Nerdery

Moments of Nerd Shame: And the Winners Are…

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?Here’s what I didn’t love about this contest — trying to narrow down the 300 or so great tales of nerd shame to a list of 30 Honorable Mentions (never mind the winners). Here’s what I loved about this contest — the reminder that the Topless Roboteers are just like me. We’re nerds, but we understand being a nerd is often a ridiculous thing. We’re not ashamed of being nerds per se, but we do rue those insane fellows whose nerdiness knows no bounds, whose nerdiness renders them unable to function in society, who have no idea how their behavior makes others see them, and who give us all a bad rap.

Look, this topic is very near and dear to my heart, hence why I made it part of TR‘s mission statement. So I’ll be adding much more commentary than usual, and I hope you’ll forgive me. But as an appeteaser of nerdery, here are a few lines from people — sometimes in context, often not — that totally rocked my world. I think you’ll see why:


Kaoy said:

I don’t even want to think about how close I came to getting ass raped by Lieutenant Mustang.


DoctorSmashy said:

On numerous occassions, I have attempted to use Godzilla knowledge to get women to like me.


BobJ said:

“Man-Wolf!” I yelled back at the guy, as my wife cringed. “You might want to look it up!”


christwriter said:

[He believed] when you allow the general public to watch a LARPing event, they’ll realize it isn’t that geeky.


spokenwordsuperstar said:

I belong to the How to Train Your Dragon fandom and Hiccup/Toothless rape!fic is rampant; just the facts of life.


PenelopeNerd said:

And when people asked why….I sighed and danced like the George Lucas quoting monkey I was.


gnawingtreebark said:

I love my boyfriend dearly, but I wish he would stop bringing his Transformers to family functions like Christmas dinner.


PathofNeedles said:

He was the king of socially awkward, and had apparently made me his socially awkward queen.

And now, onto the Mentioning.


Okay, I technically have less than 30 Honorable Mentions, but so many of them are so damn long. I’ve broken them up into two pages and it’s still long. My apologies.


bluebird said:

Time I was most ashamed to be a nerd? Had to be my birthday last summer. I had just come out as a lesbian to my grandparents the night before, and I’d asked for season one of Xena: Warrior Princess, since I heard it had lot of Greek Mythology which is one of my nerd passions (well, that and because of Lucy Lawless). Sure enough, I got it, and when I opened up the DVD case there was Callisto, dressed in skimpy BDSM-esque leather. My mom goes “Ooooh, so that’s why you wanted this show!” Cue horrified looks on my grandparents’ faces and nerd shame for me…


Bradley547 said:

In college my friends and I played a game called KAAOS (Killing As An Organized Sport).
It was much like the game played in the movies Tag and Gotcha where you would be assigned an assassination target and have to hunt and “kill” them using suction cup dart guns. Tremendous fun that would get us arrested today.
The humiliating incident though was one day when my “Assassin” tried to sneak up behind me in German class. The Instructor saw him and asked him what the hell he was doing, and we spent the remainder of the class session explaining to the entire class what the game was, how it was played, how it was scored, etc.
All this in front of the hot girl that I was trying desperately to get to go out with me.
On the up side I did learn there really isn’t a direct translation of the word Weirdo in German.


RadishAttack replied to MeowSkywalker:

Introduced my girlfriend to my dad for the first time. What was one of the first things out of his mouth?
“Our family is descended from the hobbits, you know!”
Thanks dad.

Ooh, nerdy parents is rough. Most of us have to deal with the confusion and fear on our parents’ faces when they burst in our bedroom to find us playing D&D. I can’t imagine what having an awkwardly nerdy parent must be like, but I’m certain it’s no picnic either. Especially when you bring home dates.


LewdACHris said:

Had to pick up something from a (former)friend in Manhattan. My younger sister and girlfriend tagged along, as they both wanted to go into the city. T’was Memorial day, and at least 80-90 degrees out. Upon arrival in Union Square, I find said friend and a friend of there’s completely decked out in cosplay (He was dressed up as Naruto, the friend as some visual-jrock non-sense) explaining how hardcore they were that they dressed up like this in summer. He also made sure to give out his, as well as my email information as “cosplayers are always looking for more friends!”, during the 15 or so minutes it took to retrieve my shirt from his back-pack.
The very awkard train ride home consisted of me telling my sister that I don’t dress up like KISS on my downtime (I do cosplay, but not outside of appropiate conventions or parties), and deleting my hotmail account as it was full of spam and hate-mail. Good times.

Note to anyone who dresses in any kind of nerdy costumes in New York City when it’s not Halloween — the residents of NY do not find you “hardcore.” They find you “idiotic.” One year I went to the Big Apple Anime Fest; most events were in one hotel, but many people left in costume to check out nearby stores and shops. I swear to god every New Yorker who saw them wanted to mug them, just on principle.


