made fun of being for a reader?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Okay. Random story. So there's this guy who's been a temp at work for a month now. He and I never really clicked or got along, for different reasons. And since we shared a cubicle, it was evident all throughout his stay there that he didn't like me.
Well, today was his last day. While he was cleaning up his stuff from our desk and drawers, he suddenly came up to me and asked me if I could recommend him a book. I thought it was random of course. But being the normal bookworm that I am, I started suggesting a couple of titles I thought he'd like. He then told me, "Well, I actually don't read." He said how he finds it boring, and how he would never actually find it fun or enjoyable at all. He said he was just teasing me, mentioning how he saw my blog (a couple of my close co-workers who read this probably shared the link!) and how it's funny that I spend soooo much time on it.
He then laughed - actually snickered and burst out laughing - for a good minute or two. I'm not even kidding! He stops, looks at me all serious, and tells me, "You are such a nerd." It was obviously supposed to be a "harmless insult." He walks away and continues to organize his stuff.

Long story short - dealing with this guy reminded me a lot of the times when I was made fun of for being really nerdy as a kid. When people would laugh at me for wanting to have a pitstop at the library or the bookstore before going shopping at the mall with friends, or when I would get so passionate about explaining what Horcruxes are (LOL!) or what Middle-earth is. It reminds me of the times when people would make fun of me for watching documentaries on TV about conspiracy theories, hoaxes, and real urban legends. And I remember I would get offended then. Now I see, being a nerd, being a bookworm... I am actually now really proud of that! So in the end, I decided not to say anything to this guy anymore. I mean, why should I? I guess I just wonder though if he knows that being called a nerd is actually a compliment to me.

So... I guess I wanted to ask you; have you ever been made fun of for being a reader? A bookworm? A blogger, even? Have you ever been called a nerd when they meant it as an insult? Tell me your funny and maybe not-so-funny stories.


  1. What a douche! Thankfully I've never been made fun of for reading. Though I have been teased for being smart/a nerd, so I guess that's similar.

    Seriously, though, what a douche!

  2. Reading isn't looked down upon where I am. But, members of the current generations do tend to treat bookworms with some sense of wonder. They find it hard to understand that, while they love to spend their time out partying, those of us who love reading just love to curl up on the couch with a good book.

    I've had people ask me what it is about reading that I like so much (including my husband! lol!), but no one's ever been very derogatory.

    Btw, have you ever tried telling someone "*gas* You don't read!" in wide-eyed astonishment? It should be interesting to see their reaction. Turn the tables on them basically.:D

    And kudos for loving to be a nerd! It's great fun.:D

  3. Good reaction - those kind of people don't deserve your response:)

    While in school I was on the often on the receiving end of being called a nerd, because I was smart and had good grades. I never minded it much, I was and still am of my accomplishments.

    I haven't been teased or insulted for loving to read, although people do ask me why I love is so much and they can't understand it. I find it difficult to explain to someone who does not know the feeling.

  4. Back in high school my mates didn't get my love for reading. I wanted to visit the Library during breaks but my mates would get annoyed about me going. I wasn't as confident then and I started going less. I regret not going there as much now. They had a great collection of books. Like you I'm a lot more confident now. I take a book with me everywhere. Read on a bus/train, the park. I couldn't care less what people think, and now my mates know that my love for reading comes with the package = me. Hahahah. I get people staring when I read in a public place but it's mostly out of curiosity than anything else. And if someone had a problem I wouldn't be associating myself with them in the first place. :)

  5. I was a nerd too. I used to be teased for always having my nose in a book when I was a teen. I was also teased because I won the spelling bee. It didn't really bother me that much though. There are other things I was teased about that were much worse. High school is not a fun time for many people. The nice thing is that most of the people picked on for being smart or "nerdy" go on to be successful in life. It doesn't feel that way when you are in high school though.

    I am glad you decided to keep a positive attitude about it and I am glad you don't have to deal with that coworker anymore! He may not like to read but that is no excuse for rudeness.

  6. I'm with Bella. What a tool!

    I was never a nerd nor have I ever been made fun of for reading. So I can not relate on that aspect but I will say only an idiot would think reading means nerd.

    On the contrary most people I know who see me reading usually say, "I wish I was a reader." And I end up suggesting some exciting YA to them.

    You handled him better than I would have. I would have replied with something cocky and kinda rude like, "Ha ha you're right I should try to be like you - ha NOT."

    While on one hand I don't think reading makes me a nerd, I do believe that if you are called a nerd you should wear it with pride.

