Ridin’ Nerdy: Exploiting the Myth of the Fake Geek Girl

by Josie the Fiend on December 30, 2013 · 13 comments

in Strippers, Television

Gimmie some sugar, baby. Josie, as Evil Dead's Ash, hanging with R2D2.

Gimmie some sugar, baby. Josie, as Evil Dead’s Ash, hanging with R2D2.

I like to scan the men bathed in flashing red light at their tables, strategizing. Star Wars and comic book character t-shirts are the easiest. Anyone who gives off the vibe of working in tech. Sometimes I can recognize a tattoo, or, sometimes it’s just a good hunch. Really, most of the men in these places under 30 will light up when I talk about how I spent a few hours playing Skyrim in my underwear, even if it would be better if I lied and said it was Call of Duty.

I’m hunting for nerds in the strip club.

What works in my favor is the myth of the fake geek girl, the harsh reaction of men to women who show interest in nerdy things, accusing them of not really being fans, just fakers trying to lure male attention. Many of these men seem to think there’s no such thing as a pretty, sexual woman with a deep love of video games, sci-fi, comic books, and Neil Degrasse Tyson. Much like they seem to think none of us in the strip club have significant others or, you know, brains… So when I saunter up with G-cups on display and start talking nerdy to them, they seem to think they’ve found one-in-a-million. Lifelong geek and nerd that I am, this works greatly to my advantage. I can, for the most part, just be myself. Men who never thought they would ever have a conversation with a pretty, busty, mostly naked girl about comic book conventions get to revel in their nerd-girl fantasy. They love to tell me how I look like an anime character, and sometimes I even have  pigtails and over-sized contact lenses to complete the effect. This makes for a more pleasant evening of lap dancing for me. I get to talk about the thing I heard on NPR about Mars, or the PS4 versus X Box One debate, or how I want to dress up as Magneto at San Diego Comicon next year. All while I just so happen to be playing with my cleavage.

And they love it.

I’m hardly unique. My best stripper girlfriend-of-the-moment is obsessed with the beauty of chemistry. She will show anyone and everyone her Kingdom Hearts keyblade tattoo. She looks like, and at times has been, a Playboy model— perfect, blonde, and smiling. A few months ago when I brought up video games in the dressing room, 80% of the dancers became embroiled in an epic debate: Which is the superior fighting game series, Marvel vs. Capcom? But besides me and my friend, most of the girls bury their geeky selves on the work floor.

(image via quickmeme.com)

(image via quickmeme.com)

Still, the stereotypes in nerd culture haunt me. A lot of these men I’m playing to are the same guys who gleefully pick up prostitutes and then beat them to death in Grand Theft Auto games. The ones who will blatantly threaten a woman with rape and death threats just for expressing dismay that there is still a terrible lack of relatable female characters in video games. The ones who will stalk a girl dressed up as Poison Ivy at a convention, to try to get a video of her bending over on their camera phone. Because I still have the potential to be sexually available to them, I think I get leeway in the strip club that other girls don’t on Twitter or at a comic book convention. The praise and respect, real and feigned, I reap from my customers is sometimes incredible. My ego swells. In the club I get put on a pedestal for what can draw ire outside of strip club fantasyland.

Often, women aren’t considered legitimate geeks, real nerds. The internet is ripe with criticism of nerd-girls, and many of our favorite geeky things like comic books and video games are full of problematic sexism and a lack of women-produced content (even if huge strides are being made even as you read this.) Women are held to different standards in the nerd world, where a guy who’s only seen the movie can wear an Avengers’ t-shirt and not be bothered but if a woman does so she’s likely to get quizzed by the male nerds around her to see if she’s actually read the comic books, and judged accordingly. But really, I am as close to a real fake geek girl as you could find. I know just enough about other people’s nerdy obsessions to fake it. I’ve very successfully been a fake Whovian (I’ve only just started watching Doctor Who this month, I’m very late to the party), convinced people that I still rabidly read comics (I used to get every single X-Men comic book every Wednesday more than a decade ago, but now I’m always intending to pick them back up but I never have the time), and appear to be a constant devourer of the latest video games (I’m actually woefully behind, rarely play more than once a week, and only have one system set up at the moment.)

