“… I am a geek”. This is how Fabien J., aged 22, likes to describe himself. Fabien is from Brittany (North West of France) and he is now a student in Journalism at La Sorbonne. He studied History when he was still in Brittany because he was “good at it” and even spent a year abroad, in Brussels, Belgium. “Definitely one of the best years in my life. It made me a better person, I learnt how to be more confident in myself”.
When Fabien is asked what is the most surprising thing about him, he does not hesitate: “I love all the computing stuff, video games, American TV shows. I’m a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory”. Why is it so surprising? What are the odds that a 22-year-old guy likes this kind of stuff? “I know people don’t see me that way. They don’t picture me playing with a video game for hours – or even fixing computers”.
Fabien has a nice definition of the word geek: “Today, being geek is kind of in the air. Everybody pictures the guy with the glasses, the braces, the crazy hair and all that stuff. I am not like that but I knew I was a geek even before I knew the word”. When he is asked to show his glasses, he smiles, looks embarrassed, takes from his bag some huge black-framed Ray Ban and says: “Okay, I’ll give you the glasses. But to be fair, I bought them before they became fashionable and I like the old-school look”.
Fabien explains that he chose journalism over other careers because he hates the ordinary life. He does not want to be the prisoner of a routine. Curious is also an adjective that he uses a lot. “I think it started back in my childhood and that everything is linked. I received my first Game Boy when I was 8, and ever since, I have always played a lot – especially role-playing games games. I needed to find something to dream about. I always liked the Nintendo games more than the others because they were more imaginative, more creative and were less about violence or war. I could easily spend 4 or 5 hours in an afternoon on a game”. Could? “I forced myself to refrain from playing when I moved to Paris two years ago. The only video game console I have is a Nintendo DS, which I took from my brother. Now, I spend more time going to the cinema and the museums. I am less a lonesome person and I have more friends”.
How do the different kinds of relationships work when someone is an outed-geek? “It actually helped me a lot. I made some friends I never thought I would have something in common with. Being gay, I usually don’t fit in with the guys who talk about football so the fact that I know a lot about video games helped me become a member of their group”. What about the romantic side? “I have this image of me which is the one of a very shut-in person, especially when it comes to romance. I am very clumsy, I fit very well in the image of the geek who mumbles, who turns red…” Fabien mentions that he used to be overweight, and it seems to be an important issue for him: “I started to lose weight when I moved to Belgium. I don’t know how it happened. Maybe I felt safe and happy. Anyway, I have to admit that I feel a lot better now. And what’s funny is that I don’t have the same urge to play now that I am happier with my body”.
The last thing Fabien mentions about being a geek is that he does not really think it would be an advantage in his career. “Nowadays, everybody is a little bit of a geek. We all have a smartphone or a laptop. And that’s the side of being geek that most interests people. Being a real geek is above all that. You don’t have to spend an entire day on Facebook to be one. You go beyond it. You become interested in how and why it works. And if I have an advantage over the other people from my generation, it is that I am a real geek. I could talk about computers for hours and write about them. I am a specialist when the others are just scratching the surface”.
Want to learn more about Fabien?
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