Fictional Fridays #17 – Closet Nerd


This is a strange topic, I suppose, but it resonates with me a lot. The term “Closet Nerd” was something Sarah and I coined in high school. So, let me explain a bit. If you would have met me in high school, you would have never assumed I was a giant nerd. In meeting me you would have never guessed I had anime wall scrolls hanging on every wall, that I still played neo-pets, or that I wrote embarrassing fan fiction online through the night. Nope. You would have instead assumed that I was a shy preppy kid.

Yep. I was that girl who wore Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Lacoste, and polo shirts to school. I kept up with the behind the times fashion of my hometown. I was shy unless surrounded by close friends. In other words, I looked nothing like a proud geeks and nerds that I saw from afar in high school.

The only way people found out was if I invited them over and they entered my bedroom, the walls adorned with equal parts hot 2D men and pages ripped from A&F catalogs. The bookshelves FILLED with manga and YA fiction books. Needless to say, everyone was always shocked. For all I know they laughed about it behind my back, but I didn’t really care, I just never broadcasted my likes. 
I would see them from afar. The kids with Naruto headbands on in the hallways, with messenger bags featuring anime characters, and reading manga in between classes. I silently envied them for being so able to flaunt their like of anime, not caring about the sneers and rude whispers from all those people that looked like me that surrounded them. There I was, the closet geek. 
I didn’t think that I could make anyone really understand what was so cool about anime. I was beyond relieved when I met Sarah freshman year and found out that she too, was a closet anime fan/geek/Neopet playing nerd, like me. Which, honestly, is probably why we formed such an intense friendship right off the bat. We quietly traded manga, which we hid in our lockers, under the tables, making sure no one saw it. We scribbled little doodles and planned anime watching bouts in secret. 
Being a closet fangirl is stressful. Let me tell you. 

Now I’m a lot more open with my likes. I’m not afraid to tell people that I like anime or that I think Pokemon is the bomb. Everyone is insecure in high school, I mean, it’s a time when everyone judges you for every little thing. But once you’re free from that period in life, don’t be afraid to let your inner geek shine! I probably would have had a TOTALLY different friend group in high school if I would have been more open about my hobbies, but who knows?

Were you a closet geek in high school?

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By Jess

A bookworm since the tender age of whenever I stopped chewing on books and started actually reading them. A cat-mom, graphic designer, and introvert originally from Pittsburgh, but now resides in the humid, hot, state of Texas. Cheers!

  • Liking anime in high school was SO STRESSFUL. Closet nerds unite! There was just such a stigma of "social outcast"ness surrounding them, of which I was not, but I didn't want to let on that I had the same interests! Ugh. High school.

  • What a cute story! High school was a weird time for me too, hahah. Teenagers can be so judgmental 🙁

  • Exactly!! I was forever caught between "I want to share my interest with everyone" and "I will become a laughing stock if I share my interests", which was totally stupid! Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I would have just told everyone I was into anime back then. High school is such a weird time in everyones life.

  • Teens are seriously terrible. I can't believe how they judge each other so harshly. Ugh!

  • Kay

    This exactly describes my college roommate! As for me, I was pretty open about my geek loves in high school, but my two closest friends shared those same loves, so we could band together. We definitely were 'the odd kids', but since we had each other it was no big deal.

  • I wish I would have been more open about it in high school! It's cool that you were though!!

  • I was and still am a geek. I didn't go as far as having a Naruto or cat ears, but I did have a Tinkerbell messenger bag I carried my school stuff in with Hot Topic anime pins.

  • I was just like you! I hid behind preppy clothing and my Aeropostale hoodies. I was also very shy so no one knew the geek that I was. I remember when people did find out I liked to play video games and read Sailor Moon and re-watch Harry Potter a million times they were like "whaaaaat!?" high school is such a weird place lol