12:46 AM

How to Land a Nerd: Step One, Impressing Them

So I've decided to be generous to all of you who have your sights on the ever-shy yet overlooked specimen that most of us take for granted: the nerd. That's right. Reasons may vary for wanting to date this lovable species of the human race, whether it be their (usually) high intellectual level of thinking, their sweet and fragile interior, their tube socks, or even if you just want to borrow their season of Battlestar Galactica (original AND remake). Yet if you're reading this, you're either committed to landing that geek of your dreams, coke-rims and all, or are bored silly with Facebook.

The first step in landing a nerd is to impress them. This is fairly easy to do depending on who you are. If you're a woman trying to get a nerd guy, having boobs usually helps. A lot. In fact, you usually just have to say hi, how are you?, what do you do for a living?, and you're pretty much set. A guy, on the other hand, has a lot more work cut out for him. But we'll save that for it's own issue.

Just like with any other potential other, you want to impress your target and make them feel like there is more to you than meets the eye (you're halfway there if you know what cartoon theme song that quote comes from!). For this particular group of people, you'll want to use random trivia, particularly of the movie, comic, cartoon, and science variety.

To help you on your quest, I've compiled a list of random trivia and answers to typical questions that you can use not only to reel in a nerd with your nerdesque knowledge of all things super-nerd, but also to identify if the person you are talking to is a genuine, 100% PC-fed nerd.

May the geek be with you!

1. "Han shot first!"

Context: Any discussion that is related to Star Wars or movies, feel free to use this gem when asked what your biggest annoyance with Star Wars is or if you just want to show off your superior geek intellect when it concerns one of the most famous and well-known space epics of all time.

Where It Comes From: In the original Star Wars, Han Solo sits at the table in the desert cantina with Greedo (the alien/bug/Pokemon looking thing that asks for money). When Han informs the bounty hunter that he doesn't have Jabba the Hut's money, the two face-off, and Han is the first to pull his gun and shoot, all under the table. In the new, remastered movies, Greedo shoots first to make Han more "sympathetic". Most nerds will agree that the true-to-script version is the first.

2. Pronouncing "manga" correctly

Context: If you're asked if you read this medium (it's a miniature, fatter comic book, also commonly called a graphic novel, though almost strictly of the Japan variety), you'll want to be able to say yes or no (we recommend saying yes) while saying it correctly. No idea what manga are, and don't want to do the research? Just say you haven't read manga in while because you got into [INSERT OTHER ACTIVITY HERE].

How to Say it: Mahn-ga. (NOTE: The "n" is ALMOST silently, but not quite!)

3. "Live long and prosper."

Context: Most everyone knows this quote from Star Trek, but if you don't, just know that it was said by an alien who looks like a human with pointy ears and big eyebrows named Spock. We also recommend you learn the hand gesture (the Vulcan Greeting) that goes with it:

NOTE: Extra nerd points, the correct response is "Peace and long life" when someone says the above phrase to you. Also, the Vulcan Greeting that you see above is great to use as Jewish blessing, so go for it at those Jewish holiday events!

Background: The original actor who plays Spock is Leonard Nimoy. The sign is made when parting someone and wishing them well or saying hello, and this whole thing originates in the Star Trek: First Generation series, aka, the original Star Trek. Too much information? Just say, "I love Spock!" if faced with this sign or saying.

4. "Firefly" or "I'm a Browncoat"

Context: Answer this if asked what your favorite TV show is, or your favorite canceled TV show, or if you're a fan of anything.

Where It Comes From: "Firefly" is a canceled TV show written and directed by Joss Wheadon (he did "Buffy", "Angel", and some other stuff that doesn't really matter). It's about cowboys in space who speak Chinese. That's really about all you need to know because if the person knows what you're talking about and starts a passionate conversation on it, they're a Browncoat (a term from the show that now refers to "Firefly" fans) and a nerd. The show only ran for 14 episodes before it was dropped and has a movie that finishes the series called "Serenity".