I am a pro at playing fake geek girl. But I’m a real geek girl. I’m currently up to my eyeballs in Star Wars, A Song of Ice and Fire, and I’m re-watching Farscape. My Pinterest page has an entire board full of my cosplay aspirations. When my customers fawn all over me, saying they can’t ever find pretty girls that game, or love Star Trek, or whatever, I want to lecture them about how maybe if you boys weren’t so hostile, maybe if there were more female-friendly and relateable games and characters, maybe if we didn’t get constantly cornered and asked for hugs at conventions, you would realize just how many geek girls there are. For fuck’s sake, stop being creepy and mean. Why do so many men cry “fake geek girl!” every time they see a pretty or sexy girl into games just because she’s intimidating or unavailable?  Apparently, because I am available to them on some level, because I’m showing interest in them, because I’m on their lap for $15 a song, I am acceptable. For the sake of sales, sometimes I keep my mouth shut and smile, and take as much of their money as I can. Sometimes, I try to enlighten them. Their response: “Well, I never thought of it that way…”

Interesting things happen when I’m the stripper out in the nerd world. At a recent convention, a panel that discussed women in geek culture, the skimpy nature of many female character costumes was brought up a lot. There’s currently a movement called “Cosplay is not Consent,” which tries to stop the harassment of anyone who dresses up as their favorite characters. One person in the crowd emphatically cited the cosplay competitions at conventions, and how he can’t allow some women on stage because their costumes are so skimpy. He can’t be held responsible for what will happen to them on stage, and back out on the convention floor once they step off stage into the crowd. He wanted to know what he can say to these women that are nearly naked, that have ass and tits mostly or entirely exposed—what are they thinking? He said that this level of nudity invites groping and inappropriate behavior, and nobody corrected him.  The conversation flowed around this assumption, right after a conversation about how sexy costumes are not consent. But nudity or near nudity is, apparently.

Photo by Sushi Killer (image via 16bitsirens.com)

Photo by Sushi Killer (image via 16bitsirens.com)

I wanted to raise my hand. I wanted to point out that even in a strip club, my thong bikinis are still not consent. My complete toplessness or nudity is not an invitation to steal my time or my touch. I’ve been known to hurt and humiliate customers that try to shove dollar bills anywhere I’ve not given them express permission. At the panel, none of the female panelists contested this man. There was discussion about the need to sacrifice accuracy for the most revealing costumes so people are more covered. Think of the children! I let the argument go on without me. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself as the stripper in the crowd. It was impossible to know whether or not I was in a room where, as a sex worker, I would be considered the enemy of feminism. I didn’t know if I would have  any allies besides a good friend who was a panelist. Or maybe I was scared of being on the defensive yet again, having to speak for all sex workers. It’s a heavy thing to bear. Sometimes I can’t hack it, and then I feel guilty.

When I do out myself as a stripper in nerd land, I get a lot of attention. I never lie when people ask what I do for a living. Then I often find myself encircled by a few men vying for my attention, which is sometimes intensely fun and flattering and sometimes makes me wish I was at work—I could at least be getting paid for all these tiresome come-ons. And then something odd happens; the same damn thing that happens in the strip club. Other girls get quizzed, but because I am now the stripper I get a get-out-of-fake-geek-jail-free card. Just the fact that I know the difference between Marvel and DC and can list off my favorite characters, that’s enough. I’m in. At a recent convention, I dressed up as my favorite character ever: Ash from the Evil Dead and Army of Darkness films. I spent all day covered in fake blood, wearing way more clothing than I normally ever would anywhere, and a bloody red chainsaw attached to my left arm. I play dress-up at work everyday but this was different. For one day, I wasn’t a stripper, and I wasn’t a geek girl fake or otherwise.

I was Ash. Groovy.

It felt powerful, and awesome, and I loved all the attention and people who wanted my picture. It felt amazing to get that much love from people while fully dressed. I made hideous faces in every photo. I smeared mascara everywhere with glee. I WORE FLAT BOOTS IN PUBLIC. No one grabbed my ass. No one asked for my phone number, or tried to hit on me at all. It was an amazing break. I was all geek, all fan, all legendary horror movie character, and nothing else. For one day.

And then the next day, I showed off the pictures of myself in costume to get instant geek cred with customers at work.

