Venturing into the outside world can be overwhelming for a geek. However, with the proper guidance, any geek can learn the language and customs of Ordinary People in order to function, flourish and possibly even get some. So get up off the couch. Go beyond the front door! My name is Faye. I’m a fellow geek and I’m here to help you.
Gather round, Geeks, and let me tell you the cautionary tale of Fanboy.
One fair summer evening, two of my compatriots and I assembled at a local theatre to attend an advanced screening of a particular kick ass film. It was there that we encountered Fanboy, a young theatre employee who appeared to be the Keeper of the Line, the front of which we were occupying. We had been excited about the film for some time, but apparently not as long as Fanboy, who announced to everyone who would listen the he had been waiting to see the film since the dawn of time and knew more about it than they did.
As the Keeper of the Line, Fanboy used his power to goad a poor Ordinary Couple who had picked up free passes to the film from somewhere, but weren’t quite sure what they were about to see. When asked if they were headed to the correct line, Fanboy demanded they tell him the complete name of the film before he would confirm. We assured the hapless couple they were in the right place. Fanboy answered our kindness by allowing a group of his friends to cut in line and proceed ahead of us into the theatre when the doors opened.
During the Q&A portion of the evening, Fanboy was overheard bragging to his neighbor that he was going to ask a question. He then proceeded to stand up and ask a question that any knowledgeable fan of the subject matter should have already known. Later, we witnessed Fanboy unsuccessfully trying to hit on his female coworker, proving once again that women are not necessarily attracted to self-satisfied blowhards.
In just this one evening, Fanboy managed to illustrate approximately one dozen Annoying Geek Behaviors and endear himself to approximately no one. While movies may be a Safe Zone for a geek, there are still common courtesies to display, especially if you hope to interact seamlessly with all of the Ordinary People who also frequent your local cinema.
Standing in Line
Not all movie types will necessitate a line. Romantic comedies, for example, tend to enjoy more of a trickle-in effect as their viewers are usually arriving gradually from dinner, shopping or losing a bet. And chances are you aren’t going to have to camp out to see a 3-hour Oscar bait period drama. But when you do wind up in a line, here are some tips to help you avoid a punchout:
- Don’t spend the whole time dropping trivia bits about the film you are about to see. Any fellow geeks in the line will probably already know everything you are talking about if not more, and Ordinary People just really don’t care that much about trivia.
- If you have a position towards the front of the line, try not to let more than 3 additional people join your established group. Any more than that will raise eyebrows, and also, seriously, plan ahead people. Why should I have to save you a spot just cos you’re lazy?
- It’s ok to dress up. In fact, theme-appropriate costumes related to genre films or beloved franchises are just one of the many areas in which geeks excel due to our superior attention to detail. But be prepared to field strange looks and questions from curious Ordinary People who don’t understand why you’re standing in the rain in a bathrobe with a towel draped over your shoulders. Sometimes the only appropriate answer to questions related to such circumstances is “You’re about to find out, my friend!”
Watching the Movie
One unfortunate lesson geeks must learn over time is that many Ordinary movie audiences are stupid. Whether it’s a group of candy wrapper rustling, popcorn chomping, gum-popping, loud talking Captain Obviouses, or an overly patient parent who won’t take their baby outside until the 10th minute of yowling, geeks must steel themselves or risk madness. Don’t go into the theatre unprepared! Sometimes simply understanding the minds of Ordinary People can help you cope with the flailing hordes.
Perhaps the most important thing to know is that Ordinary People simply aren’t as invested as you. To them, movies are pure entertainment and escapism, as opposed to the culmination of a lifetime of obsession. You may find yourself resenting the brainless, fratty touch a director has brought to your beloved franchise. But Ordinary People will only feel Fun! Action! Air Conditioning! Alternately, they may laugh inappropriately during a film you are deeply enjoying. Try to let it go and maintain focus. Because if you break concentration and let Ordinary People annoy you, the terrorists win.
Fanboy: Lessons Learned
#1 – Try to be polite about your pop culture knowledge. We geeks know we have an advanced level of useless movie fact retention compared to the average Ordinary Person, but there’s no reason to throw this in their faces unless they are jerks.
#2 – Research. If you want to ask a question during a special screening, do some research to make sure the question you want to ask hasn’t already been answered in countless interviews or film blogs. Practice your question aloud to get the phrasing correct. And, as hard as it may be, if a similar question to yours has already been asked and you haven’t prepared a backup… step down. Don’t be the guy who asks a variation of an answered question just to hear their own voice. Because, as hard as is for me to tell you, the actor/director/producer at the front of the theatre is probably not going to be your friend no matter which special t-shirt you’ve worn that day.
#3 – Nobody Likes a Douchebag. It’s true. Girls don’t like them, other geeks don’t like them, Ordinary People don’t like them and your mom also doesn’t care for them at all. A theatre is a crowded area and a stray elbow to the face can be passed off as an accident. So don’t be a douche. Life’s too short for broken noses.
Ode to Fanboy
by Faye Hoerauf
of pompous douchery!
Your addlebrained crowings
echo forth into an earless night,
the glares of your nemeses
off your stupid