Remember when you went to the high school dance, and all the social strata of the institution were exposed? You knew who the jocks and cheerleaders were, and the stoners and the college preppies, and of course, the geeks, the A/V nerds, the chess club crowd…the ones who didn’t show up very often, and when they did, everyone was wondering what they were doing there. Geek Prom wasn’t anything like that—it was kind of an anti-Heathers experience, where all the distinctions were thrown away. There were some beautiful people there, and everyone liked them, but they weren’t any more special than the four-eyed nerd with bad hair. This was an event where everyone was appreciated for being unique.
These were my people.
There were perils. It was held in a science museum, for cripe’s sake, and there were all these distractions around. My date wandered off for an hour, seduced by the open cells lab, and was entranced with do-it-yourself DNA extraction and microscopy and dissecting maggots (it was the kind of stuff I’ve done over and over, so I couldn’t see the attraction…I wandered off to other exhibits.) There were a lot of people attending, but they tended to be dispersed, drawn off into scattered clumps throughout this huge six-story museum, so it didn’t look at all crowded. It fed the geek’s natural tendency towards isolation.
The dance floor was hopping, though, and the band was excellent, if a little bit uncategorizable…it had a kind of They Might Be Giants meets 60s surfer band vibe. It was all a bit retro, and nobody cared. They even resurrected a 70s tradition: streakers! Now come on, admit it; when was the last time you attended an event where naked men ran through the crowd? Especially a crowd with Klingons in it?
We met a few people, including some Pharyngula readers, and a reporter for Wired who had flown in from New York just for the prom. Look for a story on the event sometime this summer.
I didn’t get many pictures, I’m afraid. The lighting was muted, most people were highly animated, even spazzy, and that wasn’t a good combination for quick photography. Here, though, is one blurry but colorful picture of the King and Queen Geek’s coronation dance. Trust me, you had to be there.
My date and I both had a great time (and she is much less geeky than I am, but still felt comfortable at the event), and we’re planning to go again next year. Even if you don’t think you’re geeky enough to fit in, you will: it’s simply a wonderfully egalitarian party for everyone.