Drunken Fist said:

Okay, I think this may be too long, but here goes anyway:
The first thing that pops into my mind was one night a few years ago when I was on a date with a smokin’ hot co-worker. She had seen my action figures on display and a couple of boxes of comics at my place, but she had gotten to know me and didn’t get weirded out by it or anything. Basically, she was a “normal” hot girl who would have thought a grown man collecting action figures was a weirdo if she hadn’t already gotten to know me well by that time.
So, we had gone on a couple of dates, and things were going well. This was the night Star Wars episode II was going to start with the midnight showings, and we were in the mall because she wanted to stop by Dillard’s or JC Penney’s or some such store on the way back to her place.
There were several people waiting in line who were dressed up, and had toy lightsabers and such. As we walked past, I heard my name called and turned around. To my horror, I recognized a guy I barely knew– friend of a friend of a friend– walking toward us, decked out in full Jedi regalia. I’m not an asshole, so I said hey, and tried to get away, but the guy basically kept us there for about ten excruciating minutes, taking about how awesome the movie was going to be, and occasionally faux-attacking us with his toy lightsaber in between openly leering at my date’s cleavage.
Now, like I said, I barely knew this guy, but all my claims of that seemed like backpedaling after we finally broke away and moved on. The whole scene was so uncomfortable, and it seemed to kind weird her out, as if she suspected that such a socially inept doofus could be lurking inside of me. It pretty much ruined the whole night, and things were a little awkward for a while between us after that. It did clear up before too long, though, so no permanent harm done.


mythbri said:

Being a life-long nerd, I’ve always understood the necessity of “toning it down” in order to fit in with the normals, especially when I was at school. At this time, a friend of mine had recommended the Wheel of Time series to me (calm down, Rob. I only read to Book 8 and never touched them again). She and I were pretty nerdy about it, discussing the books during breaks, etc. She wanted to be an Aes Sedai more than anything, however, to the point of almost constantly wearing blue (like Moiraine) and using WoT jargon in everyday conversations. Well, one of the popular jocks overheard her, and proceeded to make fun of us. As embarassing and terrible as that was, she started cursing him thusly: “I hope Shai’Tan drags you to the Pit of Doom!”, etc. And then her face got even redder, and I realized that she was actually trying to summon the power of saidin to cast a spell on him.
She’s a big part of the reason I stopped reading the books.

I have NEVER understood why people take phrases from nerdy properties and use them in everyday conversation. Maybe with other nerds is can be a nerdy sign you appreciate a certain series, and maybe BSG hit the mainstream enough that you could say “Frak” once in public — once — and get away with it. But Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time? NO. What on god’s green earth was that girl hoping to accomplish?


PossibleMisnomer said:

I was at Nintendo’s GameCube release press conference @ E3. Knowing they were the underdog, I hoped they were going to try and make a strong comeback.
After hearing a Nintendo rep rail against sequels for the first 15 minutes, he trumpets “the Nintendo Difference” and proceeds to show a video montage of 7 or 8 different sequels. Metroid Prime, Mario Kart, Star Fox, Zelda, etc. Instead of being angry at Nintendo’s baldfaced hypocrisy, the crowd of “journalists” roars with approval.
In Q&A some idiot from Nintendojo goes up, and poses a question for “Miyamoto-san”. He proceeds to try and read off a question in utterly horrible Japanese. The crowd groans. Miyamoto’s interpreter says that he couldn’t understand, and the guy ACTUALLY STARTS TO TRY AGAIN. The crowd groans louder and someone on stage cuts him off and tells him to ask the question in English.
After that, someone from a bigger news organization like CNet or something asks how Nintendo could bash sequels for 15 minutes and show basically nothing but sequels.
This crowd of so-called journalists starts BOOING. This person’s trying to, you know, DO THEIR JOB, and the unwashed fanboy press starts booing.
Most embarrassing nerd moment of mine by far.

This hurts me so, so bad. Having been to many anime conventions, I’ve seen this happen dozens of times and it’s always painful for all involved. I don’t know why it’s so endemic to anime fandom, but no one wants to hear you speak Japanese. Even if you speak fluently, you still sound like an asshole. And 98% you’re not nearly as fluent as you think.


Nick said:

I have a cousin who is in a word a dork. Since he was little he becomes obsessed with the popular movie of the summer, so I have seen him wear a rat tail like Anakin, Rorschach’s mask and Harry Potter glasses. This already embarrasses me enough, but now he is taking it too far. He is 18yrs. Old and he wants to me to become a fan on Facebook of him becoming the next Peter Parker in the Spider-man movie. He is also making a website and is planning on going to the Sony lot to show what he can do. As a comic book fan this makes me embarrassed. When regular people think they can do something like this it just confuses me. I hope when he gets to the Sony lot a couple of bums find him and ride a train on him as he is dressed like Spider-Man.

