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And what, exactly, is a geek?

2012 January 4

A friend of mine that I frequently have long talks with got into a debate with me one evening over what exactly constitutes a Geek, and separates them from Pointdexters, Twerps, and Nerds. Geek is a positive thing, but where is the line drawn that differentiates them from their cousins? We went over this for a while, and it occurred to me the real issue was the number of species of geek out there. This is just my personal opinion, but I thought it might clarify things, and if you read my website this might interest you. I think film buff comes under a phylum of geek.

Types of Geek

Generic Geek
A generic geek is a good person to know. Geekus Domesticus knows where all the best pizza joints and computer outlets are.
Star Trek Geek
This is self explanatory. Trek geeks are often found in costume.
Stealth Geek
This sort of geek is harder to spot. I personally have a friend who’s a self-described “geek in a biker babe’s bod”. This may be a very urbane and polished geek who shakes and never stirs a martini, yet who can hold forth at length about who was the real Doctor Who. Many of ’em are good-looking critters. Heck, I married one.
Alpha Geek
The Alpha Geek can also be called Geekus Extremus — not only will this species of geek know the complete lyrics to Monty Python’s “Spam” and read several obscure comics, but they’ll jokingly consider you less worthy if ye do not do likewise. Note: once they’re not joking, we move from geek into lower social strata. Think of the caustic comic shop owner on The Simpsons, whose manners and lack of social skills plummet him to the realm of “nerd” or “dork”. I have a friend who calls the Alpha Geek the “Geekus Silverbackus.”

Geek Etiquette

Do not ask a pure-d geek who was the better Star Trek captain unless you’re prepared to spend an hour with him. Otherwise, smoke ’em if you got ’em.

Damaging a geek’s first edition Star Trek novel is punishable by death in some countries. As it is prepare for the geek not talking to you for a week.

Don’t even think of disturbing a geek during some choice marathon on Syfy.

Lastly, Stealth Geeks and Generic Geeks will jokingly (if not proudly) refer to themselves as geeks. The other phylum of geek may not see it as entertaining, but won’t really care if they’re labeled as such.

Care and Feeding of the Geek

Geek cuisine is simple. The geek palate is deceptively sophisticated and he or she enjoys baked brie and chocolate-dipped strawberries, just like the rest of us. On a bad day, a despondent geek can snarf a whole jar of peanut butter and M&Ms, just like the rest of us.

Geek parties are another matter entirely. The worst of them will be a bunch of half-bagged people clutching cheap malt liquor and staring at each other. The best of them will have geeks who invariably have the definitive snack foods and to hell with cholesterol. They also have interesting conversations. No “Kirk vs. Piccard” nonsense; more profound topics up to and including the very nature of God. With a little wind at one’s back it’s possible to get a minor in Physics simply by attending enough geek parties. Music may also be entertaining; you’ll hear some strange things but you’ll be spared much Top 40 drek.


This is a lesser indication of geekdom but there are some general standards. A pairing of socks and sandals, for instance, indicates not a Geek so much as a Nerd or Dork. The noble geek really doesn’t care how you dress, mainly because some hybrids such as the Stealth Geek may be dressed like extras from a Bond movie. Dorks in particular consider it an affront if you’re “purtier” than them.

Dorks, Dweebs and Nerds are the Cousin Eddies of the Geek realm.


P.S. The best captain is Kirk. Mr. Shukti

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