Hip To Be Square

We are entering an age where reading comics, playing with 20 sided dice, , wishing glow-bugs were back in stores and admitting to writing stories starring you and your best friend as twins living in America is suddenly 'cool'.*


by Abby Stewart**

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It's a topsy turvy world when nerdy means cool and cool is passe, so to help you on your way to becoming a geek (and by geeky I mean cool) here are...   

10 Easy Steps Toward Becoming An Acceptable Dweeb

1.  You must first decide which comic superhero you would most like to be and back this up with reasons.  Then you have to you talk to people about why you think this person would win in a fight against Superman.  For example - I have chosen Rebecca from Daniel Clowes 'Ghost World' because she is very frank yet fragile and does not have to wear undies ouside her pants or pleather like some superheroes.  I think she would beat Superman in a bust up because she has balls and razor wit and calls people 'ass-holes', which frankly I think would scare Superman, because he is macho and likes women to be Lois-Lane-feminine.  Also she could easily beat Superman by pulling out some kryptonite, but I think kryptonite is against the rules of the game.

2.  You need to choose a television series you have some interest in, buy every season in a boxed set and watch them repeatedly.  Choosing a television series which only ran for a short time has three major advantages, the first being that there are far less quotes to learn in say, 'Tru Calling' which ran  over a mere  season than in a show like 'Dallas' which survived an astonishing 14.  It is important to realise that quoting is a vital part in the life of any self-respecting geek, so you will preferably pick a show which has decent dialogue.  Note how much cooler it would be if someone said to you "A watcher scoffs at gravity!" [Giles in 'Buffy'] which is full of subtext and humour, than something like "Oh Noel I just don't know, maybe I really want to be with Ben" [Anonymous].  It is also much cheaper to choose a show which had a short life, as boxed sets are on the high priced side, and then you can say things like "It's so unfair they got taken off the air in their prime, it's just because they weren't commercial enough, they weren't making 'the man' any money" and "critics just didn't understand the show, nobody did".

3.  Make mixed tapes for all your friends starring obscure bands with names like Vortenshwaghausen, and The Rat Infested Monkey Dancers Of Love Are Peforming The ChaCha On Our Graves, the less known and less pronouncable the better.  Then decorate these tapes with stickers.  For extra zest in the mixed tape experience - theme it. For example: for valentines day last year I made my boyfriend a tape where all the song titles featured the word 'love', eg. 'Interstate Love Song', 'Ooh Baby I Love Your Way'..you get the idea. xxxx

4. Watch only foreign films.

5. Pine for someone you know you'll never be with, or perhaps would not ever even particularly want to be with.  For example - the mailman or the guy that makes the coffee in your favourite cafe.  Say things like "Look at him with his long hair and glasses, he's way too cool to ever want a dork like me," and look sullenly into your long black while stroking your side pontyail. Make up a name and a personality for him so that when you are with other people you can say "Mark would love this movie / this flower / this tie."

6.  Stalk Mark.

7.  Fake having a huge vinyl collection - it's way too expensive to have a real one but so cool.  See John Cusack's character in 'Hi Fidelity'.

8.  Pretend to write sonnets in your free time.

9.  Spend the rest of your free time at Mark1 and peruse the books at leisure.  It is also important to become friendly with the guy/girl at the counter so that you are on a first name basis and they will ring you up to tell you excitedly that one of the copies from the original run of 'Subversive Feminist Schoolgirl Manga 3' has finally arrived in the store and they want you to have first option. Other fun things to do in a comic book store include following someone around and when they put down a book they have been looking at, pick it up and scoff.  Pretend to people that your life would make a good comic, and give all your friends colourful new names and powers.   

10.  Tell people your idol is someone like Sherlock Holmes, or Igby.

Having a myspace account should really count as well, but that may be hammy-geeky or atually-too-cool geeky which I'll get to.  Also it's important to remember that us geekus's are essentially loners, so if you must hang out with friends just don't do it in public, save it for the home.  Perhaps this could be a 12 step program : On Your Way To A Better, More Nerdy and Realistic You, For The Recovering Cool Kid.

Eventually we will all be dorks, and then real freakin cool will be the new cool.  But that's some time away, so give yourslef a lop-sided haircut, slip into some petticoats / polka dots and chucks and I'll meet you at 5 at open mic. poetry night at  the blue note bar.

*Admittedly that last admission in the subtitle (see top of page) may not be cool yet.  Clearly my best friend and I were ahead of our time...

The Thin Line

As a disclaimer I think it may be important to verify that it is a thin line between cheesy-geeky, cool-geeky (which is the desired level), and wannabe-geeky-but-am-way-too-'cool' to ever be able to achieve it any honest way.  It is not cool and falls under cheesy-geeky to admit that the first tape you bought was Backstreet Boys or the first concert you went to was New Kids On The Block or Peter Andre.  Skinny jeans are not geeky, they were before everyone wore them, and now they are all in so fall into the wannabe-geeky-but-am-way-too-cool category.