Am I a Nerd at Heart?

board games

I have always considered myself a bit of a nerd. Not by choice, but by others’ definitions. I was one of those kids who was constantly picked on in elementary school and junior high, with my uber-thick glasses, frizzy hair, chubby thighs and horrible acne. The label subconsciously stuck with me throughout adulthood – deep-down I still consider myself a nerd. I still feel like I’m just not quite cool enough, like I’m on the outside looking in.

So when I heard about a “Nerds at Heart” singles event on Valentines’ Day, my ears perked up. Why spend the night at a crowded bar with a bunch of drunk twenty-somethings just looking to hook up when I can bond with my fellow nerds over Pictionary and trivia? And while I would never dare hit up a “regular” singles party solo, I figured the promised board games and other activities would mitigate the fact that I was there sans amigas.

But as I left my apartment to make the walk down Clark Street to the Rebel Bar, the nerves started to set in. I found myself stopping outside of a barber shop with its TV set to the Gophers-Wisconsin basketball game. Watching the action through the window, I knew I was stalling. I gave myself a pep talk, chiding myself for being nervous and then forcing myself to move on.

I made my way to the bar and headed upstairs. The room was bright and full of chatter that I tried to block out as one of the hosts explained how the evening would go. First up was icebreaker time – everyone received a couple dozen slips of paper filled with a variety of words. Our mission? Pair up with someone of the opposite sex and use your words to form a line of Valentine’s-related poetry (think poetry magnets that you used to have on your fridge).

I got a kick out of this and found myself quickly trying to take control with each new guy I partnered with. However, it quickly became clear that my sense of humor and theirs did not mesh. What I found hilariously entertaining barely got my new-found nerdy friends to crack a smile. Not even twenty minutes into the event and I was struggling. Luckily, relief was just around the corner – literally. As I wandered around to the back of the room, I discovered a TV with the basketball game on. Time was winding down and my beloved Gophers were on the verge of forcing overtime. To heck with icebreaker poetry, I had a basketball game to watch!

poetry

Alas, I was soon interrupted by the host making an announcement to start the next phase of the evening. Before heading to our assigned tables to kick off board games, we were taking a “who is the biggest nerd” quiz. To my chagrin/delight/amazement, I scored at the very bottom of the scale – everything the host recited that was supposed to indicate major nerdiness, I couldn’t relate to one bit. I was beginning to suspect I wasn’t as nerdy as I thought I was.

Finally, we hit the board games. Everyone had a number on their name tag, indicating the table at which they should start. Similar to many speed-dating events, after a time, the guys would rotate around while the girls would stay put. We weren’t confined to the games at our table; we could pick up something else from another table if we so desired. One of the guys at my table had brought his own game – the name of which totally escapes me. Basically, everyone drew 10 cards with a variety of statements on them. Then one person pulled another card with a question or fill-in-the-blank statement and everyone else would play one of their cards as the answer, trying to be as amusing as possible. One two occasions, I managed to come up with the consensus most amusing answer and, I have to say, I was pretty proud of myself. Maybe I really was a nerd after all?

Unfortunately, that game left with the guy who brought it as he moved on to the next table. And I was left with….movie trivia.

For the next two hours.

Anyone who knows me well knows that this may have been my worst nightmare.

To say I am not a movie person would be the understatement of the year. I can’t even tell you the last movie I saw. And when I do see movies, I generally don’t really retain anything about them.  I don’t remember the actors, I can’t recite lines (unless they are from When Harry Met Sally or Clueless), I really could not care less.

So I sat and tried to pretend to be remotely interested as people gave clues about movies from the fifties and sixties that the other two girls at my table had seen a dozen times each.  I smiled bleakly as people named movie after movie after movie, many of which I had never even heard of. I listened with envy as other tables cheered over charades or egged each other on through Pictionary. And I was annoyed when a guy joined us who swore he knew nothing about movies but then ran off about five correct answers in a row.  And then I just started counting the minutes until I could escape.

Three hours after I arrived, I slowly trudged home, letting it sink in that I apparently am not truly a nerd at heart.  A dork? Perhaps. A geek? Maybe. But not a nerd…

Meeting people potential: A-

I may not have met anyone I totally clicked with, but there was a lot of potential. I really liked the icebreaker, which actually served its purpose in getting people to interact.

Interest factor: C

A true nerd would probably rate this an A+. I, unfortunately, found myself more enthralled with the basketball game on TV than with any of my conversations.

Fun factor: B

I enjoyed the first game at my table and, if I had ended up in a group playing Pictionary or the like, I probably would have had a blast.

Top photo: Christopher Porter

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8 thoughts on “Am I a Nerd at Heart?”

  1. Hey, you could still be a nerd. I guess it depends on perspective. I am nerdy with movies and TV shows and even bought a hat based on a character from Firefly. I don’t care if you can see me from space when I wear and it’s too big, I love it. And I totally would have been watching the game if it was about to go in to OT.

    I admit that I’m a total nerd. I liked to dress weird and offbeat sometimes…oh and I love to do a freaky dance in the middle of the kitchen when I’m excited. I don’t care. I love it. But I’m just a different level of nerd. Would I go to Comic Con? Yes. Would I dress up as a Star Wars character and wait for a movie? No.

  2. Bummer that the evening wasn’t a total succes. I would’ve prefered the pictionary table over the movie trivia as well. Without a doubt!

  3. It’s ok to be a nerd, geek, dork, whatever in my book. That is what makes life fun and interesting. I am a big-time dork and am fine with it.
    I would have DIED at that event. I am not good with trivia and movies from the ’60’s? What the?? ’80’s and up, sure. I am beyond awkward and feel out of place with strangers. I always feel like I am skidding on ice and can’t get my footing until I leave a gathering wtih strangers.
    Also, I can recite Clueless in my sleep. Actually, on my phone my signature is, ‘What’s the point, everywhere you go has valet.’

  4. We’re happy to hear that you liked out ice breaker! We had a lot of fun making it!

    We try to ensure that everyone is having as good of a time playing games as they are meeting fellow smarties. Sorry to hear that movie trivia wasn’t your thing. We provide around thirty games to choose from, so next time we recommend changing it up each round. Some of our favorites that don’t require a specific background are Apples to Apples, Taboo and Word on the Street.

    We welcome all types of nerds and our rule of thumb is if you think you are one, then you are! We try to design our content to represent the broadest amount of interests possible, but we understand that each reference won’t connect with every person.

    The chemistry and theme of each event is also different, so you may find that another of our parties that is more to your liking. Our policy is that if you’re not satisfied with your experience for any reason, your next event is on us. So please feel free to email us at Chicago.info@nerdsatheart.com to let us know if you’d like to attend another party as our guest!

    Nerd on!

    1. Thanks for the comment! I would’ve loved to change it up and get away from the movie trivia but the other girls at my table LOVED it and wouldn’t even think of doing anything else – when the guys all moved around, they didn’t even give them the option of playing another game when they got to our table. And since us girls were supposed to stay put, I didn’t feel like I could switch tables…

      Definitely open to checking out another event!

  5. Very interesting. For what it is worth, in law school I saw you as one of the cool kids (fully recognizing that I was not included in that crowd).

  6. You love sports, play board games, and blog about nerdiness yet love to go out and meet people?

    Know any friends like you in Austin? 😀

  7. Did I write this review?

    No, seriously, I was looking for reviews of NAH Chicago and stumbled upon this (was thinking of doing the v-day thing, dating, ugh). As someone who isn’t really into most board games, and is SO not a movie person, you saved me the trouble. Also, seriously, I would have done the same thing with basketball (Heck, I did it two nights ago during a group date/outing’s boring jazz night).

    You are a goddess among humans. This really is a lifesaver. Hope you’re good!

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