5. Stephen Hawking

Context: Answer to the question about who your personal hero is.

Who It Is: Stephen Hawking is a theoretical physicist who has a disorder that has left him wheelchair bound and completely paralyzed. He talks using a computer and has one of those computer voices that will haunt you for the rest of your life after you hear it. His most famous (or well-known) book is "A Brief History of Time" which is most certainly not brief or understandable by most non-physicist people. If asked why he's your hero, answers can include: "He's brilliant", "He has overcome so much", and "I like his accent".

6. Schoedinger's Cat

Context: Use it in an analogy to make yourself look like a science person.

Where It Comes From: If you know this already, bonus points to you! Just keep going. If not, it's an experiment run by a scientist named Schoedinger (no surprise there) who proposed this thought experiment (no animals harmed, I think...) that if you put a cat inside a box, you won't know if it's alive or dead when you open it later until you do.

To sum up the point in practical terms, you won't know if something will work unless you do it.

7. Linux

Context: If you want to brag, brag about your computer and say you use Linux.

Where It Comes From: Linux is a computer operating system that is hideously more complicated than Word or Apple, and is for the hardcore computer software people who want to be able to manipulate anything and everything on their computer. It makes you seem tech savvy if you say you use it, and you know you've found a nerd if they ask technical questions!


Context: Answer this when asked about your hobbies.

What It Is: Mass Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game. Think of all those addicting, crack-like on-line games that you hear about on the news (mostly because some 32-year-old still lives at home in his sweat pants playing it 24/7 in his mom's basement) and it's probably this. Prominent examples include "WoW" (World of Warcraft), Runescape, Lord of the Rings/Star Wars online, and Aion. Gamers, as people who play lots of video-games and/or MMORPGs are often called, will know instantly what this acronym means and you'll find yourself in nerdvana. Beware, though! If the person you're talking to has no idea, do not mention "WoW" or you're likely to be labeled a nerd yourself.

9. LARPing

Context: Generally you don't ever want to mention this. Ever. Mainly because the first rule of LARP is "Never talk about LARP", and also because it's really nerdy. But if you are adventurous and looking for the truly open-minded or ultimate nerd/geek, then say you do this in your free time.

What It Is: LARP is Live-Action Role Playing. That's right. People out there actually make costumes and stand around as Gandalf/Harry Potter/drunken dwarves and shoot spells at each other or re-enact battles that never happened. Only the super-nerdy usually partake in this, as it means you become that character in dress, mannerisms, and speech. It's more intense than a renaissance fair, trust me.

10. "Ren fair"

Context: Another one for what you like to do.

What It Is: Ren fair is a nickname for a renaissance fair. This is arguably nerdy, as a lot of normal people go to these things for the entertainment, large breasts in tight dresses, and more importantly, the beer. The true geeks, however, dress up. Fun? Yes. Normal? Probably not.

11. Comic-Con

Context: Answer to where you want to go, or your favorite vacation spot.

What It Is: Comic-Con is the haven for all nerds/geeks and fanboys alike. People flock in the hundreds of thousands to this event in San Diego (soon to be Los Angeles, supposedly) to see clips of the newest movie, browse hundreds of stands of comic books, and buy a ton of shit they can probably live without because it's there. The Con, as it's called for short, is always crowded and is getting more people as more industry people go to showcase their wares. But what's really important is that a ton of people dress up. Skinny Super Mans, fat Batmans, and obese slave-girl Leia are some of the most memorable and often parodied at the Con, and yes, there usually is at least one of each.

12. Skynet

Context: An answer to what you fear the most.

Where It Is From: Skynet is the villain in Terminator, though it is almost never shown on screen. It is a computer system that humans built in the future with artificial intelligence (AI) that woke up one day to decide it was evil and enslaves all of humanity. It's agents are Terminators (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who are big bad ass robots that can time-travel and are mostly good for having big, sweaty muscles and guns everywhere on their body (I'm still waiting for guns to appear out of their nostrils).

