Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It’s fashionable to be a geek

An album on Facebook highlighting the “Jayne Hat of the Week” embodies what I like best about the Internet.

There’s this guy named Jayne. His mother made him a hat: a red, orange and yellow affair with earflaps. Jayne is also a character on a science fiction show and some of its followers display their affiliation by wearing “Jayne hats” of their own. Hence the album’s presence on “Being a Geek’s” Facebook page. Young Alec, who was recently honored as the wearer of the “Jayne Hat of the Week,” had his hat made for him by his mom, just like the original character.

I was unfamiliar with Jayne, but was delighted by the idea of people wearing colorful hats for whatever the motivation.

My interests have always existed outside conventional realms of society: I read fantasy and science fiction and tend to project myself into the stories that I read. From childhood onward, I had a fascination for dressing up as if I inhabited these make-believe worlds.

I have an early memory of convincing my sister to join me in portraying “Hippolita, Queen of the Amazons.” Our family’s vineyard served as the Amazons’ mythical island home.

After the original “Star Wars” film came out, it was absolutely a must that I dress as Princess Leia. There are photos in a family album that show me with my hair in twinned buns.

These impulses have not lessened as I’ve grown into adulthood. If anything, I’ve employed acquired skills to make more sophisticated costumes. Case in point: the home ec classes at Calistoga Junior/Senior High School were just what I needed to graduate from making historical costumes for my dolls to making person-sized creations.

I felt right at home wearing my creations at science fiction conventions and medieval reenactment groups.

As J.K. Rowling’s books grew in popularity and began to be adapted into films, a Harry Potter cardigan and red wizarding robes became an absolute must for me. I fostered this ambition partially because the color red made me uncomfortable and I wanted to overcome this limitation.

“Star Wars” movie openings presented an opportunity for a group of us to dress in character: Jedi Knights, Senator Amidala, Princess Leia, a Sith Lord and a Storm Trooper. On one occasion, we attended an Imax show in San Francisco, where we were part of a crowd of people depicting more of the same. On another occasion, we saw the show at a local movie house, where the costumed population was much smaller.

Dressing in costume in our smaller community places me among a visually-identified minority but, thanks to websites and facebook pages like “Being a Geek,” I can connect with like-minded counterparts.

When you no longer define your community in strictly geographical terms, you may actually find yourself among a sizeable population. I am delighted to learn from websites such as these that it is fashionable to be a geek.

Published May 24, 2011 in the Lake County Record-Bee

No comments:

Post a Comment

Robust debate and even unusual opinions are encouraged, but please stay on-topic and be respectful. Comments are subject to review for personal attacks or insults, discriminatory statements, hyperlinks not directly related to the discussion and commercial spam.