History Class

geek chic

This tag is associated with 7 posts

EASTER IS COMING

So cute, I just wanna sink my teeth into them! *Caution: vegetarian with a sick sense of humor.

So cute, I just wanna sink my teeth into them!

Hey, folks! After quite a hiatus there [sorry about that], I’m back! And what a weekend to swing back in on. Happy Easter-Who-Thrones-fest!

So we all know I’m an epic nerd, bringing new levels of kickass to our geek chic culture here in DC. Not only is it Easter, the world’s best-sundressed holiday for eating fluffy things in every shade of pastel, but it’s been a two-day marathon of the most looked-forward to season premieres in all of Geekdom: Game of Thrones and Doctor Who. I will be abstaining from reuniting with my time-travelling love, in hopes of visiting the family later this week and watching it with Junior and Fabala… but my self-restraint stops there.

Caution: vegetarian with a seriously twisted sense of humor.

Caution: vegetarian with a seriously twisted sense of humor.

Tonight, Adina and I are hosting an all-out spring dinner feast, complete with the proper blood-sacrifices traditional to celebrate the resurrection of House Stark: bunnies!

Alright, I may be joking on that count. But we have some serious menu items in the works [that is, after I finish procrastinating with this…]. I’m making my potato-leek soup, caramelized onion-goat cheese turnovers, and pumpkin bread pudding with candied ginger and buttered whiskey sauce. [Yes, your mouth just orgasmed. It’s alright, that happens a lot.] The Teambuilders and other friends will gather for food and festivities.

After eating all our delicious food, everyone will shutthehellup at 9pm for exactly one hour, so I can pay homage to the Starks. *fingers crossed for dragons* Big Bro and the rest of the Jules Clan have been geeking out over every trailer for months [one courteously included at the bottom of the page].

Because I have to keep a few tricks up my sleeve to impress new friends and enchant boys via their stomachs, I’ll only list one recipe. The turnovers, I first made for Sef’s birthday last summer on a whim, and they’ve been a hit ever since.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 heaping tbl Dijon mustard
  • 4 oz. goat cheese

desDirections:

  1. Preheat to 450.
  2. Cut butter and cream cheese into cubes and mix with flour; knead into dough and cover with wet towel in fridge.
  3. Heat oil and fennel until lightly brown, then add onion. Stir slowly on medium until caramelized (~30 mins).
  4. Combine caramelized onion, Dijon, and goat cheese while warm; refrigerate.
  5. Roll out dough on heavily floured surface to cut into ~4 in. circles, and brush edges with egg. Spoon half tablespoon of filling in, and pinch edges closed. Prick tops.
  6. Space on ungreased pan and bake ~12 mins.

And since it’s Easter, and the day isn’t complete without actually eating cute, helpless things in effigy… we will indeed be creating the deviled egg chicks. SO STOKED.

Happy Easter-Who-Thrones Day, everyone. ❤

Hell Hath No Fury Like a [Server] Scorned

Pastor Lois Bell, apparently only gives God her 10%

Pastor Lois Bell, apparently only gives God her 10%

The internet has been seeing a lot of restaurant checks and server horror stories lately, most notably the “Redditor Waitress vs. Non-Tipping Pastor”. And now, I have joined their ranks.

When I first heard about it, I thought, “Way to do God proud, Pastor.” Then, when I heard she later called and got the waitress fired, it upgraded to, “Sometimes I wish I believed in hell, you asshat.” But I hadn’t experienced such an insult where someone clearly went out of their way to offend me, as it happened to this poor Applebees Redditor. Until this week. Apparently, some people think to themselves, “What would Pastor Bell do?”