    Nerds have always been the smartest, better educated ones, that end up happy and making good money so I say if it happens again you should tell him, "Yah so what? You got a problem with that imbecile? Or do you need me to look that up for you since you don't read?"

    You did good doll! Stand tall and thanks for sharing your icky moment with us. Good luck. *hugs*

  7. OMG- he was so rude.

    I've always been a reader, and I'm really proud that I'm a reader. Books are my entertainment. When people ask me how I have so much time to read, I tell them that I make time to read. It's no different than making time for other things. I don't think I've ever been teased about it, or maybe I never noticed because it doesn't bother me. People tend to very proudly mention to me when they've read their first book in 10 years. My husband loves it, because he's a huge sports fan and we never argue over the TV. If reading makes me a nerd, then so be it.

    I probably would have mentioned that he can't read well enough to enjoy's a skill.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  8. I've never been made fun of for reading. A lot of people I know don't really understand it but they'd never insult me because of it. Reading is a huge part of my life and I'm proud to be a booknerd, always have been.
    I'm really glad you're proud of it too and didn't let that rude "donkey" get to you. :-)

  9. Well, that was rude. I'm a proud nerd as well. And thankfully, I've never been ridiculed too badly for being a nerd or bookworm because I tend to associate with lots of nerds myself :)

  10. Jerk! I used to get made fun of a bunch, and it really upset me, but now it's clear that I, well, LOVE being a nerd, so people don't really pick on me as much anymore. And if they do, I'm just like, "Thanks!" LOL!


  11. I'm with JuJu-- I would have verbally ripped him a new one. hahah Wish I could've been there to work him over for you!

    But you know-- There is something seriously wrong with this guy. Sharing a cubicle with a cute girl and not falling all over himself to be agreeable?

    Really strange-- maybe he is truly a creep and/or dangerous to be so agressively nasty-- so in retrospective your classy response is probably the safest. But I still want to whack him upside the head with a big book!!

    I was never teased about being a bookworm or being one of the smart kids-- and I've never been called a nerd as far as I know.

  12. The only reason you considered giving him the time of day is because he actually asked a question about books. To bad he caught you off guard, a great comeback would have been perfect.

    I don't share my blog with work colleagues - I spend far to much time here, that is called 'unproductive time' :-0

  13. Boohoo! What a idiot. What's so wrong with being a NERD? NOTHING! I'm ONE and I'm PROUD of it. I want a t-shirt with Nerd on it, so everyone can see I am one. lol. Everytime people ask me what I'm studying and I tell them it's HISTORY, they all say I'm such a nerd. But who cares, right? :)

  14. Wow. That was like high school immature of him.

    I have to admit that I was teased for reading a lot. Not too long ago I'd say the same thing as him, that reading is boring.

    When I started reading I got a lot of, "you're kidding me right?" when I blew off something at school to read.

    But it's a more like, "sucks for you", kind of feeling when they tell me it's boring and what not.

  15. He sounds like a jerk. That used to happen me a lot when I was younger, but now I surrounded by nerds so I don't stand out as much.

    BUT I am around very few readers so some people ask me weird questions like:

    "Do you need to rest your yes?"
    "No wonder you wear glasses."

    or my favorite.

    "Soo... you're just going to read. Why?"

  16. Ugh, you clearly have more restraint than I do! Glad you don't let this get you down, though. :)

  17. +JMJ+

    What a jerk! Thank goodness he's gone!

    Honestly, Jillian, I don't think of you as a nerd. Doesn't nerdiness imply a certain level of social ungainliness? You seem like you have a great offline social life with lots of friends, you're definitely pretty, you have a lovely sense of style, etc. You and I should walk down the street together so that people around you can see what a real nerd looks like! =P

    There might be a bigger issue here, though. Has book blogging just made all us nerds seem less nerdy than we still are? And has the ease with which we find each other and connect online make us appear so "mainstream" that we can no longer see ourselves as the outcasts (more or less!) that our offline companions think we are?

  18. +JMJ+

    PS--In reply to your question now: I can't actually remember being made fun of for my reading, but I've had some awkward moments with non-nerd friends. I recently wrote about one on my blog, and all the fellow bloggers who commented said they didn't understand what my friends thought was such a big deal! But all bloggers have some nerd gene in them, I think, and would understand more.

  19. Marce - Haha believe me, I was trying very hard not to say something back. Maybe if we weren't at our work place, I would have. The only reason I share my blog to my co-workers is because we work at a Writing/Reading facility so they all like books and reading too :)

    Nina - Haha. Exactly. I also want a shirt with Nerd on it! And hey, maybe next time when I see him, I can wear it! LOL.

