I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville wife and mother with a passion for family travel, (mostly) healthy cooking, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries with you, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark.
September 4, 2005
If I compare my 14-year-old stepdaughter’s high school experience with my own 15 years ago, there really aren’t that many differences.
There are still preps. And goths. And geeks. And jocks. And stoners. Have I covered all the major categories? Apparently not.
“14, why don’t I hear about Jerry Robertson anymore?” I asked her the other day. “You used to have the biggest crush on him.”
“Jerry Robertson? Ewwww!” she said. “He’s turned into a punk rock nerd!”
“Punk rock nerd?!” I said. “What’s that?”
“He wears all black and he listens to, like, The Cure and Metallica.”
“Ohhhh,” I said. “You mean he’s a goth.”
“No, he’s not a goth,” she corrected me. “He’s a punk rock nerd.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Goths wear all black and like, black makeup and piercings and they’re miserable and don’t talk to anyone. Punk rock nerds wear some black and like, concert t-shirts. And they have friends.”
Hmm. This was uncharted territory. It sounded to me like punk rock nerds were goths with parents who set some ground rules.
“Susie, you can wear the Highway to Hell t-shirt, but ix-nay on the nose ring. And wash that blue dye out of your hair immediately. I mean it, young lady!”
Presto! Susie has joined the ranks of the punk rock nerds.
I mean who are the parents of the goths, anyway? I see these kids everywhere, with their black hair and their black baggy jeans and their frowns and their chains. How did they get out of the house looking like that? I won’t let the girls leave home wearing pink and red together, let alone a safety pin through their eyebrow and black lipstick.
But a punk rock nerd I could handle. A punk rock nerd has friends.
“But they’re still nerds!” my 12-year-old qualified for me today when I asked her to define the term. “They have friends, but…” she shuddered and gave me a dark look that said not the kind of friends you’d want to sign your yearbook.
The issue is hitting close to home for 12 this year. I have it on good information that 12’s long time friend Melissa is in fact headed for punk rock nerddom. The evidence is certainly incriminating. While most of the seventh grade girls showed up at school in outfits from Justice and Abercrombie Kids, Mallory bought her fall wardrobe at Hot Topic. Otherwise known as Punk Rock Nerdsville. Now, 12 is wondering how much they really have in common.
I’d like to tell 12 that the truth is, most of us used to be punk rock nerds on the inside- kids who felt a little different from everyone else but didn’t really know how to express it. So we tried on labels. The vast majority of us dressed like everyone else in our group, whether we were preps or hippies or goths. But we never really felt like it was 100% us.
Maybe the punk rock nerds are the ones who have it all figured out. They toe the line between weird and normal; their look says, I’m different, but not thatdifferent. I’m different, but we can still be friends. Just don’t ask me to sign your yearbook.