Newsflash everyone: entertainment taste is subjective. You might know more about what you like, but don’t make that the standard by which you judge my “geek cred.”
- I don’t care
- I ain’t your pixie gal
I remember being into Akira (film and manga) around the age of 13-14. Nobody knew what it was but I was perfectly happy liking obscure things. I went through an Anime stage but I was pretty selective about what I wanted to watch. All that means is that I didn’t watch everything under the sun. (I’ll date myself here, but my selection was whatever was on the shelf at blockbuster.)
Well, I started meeting Anime nerds…and suddenly, having a common interest wasn’t good enough. Fist, do you know how rare it was to meet someone who watched that stuff when I was a teenager? It was like, a group of ten people in my hometown. I remember being happy at first. But then they started to measure me against their own tastes.
Fan: “Have you watched X? You aren’t a real anime fan until you’ve watched X.”
Me: “No, I haven’t. I saw Y and loved that, though.”
Fan: “Whatever, Y is for people not serious about this.”
I was flabbergasted when the conversation got heated. I eventually had to decide, for my own sanity, that my fandom would be a positive experience of people sharing things they loved with others. If anyone threatened that, I cut them off. Hey, it was better than explaining why I wasn’t really into Elf Quest for the zillionth time. (Come on now, guys: we all know why you were into Elf Quest at 14.)
But ah, puberty. When nerd guys start to find out that there’s one girl in the pool who kind of likes nerd stuff, it’s like setting out a bowl of rotten fruit in a fly farm.
So, guys would start handing me comics and movies they liked, and give me the whole, “I think you’ll like this.” *WINK* (Subtext: oh God, if you don’t like this like I do MY LIFE IS OVER.) I remember the pressure. If I started reading/watching something and didn’t like it, I knew I’d get grilled or worse, treated like I was some ingrate who couldn’t be nice to some poor guy. Or, on the flipside, I’d like what I saw but I didn’t like the guy, so if I turned him down everyone thought I was a shrew.
There was no way to win! I remember one guy who didn’t even like comics/anime start following me around, and when he found out I liked that stuff he threw himself into it whole-hog. Well, I still didn’t like him, because you know, relationships are built on much more than entertainment tastes, but as far as he was concerned I was just a terrible person that no guy could please.
And want to know the kicker? A few years after this all cooled down we ran into each other at a comic book store, and he asked me if I’d seen some series. I said no, and he rather cavalierly said, “Man, you got me into this stuff and now I know more about it than you!” (You know what? I bet it was Elf Quest. Freaking ELF QUEST GAH.)
What, you mean I failed to be your geeky pixie gal? OH WELL. Heck, I even told some guy that I tried watching a show he liked, and told him I appreciated the suggestion. His response was obnoxious: “Well of course you liked it. I’m the only one suggesting good stuff to you. You have bad taste.”
Thank God I was self-assured enough not to let these guys make me feel worthless, but what a stupid way to treat a girl. Want to know how it’s done, guys?
Guy: “I just saw X. Have you? It’s about so-and-so and I liked it.”
Girl: “No, I don’t really watch that genre but I saw Y and love it because of so-and-so.”
Guy: “Oh, that’s cool. If you don’t like the genre of X I think it’s a standout worth trying. I’ve seen Y. Do you watch this stuff a lot?”
Gal: “Yea, I like it!”
Guy: “Me too!”
Really, it’s that simple. And honestly, boys drool when they’re high school age. I made some really great friends with geek girls that I still have a connection with today. And you know what? We all had this complaint about you, nerd guys. So live and learn.