Now let me be clear. I’ve worked all levels of front-of-house for eight years. I don’t mean I haven’t been yelled at, scolded, complained to, stiffed on tip, sexually harassed, condescended to, and all those other fun things humans think up to fuck with one another. These are simply occupational hazards. We deal with a lot of asshats in the restaurant business. We deal with so much disrespect, I feel like Aretha is talking just to me.The trick of the trade is to emotionally stunt yourself until you feel dead inside. THEN, you’re ready to go to work for the night. You’ve heard “if you can’t handle the heat, get the fuck outta the kitchen”? Front-of-house has the same mentality. If you can’t handle the job, then find somewhere more suited to your delicate constitution, cause this sure as hell isn’t it.

With that said, we all have hard days. Sometimes you just can’t shake the rude tone or abusive language of a table. Occasionally, you’re wound so tight and tired, the attitudes that would normally roll right off your skin decide to stick instead. I could make excuses. [Over]working two jobs, I had already worked ~60 hours by Sunday. My broken toe is still healing, I ache all over, and sometimes only candy and smiles keep me going. On my way at 9am, I easily could have been that sour-faced server that ruins your brunch with forgetfulness, irritability, and a hangover.

This is MUCH better than boycotting Applebees, which would only hurt servers more. [Consumerist]

This is MUCH better than boycotting Applebees, which would only hurt servers more. [Consumerist]

But no. Somehow, I was in a great mood. It was a beautiful day, I knew there was a solid staff team on, and I had cash to buy people lattes. There’s nothing like walking into a bar on a weekend morning with a pile of hot coffee and fresh muffins—it’s great to see my friends happy. Soon, we were open, and my roommate and friend decided to visit for brunch. Then an adorable family was seated in my section, with the cutest 9-year-old girl ever. By the time they left, she had made me a present with the wax toys we give to kids. My housemate looked jealous, and said he never gets gifts from happy children at his job. Yea? Well I have to soak up the great moments when I can, to hold me through the crap ones; I just didn’t know a crap one would be my next table.

They screamed “ASSHAT” from the second they set foot in My Bar. The hostess pulled together a table for them, which they blatantly passed by to beeline for a corner booth instead. Six kids, clearly hurtin’ or still drunk from the night before, disheveled and un-showered, and so fucked up they could barely read the menu. I watched with my coffee as they all fell into the cushions, and one curled right up as if he were at home. When she tracked me down to tell me I had another table, all she could do was sigh and say, “I’m so sorry… they’re total dicks.”

Well that’s fine. I’m great with hungover people, they need compassion. Call me the Alcoholic Angel of Mercy—I’ll clear you up happy, right quick. So I popped over and asked if I could get them started with some drinks. All wanted water, one desperate coffee, and three wanted mimosas. The others cringed visibly, and I mentally wrote them off as needing constant refills. The one curled up like a drunk cat was, in fact, still intoxicated. That should have been my first flag.

But the real kicker was when I took their orders. Normally, I don’t care to note the race of my tables, but it’s relevant. Here, we had three white kids, two brown, and one black. While ordering, the black kid said he had an unusual question. Used to this, I laughed and nodded. Pointing to the Fried Chicken and Waffles on the menu, “I feel like this is only on here for a certain demographic…” And the table erupted. Some saying, “yea, seems racist,” along with others telling them to shuttup—and all at explosive noise levels. It’s usually best to smile and walk away. But as a white girl being told by a black kid that her bar’s menu is racist because we serve fried chicken and waffles… I take issue. I told them it’s a regional favorite and we serve southern cuisine—so welcome to Columbia Heights. Shut up and drink your free water.

The rest of their stay went relatively smoothly. I was repeatedly told how grateful some of them were every time I appeared, because whatever they were going to ask for was served before they even asked. One guy said he wanted to be called ‘biscuit’ every time I came over, and made me laugh. Their food was made promptly and properly, and inhaled at likely-unhealthy speeds. My section wasn’t seated much, because they were so Goddamn loud and obscene that all tables asked to move further away. Well, that’s peachy. Their bill totaled $125, though, so that should be a solid $20+ tip, and would make up for lost money. It was only 1pm, so I didn’t mind much. When the check was dropped, the Drunk One took issue with being charged for bottomless mimosas when he only had one. Two others had bottomless, and I was sure he had more than one, but didn’t care enough to argue and bumped the check down.

