Perfect your inner nerd: A how-to.

I’ve never had an aversion to making a joke or two on my own behalf; better that, than having someone else beat you to it. And when your personality consists of awkward comments half the time, and hilariously misunderstood science jokes for the rest, you usually end up becoming punchline-fodder for the rest of the world around you.

What really solidifies the nerd status, however, is the level of pride I feel at brandishing my emblem of nerdiness in my conversations, through my friendships and in my work. Its quickly become a defining feature of mine, so I thought I was qualified to offer a few bits of advice to aspiring nerds out there, hoping to elevate their status from punchline-fodder to personality-emblem.

And here we go: 5 ways to perfect your inner nerd.

1. Perfect your “book browsing” stance. Head tilted to one side, feet crossed at the ankle, book held in one hand (elbow tucked in) with the other hand intelligently stroking your chin or flipping through the pages.

2. Perfect your shifty eyes. Nerds rarely are able to hold eye contact for extended periods of time (or maybe just this nerd). Therefore, perfect the shifty eyes to look more “wandering” instead of “shifty” by drawing your attention to specific objects of merit instead of spastically whizzing them back and forth.

3. Perfect your exaggerated hand motions. You may find yourself having a penchant of trying to get your point across by waving your arms, twisting your fingers and generally becoming a nuisance by how much you use hand gestures in conversations. Stop it. Reign it in. There’s a delicate balance of assigning hand motions to words and phrases and almost physically assaulting someone mid-conversation. Nerd-sophistication evolves with time, so use those hand motions as a tool for comedic genius, not for bodily harm.

4. Perfect the ratio of scientific:pop culture references. I’d say that anytime is a good time for a Darwinning joke. But … is it? Perhaps aiming for a 3:1 ratio of science to pop culture references per conversation is a good goal. That way, your nerd flag flies proud, while you still prove that you’re still worth spending time with by knowing what’s going on in other aspects of your world.

Cheat: Talk about Doctor Who – it basically falls into both categories, and talking about it for hours is SO wonderful! Same goes for any Tolkien or Sherlock references as well. 

5. Perfect your “recovery”. The “I meant to do that” just isn’t going to cut it, this day in age, after you have a terrible flub-up (falls, snorts, tripping, gaffes, verbal spewage etc). It’s inevitable that you’re going to say/do something unconventional, embarrassing or over-the-top in the near future. Perfect one or both of the following: your recovery or your exit strategy. I’d suggest the best recovery as being the “hide your face in your hands and nervously laugh” and the best exit strategy as “quickly, discretely and not into a glass wall or door”.

(Example of someone who has perfected these rules AND more: Zachary Levi)

There are so many more life-lessons I’ve picked up just over the last few years on how to climb the ladder to nerdiness – but these are tried, tested and true. Hopefully they tide you over for the time being – remember it’s not the end goal, but the journey that’s really important. Spread your wings and soar little nerds.



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