Ah. Starting a petition is bad enough, but when it involves inserting yourself into the object of your fandom? Pure fucking insanity. It’s massively entertaining to the rest of us, but if you know the guy, I can easily see why he makes your skin crawl.


“Starman” Matt Morrison said:

After over a decade in professional fandom and three years working at a comic store, I have way too many of these stories. So I’m going to limit it to a recent one from a year or two ago.
A friend and I were at a sci-fi Con and were checking out the flyer table for anything that looked cool. We wound up joking, rather loudly, about someone’s flyer for a Yahoo Group devoted to bringing about a change in the management of The Sci-Fi Channel, back before it became SyFy, by boycotting the network.
Now, I know what you’re thinking? What’s wrong with that? All right-minded nerds hated the Sci-Fi channel for various reasons even before the name change and before they started airing pro-wrestling. The reason we were laughing was not the idea of boycotting the Sci-Fi Channel but because of the reasons why this particular group wanted to do so.
Among a list of their demands for new Sci-Fi channel management were…
* Put Farscape back on the air.
* Cancel BSG.
* Create a new, TRUE, Battle Star Galactica revamp TV series with Hatch and Bennett in the roles they created.
As we were making our sarcastic comments, a man came up behind us and asked what was so funny. I shut up, sensing where this was going a little bit faster than my friend, who declared that we were laughing at “this dumbass Yahoo group”.
Naturally, the man was the founder of said dumbass Yahoo group and he proceded to launch into a spirited speech about how Farscape was the greatest Sci-Fi show of all time and how it was totally screwed over by the network…
… and I realized that his arguments regarding Farscape were no different than my arguments regarding Firefly.
So… yeah. Let he who is without sin, fanboys.

Excellent point. Some people thought this contest was a little cruel, but I hope it’s actually helpful. I’ll be the first admit I’ve shamed myself in many of the ways listed above and below, to various degrees. But I learned from it. If this thread helps someone do the same, then I’m a goddamn hero.


BadNflu3nce said:

Back when I was in High School there was an entire table of fat wapanese that all ate lunch together. Wapanese are, “much like wiggers, painfully clueless honkies trying to fill a perceived cultural void by pretending not to be white — in this case, by humping the giant Godzilla leg of the Land of the Rising Shit in hopes of being assimilated into its culture.” (Thanks ED!). Anyway, they all ate lunch at a table not too far from where I ate, which was another nerd table, yes, but we were more sci-fi/fantasy nerds, even though we all were casual fans of adult swim saturdays and whatnot, we weren’t obsessive (well, maybe I was the biggest anime fan of the bunch, but I kept my powerlevel low)
Anyway, so one day I open my lunch, and I look over to the Wapanese table, and I notice that they are all getting out sushi out of their backpacks, sushi followed by pocky and chopsticks. Then, once they all have their food and eating utensils out, they say, in unison, “Itadaki-masu!”, then they all bite into their sushi and say “Oyashii!”.
The entire lunchroom went quiet. I just facepalmed and went back to my sandwich and was glad my other lunch crew members didn’t know too much of my anime nerdery.


The One Gerbil said:

My relatives have a friend who was pregnant and due to deliver just prior to the release of the new Star Wars movies. They decided that, in the ultimate geek move, they would name their child after Luke Skywalker’s father. Teenage me was utterly stoked at the thought. These folk had just become my new heros! That is, until the baby was born and I learned that they had mis-heard the pronunciation of the name…and so they had stuck their kid with the name “Attikan,” not Anakin. What is that kid supposed to say? “Umm..yeah…I was supposed to be named after the great Sith lord, but my parents didn’t hear well and couldn’t be bothered to check the source, so you know…” I was so devestated for that child.

I should send that kid a shirt. He deserves one more than anybody.


ChrisJF said:

Back in high school, one my friends discovered Tolkien around our sophomore year. He became completely obsessed, read every single word that Tolkien wrote and every word that anybody had written about Tolkien. Memorized histories, maps, learned to write in Elvish and Dwarfish.
Pretty harmless when we were hanging out in the chess club room during lunch. But that summer we had a summer school class together. It was a class that took in students from several surrounding schools, so we were surrounded by students who had no idea who we were, which was pretty awesome, b/c people in our own school already knew what to think of us.
I spent the time denying any knowledge of Star Trek and Lord of the Rings as much as possible so that I could learn dirty jokes. Imagine my horror, then, when I found out that my friend had a crush on the hot chick who sat behind us, and was writing her a love note in Elvish, with a little secret decoder drawing.
Despite my pleading advice, he gave her the note. She didn’t even know what to make of it, till he told her. Which was the most awkward thing ever. I know, because I was on the other side of the room pretending I didn’t know him, desperately hoping to avoid any collateral nerd shame.