Original artworkPen and inkScott R. Asshat, 2013

Original artwork
Pen and ink
Scott R. Asshat, 2013

After they left, I assessed the damage. Between four of them, I was tipped a total of $15. One guy (pretty sure it was the kid who thought fried chicken is racist) didn’t tip anything. And finally, the Drunk One, the arsenic cherry on top of the whole fucked up shitpie. Not only did he tip me zero, but he wrote a little note on the tip line. His food cost of $21.00, plus a tip line of “dontrobme”, for a total of “kthxbye”.

That was the last straw. At least be a normal dick, like your reverse-racist friend, and don’t tip anything. But don’t come into my bar acting like a fool, degrading our atmosphere with your train-wreck attitudes and illegal intoxication levels, and ultimately go OUT OF YOUR WAY to insult the server who went above and beyond to help your disrespectful asses.

The busser saw the look on my face as I stormed away to the kitchen, and followed repeating with a calm voice, “Aw, come on now, Jules, don’t be like that…” and let me explode in the dish area. I saw several shocked faces from kitchen staff, who have never seen me more upset than disappointed over being out of my favorite dessert. After I blew off some rage, he offered a hug. It worked wonders, and kept me from crying. But I still burned with humiliation. Because that’s what it is. Imagine you worked hard all day in your cubicle, doing whatever it is you do, and your boss leaves you a post-it saying you won’t receive pay for the day’s hours. Because he’s drunk and feels like being an asshole. But at least he included a “thx” in the note. His sadistic glee definitely helped the situation.

In retrospect, it wasn’t the worst serving experience I’ve had. But I’m not going to rationalize away Asshat’s behavior; no matter how much worse other shitheads can be, he is still one of them. When I told my manager about it, he wanted to know which table, so he could have a few words with them. They were gone, but I told him how shit like this is all over the internet anymore. He responded, “You should Facebook that kid; people like that aren’t welcome here. He tries to come in again, let me know.”

So here it is. [He needs a name, so why don’t we call him Scott.]

Scott, you are no longer welcome at My Bar. I will count it as my due payment if you never come again. Don’t get upset with me– it’s company policy. Asshats are not welcome at My Bar. You know where. But just to be safe, let’s make it the whole of Columbia Heights. It will be a public service to my neighborhood.

At the end of the day, I’m grateful for the stellar staff at My Bar. The rest of that day, and every day before and since, we have been a goofy, supportive team. They are my family, who I love with my whole heart– this includes our kickass regulars, who never fail to brighten my day.

And since a day isn’t complete without Aretha…

Smoke and Mirrors

Then again, ANYTHING Jon Hamm does is sexy...

Then again, ANYTHING Jon Hamm does is sexy…

There’s an undeniably perverse sex appeal to smoking that transcends rhyme or reason.

I know, I don’t like it either. It’s a bad penny that keeps showing up in your pocket, covered in grime, but somehow still works. I can’t help seeing it and thinking, “Yea, alright then. I’ll let it slide.” Somehow still ups the tally.

The guy from this week (yet to be named; I’m waiting to see if date two occurs) is a smoker. Said he’s quitting, but I suspect that’s a dating ploy. So many people list is as a dealbreaker, he’s probably adapted to social norms. I’d much rather people be unapologetic. The Mistake was a smoker, and didn’t claim otherwise; he simply made sure I had a full drink and was content before popping outside for a quick one. But unlike with him, this week I joined.

When a date smokes, I usually send them out on their own and amuse myself talking to the server/bartender/surrounding patrons. I’m perfectly comfortable taking care of myself, and I appreciate the added proof to the guy that I don’t need his constant presence to enjoy my night. I’m not clingy, and don’t require incessant attention. It’s monotonous.

Unless you smoke gross cigarettes. A coworker of mine smokes something nasty, and each time we talk after a break outside, I have to fight gagging. And these excursions occur every twenty minutes. I don’t know which poison of choice he carries, but the smell trails after him like a shadow of ash and odor. It’s awful.

