Nerdy Little Secret

Working in the legal industry (my day job) the conversation at events can sometimes be dry and boring (well, at least to me). So one of my favourite questions to ask people is, what are your hobbies? When posed with this question most people tend to say some sort of sport; baseball, tennis, rowing, etc.. In most polite conversations they tend to ask the question back and that is usually when I tell them the physical activities I like to do, and the fact that I write for a comic book blog. “Comics?” they say. “Like comic books,” I reply. Then something very funny happens: nerd admittance. Nerd admittance is when someone  tells me what type of typical “nerd” activities they like to do. The fact that they like comics, video games or board games is something they seem suddenly proud to admit. Something they didn’t mention when originally asked the question, “what are your hobbies?” It seems that when around another nerd, they are very excited and happy to admit that they are one too. And, I have noticed that this happens more often in men than women.

hidden nerd

I have male friends that have admitted that they hide their nerdiness away, especially from women. But, I ask, if it is such a major part of your life why hide it? If you are dating a girl will they not eventually find out you are a nerd. Same with your friends, if you are friends with someone long enough they will find out your nerdy little secret. So, why hide it in the first place and why all the shame about being a nerd?

Some of my male friends say they don’t want to bring home a lady and have shelves of Wolverine figurines staring down at them, or that talking about comics might ruin their “game.” I say that when you meet a person, not all your hobbies will be exactly the same, and that even though they might not read comics does not mean they wouldn’t be interested in hearing about them. If you’re passionate about something, people tend to share their passions as well. I don’t fight bears as a hobby, but if someone I just met told me they did, I would be very interested. I am not saying only talk about your nerdy hobbies, obviously accommodate the conversation to keep it going smoothly, but if the chance arises to bring it up, why not? You never know, she might be a nerd too.

In the past I have been called a secret nerd. I hated this term. Just because I don’t always wear comic characters on my clothes and my house isn’t completely covered in comic book art and figurines, doesn’t mean I am hiding my nerdiness. I am happy to bring up nerd topics in conversations as much as possible and I would scream in from the rooftops if I could. Wait…I write about it on the internet, isn’t that the modern day equivalent?

Just because you are a nerd doesn’t mean you have to look like one, but it doesn’t mean you have to hide it. Be proud of your passions and hobbies and this goes out to everyone, nerdy or not. Be who you are and someone will love you for it.

Leigh Hart
Leigh Hart

Leigh Woodhall - Soapbox Nerd. Aerialist. Writer. Podcaster. All around tough guy (but a lady version). Follow me on twitter @Leigh_Louise

Articles: 55


  1. This is still one of my favourite topics to talk about. I don’t hide my geek side. You’ve seen pictures of my tattoos (I’ve been stopped my strangers who have read my column to see my ink). I display my toys proudly on my desk at work. Even this week, I had a visit from a supplier and they were checking out my Galactus, Capt. Kirk and geek coffee mugs.

    I can’t hide who I am. I don’t see any benefit from it. I don’t care if you judge me and call me a geek or a nerd. I call myself that anyways, so words can’t hurt me, if I use it to describe myself.

  2. I absolutely did until I finished high school, and I don’t fault anyone who feels they need to do that at school or work (you’re trapped with the same people day in and day out, not always the best to give them ammunition).
    First day in university I met comic-book loving friends and haven’t looked back!

  3. I am not saying only talk about nerdy stuff, but if people know you are nerdy, do you think it really changes the way they think about you? I have friends that aren’t nerdy, but they like me enough to ask polite questions about the nerdy things I do, like cons or my blog. They may not really care, but they care about me

  4. I own way too many nerdy shirts and will wear them proudly to some places and try to go with a more conventional look others. It’s not always as readily acceptable by all women though. I won’t hide my nerdiness (there’s just too much of it!), I may not broadcast it depending on the company.
    Sometimes when going out the ladies may not be as accepting and from a dating perspective I don’t want to deal with someone that won’t put up with my interests or doesn’t share any, but on the flip side a tee is not the nicest evening attire. There isn’t a lot of great wardrobe options for guys that look nice and are quite obviously nerdy.
    …except bowties. Bowties are cool.

  5. I find that when “non-nerds” talk to me about nerd stuff, they try to relate to me by saying something like “I have a buddy who collects comic books.” or “My cousin went to that Fan Expo thing.” Or the easiest way to try to relate is by saying “I saw the Avengers, it was really good.”

    It makes me feel good that they are trying to relate to me, because of my interests.

    But is it just me, or is it easier to relate to someone who’s interested in comic books, movies and action figures? than someone who hunts bears? (I love that line above). I think so.

    Nerd culture is basically pop-culture now. It is easy to become immersed in the nerd culture because it is everywhere right now. Probably on your way home tonight you could find 5 or 6 “nerd” things on your route. It is huge. That may change someday, but I don’t see nerd culture going anywhere soon. Embrace it!

  6. It depends, some people still think it’s silly (which it is! but not in a bad way). Some people just think it’s unusual. I think there are also some people who may judge a date based on the fanatic extent of their hobby, whether it’s comic books, trains, sports, etc.

  7. When you made the comment about a date… when I first met my wife I kept it a secret that I collected G.I. Joe and read comic books. I didn’t want her to judge me, or think I was childish or something. After 3 months of dating I couldn’t hide it any more. It was severely stressing me out. So I finally confessed. I told her I was a huge G.I. Joe collector. Her first reaction… she laughed in my face. But a couple of weeks later she was shopping and came across some G.I. Joe figures. She called me to see if there were any I needed.

    She went from judgement. To acceptance. And now she has her own collection. (She’s probably more hardcore about Monster High right now than I am for G.I. Joe)

  8. My thoughts exactly. Yes people who know how much I know movie quotes or can still remember how to beat Resident Evil 2 from memory seem to treat me different. “You’re a single 30 year old male who still plays video games? Aren’t those for kids?”
    That line of thinking is still very present. Sure there are more people who play now, but don’t you feel you still get judged on your proclivity to play games instead of going to the Jays game?

  9. … speaking of bow ties… I’ve noticed more and more of them lately. I’ve never been a bow tie guy. But I have noticed them a lot.

  10. Cool conversation. People think my collecting classic comics is “nerdy” too…until I tell them my collection is worth more than $100,000. That usually takes care of it. LOL. We’re all nerds.

  11. I think it’s easier now then it was 10 years ago. When I was in high school, my friends and I got teased a bit for playing D&D (among other rpgs) at lunch. But that didn’t stop me. I didn’t have sunshine girls or band photos in my locker, I had photo copies of images from Hard Boiled and Grendel taped up.

    Now, comics are pretty mainstream. People go out in droves to see the Batman films or Iron Man, etc. There’s more of a public consciousness to nerd stuff and people are aware of it and it isn’t just kid stuff.

    That being said, when I went to my fiance’s work Christmas dinner, when I told one of the random people we got sat with about the “nerd” reporting I did, he instantly assumed that everyone I dealt with at cons was Sheldon from Big Bang Theory… so I guess you can’t win the all.

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