Nerd vs. Geek

Since I mentioned not knowing the difference between geek and nerd in my last post, I decided to what every self-respecting girl would do. I did a little research.

First things first we have dictionary definitions:
geek: a person who has excessive enthusiasm for and some expertise about a specialized subject or activity
nerd: an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit

So it would seem that the main different there would be intelligence and enthusiasm but otherwise the definitions seem pretty similar.

A few google searches later and from what I’m understanding, a nerd is industrious, intelligent, understands thing and a geek Interested in things that others are not interested in, know a lot about their interests, but usually do not understand underlying principles. If we were to take, for example, Star Trek, the basic idea is that a geek knows everything about the show, but a nerd understands the science behind it.

I’m also seeing a lot of references that nerds are more academic, are concerned with maths and/or science.

There’s a lot about geeks being the ones who go to conventions, who will wear t-shirts etc with designs pertining to their fandom/s. Nerds, on the other hand, are seen as introverted and socially awkward.

Basically, if my understanding is correct, both Jack and myself are geeks and nerds, whereas Lucy is ‘only’ a geek.

I’m definitely on the nerd side of things with the maths and the science and like understanding how things work and am fascinated by, for example, how science fiction technology in a show like Star Trek inspired real life technology. But I’ve got a lot of geek in me for my love of science fiction and I do get very hyper-enthusiastic about things and will talk your ear off if I get excited about something.

Lucy is definitely a geek. She doesn’t get into the nitty gritty under the bonnet of the things she loves but when she obsesses, she will know everything about her current love. She happily obsesses and really doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. She’s got the collectors set, joined the forum, wears the t-shirt, can wax lyrically and poeticaly and generally has fun wiht her interests.

My husband will happily claim the label geek and will tell you he was a geek before it was cool. But don’t let his never ending supply of graphic t-shirts fool you – there’s a whole lot of nerd inside of him. The man has an MSc in Aeronautical Engineering and was a RAF mechanic. He’s also an astronomy nerd and understands a lot more physics than he lets on.

I’m also pretty sure that wanting to understand the difference between geeks and nerds puts me firmly in the nerd category!

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Growing Up Geeky

I think I was always destined to be a geek. Or a nerd. Possibly both – I’m never entirely sure what the difference between geek and nerd is. I should probably look that up.

I was never the child that asked ‘why’ – that was my brother. I always wanted to know how. How does this work, how does that work, how does x make y. I was the child that took everything apart to see what it was made of, to see how it worked. Sometimes I even put them back together again – and sometimes things even worked after I’d finished. I was always fascinated by space and wanted to be an astronaut.

But I always liked science, and maths, and wanted to know how things worked, I read comics, and I enjoyed watching Star Trek, Doctor Who, The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone – that kind of thing.

Can you tell I was never the cool kid at school?

Yeah, I was the nerd but because my brother was one of the cool kids – and a footballer – luckily, I didn’t get picked on. One guy tried and Mark broke his damn arm. Got expelled for a week but yeah, everyone left dorky little Sam alone.

Unless they wanted help with their science or maths.. and then I became really popular.

I kind of loved that, tutoring other kids, helping with their homework. I never did it for them but I would sit and try to help. I loved that moment when I explained something to someone and you could see the understanding dawn in their eyes. THAT is one of the reason why I became a teacher.

Bisexuality and Me

Apparently when I was a teenager, everyone thought I was going to be/gay.

I was unaware of this. I found out yesterday when my brother told me. He came over to help with packing and we endedup going through albums of old photos of the two us when we were children. I was such a tomboy; you would have thought our parents had twin boys, not opposite-sex twins. I had the same haircut as Mark, we dressed the same way.

You could also tell the moment in the pictures that puberty hit and it was like I overnight became a girl. I grew my hair and had it permed, and hairsprayed half to death. Arms covered in jelly bracelets. acid wash denim shorts or skirt over leggings or fishnets. Oversize neon sweaters off the shoulder. Big poufy flouncy dresses. If Madonna wore it, I wore it!
(That’s not the subject of this post though I may have to write about it anothe day)

That’s not the reason they thought I was gay, though. I was a nerd in school. I liked science and maths and engineering. I was in the chess club. My dad thought this all meant I was ‘one of those homosexuals’ and he was more worried about that than he was bringing up a girl on his own (My mum sadly passed away in 1980). He knew women, he knew girls; he didn’t know a single gay person.

