Saturday, September 3, 2011

State of the 21st Century Dorkette

It isn't easy being a dorkette in the 21st century. In all honesty I'm sure it hasn't been easy for dorkettes in any century, but the 21st century is the one I'm in currently and I am here to say it is not easy. Dorky guys have made large social changes in the last 100 years. It has become more acceptable for a guy to be nerdy and obssessed with collecting toys or whatever. Male super hero movies have been released at an all time high. It is chic to date a nerdy guy, there has been countless stories to prove this point. There is nothing shocking about grown men playing video games (well really anyone, male or female, that has grown up since Atari and Nintendo were created likes video games to some degree, I don't care who you are.)

However if you are a dorky girl, there are some road blocks you have to face. On paper the idea of dorky girls existing in the world should be awesome. Nerdy guys would have someone to mate with. Fashion would dictate that wearing a Phoenix costume to work is perfectly normal. These things would all make sense.

That is not always the case. Did you know, that for every nerdy guy that finds a dorky girl attractive there are, on average, 10 other guys that are a little put off by a girl who reads comics or thinks Tetris should be an Olympic sport? (Don't ask me where this came from, I have suddenly forgotten.) The whole world of collecting figures, video games, super heroes, has always been deemed a world for men. Mostly nerdy men, but men. Or so says the larger society.

So when a girl stands up and shouts, "Hey, I like those things too!" funny things can happen. For the most part, dorky people everywhere tend to unite. I have been very happy to know that a lot of guys think it is awesome that there are girls out there that are bigger dorks than most men. The larger society though is where it really gets tricky. A lot of people just don't understand dorkettes. People have just recently started to understand dorks, but tell a non-dork that girls can be dorks too, and a wave of confusion washes over the non-dork. Got it?

For example, I will share a recent story about Lego Minifigures. The brilliant minds at Lego thought it would be in everyone's best interest to fall in love with unique Lego people. So throughout the past couple years Lego has been releasing these waves of minifigures. They are cute. I am totally addicted. Here is a picture of the latest series of minifigures, Series 5:

So as you can see they are really cute. This new series consists of an Egyptian Queen, a Cavewoman, a Mobster, they even managed to bring in the clowns with a really fun Clown character. The catch about these minifigures is that you have no idea which one you are getting. They are like blind grab bag items. In order to really find the one you want, you have to literally poke, grope, and prod through many bags. It is like an episode of the Bachelor or Bachelorette. Except no one gets a rose or an STD.

Whenever a new series hits the stores, I am always filled with anxiety. Will I search and find the ones that I want? Will Toysrus have to throw me out for hoarding over the minifigure box while simultaneously scaring away other customers? Let me tell ya, it is a lot to deal with.

Recently I visited my second home (the local Toysrus) and they had the Series 5 minifigures! I quietly went about searching for the minifigures I wanted, so as not to draw any attention. The last thing I wanted was a large group of people descending upon me and trying to mess up my chi. After what seemed like an hour (more like 40 minutes) I had found most of the minifigures I wanted.

I proceeded to march my happy self to the check out and be on my merry way. That is when it happened. I got caught in a dorkette conundrum. The friendly cashier was checking my items out (don't ask how many minifigures I had) and she exclaimed, "Wow! Looks like you are gonna make some Lego fan really happy!" I smiled and said, "No, they are for me." The look on her face, she was simply lost. I had completely thrown her off gaurd. I know what she was thinking, how in the world could this grown ass woman be buying a slew of Lego minifigures for herself? Is the world coming to an end?

Now I could have lied. I could just have easily said, "These Lego minifigures are a birthday gift for a small child." Lord knows I have lied in the past. Typically my lies are as follows, "Oh yes, this toy is for my nephew. A gift receipt would be perfect!" Or, "Oh I am so excited! My niece will just flip over this Barbie doll!" There was even one time when I really got caught up in a dorkette conundrum and lied about having a child. Seriously. Sadly that lie spiraled way out of control. The cashier asked if I had a kid, I lied and said yes. I continued the lie and said how my son loved Marvel super hero toys. As it turned out, her son loved Marvel super hero toys too. I then had to think on my toes and make up an age for my imaginary child, because the cashier asked. My fake son was 6. Her very real son was 7. Shit. Before I knew it I was having this long drawn out conversation about having a son and how the local school system was damaged. I was freaking out. I knew at any minute the cashier was going to say that our kids should get together for a play date or something. It was awful.

This is why I could not lie about the Lego minifigures at Toysrus. I knew I needed to stand tall and embrace my being a stone cold dorkette. It isn't easy. A lot of people look at me strangely. My mom and dad thought I was going to be a spinster forever, the old woman with her figures and dolls. A lot of men never called for a second date. My own husband was dubious, he hadn't realized the existence of dorkettes until I entered the picture. It took going to a comic event for him to really see that, "They do exist."

I sometimes think it is the way I look. I don't know. From my experience in the section of the world I live in, there are two main stereotypes for how a dorkette can look. One is the nice old lady look, chock full of permed hair and pastel separates. (Who doesn't at least know one 70+ woman that collects dolls of some kind? That classifies as a dorkette folks.) The second is the "alternative" look. Now alternative is a funny word because technically we are all an alternative to something. What I mean is like the girl with the hot pink or purple hair. Or the girl with the facial piercing and/or tattoo. Even the girl who wears the Japanime fetish wear or a rock band shirt could count. I feel like that type of image is more acceptable by the larger society. It all "makes sense." Because of course the girl in the Slayer shirt is also going to like the X-Men. I think.  

With me, I don't look like that. I have dyed my hair many colors through the years, but only once has the color really been something different. I had blue hair for a day in 1995. It washed out. I have never pierced or inked myself. And the days of me wearing a plaid school girl skirt with Doc Martens are long gone. I am too old for that. Besides I really prefer my skyscraper stilettos as I cautiously approach 30.

So what to do? I think I am just gonna start embracing the truth. I will be proud to buy my addictions upfront and not lie that they are for someone else. I will hold my head high when people shockingly stare at me when I passionately talk about She-Ra or having Jem and the Holograms viewing parties. Everything will be ok. And little by little, people will start to see that dorkettes are everywhere. We exist and though some of us may look the part, others are able to quietly exist in the world, mixing in with the dorks and non-dorks alike! Like mutants! Because trust this, I will not be wearing pastel separates. Ever.


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