Jesus. Teenage romance is fucking awful and excruciating enough would bringing insane nerdery into it. So you’re really into Tolkien. That’s fine. But maybe if you’re sending a love note to a girl you have a crush on, it should be 1) IN A LANGUAGE SHE UNDERSTANDS and 2) IN A LANGUAGE THAT ISN’T FAKE AND SPOKEN BY ELVES. That’s just common sense.


LoveWaffles said:

I have a good friend that is one of those Yaoi-Role Playing-Fanfiction maniacs (don’t get me wrong, I read plenty of FF myself, but it’s not my entire life and social interaction). We were going to a con where one of our favorite writers was going to be, and we were able to meet her. My friend was in cosplay as one of the characters this woman had created and we were all having a great conversation about writing and fantasy novels in general, and then my friend had to bring up that she made fan-characters. She then proceeded to tell the author about the fan-characters she had made, and roleplayed with, FOR THAT WOMAN’S UNIVERSE! I just had to leave the area, even though it was probably one of my only times that I’d be able to have a face-to-face conversation with the author. I was just too ashamed to be connected with someone that dense, especially in front of my favorite author.

I understand loving something so much you want to insert yourself into it. I understand the escapism behind writing fan fiction where you’re the star. But no one else cares, nor should they. Don’t try to bring anyone else into your little fantasy, especially especially especially the original creator. He/she won’t be impressed. Just appalled and probably terrified you’re going to break into their house with a knife later.


tasakeru828 said:

I actually met Chris-chan at an anime convention before ED found out about him and started trolling him en masse. A friend and I were hosting a Sonic the Hedgehog panel and trying to prove that not all Sonic fans are as batshit insane as they’re made out to be.
That noble goal was shot to hell when the one-and-only Christian Weston Chandler arrived in all his clown-shirted, Sonichu-medallion-wearing glory and started handing out free copies of his first issue. He asked us a completely unintelligible question (thinking mistakenly that we actually had some influence on the series as a whole), and afterwards he babbled at us personally while we smiled and nodded trying to look interested. We obviously knew he was mentally ill, but we had no idea that we were meeting a future Internet legend.
Now, I still persist in my goal to prove that some Sonic fans are decent, intelligent people. And despite all the flamewars, recolors, and assorted drama that the Sonic series has caused, I still love it and will defend from haters till my dying breath. I am an unabashed, true blue Sonic fan, die-hardest of the die-hard, and nothing will ever change that.
But Lord, Chris-chan comes very close to ruining it all for even me, and that should tell you something.

Tasakeru, I really, really respect you standing by Sonic fandom. I believe you when you say some Sonic fans or normal, but I still think 95% of ’em consistseof the bottom of the crazy awful nerd barrel, best exemplified by Chris-chan. I wouldn’t have the strength. At all.


Destructochick said:

I consider myself a sort of jack-of-all-trades kind of nerd. However, the kind of friends I used to have were into anime almost exclusively. That’s how I ended up with two friends trying to convince me that there was a hidden spirit world that they went to were they fought demons and god knows what else. I cringed every time they brought it up. The worst part was you could tell they really believed in it. Thankfully, I moved.
Then, somehow, I met ANOTHER person who thought they were magical, but if you listened to them it was in the most Mary Sue way possible. Killing all evil, savior of the world, that kind of thing. Needless to say, I choose my friends carefully now.

These people aren’t nerds, or at least aren’t just nerds. People who believe they have powers or can go to or are from a magical world are crazy. Period. They need help.


Nima said:

The guy I dated before my husband was into Anime. I am too, but like my religion, I have learned to keep it to myself. When we would go out, he would pretend to slice through people with a Beam Saber (Gundam), huge exaggerated motions and all. Can you imagine walking around a mall with your boyfriend slashing at people with invisible swords? While in a High school class with my future husband, he lost an Election, and he got so angry that he walked up to his desk and assumed the position associated with raising his “Power level” so that he could go Super Saiyan. When he failed, he slammed his hands into the desk, prompting the teacher to ask if he was ok. People still ask me why I ever dated him.
(On a side note, Even though he broke up with me he was angry with me when I started dating my future husband (his best friend) six months after we broke up. So he had our characters killed in the online Gundam RPG we all played together by convincing the GM that it would be “Fun”.)

Let this be a lesson, guys — this jackass managed to date a girl. You cannot possibly nerdier — and more nerdily awful — and this lunatic. If he can have a girlfriend, so can you. DO NOT GIVE UP. CLEARLY, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.


