Lipstick Gamers, Nerds And Hipsters
Lipstick lesbians are the pretty ones, where the other ones are called–well I’ll try not be too offensive in the labelling game. I’m going to coin a phrase for this column, and if I am famous one day for being a gaming columnist, the phrase is going to stick. Lipstick gamers are not only pretty, but also the type of girls who think they are nerdy, or gamers, because they wear dark rimmed spectacles and brogues and play games on their iPad. Now I am all of those things (and I wear the spectacles being my eyesight is going to hell) and I have had a bit of an identity crisis lately, because I thought that maybe I was just a lipstick gamer.
Being a nerd or a geek or having fringe tastes has become exceedingly popular and acceptable these days. Four or five years ago, only my close friends would really know the extent of my nerdiness and now, most of my colleagues at a super serious law firm know that I write columns. For a gaming website. They also know that I have an unhealthy obsession with Doctor Who and that I really fucking love science. I walked into Top Shop at Sandton City a few weeks ago and saw a college style t-shirt with “GEEK” emblazoned on it. It was a really cool t-shirt, and I really wanted it for five minutes before I had to do some self-regulation and stop myself. Because I’m not that type of girl, I’m the type of girl who buys sarcastic t-shirts with web comic references. It was confusing, and I am confused because now my sarcastic t-shirts are witty and ironic, and my converse sneakers that I’ve owned since university are now acceptable because geek chic is a look and so is hipster.
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So I resigned myself for a bit that maybe I was a lipstick gamer and maybe I wasn’t a nerd. I really enjoyed playing Angry Birds on my iPad and maybe the red skinny jeans I’ve owned for two years made me a bit of a hipster. I play games on easy or medium, and I’m an attorney so maybe I don’t have the time or the effort required to be a proper nerd. Maybe all these things (along with Roark the bow tie Doctor Who cat) made me a little bit kooky and a little bit quirky, and maybe it made me more endearing to everyone else. Maybe that had been the point. It was a really depressing phase for me because like any identity crisis, I didn’t quite know what I was–was I actually a bit of a sell-out and a hipster?
I have good news because after the resignation, along with more self-regulation (I try hard to be a good person) I did some proper soul searching and tried to find out whether the nerdiness roots are legitimate or not. And then I remembered things about my life (I am awfully dramatic). I remembered that when I owned a PS2, I saved up my money to buy more games and not a memory card (those are expensive when you have a teenager allowance), with the result being that I would come home from school on a Friday afternoon, and play through the entire weekend (only leaving to eat, shower and sleep). The goal would be to could complete the entire game in a sitting (I also remember the devastation of my mom slightly brushing the power cable so that the PS2 reset and having to lose ten hours of gameplay). I remembered that I was so obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and that I was very much in love with Spike, for most of my teenage years. I remembered that I was so deeply affected by Harry Potter that I spent days online combing through forums and fan-fiction developing esoteric theories about what would be happening in the next novel. I remembered watching anime and reading manga and graphic novels, not because it was cool, but because they were seriously amazing.
In short, I remembered that for as long as when I first started playing Tank on a pirated NES I have actually been a nerd. And I learnt that now, at the wise old age of 26, being a little bit more secure about who I am, what I am about, and whether or not that’s an acceptable thing to be. I love what I love (be it Doctor Who or Mass Effect), and I make no secret of where my interests lie or what I enjoy doing. The fact that those interests have become more socially acceptable just makes it easier. And to quote Will Wheaton (on discussing what it means to be a nerd), “…you find the things that you love, and you love them the most that you can.”