geek clothes

I’ve realized how much I’m a geek: it’s visible.

This week I’ve been “teaching” Vacation Bible School (I’m a youtherd, shepherding children from activity to activity) and every day they have a “color of the day,” and they’d like you to wear something in a specific color.

Monday’s color? Red. I have red t-shirts so I didn’t think about it until it came time to get dressed, and then I realized, I effectively have no red shirts to wear. My choices were either the Dragonball Z t-shirt with Vegeta looking murderous, or my Apathy Coalition t-shirt. To wear to Vacation Bible School at the Angelborough Church Of Christ.

Yeah, not looking real good for the color of the day there. I wore blue.

But all this week a dreadful realization has crystalized in my mind, something I’ve tried to deny for the past few months when I first noticed it at one of the Kiddos’ baseball games: I dress like a geek. Most of my t-shirts have the Gatchaman characters on them, and the ones that don’t have other anime characters, bizarre slogans, or other hints at my nonstandard way of perceiving the world.

The respectable adults around me don’t do that.  They’re wearing plain shirts, or stripes. They have tiny embroidered logos and collars and buttons.

I asked my Patient Husband, who was wearing  a Tick t-shirt, “Did you and I just fail to grow up?”

Part of it, he reassured me, is that both of us keep our clothes for a ridiculous length of time. We both still have clothing from high school.

No dice, I said. Most of my Gatchaman shirts come from later than 2000, and my shirts date from the last six months.

He took note at the next event he attended, and he concurred with me: the other parents dressed normally. By which I mean, in respectable clothes. The kind you could wear to Vacation Bible School without someone feeling the need to ask if you’re sure you’ve accepted Jesus into your heart.

The stereotypical geek clothing, if you believe TV, has been pants hiked up over the waist and showing your ankles, maybe a pocket protector and thick plastic glasses. But I’ve come to the strange conclusion that it’s geeky to showcase your interests on your t-shirts, and moreover that I don’t mind.

But at least now I know why they think I’m weird here in Angelborough, and I can admit I wear my geekery on my sleeve.


  1. The brother

    Wow, you guys had to look at your clothing to figure that out…would’ve figured the website, numerous degrees, and loyalty to long cancelled and short lived tv shows made on another continent would’ve been a clue…lol, c u next week, love you guys

    1. philangelus

      LOL. Well, I’m a bit slow on the uptake.

  2. karen

    well, jane, take comfort in the fact that at least you are wearing shirts specific to your gender. as i’ve gotten older (read, past the age of 20) i’ve taken a severe dislike to women’s shirts. almost every shirt i own came from the men’s department in wally world, or my husband’s closet. i just can’t stand frills, pinks, or tight fitting anymore. 🙂 guess there are worse things than being a geek – being a slob!

    1. philangelus

      I actually wear men’s shoes almost all the time now, except for dress shoes. Does that count? And I can’t stand pink or frills either. (In general, not on shoes.)

      Men’s clothing doesn’t have to mean slobby, though.

  3. Cricket

    Geeky is good, but may I recommend a plaid or striped polo shirt. Something with all the primary and secondary colours (leaders have very little imagination about that sort of thing) that washes and dries overnight, so you can wear it every day of the camp. You can use it for years. Polo shirts have collars, so it’s suitable for more formal events as well.

    Or pin on correctly-coloured arrows.
    Red: Jun’s cape lining. (She’s a good role model, strong and capable woman.)
    Blue: Ken’s boots and gloves.
    Yellow: Jinpei’s body suit.
    Orange: Jinpei’s boots and gloves.
    Purple: Joe’s visor (or Nambu’s handkerchief, or Katse).
    Green: Jun’s hair (unless the colour is off, in which case use Ryu’s wings or a goon).
    Brown: Joe’s uniform.
    White: Jun’s uniform (and Joe’s feather shurikens).
    Black: The belts.
    Gold: Cover of communicators (and Joe’s exploding pens).
    Pink: Jun’s yoyo bomb.
    Grey: Joe’s cable gun.
    Silver: Band of communicators.

    1. philangelus

      Wow. That’s– I did not think of that. It would definitely ahve worked. I especially like the little arrow.

  4. capt_cardor

    Gee… I wear T shirts that say things like, “Don’t Make Me Use My Opera Voice” and “Battle of the Planets”. My wife and I make our own Anime T shirts using computer transfers of “Cardcaptor Sakura” and “Ranma”. My two daughters have Totoro T shirts. We own all the Miyazaki movies and watch them frequently.

    Does that make us Geeks, or just plain weird? Unusual?

    Actually, as older parents, most of the Mothers and Fathers of our daughter’s friends and acquaintances at school already look at us real funny. We don’t really need the clothing to mark us as out of the ordinary.

    1. philangelus

      But it helps, doesn’t it? See, we oddballs have a uniform.

      1. Cricket

        Even non-Geeks know Totoro and other Miyazaki are kid- and public-friendly. They won’t suspect anything unsuitable.

  5. Jason Block

    Have you ever stopped to consider that YOU are the normal ones? 🙂

    1. philangelus

      Oh dear. No, I would feel very sorry for the world were that the case.

      1. karen

        actually, i’d feel a lot MORE comfortable if i thought you and your family were the normal ones and there were more like you out there. you may have your ups and downs, but you are wrapped in love and faith and a wonderful geekiness that i would gladly take over the nastiness that passes as “normal” way too often! just my opinion.

        1. philangelus

          You do understand that you get an extremely sanitized version of my life here on the weblog, right? 😉 That you don’t get to hear the nasty things I think at other drivers in traffic, or see the entire couch covered in clean but unfolded laundry, and so on?

  6. diinzumo

    I keep my geek uniforms (Gatchaman t-shirts) for inside the house. For outside casual, I have my “acceptable” shirts – volunteer t-shirts, my flying shirts (with the sectional of San Jose or the map from the Cayman Caravan or the “Mustangs & Mustangs” event shirt) or my plethora of corporate shirts I received with every promotional event or product launch (15 t-shirts from Adobe and 6 shirts from my current employer).

    Still, with my lack of makeup and ready-to-wear hair, I’m likely not hiding my geekiness very well.

  7. Nina

    “youtherd” is that pronounced “yewt-herd” by any chance? ;-P

    As to the geek-wear dilemma, I sympathise. I had to positively scrounge for something NOT geeky/snarky to wear while on the 6 week sojourn to the other side of the world.

    The “What Would Sulu Do?” tee would be a headscratcher for sure over here. And the “I’m down the ACDC” probably would confuzzle everyone. Never mind the t-shirts that only make sense to me. So yeah, wear your geek-wear with pride, girlfriend. We’re the normal ones. I mean, SRSLY, who wears a “polo” shirt with a logo on it anymore? Isn’t that like, so yuppie? Didn’t that go out with the 80s?

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