Most people have a very clear image of what a Geek Girl is in their head. She is either very fat or clumsy and skinny. There’s an 80% chance that she wears glasses and has brown hair. She plays video games, reads comic books and watches anime. She knows what Harry Potter house she would be sorted into and what district she would be from in The Hunger Games. Her wall is probably plastered with pictures of Ian Somerhalder, Misha Collins and Matt Smith.
Most people also have a very clear picture of what they imagine a Sorority Girl is like. She is blonde, thin, tan and her breasts are somehow even perkier than her personality. She wears short shorts, platform flip-flops and a t-shirt with her sorority letters on it. She likes to get drunk, go clubbing and shop at the mall. She is probably a snob and from a rich family who are also snobs.
I could keep playing the stereotype game for hours, but suffice it to say that the stereotypical sorority girl and the stereotypical geek girl are essentially photo negatives of one another and are rarely seen interacting in their natural habitat. But, what happens when you force the Geek Girl and the Greek Girl together? And even more terrifying: What happens when you force them together into the same brain and body?
I’ll tell you what happens. You get a Smartly Sarah.
In past articles on The Nerdery Public, I’ve mentioned the fact that I came into my geekiness sort of late in life. In high school, I was that type of girl who was friends with everyone from football players and cheerleaders to band geeks to burnout skaters to the honor student intellectuals. In college, I made lots of friends in the dorms and was very active in my university’s Newman Center Catholic church. However, I also did the unthinkable and something none of my friends from any of my social groups could believe: I rushed. Twice.
For one glorious semester of my freshman year, I was a pledge in Sigma Sigma Sigma national sorority. At the end of that semester, the chapter was closed for reasons I won’t get into, and a void was left in my life. The concept of sisterhood had truly rooted itself in my heart, and when we all moved out of the house, I was crushed.
Early the next semester, a friend from the dorms invited me to rush a newer sorority that was celebrating its second year on campus. Shortly thereafter, I pledged and was initiated into Omega Phi Alpha national service sorority and remained there until I left college two years later. OPA was different from your typical sorority. Sure, we were all young attractive ladies who liked to wear our letter t-shirts and some of us even wore platform flip-flops and had tans. But we were a culturally and economically diverse group, with lots of brunettes and redheads mixed in with the bottle blondes. We knew how to have a good time and threw a very swank formal every year, but we also weren’t out getting wasted every weekend at frat parties. Everyone was very academically focused and participated in community service and other student activities.
When I left college and Greek life, it was just as the excitement for the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter films had hit a fever pitch. I discovered blogging and Internet discussion forums where I would pull all nighters debating about independent film, classic literature and politics. It was also during this time I was introduced to World of Warcraft. This was my personal geek renaissance, and through a friend I met on the Internet (Don’t judge me!), I was introduced to a fantastic group of nerdy individuals who would become my closest friends today.
The transition from Greek to Geek wasn’t always easy. I remember the first time a guy I was dating brought me to his weekly Dungeons and Dragons game. His gaming group consisted of himself: a French Canadian goth boy, a hippie who wore shoes made of coiled hemp rope, a software engineer who built robots and a hardcore LARPer who did uncanny impressions. I walked into the hookah-smoke filled room and felt petrified. I found myself surrounded by gaming books, robot parts and statues of dragons and trolls, with my perfectly coiffed hair and acrylic gel nails, wearing a cute sun dress and clutching my Kate Spade bag for dear life. I had never felt so out of place in my life. I wasn’t feeling snobby or thinking myself above them. I was intimidated and terrified of being different or appearing stupid.
But you know what? Those boys, God love them, made me feel included from moment one. Not only did they welcome me into the room to watch the game, they even invited me to roll the dice a few times and try to play. Later, a girlfriend of mine said it was because I was a “unicorn”: a rare “normal pretty girl” dating a geeky guy, but I’m not sure I think she’s right. Because less than a month after I watched that first D&D game, those same boys invited me to create a character and join their weekly game myself.
At the second game, I wore what is now my standard uniform of jeans and Converse sneakers. (I also learned that I have an infinite amount of karmic dice-rolling luck.) But I did carry those dice in my Kate Spade bag and roll them from perfectly manicured fingers. If I learned anything from that great group of gents accepting me for who I am, it’s that it is ok to be a Greek AND a be Geek, as long as I remember to be myself.