If you’ve been a geek for longer than three seconds, you’ve met others like you. Maybe they were in your class, or worked at the same job, or you met them in line at the grocery store. Geek bonding can happen anytime, anywhere—including across generations.
Fandom has given me the chance to bond with people way outside my age group. If you’ve ever been to an anime convention, comic con, book con, or any other kind of nerd convention, you’ll know that people of all ages attend them.
But cross-generational geekiness doesn’t just happen inside the convention centers.
I keep hearing about younger kids getting into anime I’ve watched as an adult.
I hear about tweens debating ships in My Hero Academia, one of the most popular anime currently airing.
I’ve suggested shows like Fruits Basket to a teacher who wanted to recommend less violent shows to her young student who loved anime.
Last year, I lent my grandma my copy of Red, White & Royal Blue. (She really liked it, by the way; if you were looking for a sign to lend your grandma your gay romance novels, this is it.)
And don’t get me started on the surprising things my parents have loved. Avatar: The Last Airbender (the show, not the movie—we don’t talk about the movie) premiered when I was eleven.
My parents would sit down with me and my sibling to watch the new episodes and, later, reruns. Usually, they barely tolerated the shows we watched, but this one was different. The biggest surprise?
My dad liked it.
My dad is notorious for not liking any of my fandom obsessions. With A:TLA, he paid attention to the story and characters, and asked questions about what was happening in the show. He even switched the channel—pre-streaming days—to Nickelodeon to watch it sometimes.
Meanwhile, my mom has always kind of noticed what geeky stuff I’m into, but we didn’t really talk about the things I loved in depth. Except for Harvest Moon.
I was in college when the Wii was a big deal, and at one point, I made my mom try playing as my character in Harvest Moon: Animal Parade.
That is, until she got so into it that she made her own character. When she started playing the game for more than 10 minutes at a clip, I knew it was a pretty big deal.
It’s not just me recommending my nerdy stuff to my family members either. I’ve heard of grandmas playing D&D and seen babies dressed up as Appa from A:TLA at anime cons.
The geek integration can start at any time, and the beauty of it is that it brings us closer to the people around us, no matter how old (or young) we all are.
When my parents were interested in the things I loved, I felt closer to them. It was like this barrier between my parents and me broke down, even for a little while, and we got to share a rare interest.
Geekdom has no generational limits, and it’s not a new thing. It’s been around forever, in the form of books and art, and more recently in video games, film, and other spaces made available to us by modern technology.
We meet friends online through fandom. As geekiness gets cooler, the stigma around it shrinks, and we allow ourselves to share our nerdy interests with everyone around us.
In a world where many people complain that we’re losing social connection, being a geek has shown me we still have the connections we’ve always had. Geekdom allows us to bond with more people than ever. The ways we connect have just evolved.
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