Some don’t bother me; I think it’s the more natural tobacco. The scent triggers memories of college parties and nights with Big Bro’s friends in Philly or home. It’s basement shows and late-night rages, wandering South Street for pizza and following DJ sounds to a new dive. They’re good memories. And I smoke hookah anyway, so not all tobacco rubs me wrong. As a social smoker, I see the shared enjoyment of it. The communal moments circled around a shisha or ashtray. The particular intimacy of a shared cigarette, or leaning to accept someone’s offered flame. There is something illicit in such communion; it’s dark and alluring.

What does hit me wrong are the brands crafted solely for chain smokers. You can actually smell the addiction in the air. It’s all strained teeth, yellow skin, and cancer. It’s my aunt’s chemo, head scarves, and funeral. It’s the kids that barely survived our high school, and a few that didn’t. They smell of degenerates, death, and dumbasses. I might date smartasses, and a few jackasses– but I never date dumbasses. If a were ever out with a guy that smoked these, he would never reach date two. Kissing these smokers is like kissing an ashtray of disease. Just don’t do it. I don’t want all of my kisses to taste bad.

Gained serious cool points when I added that to my party resume.

Gained serious cool points when I added that to my party resume.

Thankfully, Mystery Man’s smoke doesn’t bother me. In fact, I switched it up and joined his breaks this week. He seemed a little more nervous than me, and relaxed more in his zone. Our bartender is an industry acquaintance, and was more than entertaining on the patio. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to ensure him that I don’t mind cigarettes, though I don’t personally partake. I mentioned hookah, and he perked up that he had never tried it but was curious. So I explained, and added that one of my goals during my time in the Middle East was to learn how to blow smoke rings. We compared notes on the easiest way to make them, and promised I’d show him a few great spots if he’d like. I think this is when the date turned to more comfortable level for us both. The chemistry ignited and caught fire.

So he’s an interesting one. He’s older (a topic to be discussed in my upcoming article, “What’s Your Number?”), taller (despite size not always mattering, I really do enjoy a 6″4 guy), and new to the area. I love new people. Showing them around, sharing the city as I know it… nothing beats it. Because they’re just as excited as I am; others who have lived here as long or longer than I are typically calmer or more jaded about our town. I prefer the excitement.

And he is subtly exciting. He’s old enough to know who he is, what he wants, but young enough to still want something new. He lives rather far out in suburbia, and deeply regrets it– something I find attractive. I only want to see people interested in being in the middle of it all. He is rather good at dropping the most interesting comments into conversation in the most quietly unassuming way. Instead of asking if I like Doctor Who, he mentions how our topic is like an episode. (And I fucking love Doctor Who– very geek chic.) While talking about how he didn’t start drinking until his later-20’s, he modestly credited it to having to be out on his own at age 17, being responsible with a full-time job instead of partying. In lieu of declaring the much-sought-after ability to keep rhythm and dance, he broke off mid-thought and said he loves the blues tune the band was playing, and the inspiration to dance was distracting him. He loves live music, but also likes to be able to hear the person he’s with? Alright, then– let’s move to the back bar, where it’s a little quieter. And hey, there’s even a real fire back there! (Both figuratively and literally.)

Dating suspense: drives me almost crazy enough to smoke.

Dating suspense: drives me almost crazy enough to smoke.

He’s comfortable with who he is. He admitted the first thing he drank was a period of Rumplemints (of which he had to get the bartender to hit me a shot, since my lack-of-girly-drinking had never had it). So maybe he actually is unapologetic in personality; he laughed enough at himself for it, and maintains it’s a delicious liquor. He mentions his experiences being single in DC in a relaxed way, and has no problem with questions. He asks some on his own, too. By the end of the night, he offered to drive me home. We parked outside my house to finish a conversation long enough to make me wonder if I should kiss him. But I refrained; I made the first move twice with him already. First, in contacting him; second, in asking him out. I know he’s older, but he needs to make the next move.  I need him to make the next move.

