We fly the geek flag high at our house.
We love our various corners of fandom — Doctor Who for That Girl and I, BDH and his tabletop gaming stuff, and BDH and I sharing various others like Marvel and Sherlock and such — and here at home, it’s just the normal way of the world to be a geek about these things.
We love what we love, and it’s okay to do that.
But out in the world, we realize a lot of people are not aware of such things. Not everybody listens to podcasts about geek culture or watches every episode of a series or buys swag off the interwebs. Not everybody cares about what we care about, just like we don’t go in for the reality shows or sitcoms or sports teams or whatever others are fans of. And it’s all good.
So when you just randomly meet up with someone who IS geeking out about the same stuff you are, it’s freaking cool.
At Xmas, BDH and That Girl bought me a bunch of T-shirts — Doctor Who-themed T-shirts, to be exact. Eight of them. And we bought some Who and My Little Pony gear for Herself, and I got some T-shirts for BDH from some of his favourite things as well. (And we got each other other stuff, as well, not just T-shirts, but it’s the shirts that are relevant to the story.)
I wear my shirts everywhere. I mean, I have eight, (well, eleven actually, if you count ones I got previously) so it’s kind of a given that on any given day, there’s a good chance I’ll be wearing something geektastic. But they’re just shirts, as far as most of the general public is concerned. Nobody really cares.
Except for on days like today, when I am getting ready to cash out at the grocery store, and the woman monitoring the self-checkout comes over and stares at your shirt, open-mouthed, and literally SQUEES. “OMG I LOVE YOUR SHIRT!”
I was wearing a shirt with a Doctor Who / Calvin and Hobbes mashup on it. I hadn’t really thought about it, until she came and was all OH EM GEE, but then we were off to the races.
“Who is that? Is that…?”
“YES! It’s the TARDIS! See… that’s Ten, and Hobbes is Captain Jack… and this over here…”
“OMG that’s Donna! OMG WHAT THEY DID TO HER WAS JUST HEARTBREAKING!”
“INORITE! I loved her! Who’s your Doctor?”
And like that. We were all flappy-hands fangirling, trading links to buy shirts, opinions of what happened to whom, and recommendations of other non-Who things to watch, and jumping between storylines and audios and specials…
It was awesome. One minute I was buying groceries, and the next, I had a new friend named Lisa who shared something I loved with the same amount of enthusiasm.
It doesn’t happen often. People are normally in their own bubble, and don’t share this sort of information easily. But when you are sporting something that shows your inner geek, it’s great when someone else recognizes it.
On a slightly different front, I was wearing another Doctor Who shirt one day. This one just bears the logo KEEP CALM AND BRING ME KNITTING. Althought “Keep Calm And…” shirts are everywhere these days, and come from the UK in WWII, only a real fan would get the Who reference.
So I did a huge double-take when I heard one of my daughter’s teachers greet me with “Oh wow, I love your shirt!!” Now, I was really surprised, but I thought, well… you never know who will be a fan. So I got all excited, and was getting ready to squee forth on the merits of Night of the Doctor when…
She started asking me about KNITTING.
Well, heck. Not the fandom I was expecting, but HELL YEAH! I LOVE ME SOME KNITTING! And we were off to the races on patterns and yarns and it was a geekfest of another colour.
Still made me feel good, though.
Recognizing others and being recognized as a part of a fandom, a shared love of something, really can give you a sense of belonging. It doesn’t matter what it is. And it’s important to me to teach That Girl that it does not matter why she loves what she loves, or what it is that she loves, that it’s okay to love it. There are no rules that say girls can’t love Sci Fi and superhero movies, or that boys can’t be Bronies and love My Little Pony.
What you love is what you love, no matter the reason. And it’s all good. And it’s important to be accepting of everyone and respectful of their geek flag, no matter what it is.