I was about 14 the first time I had sexual feeling for a girl. It was in the changing rooms after a PE lesson and her name was Pamela. I remember we were all in various stages of puberty, lots of budding breasts and so on, but this girl was… shapely. She had this amazing pear shape and full breasts and, well, let’s just say if I was a boy I would have popped a boner.
I shared 3 subjects with her for something like 3 years but I could barely manage to speak to her because I was overcome with shyness caused by hormones!

At the same time though, I had a huge crush on David – he ran the chess club. He liked Star Trek and Doctor Who, he was my main competition for top of the class in maths and science and we had a friendy rivalry all through school. He was this short, skinny boy who did long distance running. We started dating when we were 15, stayed together for maybe 3 years until we both moved away to different universities.

University was when I had my first relationship with a woman, so we’re talking late 1980s. Gay was something men were, they got AIDS and they died, and they all looked either like Freddie Mercury or the guys in Right Said Fre. Lisa, this girl’s name was, and she was in some of the sames maths classes as me. Took me completely by surprise when she kissed me in the library in the middle of a study session and taught me women could be gay too. Taught me lots of things. We went pretty steady for about 2 years but then she finished university and moved home. I stayed on to do my Masters and we just… drifted apart

I dated a few guys, but never seriously. I was always far more focussed on school, science, on work and it always quickly became obvious I wasn’t the ‘wife’ they were looking for. I didn’t know how to meet women and the women I did, were intimidated by me. I wasn’t a typical lesbian. I wasn’t what they were looking for.

By my late 20s, I’d pretty much resigned myself to spinsterhood. At least I liked cats.

Then, in 1997, I met a guy called Jack. We were introduced by a mutual friend and to say there were fireworks would be an understatement. There was sex against a wall in the back alley behind a club… and I married him seven years later. That was almost 13 years ago and we’re still happily married – I can be quite certain in calling him the love of my life. Lucy, our girlfriend of 8 years, comes in a close second in that regard.

A Few Things About Me

One of the things I like to make people aware of when they first meet me is that I am bisexual. I have been burned too many times by starting to get to know people, thinking I’m making friends and then being spurned because they discover I’m bisexual. Jack has assured me that the majority of people online don’t care about other people’s sexualities, that you’re all more accepting of different/alternative lifestyles.

I think quite a few of you know Jack and about our family but for those who don’t, as well as being bisexual, I’m in a polyamorous triad. I have been married to Jack since August 2004 and I can quite happily call him the love of my life. Jack and I also have a serious girlfriend called Lucy who we’ve been with 2010.

I will say straight away, that if any of this upsets/offends/bothers you, then please simply hit the unfriend button. There will be no hard feelings. I quite understand. But please act like a civil/mature person about it and refrain from attacking or namecalling or any such behaviour.

On the other hand, if you have any questions – which I know a lot of people do – then please ask and I’ll answer how I can. I’m no expert on polyamory, this is my only relationship of this kind and can only speak from personal experience but I’m always happy to talk about the people I love!

First blog post

So this is me. This is my blog.

First posts are awful, don’t you think? One only hopes most people miss this on their first stumble across the site, and only make their way to it much much later – when we’re much better acquainted and my early missteps can be forgiven!

So who am I?
I’m a scientist and a teacher, but nothing like you would expect from either of those terms.
I like flouncy dresses – and leather jackets.
I love to read – long books that I can lose myself in, popular science non-fiction, Shakespeare… and cheesy chick lit.
I love sweet treats of all shapes and sizes – especially cupcakes, donuts and fudge. And a good cup of tea.
I love bright colours – and all things cute and kitsch

I’m not as much of a girl as you would expect though. I’m also a rugby fan (Cardiff RFC for life!), an engineer, a mechanic and a gardener. I enjoy a good game of chess or sudoku.

You can expect me to talk about a good mix of that – science, books, dresses, rugby, shoes, science fiction and cupcakes

Settle in, the kettle’s on.