When I mentioned earlier in the night that I usually go to Madam’s on Thursdays for salsa and karaoke, he looked thoughtful and said he could probably make it. So I texted him yesterday that my friends are definitely going; he has an early flight Friday, and said maybe. Today, I texted that I promise the roof patio will be open to smoke this time, and I promise I won’t make him do birthday cake shots with the bartender again. He wrote back laughing. I understand flights and late nights don’t mix, but I can’t help hanging on the suspense if he’ll put in the effort. (And therefore judging a possible lack of it if he doesn’t show.) He’s attractive, tall, older, interesting– and fuck me, he looked hot smoking those damned cigarettes.

I don’t know if his smoke is hiding mirrors or if this is a genuine and sustainable interest, but color me intrigued.

Return of the Jedi

You know how Star Wars started off brilliantly, sucked for a bit in the Empire Strikes Back, and then nailed it again in the final film? Because that’s been my past few months.

Wait– you’re not a 40 year old nerd-virgin [nerdgin?] reading this at 4 a.m. in your parent’s basement between Halo games? My bad; I’ll explain.

Fuck. King. Adorable.

So Star Wars is hands down one of the greatest stories of all time. [Just accept this as fact and continue.] I’m not talking about those new-fangled crap ones with Hayden Christiansen and CGI with speech impediments, which are not recognized in my world. I mean the original three. I grew up fighting with my siblings over whether to watch the one where the guys have to slice open and climb inside an unlucky animal in order to survive arctic weather, or to watch the one with those fucking adorable ewoks.

Y’know which one typically won out? The one with fucking adorable ewoks. Because Return of the Jedi is the best of the trilogy, and Empire Strikes back is just a heap of daddy issues and really weird incestuous undertones. Can’t beat ewoks.

So my past year’s been stellar. It had it’s ups and downs, sure, but it’s overall been pretty on par with A New Hope [the lesser-known but actual title of the first Star Wars film]:

Pretty sure this scene is actually a DC documentary; see end of article

1: I moved away from my childhood home [which was considerably cooler than Luke’s, despite our lack of robots].

2: I’ve met a bunch of charismatic, attractive new friends who are equal parts totally awesome and complete trouble: check.

3: I’ve even hung out in bars with aliens to drink questionable cocktails and listen to funky jazz. Done and done.

Conclusion: I am Luke Skywalker.

Which brings me to the Empire Strikes Back– the second movie, and my past few months.

I switched restaurants to one in my actual neighborhood, with the added bonus of live music three nights a week. The food is great, drinks even better, and staff rocks my socks. My coworkers are a great [yes, and dysfunctional] family. I’ve mostly worked five or six shifts a week, have added ‘Bartender’ to my growing list of titles, and remembered just how much I genuinely enjoy serving. [Much better than hosting.] It’s been a lot of hard work, harder hours, and working to properly balance the ‘party hard’ end of that equation. I struggled with my identity as a college graduate working in underemployment. Never thought I would identify with something as dorky as Luke Skywalker, but I was definitely feeling his level of angst at my current state.

After two months of that, I received a call from my former Middle East policy internship. They needed a new, part-time coordinator during the week, and wanted me. Oh, happy day! So now I’m working at the office during the day, fending off pushy calls from diplomats and journalists, and nights and the bar, indulging my smartass social side. It’s a fair balance. There are even ewoks. [In the form of cute, nerdy hipsters; working our Trivia Night every week has been fun.] I’m still mid-movie and have yet to do final battle with Darth Job-Market to triumph for a full-time, stable, field-appropriate job…. But I’m definitely enjoying the plot for right now.

And, folks… there are even some dating shenanigans afoot. I happen to be a bit sweet on a certain cute nerd from one of my bar’s regular trivia teams, and just might do something about it. He’s no Han Solo, but his dimples and stellar trivia scores make up for it. And to throw family back into the mix, Jules Junior is coming to visit this weekend… I’m sure THAT will stir up enough trouble for our next chapter….