Hail to the queen, baby.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob Kowalski December 31, 2013 at 1:27 am

Great article! I’m a middle aged dork. I remember comic cons being small gatherings of mostly socially inept/introverted guys. I dropped out of the comic scene for a decade and upon returning in the 90’s was surprised to see women, any women, especially women who knew enough about nerd culture and attractive woman, esprcially in cosplay is an incredible mind fuck to nerd guys. Nerd womem are attractive and as or more nerd-smart than they are. Nerd dudes and introverts in general and hormones, intimidation, and social retardation make a cocktail for epic failure.
Many nerd guys idolize comics/sci-fi etc almost to obsession (or way past obsession) and expect women to conform to whatever distorted view they have. When nerd girls are human beings and can’t live up to that expectation, so nerd guys lash out. Nerd culture is shaped by the media they consume- most superhero women are drawn to impossible Barbie-Doll proportions and this effect is no different than young girls trying to obtain the Photoshopped perfection. You mix this together with sexist culture that is inherent with nerd guys who idolize women but can’t talk to them, nerd guys become threatened. They see nerd girls as “teases” or “attention whores”. I also heard nerd dudes say things like “she likes comics, but dates a guy with money, athlete … Hell, comics and video games have more alpha males than a NFL locker room. Not only can Superman save Lois Lane, but he can destroy an army or a planet with his superpowers. Again, nerd girls can’t be the perfection expected from usual male dominated culture that is upheld to a high degree in nerd media AND they won’t worship the nerd guy for having a full run of X-Man 94 to 300 (yes, I have that incredible X-Man collection that makes a stallion stud-horse but, alas, I’m married and off the market)
I’m writing in a lot of stereotypes that were much more common in the dorkdom of the 80’s, but we created the culture, for good and for worse. I’m probably missing many of your points in the article, but I think you’ve done a great job expressing another battle inflicted upon woman by another male culture that has insane expectations of women.
Thank you, great article!

PS- I am also a Dungeons and Dragons spaz. That subculture makes unshowered, pizza stained sweatpants boner poking during a hug, comic fanboy seem like Tim Gunn.

PPS- I’m writing this after 2 sleeping pills (that ain’t doing shit!) so excuse my veering into Cthulhu dreamlands.


I.N. December 31, 2013 at 10:11 am

Farscape! Tits and Sass – and Farscape! On the same page!

Sorry. As a sci-fi nerd, my reading comprehension and appreciation for this article was nuanced (e.g., it is really interesting how sci-fi/fantasy has all these powerful female heroines – but there are often fewer of them, and they tend to be more sexualized than men and often have more limited characterization, although cliches abound for both male and female characters, and then there is indeed that hostility toward women among some parts of the culture…) until I got to the mention of Farscape re-watch. Then it all went down in a bout of farscape-y excitement.

I missed it during the original run (only caught an episode or two here and there), and have just sat down to watch it properly recently. Finished season 4 last night. Oh, what an incredible, incredible show. Strong and amazing yet highly sensual female characters. Darkness. Story arcs. I loved the way sex was depicted in the show in its multilayered complexity. Although it is too bad that the writers were inconsistent with Chiana, and had to oscillate between her utilitarian use of sex being nuanced and successful, and all the tired cliches on the other hand… So, um, if anybody wants to talk about Farscape…


Josie January 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Ha, I love that my Farscape problem struck a chord with you! I missed the original run, too. My dad borrowed the dvd set from a friend once upon a time & I spent my entire winter break binging on them. Amazing show, I totally agree with all your points! I also find it weird to have all the strong female characters & yet all these persisting problems. That one I can’t quite wrap my head around yet… I might have to get my google-fu on & see if I can find other bloggers who’ve tackled it.

Thanks for your comment!


I.N. January 6, 2014 at 8:45 am

Hi – sorry it took me so long to respond…

I think inconsistency in writing quality was, unfortunately, another signature of Farscape. They had a number of amazing episodes, and even poor episodes had their good moments – but there were a number of poor episodes, plot holes, and plot-organizing coincidences. I did some reading (boards at farscapeworld.com and terrafirmascapers.com; and tor.com/features/series/farscape-rewatch-on-torcom) that indicated that there was a number of different writers working on Farscape (just like any show, I guess, I just never thought about it before), and sometimes the 2- and 3-parters, for example, were written by different people at the same time to make them seem less predictable. I suspect that Chiana’s character suffered from being written by different writers the most because their personal hang ups about female sexuality were likely showing in how they wrote her. Some of them got her right, and some completely failed.

P.S. Regarding your post overall, I am an ex-sex worker, and my geekiness + nerdiness were indeed a great point of connection back when I was working.


justafoxhound December 31, 2013 at 11:52 am

Great article. I don’t know if it’s more of a US thing to be bombarded with ‘fake geek/gamer girl’ comments- I haven’t received any myself (yet?). But it irks me no end when males, in the club and out, sit wide eyed for a moment after hearing you were playing Skyrim earlier and then gush, “you’re a girl that plays games? That’s so cool!” Don’t let them know you write fanfiction too, they might just jizz in their pants.

Useful in the club though for sure- I’ve noticed I can just be myself most of the time too and they eat it up.