Adnomad said:

OK, easily the most embarrassing moment I’ve had due to other nerds was this. After months of flirting and hemming and hawing, I convinced the cute girl that worked at EB (dating this somewhat) to go out on a date. We go to the local downtown where all the bars are. After having quite a few, she wants to go for a walk along the river thats about two blocks from the bars. As we walk through the park, we hear people talking and we run into a Vampire LARP game going on in the park. The first two groups of 3 or 4 people we run into completely will not leave character and one is apparently the Prince who asks my date if she would like to join his court. The second group includes a guy weighing about 300 lbs in skin tight velour who tries to kiss her hand. Finally we make it to the river where we run into the last group of them. The largest group, who she can hear tlaking about a plot to kill the Prince. She immediately starts making fun of them and stating out loud about how few friends these losers must have. Thats when a guy on the far side of the group noticed us, called me by name and asked if I was coming t his D&D game the next day…..Last thing I heard from her….I don’t f’ing believe this as she walks away from me.

If you like LARPing, more power to you. But LARPing is essentially playing D&D, in public, while in cosplay. The wrong people see you doing it, and it can affect your relationships, personal or professional. Maybe that’s not fair, but it’s a risk you take on. You should acknowledge that before you put on your fake vampire fangs and obfuscate over to the park. More HMs on the next page!

—-


Diddy_Mao said:

Hardly the most embarrassing story in the world but I also pride myself on being able to keep my nerdish proclivities in check when I’m in social situations.
It’s not a secret to my co-workers that I’m something of a nerd. My desk has a small stack of old New Scientist magazines and I’m the only guy in the building who ever expressed an interest in leaving the service department to join IT but these are socially acceptable nerd things, not grown man with a collection of toys and cartoons type of stuff.
So anyway a few weeks back I’m out to lunch with my Boss and our Director of Client Services, both of whom are completely respectable and normal white picket fence and 2.5 kids type of people.
So of course that’s when my buddy who owns a local gaming store decides to call my cell phone and confirm the order I had placed. The conversation my employers were privy to went something like this.
Hello?
Oh hey what’s up?
No the Blood THIRSTER of Khorne…right.
Yep.
Yep.
Oh and a Soul Grinder.
Sounds good
Catch ya later man.
I close my phone and both of the people who have power over my career are staring at me like I’ve just confessed to eating babies.
What followed was an awkward explanation of miniature gaming, quite possibly the nerdiest of nerd hobbies.
By the end of my embarrassing confessional I was starting to think it might have been better if they had kept to their original assumptions that I was secretly a soul grinding blood drinker.


OneButtonOff said:

While returning from an SCA event (DON’T JUDGE ME!) hours from home, I realize that I really need to pee. Of course, I’m still wearing my Viking apron dress with all the fixin’s: period boots, replica turtle brooches, beaded festoons, etc. I drive through rural, southern Virginia as long as I can, hoping to find a place busy enough that I might not be as, uh, noticeable. Sadly, I can wait no more and the only place to stop is a tiny country store. Park, run in, ask to use the restroom, and receive The Look from the 40-ish store clerk who points me toward the facilities.
Several minutes later (ever tried hiking up three layers of Viking garb in a 3′ X 3′ public restroom? – it ain’t easy) I emerge and feel obliged to buy something, ya know, for the effort. I grab a Coffee Twix and Diet Pepsi and approach the counter. The clerk silently rings me up with another Look. So I un-sling my shoulder bag and rummage around. To reach my wallet, though, I must remove some items from the bag and set them on the counter: large wooden mug, Watchmen graphic novel, small dragon dagger, roll of duct tape, filk CD. (It’s like a loser checklist.) Finally, I reach the wallet and pay. Then I cram all that junk back into the bag, glance at the wordless, watchful clerk, and head out.
“Why, WHY doesn’t he just ASK?” I think to myself.
But I already know why…


Holley said:

Welp first off for some reason I thought it would be a wonderful idea to get a tattoo of one of my favorite video games, Hitman. That’s pretty shameful on it’s own. But my personal most embarrassing story has to be while I was working at GameStop and we had the pokemon distribution thing up. These two kids [probably about 11 or 12]came in and we just started talking about pokemon [I’m 21]. We ended up trading a couple of pokemon and were talking about the next gen that’s coming out, when this guy walks up behind them and is obviously in a hurry. Eventually I look at him and ask if I can help him find anything, he looks at me with a terribly confused look and says “I…I was just picking up my kids”, and I realized that this man had just stood there for a few minutes watching this grown woman talk to his preteen sons about pokemon. Probably thought I was autistic.

As Holley correctly pointed out, it’s a good thing she was a woman, because a guy doing that would get the police called on him. Sad but true. I love kids. Think they’re adorable. I see a baby in a stroller I want to stop and play with it, like women do everywhere all the time without judgment. But I don’t. Because it makes me look insane. I don’t like it, but such is life.