Signing off to return to top secret Dating-Jedi business [until I tell you about it next time],

-Jules

p.s. I would like to conclude that this has, without a doubt, been the dweebiest thing I’ve ever written– but hey, since I wrote it, it’s now geek chic. And if you’ve read this far, it looks like I’m in good company.

Singles’ Mixers, and Jules Joins the Pink Line Project

These girls are wicked classy; tomorrow will be a gas, without a doubt.

“Once upon a time, offline wasn’t even a word… You caught someone’s eye across a room. Your stomach leapt. There was chemistry. This was back in the time of romance. Back in the real world.” –The Offline Society

Hello, world! So I’ve joined on with the Pink Line Project as a society-and-dating writer– three hips and a hooray for me! Below is a teaser of my article, found in their Noise section, “The Offline Society: Bringing Romance to the Real World”

Our generation doesn’t live in the real world often anymore—we live online. With all the social media sites “you just have to join!” popping up, it’s tough enough to keep up with your evidently-crucial internet life, let alone an actual one. So many of us, craving that fabled romance of times gone by, search in the only place we know: the internet.

“Hi, my name is Jules, and I am an online dater.”

Yes, you all better chorus a dull “hiiii, Juuulllless…”

The Offline Society has an answer for this generational dilemma:

The three lovely ladies of the rising Offline Society have witnessed—and experienced—this struggle they call “internet-dating fatigue”. They’re offering a solution. In a strange mix of futuristic innovation and historic throwback, they have created a novel concept. According to their press release, “the Offline Society is a carefully curated club of ladies and gentlemen who could all be described as ‘quite the catch’. We gather in a private row home over old -fashioned cocktails and lively conversation. The mood is relaxed and there’s a hint of magic in the air.”

Again, read the full article here with Pink Line Project, and maybe step up your game with me tomorrow night? They’re bringing DC to ‘an era of people, not profiles’, and I sure as hell want to be a part of it.

Don’t you?

Confessions of a Raging Biblioholic

“If you go home with somebody and they don’t have any books, don’t fuck ’em!”

-John Waters

Learn it, love it, live it. You hear me, readers? I know you agree with me, because your idea of procrastination is to read this blog, and not more inane pop-culture, like watching President Obama singing ‘Call Me Maybe’ on YouTube for what is probably the 36th time (don’t lie, you know you’ve watched it).

The esteemed and ever-wise Mr. Waters also said, “Being rich is not about how much money you have, or how many homes you own; it’s the freedom to buy any book you want without looking at the price and wondering if you can afford it.” With that wisdom in mind, I can tell you right now, I’m tired of being broke. I can’t really afford proper groceries most weeks, let alone something as luxurious as a new book with that delicious, musty smell. But thank Seuss, the internet goes above and beyond altruistic leanings by granting me the intellectual riches of potentially illegal e-books [via onread.com].

I’m Grace O’Malley, and “X” marks a mountain of leaked manuscripts

A part of me feels a bit rotten over reading online for free, manifested via the angel on my left side scolding that I’m stealing away countless authors’ just desserts. [When I’m finally published, I damn well better get my royalties, since I bank on them paying off the debt I’m currently accruing while writing in the first place.] But then the sneaky literature ninja on my other shoulder pipes up about the potential hell of not having anything to read if I stop. The debate promptly fizzles out. All parties console themselves with digging up something new to read, and dig our collective moral grave a few books deeper. It doesn’t weigh too heavy when the voices all “ARRR” like the literature pirates they are, and continue consuming volumes like barrels of written rum at an alarming rate. Does that make me a raging biblioholic, rather your general library-variety bibliophile? Discuss.

Anyway, I tend to embody Waters’ attitude quite thoroughly. I understand that not everyone likes to read, and certainly not all the same genres. But I’m an equal-opportunity biblioholic, as well as dater, so I should have something in common to discuss with most random strangers on the street.