TC January 2, 2014 at 8:18 am

Great looking Ash, and you’ve removed the chain from the saw -safety first! Guys, when they find that you’re a stripper, try for your attention more than they do typically? Guys are fucking strange, and surely sometimes live in a fantasy world. I’m a guy, btw, so, I can relate to the fantasy world, but I would prefer something a bit more Tolkien-esque…


Josie January 2, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Thanks! Sadly (although admittedly the smart thing to do), Comikaze made me take the chain off. =( The teeth are awfully knurly, it’s a real Homelite chainsaw just like in the film, I probably would’ve hurt myself. ^_^ Thanks so much for your comment! I’m glad you got a kick out of the article. Yes, for whatever reason, the stripper thing does get more attention. I’m not sure if that’s because it makes me seem more available, or because it’d be an awesome feather in the cap, or what. But it does consistently seem to work that way.

Just saw the Desolation of Smaug, by the way. Dick move to end it like that, but it was awesome seeing it brought to life. Tolkien’s books (along with Dune) were like religious texts in my house growing up!


Erik January 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Nice work Josie.


Josie January 6, 2014 at 5:48 am

Thank you so much! I really appreciate the feedback.


Katrina January 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm

I love this article! I’m a super nerd and I have always made the most money by being every nerd’s dream woman. I will wear nerd themed outfits to open up the conversation and then it’s smooth sailing from there. One down side is that in the interest of making money I will often have to suppress my true feelings about certain aspects of geek culture. I have issues with the lack of female representation in Dr. Who but I keep that to myself in order to maintain a fun rapport. If a man seems to be quizzing me or saying rude things about “fake geek girls” at a con I walk away. However if a customer does those things I will probably smile and nod. It feels like a betrayal of my geek girl sisterhood but I need the money. Luckily I can always blog/ tweet about it later, haha.

Excellent article!


greenforest February 20, 2014 at 1:58 am

Josie – you rock! Awesome to nail it about girls and geekdom. Big Bang Theory had a great line when the guys convinced Penny to go to a costume party at the comic book shop. “Don’t worry, we’ll win. You’ll be the only girl there” – (or something close to that.) And it absolutely shows the complete social ineptness of guys putting girls down when they should be remembering “Hey it’s girls! and say “It’s killer that you are into it.” I try to tell lads around me to learn from BBT what n-o-t to do. I saw your lap dances are $15. What? To the ire of fellow males out there: you’re under priced. Most clubs that I know of charge $20 per with some girls negotiating higher. I don’t go to a club but once every year or two – but it’s what I see. I think I’d be hooked at a Nerd themed club. Hentai? Ash? are you kidding me? Also, on the subject of clubs – I really appreciate what you [pl all] do and how much time, effort and money it must take to look so fabulous. I guess some guys come to gawk and act like.. well, you fill in the blanks. I come to enjoy the physicality, sensuality and company. I know that the it’s business for the girls and so the entertainment must be paid for just like any other entertainer. I guess in my book, I’m not there to try and get over on someone. I’m there to enjoy myself and when the dancer is making good money, I figure she’s enjoying herself. Win – Win. Last part of this rant: I’m embarrassed and apologize for – as a guy – club goers who are rude, cheap, insulting and worse, don’t act like gentleman when a lady performs. I let the dancer set the boundaries. Again. everybody wins – she’s happy and I’m happy. (I suppose I should write an article from a guy’s perspective of what I like, don’t like and expectations are….)


greenforest February 20, 2014 at 2:00 am

MORE importantly. Totally digging on Ash and Leeloo. Completely agree about lack of women in comics and games. I live in San Diego and have been going to COMIC-CON for years. Good news – got tickets Thurs – Sun. Bad news – first time ever without Preview night. I think cosplay is so cool. I love the fact that people feel comfortable enough to wear costumes whether they’re too big, wimpy or whatever and most C.C people accept and enjoy the show. One good friend of mine who is a 9 – 10 criticized some costumed girls and I told her to get off her high horse. That the world does not exist for only pretty people to play in. I get excited to see all the different Princess Leia’s. The voluptuous – ok – big -girls, plain girls, pasty white girls, Nubian, Asian… And Green Orion girls – I have trouble breathing. God, people are missing the whole point if they’re not enjoying all of this. It is all so much fun. OK ’nuff said. I hope you become rich working nerd boys who need to be rebooted when it comes to women and all their involvement in a sub culture that provides a lot of room to exist for some really smart, creative and, shall we admit, some really, really oddball characters. Much success to you!


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: