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!
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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