This makes the warm-fuzzies in my tummy explode like a well-shaken bottle of champagne.

Case in point: I was waiting for the bus two months ago, and one of the older men that hang around Columbia Heights came over to wait near me. After discussing my ancestral background, because he and his buddies had a running debate every time they saw me and evidently liked how pale my skin is compared to their varied shades of brown [they had narrowed it down to Ireland, Scotland, and, oddly, Ukraine], he got really excited. Apparently his bet had correctly been on Ireland, and he asked, “So, do you like to read? Since you’re Irish, you must like James Joyce! He is one of my favorites.”

I have to admit now that I recognized the gentleman from outside the health clinic on 14th, and in his ratty clothes and a seeming lack of income, I figured he was unemployed and/or homeless. And asked me if I like James Joyce. What?? After an astonishing discussion of how much more he liked Dubliners than Ulysses, my bus came to take me away. I told him that I usually keep a book on me, so he should come up next time he sees me go by and I’ll lend whatever I have to him. I would gladly play the mobile library for someone like him. I haven’t seen him since, but it’s still one of my favorite DC stories.

So I take literature as a pretty serious part of my identity. Ever since I was a wee munchkin and exhausted my elementary school library’s collection on mythology and practically everything else, I’ve been titled the family bookworm. Doesn’t matter that my two sisters read nearly-if-as-much. My aunts and uncles know they can still fall back on an Amazon gift card, and I’ll be a happy camper. My idea of an ideal afternoon date would be going to a bookstore. Seriously. One of my To-Do List Dates is to spend a few hours in Second Story Books in Dupont and salivate over all the rare tomes I could never afford. [A girl’s gotta dream, right?]

And here in DC? Everyone is well-read. I’m in heaven. It’s gotten to the point where stating that you love Douglas Adams, Robert Caro, and Gabriel Garcia Marques is just redundant. You’re in Washington: of course you’ve read Life of Pi. So, being the absurdly ambitious Washingtonians most of us are, it becomes a competition. “Well, if you like him, then you’ve gotta love *name drop stupidly obscure title here*… Oh, you don’t know that one? Yea, it’s twelve times better, I swear. I’ll bet you an *equally uncommon beer* on it.”

I would’ve gotten laid a lot more in college if you’d been allowed to dress like that in the library.

It’s all a factor of DC’s special brand of geek chic. And while the Preening Peacock Syndrome (PPS) typically pissed me off, it manages to make the cut when exercised in reference to literary endeavors. Want to talk about the brilliance of Dante’s Inferno? It’s going to be done over martinis, because we’re going out. You had to prioritize books over clothes on your cross-country move to DC and decided wardrobe replacements would be cheaper? Better cancel any plans for the night, we’re going to be here awhile. The best proof of this is in my current dating interest.

The Classicist is one well-read guy, and it’s totally suckered me. On our first date, we ended up in a discussion on how the mistranslations of the Bible have fucked up the world. The chemistry was explosive. Date two consisted of trading our favorite poets and how we want to read them in their original language. It was even better than date one. We’ve been seeing each other for about a month now, and our version of pillow-talk is arguing over the proper usage of transliteration and how much we adore Michael Moore’s Lamb. He leant me a Tom Robbins, and I’ve been laughing like I’m crazy on the bus for the past week. He gets it when I make some dork reference to Dune in casual conversation, and makes me light up with his plans to recreate classics for the modern-day.

Bottom line: he fascinates me. And that ain’t easy, folks. We all know about my RADD lifestyle, and how most love interests have a rapidly approaching expiration date. But this one– my Classicist– he’s an intriguing individual, and potentially my intellectual counterpart. We’ve a solid shared foundation, and complement each other elsewhere. I know Socrates and Plato, but his Master’s-level knowledge of the Greeks offers whole new avenues of thought. He understands the Middle East and developing world as much as any average Washingtonian, but still has questions to ask me. We never run out of something to talk about. My Classicist and I trade book titles like baseball cards, and are still mutually captivated. It’s fantastic; there’s still so much to share. We’re open books, but are enjoying the process of taking our time to read each chapter thoroughly.