    Vy - Ha. Yes, exactly. It felt like we were in high school!! oh and I get that, "you're kidding me right?" looks all the time. Sometimes, even with my best friends! LOL. I guess I don't find it as offensive anymore - just depends on who's giving the offense!

    Alexis - He IS a jerk ;) haha. And wow, I get those questions a lot too. I find them normal questions now though, since everyone asks me those! I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing now that I think of it.

    A.Justine - I figured I would never see this guy again - why waste my time. Believe me I wanted to smack him on the head haha

    E - I think about that sometimes, actually. I know other book bloggers see me as normal, but do "normal-everyday-non-blogger" people me as one? I mean, is it really normal to read 100 (and some even more!) books a year and write reviews, thoughts, and discussions about them? Probably not. But to us, since we're all practically the same "species," we tend to think this IS what normal is. And I don't think that's a bad thing at all.

    I also think people see me as a nerd outside the blogging world, because like you said, the topics I find interesting that I talk about aren't really topics THEY necessarily find appealing. So I guess I can understand how some of my best friends tease me and tell me I'm a nerd (in a non-insulting way of course) but here, I'm as normal as it gets! ;)
    And thank you for your compliments! haha.

  20. Belle - Douche indeed!!

    Risa - I also can't understand how people can't see that bookworms party too, and party-ers read too ;) Why can't we be both, you know? I think people are stuck stereotyping, to be honest. And haha I would LOVE to do that response one day.

    Pepca - I think it's normal for people NOT to understand our love for reading. What's not normal of course are the insults. But yes, it is quite difficult to explain if they don't feel the same way.

    Aly - Very true. I wouldn't want to associate myself with close-minded people like that either. I guess I'm just happy that even though my closest friends don't read or like the same things I do, they never look down on me for loving the things I do.

    Christina T - Hey I wish I won the spelling bee!! Oh wait, is that nerdy of me? ;) Haha. But I agree - there's never an excuse for rudeness!

    Juju - Hahaha hey, maybe if we were outside the work place, I would've said something like that too ;)

    Mrs Q - Books are also my entertainment! Oh and that's very convenient that nobody hogs the TV haha. I am sure he is happy about that.

    Jennifer - I think it's more normal for people to not understand our love for reading, but I don't think it's normal for them to insult us. Oh well. There's a lot of other donkeys out there, I'm sure. haha.

    Aylee - I don't have a lot of nerdy friends, but my boyfriend is sort of a semi-nerd so I think it's cool! Haha. My "nerdy" friends are all here on the blog, which I think is also just as fabulous.

    Maddz - I also say thanks when they call me that. But this time it just seemed like the perfect thing to do was ignore the jerk and move on. Waste of time, you know? ;)

    Lesa - Maybe if we weren't at work I would have said something too haha. But hey, maybe he truly is a creep. Good point.

  21. ASSHAT. <-- I need to use that insult in real life but seriously, that guy is an asshat.
    I don't really share my blog with anyone IRL to be honest (I don't have too many readerly friends) but I've never been made fun of for being a reader (thankfully) I'm trying to remember the quote about guys who don't read and how they are totally lame. And while I totally embrace my nerdiness and nerds in general, people who try to use that as an insult just proves how uncool they are. Glad he's gone!

  22. This guy has clearly still to grow up! Being geeky is having an obsession about one subject and being able to rhyme off facts. I bet he could do that with sports. I personally am proud to be a geek.

    I was given a hard time for reading so much when I was younger but refused to rise to it. In the end people left me alone and accepted it.

  23. Seriously, what an amazing jerk! I can't imagine actually treating someone in a work environment like that, so unprofessional.

    That said, I've always embraced my inner nerd. I was never made fun of for it, (except teasingly by my brother and sister), but it's never bothered me. My love of reading is a huge part of who I am and people can just accept that or ignore it.

  24. Wow, what an ignoramous, and seemingly proud of it too! And so obviously immature. Temp job or no, he just burned a big bridge and obviously isn't ready to work with the big kids in the real world.

    I'm with Risa and think the most effective response in these situations is to turn the insult back on the insulter, and make him feel defensive/inadequate, just like he was trying to make you feel. I was teased for being a nerd as a kid, but mostly I think the teasers were sensitive to their own lack of knowledge and interest in learning, and were probably lashing out in order to make me feel stupid becuase in reality THEY felt stupid around me and that was the only way to even the playing field. Dumb, but we were kids.

