Not too long ago “geek,” “nerd,” and “dork,” were some of the terms used to describe intellectually sophisticated individuals who got unusually excited over computers, comics, video games, sci-fi films, and technology in general. They were considered some of the most undesirable people to be associated with and were usually spotted via their trademark big glasses and preppy clothes. You never invited them to your parties, and they were the easy targets of school bullies. Additionally, the fact that they spent the vast majority of their time in front of their computer screens and barely socialized with real people made them even weirder in the eyes of “normal” people—even though most of us have adopted this habit nowadays. Then all of a sudden, being a geek became cool. We live in an age where we have witnessed the rise of “geek culture” and people such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and the late Steve Jobs are some of the most famous, rich, and COOL people out there thanks to their innovations and contributions to the modern technology and society. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the following 25 Things That Were Once Considered Geeky Have Now Become Cool.
Being a Collector
Collecting stamps, sports memorabilia, coins, vinyl records, and any kind of vintage item was once considered an exclusive hobby engaged in by dorks but these days the weirder and bigger your collection is, the “cooler” it makes you.
Having a Cute Little Dog
In days long gone you almost exclusively saw girls of all ages and rich people carrying a spoiled little dog with them, while any dude—even the nerds—would never dare to walk around with such a dog. These days it’s viewed as somewhat cool and many dating experts consider cute little dogs chick magnets.
Reading in Public
If you once read a book at a picnic or on a visit to the park while your friends played football or did other “cool” activities you were easily considered the dork and softy of the gang. In 2015 reading in parks, Starbucks, and anywhere in public seems to be the new cool thing to do.
In the 1980s, the wearable calculator was only for nerds, but now everyone is wearing a device of some type, from a Fitbit to a pedometer.
If you grew up in the 1990s then you probably remember there was nothing cooler than cassettes and CDs. Whoever made the mistake of buying vinyl records back then was considered an outdated geek who wasn’t cool at all. In 2015, however, cassettes are long dead and CDs are heading toward extinction as well, while vinyl has made a resurgence and is considered one of the coolest vintage trends.
A podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading, typically available as a series, new installments of which subscribers can receive automatically. It was once considered a geeky thing but today it seems everyone is downloading podcasts like crazy, taking them from nerdy to cool.
Playing or watching tennis—especially if you were male—during the 1980s and early ’90s was considered a desperate choice for those who failed to make it at soccer, football, or baseball, but with the rise of superstars such as Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic more recently, tennis is now considered the coolest and highest-paid individual sport.
The Big Bang Theory
It all started as a low-budget TV show for geeks and along the way managed to earn numerous awards and become the #1 sitcom on the air.
There was a time when only nerds were into fantasy and sci-fi, but with blockbuster hits that include The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, being into sci-fi has become cool.
In case you’re confused, by geeky clothes we don’t mean preppy clothes. Rather, we’re referring to the super geeky (and awesome) tees with math puns, the progress of human evolution, Einstein’s face and so on. Today, it seems like everyone has taken a liking to them.
To get an idea as to how popular comics have become, the once “nerd” convention called Comic Con is now a required appearance for big Hollywood stars such as Johnny Depp and Ben Affleck among others.
Back in the 1980s and ’90s Apple computers were so out of fashion that whoever used them was considered a nerd. The sales of the company were so bad that during the ’90s they didn’t dare release new stuff every year (as they do now). How times change, huh?
Facts and Trivia
Few things were nerdier than trivia nights, but now people from all walks of life enjoy these “pub quizzes” (quizzes held in a pub or bar).
Professional wrestling was once considered fake entertainment for geeks. All this changed, however, with the entrance of super athletic freaks such as Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Stone “Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, and especially Brock Lesnar, who proved professional wrestlers are not as fake as some might think when he became the UFC heavyweight champion.
When Star Wars first came out you were considered cool and macho if you openly bashed the trilogy (even though you most likely watched it at home). With the rise of films such as The Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter series, and Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars fans were upgraded from geeks to the original cool fans of the sci-fi film genre.
Let’s be honest, nerds are not the only ones holed up with their gaming systems. There are millions of avid gamers across the globe who make video games cool, There’s even professional gamers who make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by being masters of this culture.
Once upon a time dressing in preppy clothes was considered one of the basic elements of “nerd” subculture. Today the most famous celebrities (David Beckham, Robert Downey Jr., and Pharrell Williams come to mind) wear preppy clothes all the time, because apparently dressing like a nerd is the trending fashion of the moment.
Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, and Anthony Bourdain are just a few of the many certified (and super rich) celebrity chefs today. They get paid to engage in various food porn and extreme food activities (like eating jaw-breaking sandwiches, for example), and the masses love them for it. Before them, the biggest food personalities were Julia Child and Wolfgang Puck, who catered more to an audience that was looking for something normal and comforting to cook for family dinner.
When Christopher Reeve made Superman movies and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno portrayed the Incredible Hulk, superhero fans were not the coolest bunch of the group. Today, however, every time a new superhero film opens in theaters, there are lines of fans outside the ticket windows waiting to get a “magic” ticket.
If you are an old-school geek who was once ridiculed at every costume party for his uncool costume, then you can thank the rise of superhero films and Comic Con for making wearing “geeky” costumes cool and acceptable.
Graphic novels were not cool. In fact, they were so uncool that even the most hard-core comic book fans made fun of graphic novel readers. Even though a graphic novel is sort of like a comic book, but longer and usually tells the story of normal people without superpowers, they were not immediately accepted by comic book lovers. Today, however, and especially after the Book Industry Study Group added “graphic novel” as a category in bookstores, the term has gone mainstream.
Big glasses were once relegated to nerd status, but have made a comeback because everyone is wearing them these days: from professional athletes to famous actors, politicians to fashion gurus and models.
When smartphones first came out most people found them too big, complicated, and geeky. As such they predicted the phones wouldn’t last long on the market. Fast-forward a few years and smartphones are now an absolute must-have mobile tech gadget.
Back in the 1980s and early 1990s whoever dared to use or work with computers was automatically stigmatized as a major dork but times have changed and now whoever doesn’t know how to use a desktop (or laptop) is considered a caveman.
When Facebook launched in 2004 it was considered (along with its founder) one of the nerdiest things most “cool” people avoided joining. Fast-forward eleven years and the members of the most popular social media site in the world compete against one another in terms of popularity.