This reminded me of Stonch’s comment a few months back that he wouldn’t trust anyone who was inordinately proud of being called a beer geek.
We use beer geek all the time — we really don’t mind being called geeks (in this or any other field of obsession…) and don’t really regard it as a pejorative term. Beer nerd, on the other hand, probably is an insult.
Here’s the distinction, according to American comic Patton Oswalt:
A lot of nerds aren’t aware they’re nerds. A geek has thrown his hands up to the universe and gone, “I speak Klingon — who am I fooling? You win! I’m just gonna openly like what I like.” Geeks tend to be a little happier with themselves.
I think most of “us” — by which I mean, anyone who can be bothered to go out of their way to taste a particular beer, or update a blog every day or two with their reflections on this one narrow subject — have gone beyond a mainstream interest in beer.
Whatever we would like to be called, people who don’t share our interest are going to think our interests are a bit odd. It’s just beer, right?
We can try to convince ourselves and others that there’s nothing unusual about it by inventing what we think is a ‘cooler’ term:
GEEK: Actually, we prefer to be called ‘beer experts’.
OTHER: Yeah, whatever. Nerd. Oh, look — you’re slapping yourself. Why are you slapping yourself? Give me your pocket money.
We can try to conceal the level of our obsession, which is fine until you find yourself admitting the truth in tears the night before your wedding when a stack of Michael Jackson books falls out of the wardrobe.
Or we can show some self-awareness, shrug, and be happy with who we are and what we like.