There was a time when being a nerd  or geek came with a social stigma. Geeks and nerds were bullied and picked on. But then something happened. We grew up and took over the world. Now, geek culture is everywhere, and between movies, shows, and video games, it’s the norm. This presents a brand new problem for us in society. The genesis of the modern day wannabe geek. Someone who clearly isn’t an actual geek or nerd, but is playing the role because it is the “it” thing right now. Much like how they ostracized us when we were younger, now it’s our turn to call them out. These five signs really help when spotting a fake nerd.

The Fake Nerd Tee

fake nerd

It can be anything from someone wearing a Triforce shirt who you KNOW never liked Zelda, to someone rocking a Portal shirt when you know they know nothing about Chell. This is the first step is noticing a fake nerd. It is really easy for a fake nerd to throw on a tee to throw us off, but we can smell our own kind. We can always tell when a non-fan is rocking a shirt. It just doesn’t look natural. Gamers can smell the stink of a non-gamer from 50 yards.

Point at them and laugh. What goes around comes around. Just kidding, quietly make a note to yourself and move on. We must never become what we once feared and hated.

“Low Hanging Fruit” Nerd Reference


The best thing nerd friends do is make awesome and oft subtle references to nerd things and geek things they love. What non-nerds do is yell out “may the force be with you” at the most obvious times and show they not only don’t “get it”, but make fools of themselves in the process.

Cool, you know an expression from Star Wars that everyone knows. Doesn’t mean you slept with a chewbacca toy until you were 20 like me, um, some people I know.

Sexified Cosplay

fake nerd

Sorry, but this one is aimed at the fake nerd ladies. I know sexy cosplay is part of what drives the nerd industry, and I know us nerds who see it for what it is real truly appreciate it. Problem is, every wannabe model has come to discover that cosplaying at conventions gets them a shit ton of press and attention, as do random photos like one above.

But you want your heart broken, go up to the finest ones and ask them their character’s back story or if they know the character the inspired that character, and slowly realize, they are just fembots, sent to assimilate our culture because it’s a big thing right now.

For shame, ladies. For shame. Not slut shaming here. I am fake nerd shaming.

The Hipster Image

fake nerd

The image of the modern day hipster could best be described as being akin to how nerds dressed for much of life. From the old tees of video games and bands, to the hoodies, sweaters, and sometimes even the nerd glasses, much of this has been lifted from nerd culture and taken over by hipsters.

This means one could easily see a modern day hipster strolling around Portland in a Metroid shirt and assume they are a nerd, but the truth is, they found that tee at a thrift shop and found it to be “super ironic.”

Hand Them A Video Game Controller

fake nerd

This is the big one. This is the one that really shows it. Really exposes them to the point where you can stand over them and shake your head in clear and blatant disgust. Get them to your house, get them as close to nerd culture as possible so they think they have actually made it, and then hand them the controller with a game like Minecraft on.

You will see one of two things. An opinionated nerd come out and either embrace the game or tell you how it is redundant and not for them. On the other hand, with a fake nerd, you will see a look of terror. From the low polygon count graphics to the lack of any real thing to do, they will freeze.

They know if they say something, it will be wrong and they will sound dated. They know if they take the controller and do something, it will be clear they have no idea what they are doing. It is in that very moment, the truth will be revealed and they will be the one to reveal it.

At that point, embrace them and bring them to our ways. Wait, what? No, I am serious. We were ostracized our whole lives. We will not do the same shameful thing to them they did to us for so many years. We will let them in. Don’t you understand, that is what makes us nerds so (bleeping) awesome in the first place?

We have hearts.

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