Jan 232012
Authors: Bayley Enright and Emily Kribs

Bayley Enright:

The game was Battle of the Sexes, and the concept was simple. The guys had to answer questions that girls should know the answers to, and vice versa. I was on the girls’ team (didn’t really have a choice there), and we had barely started when I became painfully aware of something.

Those questions the guys were being asked? Those questions which, supposedly, we girls should know the answers to? I was clueless. The differences between types of high heels? Proper makeup application? Manicures? I’ve never even had a manicure or a pedicure, and I’d rather not disclose just how old I was before I knew the difference between the two. In contrast, when a question about Bruce Banner came up, I’m proud to say I was able to hasten my team’s victory with my knowledge of the Incredible Hulk’s true identity.

Simply put, I’m different. I’m a nerd. And I’m still a girl, because believe it or not, girls can be nerds too. Say that with me: girls can be nerds too. I play video games, I watch sci-fi, and last year I spent more money on books than on clothes. I can recite the names of all U.S. Presidents, but the thought of using an eyelash curler terrifies me.

And despite what some may think, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s no universal doctrine carved in some mountain somewhere that declares that all females must be able to apply eyeliner and walk sexy in heels, just like there’s no law that all males must be able to bench a certain weight and watch football games. And thank goodness for that, because I don’t even own eyeliner. I have a “Lord of the Rings” figurine collection to keep up –– I can’t spare a cent for makeup.

If you want to spend your money on a personal trainer and a wardrobe of slinky dresses with purses and heels to match, fine. After all, my evenings are spent reading and memorizing passages from classical novels, and I’m well aware that there’s plenty of room for mockery there. However, I believe that there’s a bit too much pressure for females today to improve our butts and boobs first and foremost.

But you know what? I was born with a brain too. And I’m sure as heck going to use it.

Emily Kribs:

Almost a score of years ago, the kind of guy who role-played Star Trek and the kind of lady who kicked ass at Scrabble, regardless of that ass’s academic pedigree, had a kid. That kid was then fed a steady diet of sci-fi, British literature and video games for 19 years straight, long past the point where any iota of “cool” might have survived.

The kid in question is me, by the way. Just in case there’s any notion otherwise.

My parents aren’t completely responsible for my nerdiness, of course. After a certain point, you get to be in charge of your own recreation. Sure, I’d team up with my brothers for an afternoon to pretend to arrest my dad using plastic lightsabers (fun fact: mine was purple à la Mace Windu, and to my knowledge it’s still in my closet somewhere). But I had friends, too –– totally awesome friends. Friends whose ideas of fun included cool things like acting and science experiments in their spare time.

I’ve always liked science. My greatest ambition was to be a marine biologist from the first grade through the tenth, stymied mainly by junior year chemistry. What’s even up with all those cations and anions? I don’t know. I bet no one knows.

Knowledge in general is the coolest thing. I was always the kid who lied about how bored she was and how much she hated the teacher to deceive her fellow students to the fact that she actually liked school. (That is, after a few years when I learned to keep it to myself. It took me a while to realize not everyone cared about monarch butterflies’ metamorphosis as much as I did.)

Nowadays, I’m on the paper. That’s already about as cool as you can get. I still like “Star Wars,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Harry Potter,” anything by Kurt Vonnegut and video games –– with a particular fondness for Portal and Legend of Zelda. I’ve played Call of Duty and Halo too, but you can only suck at something so long before you get bored of it.

Furthermore, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t mind being a nerd. There are worse things out there than a liking for literature or affection for the Internet.

I mean, it’s not like I’m a hipster or something.

 Posted by at 2:11 pm

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