We were having a business dinner the other night with one of Randy's supervisors, his wife, and another new hire and his wife, when I made an interesting self-discovery: I have grown up enough to realize, and not run away from, the fact that I am a big nerd. All the wives were talking while the men discussed business, and when she discovered that I am a writer one of the women made a comment about how when she was young and a "nerd" she liked to write. She quickly back-stepped and qualified her statement with, "not that writing is nerdy or anything." I laughed and said, it's all right, writers are pretty big nerds. And it is true. I looked up the webster definition of nerd and found that a nerd is, "an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially : one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits." Now, I try to keep up on myself and I hope I'm not socially inept--but the latter part of the sentence certainly fits. When you sit around looking up etymologies on the online Oxford English Dictionary for FUN, I think you fit the bill. Or when you can tell your husband in five hundred words why Oxford is far and away better than Webster. Or when you get kicks reading thirty-year old lectures from a French psychoanalyst and theorist (Lacan). Or when the two stations you know on the radio are NPR and a local classical station. Or when the biggest events on your social calender are literary lectures at the local library. Have I sufficiently proved my point?
I think when we are young we are so afraid to be or look anything that isn't "pop," whatever that is at the time. We transform, again and again, about as many times as Madonna (hopefully without the promiscuity and plastic surgery) hoping that in the process no one will catch on to the fact that we are . . . ourselves. Now that I am twenty-six, I have become comfortable to a great extent with my own company. Not that this complacency excludes me from my fair share of insecurities: after all, I am female. But they are different than they were when I was sixteen or even twenty-one. I still worry about my weight but now I want to be healthy for the kids I hope to have. I want to look nice but I don't panic whenever I leave the house. I want to have friends, but more importantly I want to be surrounded by people who make me think, who make me laugh for all the right reasons, people who make me feel better about myself and the world as a whole. Which probably puts them in the category I delineated above. And that's okay, did I mention I married a big music nerd? And I think he's pretty great (and cute!).