This is a guest post by Becky Jaffe.
It has come to my attention that I am a nerd. I take this on good authority from my students, my friends, and, as of this morning, strangers in a coffee shop. I was called a nerd three times today before 10:30 am, while I was standing in line for coffee – which is to say, before I was caffeinated, and therefore utterly defenseless. I asked my accusers for suggestions on how to be less nerdy. Here was their helpful advice:
Guy in coffee shop: “Wear makeup and high heels.”
Another helpful interlocutor: “Use smaller words.”
My student, later in the day: “Care less about ideas.”
A friend: “Think less like NPR and more like C-SPAN.”
What I wish someone had said: “Is that a dictionary in your pocket or are you happy to see me?”
What I learned today is that if I want to avoid being called a nerd, I should be more like Barbie. And I don’t mean the Professor Barbie version, which – get this – does not exist. When I googled “Professor Barbie,” I got “Fashion Professor Barbie.”
So many lessons in gender conformity for one day! This nerd is taking notes.