
  7. I would rather be playing Apples to Apples with fellow partygoers.

I know that I could make more of an effort. I could memorize the lyrics to a Ke$ha song and pretend to care about The Hills, but that wouldn’t make me happy. I think this is what makes nerds seem elitist, the difficulties in talking to people who seem to be on a different wavelength. It can be pretty isolating.
Despite all of this, I don’t want to act like someone else, even if it would sometimes be easier. I have great friends and I enjoy my life, even if I am not having “typical” college experiences. So while I usually trade my hot pink bifocals for contact lenses, I will always let my nerd flag fly.

This Blog Will Change Your Life: Week One
This Blog Will Change Your Life: Week One
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