13. "Running raids"

Context: Another answer on what to do in your free time. Answer this if you are unsure if they are a gamer/nerd or not.

What It Is: Running a raid is a term for going, online mind you, with a group of other people in a MMORPG to slay the dragon, drink mead, or level up as a group. For some reason, this 'raid' has to be done in a group, and instead of saying something pansy like "quest", "raid" has been deemed as the slang of choice.

14. "Looking for group"

Context: This is a dual answer that can be used to describe your favorite comic OR as a funny retort to describing a situation where you are trying to find someone. An example: I was at the theater looking for my friends, and I was ready to start shouting "Looking for group!" to see if I could get them to find me!

Where It Is From: The comic is fairly popular with gamers and is about a group of online gaming characters that are part of a group and do silly things. The most well-known character is Richard the Undead Warlock, and parodies fantasy MMORPGs as well as is a gold mine for picking up witty, gamer one-liners. The term is also used when a new person enters an MMORPG and is either looking to: a) join a raid, or b) travel around with other people doing who knows what.

15. "Blue screen of death"

Context: Use in casual conversation when referring to how much you hate your computer or an attempt at an activity that failed.

Where It Is From: The blue screen of death is what happens when your computer flips it's shit and destroys itself from the inside out. It usually happens when you have too much stuff open and are pressing buttons like the apocalypse is going to happen, and indicates that your computer is dead. It's a great simile to use when talking about how an attempt to do something failed, and anyone technologically savvy will know what you are talking about. NOTE: The blue screen of death only happens on computers running Windows. Macs don't get a blue screen, but you can still use the comparison anyway.

16. "meme"

Context: Use this term to talk about that funny Youtube video that was on the news.

What It Is: A meme is basically any of those viral videos that have made their way into your inbox five million times. It's a nerdy way to refer to these items made popular over the Internet.

BONUS POINTS: Richard Dawkins invented/popularized this word. Probably one of the only useful things he ever did.

17. "All your base are belong to us"

Context: I have no idea.

Where It Is From: The phrase is from a badly translated Japanese game called Zero Wing, and was the subject of an Internet meme in 2000-2001. The phrase itself is from an opening sequence in the game, but all you need to know is that when you hear it, don't correct the English, just laugh.

18. 4chan

Context: Answer to favorite website, or referencing where you found that awesome new video meme.

What It Is: 4chan is where the Internet cesspool begins. It's a website made national newspapers when the owner of the site, moot, was named in Time's Top 100 Most Influential Persons of the Year Finalists List 2009. The site is mostly famous for memes and the rampant porn and spam posted on it, though the goal is supposedly to talk about anime and manga.

19. "Pedobear"

Context: Use this phrase when talking about something creepy. Specifically: "Ugh, that's creepy as Pedobear" or "That's Pedobear creepy".

Where It Is From: A 4chan phenomena. It originated as a drawing of an anthropomorphic bear child predator and is used when talking about something or someone that reminds someone of a pedophile. Just another classy way to talk about pedophiles!

20. "Rick Roll"

Context: You "Rick Roll" someone and is only done by the nerd inclined. See the definition below.

What It Is: A Rick Roll is when you post a link to someone on IM or over e-mail saying "watch this cool video!" You click on it, expecting cute pandas or someone falling off a roof, and get this. The artist is Rick Astley, and the song is about as great as the first syllable of his last name. Some love it, a lot of people hate it, and being Rick Rolled or Rick Rolling someone is nothing new.

Read more about the fine art of Rick Rolling, as well as tips on how to do it properly, here.

Take these and go forth. Find that nerd that you're dreaming of, or simply masquerade as one in order to find those nerds in hiding. Remember, nerds are people too! They just speak a different language.

To be continued...


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