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.
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.
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?
Sex gives a whole new meaning to the classic 80’s song. Originally the Clash’s version of romantic angst, it always pops into my head when struggling with the decision to take it to the next level with a guy or not.
It’s never asked to him, because I know what his answer will always be—a resounding ‘Yes!’ It’s more like a mildly schizophrenic internal discussion. ‘Should I let him stay, or not?’ I’ve been out with this one guy a few times, genuinely like being around him, and definitely like the kissing activities. But to be honest, that could be chalked up along with a lot of guys I date—this one simply intrigues me enough.
For me, it’s all about the experiences. Your youth is the time to explore, and I’m not trying to squander my life by worrying too much. I worry just enough for myself, and the rest is history. There have been times when amazing chances slipped out of my fingers in the past, and I’m not about to let it happen any more.
Carpe diem 2012! Right?
I believe this Exploration Era should be applied to sexuality and dating, too; in fact, that should be a huge chunk of your self-examination. How can you expect to meet Mr. Rest-of-Your-Life if you haven’t fully expanded into who you’re meant to be? So try new things, figure out what [and who] you like, and the rest will fall into place.
That’s why this guy is so fascinating. Let’s call him ‘Stealth Hippie’, for a codename. He’s one of those guys that listen to Phish, go to music festivals, have trippy tapestries on the walls, and then wake up bright and early Monday morning to go to the office in suit-and-tie. It’s probably one of my favorite social typecasts, this balance of hippie and yuppie that realized they’re no longer in college and actually grew up a little. It’s an amazing mix
So, my Stealth Hippie. First date was a great start. We met for some beers at a favorite spot of mine, talked about everything from work to travel, all the usuals. He seemed like a cute, DC corporate-newbie, until I mentioned music festivals and he perked up with the name of my favorite one. I haven’t been caught off-guard by a Stealth Hippie in awhile, but it was a great surprise. I’m pretty sure that’s where the friendly atmosphere shifted to genuine interest for both of us. He drove me home after, in a mix of gallantry because it was raining, feigning the need to play this band he’d been telling me about, and most-likely just figuring out a situation that ended in a good-night kiss.
The band was incredible, it had been awhile since I’ve been in a car besides a cab, and I ended up thinking his uncertainty for a kiss was adorable enough to just lean forward and initiate it myself. It was a solid decision. He had this sort of controlled intensity that piqued my curiosity even more.
The next night, he kept in touch while I was at work and managed to meet up with some of my restaurant friends at a bar we hit on Thursdays for drinks, my favorite salsa band, and to shoot pool. His roommate came with, and they both seemed to have fun checking a new place out. I figured they would head home together, but the friend ducked out after awhile to leave us the pool table to ourselves. On the bus that goes to both our houses, he asked if I wanted to keep hanging out. Laughing, I asked if he meant in general, or continue that night?
So he came over to listen to music. Hey now! I made sure to detour him to an ATM to get cab fare home, since the last bus had already run. I insisted that knowing a guy 24 hours does not get a sleep-over invitation… But that doesn’t mean we didn’t make-out to Pink Floyd like I haven’t done since I was in high school. And this Stealth Hippie had one more card to play—that controlled intensity raised a mental flag for a reason. At one point, I laughed and said he had an interesting style. When he responded with, ‘What, sexually?’, I nodded. He said he likes to be dominant. I asked why, wondering if he consciously knows what he likes.
“I like to be in control.”
Ohh… what an unusual hippie… A Dominant one? I’m utterly fascinated. I did manage to keep my shit together enough to scoot him out the door around 2am, instead of caving. It wasn’t about upping my number in itself, I just won’t add someone to the list just for a one-night stand deal. He quietly said ‘I don’t think we have to worry about it being like that’. As much as I hoped that meant what I wanted it to, I let it lie and opted to repeat myself from earlier. Like I said, I had only known him since the night before, so it wasn’t going any further than PG-13 on the second night.
When he asked why, I said I didn’t know him yet. ‘Well, what do you want to know?’ Laughing, I said ‘everything’, but that would have to wait for another night. He was ready to go away for the long weekend, and I wanted to see if he was actually genuinely interested.
The interest apparently held strong over the weekend. We met up again last night, and it was pretty memorable on all accounts.
There are enough things to be concerned about in the dating world without the question of ‘is he actually into women, or has he just set up camp in that closet?’ When it DOES come into play, it can quickly turn a rather confusing experience into a very sticky situation.
Issue #1: I am a very forward person, so my initial response is wanting to ask ‘but aren’t you gay?’ ATTENTION: DO NOT ASK. One of the first things my mama taught me when I was young is that boys are very fragile creatures, and their egos need to be handled with care. Normally, my bull-headed nature tends to ignore that and charges into whatever blunt idea I had in mind… but in this case, I have to agree.
If it is evident enough to make you wonder, you can be damn sure he’s been asked that before, and you don’t want to crush a guy’s soul. There are plenty of people still in the closet as adults, but that is their decision. What you need to decide is are you into the person they want to be at this moment, or does the possibility of them being someone else in the future bother you too much?
Issue #2: Attraction. I have many gay friends that are crazy hot and like to flaunt it. One of the best things about the gay guy-girl friend mix is being liberated from expectations. You can be sexual and flirty with the knowledge that it is just a game without an actual goal. The pressure’s off, because it isn’t legit. But when you’re on a date, and the guy is setting off your gaydar, there are conflicting emotions. Your habits are telling you to relax and have fun being as flirty as you like because there’s no harm in it, while your brain is screaming MAYDAY MAYDAY, HE THINKS YOU’RE INTO HIM. Danger, Will Robinson, danger.
I am not the type of girl to lead a guy on just because I want a plaything to amuse myself with. That’s a bitch thing to do, and not okay. The main conundrum is for first dates, I’m so used to just being myself at full steam ahead, I forget that they will be reading into every signal I send off.
Case-in-point: the other night on a date, I was busy trying to figure out in half of my head if the guy is paying mortgage on his closet or not, while the other half of my head was on auto pilot. Which, for me, is a rather charismatic flirt. Next thing I know, the guy I had nearly convinced myself deep down should get traded to the other team is leaning over and kissing me in a VERY determined take-charge kind of way. Well, THAT throws a wrench into my actually-gay theory.
The biggest dilemma of it all is that until that point, I figured gay or not, we were having a great night of conversation and banter and I’d probably found a new friend. He was intelligent, outgoing, and interesting, even with his ambiguous sexual preference. And then he had to lean over and solve that riddle by opening a can of very befuddled worms with their own confusing questions.
Talking to a girlfriend about it, I said that I don’t think I could date him legitimately. That I want a manly guy who would suddenly kiss me against a wall just because he wanted to, in that way that makes all other thoughts rush out of your head.
OH WAIT. Isn’t that what just happened?
So , what to do now…