Isaac and I were chatting about our respective subcultures, geeks and gays*, and we noted that both groups have a bad reputation in certain quarters. In both cases, the bad reputation stems from a tiny minority who take some parts of the lifestyle** to unnecessary and irritating extremes, while neglecting some of the better parts. I call the homosexual variant of this breed "awful gays" (a term borrowed from Matt Lock), so we decided to call the other side awful nerds.
Twenty minutes in a Google spreadsheet later, we had hammered out a pretty good list of direct and indirect parallels between these two aggravating groups. If a couple of these sound like you, don't worry: we all have a little awful inside of us. But if all of these sound like you, you should probably take action, preferably something that involves me never meeting you.
|Awful Gays||Awful Nerds|
|Affected lisp||Affected lack of social skills|
|Wears makeup||Wears a pocket protector|
|Plucks eyebrows||Doesn't shave (but probably should)|
|Has never had a relationship||Has never had a relationship|
|Has a little dog||Has an epic mount|
|Wears clothing appropriate for somebody 5 years younger||Spends an inordinate amount of time outfitting his WoW characters|
|Everything he knows about gays he learned from Bravo||everything he knows about computers he learned from Slashdot comments|
|Is a total slut||Doesn't leave the house|
|Achieves nothing||Achieves nothing|
|Has no real fashion sense||Can't code|
|Is misogynistic||Is misogynistic|
|Will buy anything rainbow-coloured||Will buy anything from ThinkGeek|
|Speaks in shebonics||Speaks Klingon|
|Reads celebrity gossip rags||reads Popular Science|
|"I am so over that bar."||"This site used to be interesting, but now it's as bad as Digg."|
|Endlessly talks about vaginas, often mentioning fish||Hates Windows, but has never used anything else|
|Spends entire life at gay clubs||Spends entire life on WoW|
|Is a hairdresser||Works at Circuit City|
|Dances. Often, and badly.||Plays chess. Often, and badly.|
|Endlessly rewatches Queer as Folk||Endessly rewatches Star Trek|
|Wears too-tight pants||Wears too-tight pants|
|Makes outsiders hate gays||Makes outsiders hate nerds|
|Was a Goth in high school||Was a Goth in high school|
|Pretends any topic of which he is ignorant is beneath him||Speaks with feigned knowledgeability on any topic, including politics, popular culture, and romance|
|Aspires to be: Nathan Lane||Aspires to be Eric S Raymond|
|Religious affiliation: Buddhism, Kabbalah, "spiritual, but not religious", Scientology||Religious affiliation (pick one): Jedi, Tolkienian, Matrix Accolyte, NeoPagan, Scientology|
I don't think I'm going to make a poster out of this one...
** insert usual caveat about there being no such thing as a "gay lifestyle", it not being a choice and there being a number of styles to choose from. Likewise, there are lots of types of geekery. Just go with us here.