The Secret Loves of Geek Girls edited by Hope Nicolson was so wonderfully geeky! The book is a nonfiction anthology done in a delightful mix of prose, comics, and illustrated stories. We have the likes of Margaret Atwood drawing and telling about refusing to wear glasses and then discovering contact lenses.
There are pieces by Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer), Trina Robbins (Wonder Woman), Majorie Liu (Monstress) and lots and lots of others. The stories are about friendships and romance and finding self confidence, finding your tribe, discovering sex and sexuality (a wide variety) all within geek girl culture.
I felt old, but not so old because a number of the contributors were clearly close to my age. Still, I couldn’t help but feel a bit envious of the younger generation having the internet and online fan fiction and cool online role playing games available to them. As a pre-internet geek girl I didn’t know any other girls who read science fiction or fantasy. They were all boys and they weren’t the kind of boys you wanted to be seen hanging out with if you were trying to pass as not geeky or nerdy. Also, these boys’ social skills tended to be close to nonexistent when it came to girls.
In college I stopped trying to pass. I gave up crushing on the preppy types since the only guys who ever asked me out were geeks and I could never figure out how they knew. Did I have a scarlet “G” somewhere? One summer in college I met regularly with a small group from work at my summer job to play Dungeons and Dragons. I was the only girl in the group. I pretended nonchalance because I wanted to play while they all tried to not be overly excited about having a girl in the party. We all had a great time and summer was over and I was on my way back to school before one of them finally got the nerve to awkwardly ask me out on a date, which I graciously turned down because leaving in two days dude.
Finally I found geek love in Bookman who has spent far more hours playing Dungeons and Dragons than I have. He even had the dungeon master’s manual and his own set of dice. Sexy! When we met we discovered we had read many of the same SFF books and well, the rest is history.
It worked out okay for me but it would have been nice to not have felt so lonely. But then feeling lonely as a geeky girl seems to be par for the course if the women in Geek Girls can be seen as representative.
The stories are all pretty short and made for great before sleep reading at night. Some of them are sad, others are empowering, still others are hilarious. If you are a geek girl or know and love one, you will very likely enjoy this collection and find many moments of recognition.