Mindy said:

I know this will sound phony and it IS long (sorry), but if I’m lying, I’m dying…
Years ago, I was a big fan of Star trek, and I had aspirations of becoming a writer. I teamed up with a friend who was a journalist and we decided to try our luck on a film script. We had no idea what to write, but, you’re supposed to write what you know, and I knew about fandom. I worked as a volunteer at NYC sci-fi conventions for over a year, and told her we should write a film about what happens at a convention. I was going to a 3 day weekend con in Baltimore and asked her to come along to check it out and see if there was a film somewhere in the mix. Turns out there was..
First thing you must know is that my Trekkie friends were like wolves, always traveling in packs together to cons all over the east coast. Anyone who remembers what the New York City security looked like back in the early 90’s will tell you it was filled with big fat Klingons.. these guys were my friends (oh, BTW.. I am NOT big, fat or have ever thought of myself as a Klingon.. and I’m a woman who they all considered attractive and NONE of them ever had a shot with me). Robert O’ Riley was one of the guests at the con and thanks to “Gowron the Emperor” being there, the Klingons were having some sort of to-do for their “Emperor” in the main ballroom. I was just heading to the pool at the hotel (in a bikini) when I heard one of my girl friends was not feeling well in the ballroom and went in to help her get back to her room. By the time I got to the ballroom, other friends had got her out of there, when my NYC Klingon buddies saw me (ogled for a bit) and asked me to “help” them with their entrance for the ceremony. All I had to do was sit on a “float” in front of yet another big, fat Klingon. I agreed, very reluctantly. As the ceremony started, I knew I was in trouble. I was “given” to Gowron as a “gift”. By the end of this, I was severely pissed off and made sure that all my Klingon buds knew they would have to make it up to me for QUITE a while for the embarrassment it caused (you ever see a bunch of 250+ pound guys cower in fear to a 105 pound girl? Very funny). But THAT is not the truly embarrassing part.
After the con, my partner and I Did write a script. Turned out pretty good. So good, in fact, it placed as a quarter finalist in the Nichol’s screenwriting competition that year and got us noticed. The script ended up getting optioned and we went out to Hollywood to talk with the guy who optioned it (alas, it didn’t get made, but did become a calling card for a while). Anyway, he showed to to his poker buddy Robert O’Riley who decided he wanted in… and wanted to meet us. My partner knew full well what had happened at the convention (after the initial embarrassment, I went to her room to RANT and devise plans on killing each and every one of my Klingon friends in very nasty ways.. she talked me out of it), but she had convinced me that there was NO WAY Robert would remember me (“You’re wearing CLOTHES this time, for one” she said). Well, we met in a burger joint on Sunset and Robert sat across from me. I tried to keep my glasses on and my head down for most of the meeting, but he kept STARING at me. Finally, he spoke:
“You look really familiar to me” he said “We have met before… right?”
I sheepishly told him that yes, we did meet a year before at a convention in Baltimore. That when his big eyes got bigger and he shouted ” That’s right! YOU were served to me on a platter!”.
The restaurant went silent.
Never been more embarrassed to be a geek than any other time in my life.

Your friends are dicks. You should make them each send me a check for $5 and buy you a shirt. I don’t actually sell them, but I would send you one and take their money, just on principle.


ExecutorElassus said:

When I was maybe eight, I wrote a long letter to the “President of Honda” (whoever swept the floor at the local Honda dealership, which I thought was the entire corporation) about my idea for flying cars. About how they had this really cool latching mechanism so they could attach to a monorail built into all city streets, but detach for flying mode. There would be rockets on the underside to effect upward thrust. The latching mechanism was based on the seatbelt latches on my grandparents’ car, which I thought were really rad. I went into great detail, with diagrams, about how this was totally sweet.
I wanted ONE MILLION DOLLARS, but they could have TWO MILLION DOLLARS for building my awesome cars. I delivered it in a sealed envelope under the door of the local Honda dealership at dawn, on my way to school.
That my parents and grandparents indulged this, and don’t tease me about it (or likely remember), does not diminish my shame.

I agree with most people in that this is totally fucking awesome. You deserve a high five.


rickicker said:

my moment of nerdy shame was last friday, when i came to a full realization that i shared the same knowledge of evangelion with another japanerd, who dedicated enough time in his sorry life to write four chapters of two anime girls lifting weights and arnold-ing themselves. now if you’ll excuse me, i need a long, cold, depressed shower while crying bloody tears…

And thus FFF serves its purpose.


Andrea said:

My own dear nerdy mother, every Christmas and Thanksgiving, goes into excruciating detail describing nerd mythos to my extended family. I will stare deeply into my mashed potatoes to avoid seeing the forced smiles and glazed eyes of my family as mom painstakingly explains OVER THE NEXT FORTY MINUTES to six women in their seventies how Frodo took the One Ring to Mordor, how episodes 1-3 of Star Wars restructured the franchise or how Inuyasha is a half-demon who follows a schoolgirl with a magic jewel in her body. Author’s note: THESE ARE ACTUAL EXAMPLES – NOT HYPERBOLE. Mom – how did you not learn how to pretend to be normal for ONE FREAKING NIGHT!?!!1

As the nerd of the family, if anyone was talking about insane shit at the holiday table, it was me. Realizing that my parents and brothers like felt the same way you felt about your mom going off… well, I gave myself a shirt.