And his bedroom is chock-full of books, so you know what that means.

Geek Chic

One of the greatest adjustments one has to make once you move to DC is a fantastic one: your geekiness no long marks you as an outsider.

High school was a confusing time...

Whether it’s on a date or simply getting to know new people in general, we of the dweeby variety are pretty used to self-categorizing ourselves with a sense of apology if timid, and defiance if extroverted.

“Ha, sorry, I’m kind of nerdy like that…”

OR: “Hey, I geek out all the time– GET USED TO IT.”

Back in high school/ most of college, the only time you would see the mainstream ‘cool kids’ wearing what society has dubbed ‘geek-wear’ would be on their way to a theme party. They were only costumes, and barely recognizable ones at that– you just know those girls were wearing sexed-up uniforms to look more Brittany Spears-esque than bookish. But here? It’s legitimate, worn with pride, and [hopefully] representing actual intelligence.

In Washington, the identity is echoed everywhere you turn. Even in the most surprising places, you see yourself mirrored back from every corner, under each rock, and the eyes of nearly all the people about you. Half of the cab drivers I talk to were political science students in their home countries (though the job market forces them to seek the independence of the yellow chauffer in the Land of the Free). What I would dismissively refer to in college as ‘that geeky shit I did in high school’ are no longer educational programs that need explanation– everyone in DC did stuff like Model UN and Mock Trial. We’ve all been there, and now we’re all trying to live those actual lives as young professionals. It’s pretty cool.

In my mind, it's the girl saying this.

It’s smart, it’s sexy– it’s geek chic. The guys dress like Don Draper, and the ladies are redesigning the Marilyn-Jackie duo for a new generation (and yes, I’m evidently still coming down off the recent season’s Mad Men high). I wanted to talk to a cute guy on the bus one time simply because he was reading Game of Thrones. Nerd-dom has finally earned its just rewards, and is definitely a turn-on. I’m not sure what’s hotter than a geek-turned-man with a nice suit, skinny tie, and progressive sense of purpose…. but if there’s something out there that trumps it, my heart might not be prepared to handle the sight.

So geek chic is the thing to be. Unlike the older Urkle variety, we don’t lack social graces or fashion. We have keen intelligence, fierce ambition, and the passion to prove it. Whether we’re determined to make it as the next mind-blowing DJ or are expanding our Hill resumes to eventually run for office, there’s something we all share: that certain je ne sais quoi of sophistication that marks us without a doubt. We have class, and Washington is the place to shine.

Afterword: I’ve been toying with this idea for awhile– coming across a similar concept inspired me to finally post it. While kicking around the blogosphere, I tripped over someone worth mentioning (and possibly idolizing; I might have a bit of an intellectual crush here). Eric Schultz coined noveaux nerd for the new-and-improved Geek 2.0 version that I talk about. He describes us (yes, I say ‘us’) as:

When I came up with the term, I meant it to mean a young-ish urbanite that embraces how truly nerdy, geeky, and unabashedly stylish they are. In other words, the nouveau nerd has swagger. It doesn’t have to be about science. It just means you have a passion for learning new ideas, enjoy thinking critically, are socially deft, and you look good doing it. Nothing irks me worse than the idea that nerds are social awkward and ambivalent about the culture that surrounds them. Often, nouveau nerds drive the culture and shift perceptions about science, technology, and the arts. And I love that about our attendees.” [Interview found on Famous DC here.]

So he created an opportunity [movement? repeated display of sheer awesomeness?] for DCists to get together, learn, party, and generally love on eachother’s nerdiness called thirst DC. They all get together and turn a mix of laid-back lecturing, happy hour networking, and late-night flirting into what he calls a “sexy nerd house party”. I do believe I might have a raging crush on his– and everyone involved in Thirst DC– brain. Next event is April 26th; who’s in?

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