  25. Wow, that's just low :( I can't believe how immature people can be. It's as if these people graduated from junior high years ago but their attitudes sure didn't! I was teased in school for not having a lot of friends (I had some but not a big clique) and usually that was because I loved to read rather than gossip or play games I'd outgrown. Chin up, girlfriend--we've got your back :D

  26. I have one thing to say to that guy. Just one and it's not very polite so I won't write it down.

    When I was growing up it was hard for my family to understand why I read so much. They just didn't get it. I would disappear into my book while they were watching TV, our "family time". I used to read in the bathtub with a blanket and pillow beneath my head just so I could get some peace and quiet. I was ten! My mom thought Harry Potter was evil, my sister thought it was lame, and my dad just didn't care.

    As I grew up I got used to being called a nerd and clumsy but mostly my friends accepted it where my family had not. I loved my friends for just letting me be...well, me.

    Now, as an "adult" my coworkers will ask me for book suggestions. I have gotten my friends to get library cards, and when someone says to me "wow! I just decided to read a book instead of watch the TV for the first time in years!" I feel really, really good. (and laugh evily for a bit, just for fun)

    So, yeah. That guy can shove it. We so have your back girl!

  27. That temp reminds me of a guy at work too. Doesn't make fun, but he randomly asks for book recommendations even though he doesn't read English books. Makes me want to slap him, to be honest. =p

    There are just these people who take advantage of your bookworm nature to make idle and useless conversations when really, there's nothing in common.

  28. I am a proud nerd :) If someone ever made fun of me because of books, I probably didn't even know it as I was probably too busy reading or thinking about the books I am reading :)

    But how rude! So what if he doesn't like to read, it doesn't mean others have to be like him (and who wants to be like him?) He's prob just insecure and intimidated by people who reads - not just those who reads, but those who choose to read, those who LOVE to read!

  29. Audrey - For the longest time I didn't share my blog IRL as well, but over time, I felt more and more eager to let others know about what I'm up to for some reason. Oh and I think this was sort of the first time in a long time that I was made fun of for being a reader! Shows how mature he is.

    Karen - Yup. Clearly he's still stuck in his high school days! And very good point about the sports thing - why is it more "acceptable" for people to gush over sports but now to gush over books? Same concept I think.

    Melissa - If we weren't in the workplace I probably would've said something back, but like you said, since we were in a work environment, it just didn't seem appropriate! And I agree - reading is a huge part of who I am; take it or leave it, right? ;)

    Carin - I wish I could've said something back, but because we were in our workplace, I really didn't want to appear the 'unprofessional' one. The best thing to do in that specific situation was just to ignore him. And you're so right - I think people tease other people somewhat, because they are jealous or something of them. Funny how it works.

    Teacher/Learner - Pretty low indeed! I've never really been part of a "clique" either, or at least, certainly not the popular one, but I was never really teased based on it before. This is actually the first insult to me being a bookworm in a very long time. Just shows how immature he really is.

    Trish - OMG I'm sorry your mom thought HP was evil! I would have been so upset if somebody said that to me. And you are very lucky to at least have your friends backing you up :) oh and I also feel good when others tell me they've read a book I recommended and they ended up liking it!

    Dazzling Mage - LOL. He's probably just doing it because he likes you haha - boys will be boys, right? ;) That's what my mom would tell me.

    Christa - You're so right. He's probably insulting me because he is insecure and intimidated. Hmmm

  30. What a shithead. I'm sorry. haha. He worked with you a few months and did that to you? Sometimes I can't stand people at all. I think it's great that you are able to channel your passion of reading and writing into your blog. You are very dedicated, and not many people at your age are dedicated to anything. I have a feeling he's just insecure about himself and his hobbies, and just has a funny way of showing anything.

    I also got made fun of a lot - but in the younger grades - and it was pretty miserable. Other kids think they are being funny, but they don't realize how much words hurt. I mean, I still remember this one kid in 6th grade who bothered me all the time about my hobbies and work ethic, and it's just about 13 years later. Even if it's not extreme, these people are bullies.

    You just have to stay true to your interests and continue on, no matter what anyone else thinks.

    Thanks for sharing this story. (I linked it to a few friends, and they agreed that kid was a jerk. haha.)

  31. Couple of Crumbs - Thanks for your very nice comment!
    The problem with bullies is that they think they can actually get away with everything. They don't see how they affect other people, and maybe that's why, they keep doing it. That or they're just straight-up jerks. Nothing more. I don't know - I'd like to think people are generally nice; just close-minded and not as knowledgeable about life in general.

  32. Hey I saw this post over at Lovely Little Shelf and thought of you!