The_Shrubbery said:

My step-grandmother is Japanese. A few Thanksgivings ago, she asked me if my friends wanted to come over for dinner, since I had told her essentially that “their families suck and they’re having pizza for Thanksgiving.” My friends, who are all “into anime” thought it was amazing that my grandma was Japanese and thus MUST know everything about anime.
Long story short. The evening was spent with my friends hoarding around my grandma, speaking in terrible, broken, mispronounced Japanese….and the icing on the cake: Friend A pulls out a manga and asks Grandma to help translate some things..specifically sound effects. Why is this horrible? It was a Yaoi…

I swear to you, anime fans can be wonderful. I’ve met so many normal ones. The readers of Anime Insider were particularly adorable. But goddamn there are so many insane ones, whose fandom distorts their perceptive of an entire country. Many, many times, I feel bad for Japan. Then they create some kind of peeing baby robot, and I remember they kind of have it coming. BUT NOT THE GRANDMAS.


Cromulento said:

Many years ago, probably around ’95, at the comic store that I went to in Wisconsin, there was a once-a-year sale that had a few contests along with it. I even entered one of them, which was an action figure-redesign contest – I took a Thundercat Panthro and made it into a Hellboy. The girl I was dating at the time wasn’t a nerd like me, but she did like the figure I created, and so she went down to the comic store with me to turn it in. I figured it wasn’t going to be too bad, even though she had never been with me to the comic store before. Anyway, at the door of the store was a guy dressed like a Klingon, complete with bat’leth, who barked out commands in Klingon as we entered. My girlfriend eye-rolled a little and got a little nervous, but we went in. The Klingon followed her and kept being really aggressive towards her, again in Klingon. She scooted towards me as fast as she could and I told the Klingon to knock it off (in English!) – I wasn’t too harsh but I got my point across. He slinked back towards the door like a scolded puppy, and mere minutes later he went up to the owner of the store with the same sad, pained look on his face that he got when I told him to buzz off. He was clutching his stomach and he said he needed to call his mom to come pick him up, because his irritable bowel was acting up now, and in his words, he felt like “a Klingon battlecruiser was waging a war” in his stomach. This was said within earshot of the two of us, and my girlfriend was even more nervous, and I felt really stupid because she knew I really liked Star Trek, and this supposedly tough Klingon nearly crapped his pants possibly because I was direct towards him. She tugged on my arm to signal for us to go, I had no choice but to, and she never, ever, ever wanted to go with me to the comic book store again, and she even avoided any conversation that involved sci-fi movies or other nerdy topics, especially Star Trek. She later told me that people who were fans of that kind of stuff were mostly weirdos, and then we broke up a few months later. Sigh.

This story is all too common, sadly. Thank god for the internet, or these horrible nerds would have kept women out of fandom forever. Sure, they exist on the internet, but they’re much easier to ignore online than when they’re 300-lbs Klingons staring at your tits from being the CCG packs.


DiceMonkey1 said:

This happened about three-four years ago. I was one of the co judges of a YuGiOh TCG tourney. There were about.. 20 kids all told ranging in ages from 12 to 40, yes kids; and this is why. It was mid duel, one of the older players who had a ungodly fast deck based around spirit dragon and other inane cards, had beaten this one kid down who barely knew how to play, then fought the kids brother who was the first person all duel to beat him. They were evenly matched until the brother had zero creatures on the field then pulled a snatch steal to loot a creature, then tagged it with mage power, axe of despair and fed used the guys own creature to kill him. The older player stood up, flung his deck across the table and gave a 20min rant at this child about how ‘the heart of the cards’ dictated he was supposed to win and the kid cheated, after that he confronted all three judges and tried to get us to agree with him that since he was playing so much like Yugi does, he’s supposed to win and no one is supposed to beat him, if they do they’re cheating like Wormwood and using illegal cards or fake cards, then cornered again the card judge/ban list monitor and tried to get the kids deck taken apart and rebuilt and left in a near in tears rage when all three of us said, almost in unision. “You lost, stop whining like Joey.” He didn’t come back for three weeks, when the kid who beat him, stopped playing.

I would put that man in jail if I could. For crimes against everything. Winners on the next page. For reals.

—-

I already said it was near impossible to pick the Honorable Mentions, let alone the winners, so I understand if you disagree with my selections. But as many times as I read over the entries, I kept coming back to this one…

Double R said:
this is a really recent story, actually.
I was at this last Comic-Con in Seattle, and for It I decided to dress
up for the first time ever. What better character than my all-time
favorite, Jack Knight Starman? Better yet, James Robinson was there, so
It felt like Destiny. Made a pretty good costume, and built a Cosmic Rod
and everything.
My buddy and I (he was The Red Hood) were going around, doing our thing,
when I noticed a couple dressed up as Sandman and Death PERFECTLY. I
had to get a picture with them. As I make my way over, a very, very
large nerd stops me. He was well over 6′ 5″, and was probably the same
width-wise.
“Hey… what are you supposed to be? You look like you just mixed a
bunch of halloween costumes together” he says rudely.
*hold up Starman #1*
“It’s Starman, actually.”
“Oh. Ok.”
*my friend walks away, and I move to him, saying goodbye and sorry for
bumping into this guy*
*he moves IN FRONT OF ME AGAIN, blocking my path*
“Will Wheaton’s having a contest where the winner and his friends get to
play Rock Band with him.” he says.
“That’s cool. But I-“
“THE ONLY PROBLEM IS I DON’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS.”
No words can describe the emotion that sentence made me feel. Horror?
Sadness? Pity? I just stood there, blank.
“I… I’m sorry.”
“Hey, Let’s go get a picture with Boba Fett!” he loudly proclaims, as I
look over and I can tell behind Boba’s mask the horror he sees.
“Sorry but I have to go”. I ran like hell out of there.
Not only that, but when I went back to talk to my friend Tim Seeley
(HACK/SLASH writer) and my friend who owns the local comic shop I told
them the story, and they knew EXACTLY who I was talking about.
This sums up everything about this contest for me. A nerd alone. Oblivious to basic social interaction. Passive-aggressively demanding friends — not for friendship, but for a nerdy endeavor. Inspiring sadness and anger and most of all, shame. He’s the platonic ideal of the awful nerd, the consummateawful nerd all other nerds are reflections of. It briongs a tear to my eye, for so many reasons.

But now for winner #2… or should I say #2 and #3. Regular Topless Roboteers probably know commenter Jolly Bitch, since she’s been posting her for a while. Well, early on in this weekend’s contest, this entry was posted…


son of a bitch said:

My mom reads this site every day and she lets me read the contests and sometimes stories if she thinks they are ok for me. I admit i am kinda a nerd but no where as bad as her. We went to go see the new star trek movie when it came out and there were people in the theater dressed in costume. There were even some people behind a table trying to get us to join a fan club. I live in a star wars house. Ever since i was little (and i am only 12 now) i knew my mom thought star wars kicked star trek’s butt. While we are waiting we were whispering little comments about how silly the people looked in their home made outfits. At one point we got too close to the fan club table and they started talking to my mom. That was it. She started making fun of their costume cuz it was the wrong color. She told them all the ways star wars was better, how the priceline commercials were the best acting shatner ever did and how han solo didnt have to wear a girdle under his shirt. (I had to ask her later what those were). Then it got bad…it was me, my mom and 2 friends surrounded by star trek fans and they were all yelling. I had people calling my mom crazy and i had to stand there with my friends who were looking at me like i had horns. I knew i shouldnt have made her take us the 1st day. She did warn me but i wanted to go. The next week at school everyone knew and people would pass me in the hall humming the star wars theme and talking like yoda and darth vader. I wanted to transfer school. My mom posts on here as jolly bitch so that makes me a son of a bitch.

Oh, you think this is the greatest thing you ever read, but it gets better, because Jolly Bitch eventually saw the post:
 

jolly bitch replied to son of a bitch:

i knew when he said he wanted to show me something that he looked way too smug. ok well i guess this is my nerd shame moment for all to see. wow, he never said anything about the people singing to him. i almost feel bad. almost. part of me is still proud that he had a friend over to watch movies and when the kid asked why we only have the original 3 he immediately said “because dont you know they suck” so at least i know i raised him right. about a month after the star trek incident i finally got a copy of fan boys for us to see and i think that summed up my feelings. but yeah, i did it, i totally went on a rant with his friends as witnesses but come on, their uniforms were totally wrong and the guy was wearing a fanny pack. he was asking for it. oh, and he wants me to say, if he wins he is going to wave the shirt in my face anytime i tell him he is being ridiculous about something.

this was my entry i guess. not what i did at the movie but being called out for it by my own kid on this site.

The entire Bitch family has won. Not only did that lovable scamp Son Of A tell a wonderful tale of being shamed by a nerd, HE SHAMED HIS OWN NERD MOTHER IN THE PROCESS. THAT’S BRILLIANT. I can’t wait to get a family photo of the Bitches in their TR shirts. Thanks again for entertaining, everybody — I hope you all were as entertained as I was. Sorry this post was so late, but when you provide me that much awesome material, you gotta expect a delay.

About Author

Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.