One of my absolute favorite, listen to every episode, tell everyone how awesome it is, podcasts is Judge John Hodgman, in which John Hodgeman of “I’m a PC” fame rules on petty disputes between couples, friends, coworkers, and family members. One of my life goals is to have a dispute worthy of being on the show.
I did some quick googling to see if John Hodgman wrote anything about jocks and nerds, only to discover this clip. Here he discusses jocks and nerds at the Radio & TV Correspondents’ Dinner for President Obama in 2009.
When I my fiancé and I first started dating, I thought he was a nerd. He taught English. He had opinions about the Avenger movies. He had a cat. He had a Harry Potter tattoo and was excited to discover we were in the same house: Ravenclaw. Ravenclaws have to be nerds, right?
But as we got to know each other, I discovered more and more jock-like tendencies. Somehow I discovered he really liked sports. His hobby was cycling. He has a cat, but prefers dogs. He’d traded in reading novels for listening to podcasts. Not just any podcasts, but sports podcasts. He’d played a lot of sports in his youth. He likes to watch football in television.
Take me, by comparison: I have to read every night before I fall asleep, and 99.9% of the time it’s fiction. I mostly listen to podcasts from NPR, Radiotopia, and Maximum Fun. Those are nerdy podcasts.
My hobbies are knitting and playing video games. I have a cat, and I prefer cats.
I won a march madness bracket contest two years ago. I filled it in at the last minute using teams mentioned on NPR during my morning car ride. Then I completely forgot about it until I was told I was winning in a morning meeting. The only sport I watch on TV is baseball, and that’s only if the Tigers are playing in the playoffs. I played a little softball in high school and I was terrible at it.
One day I told him. “I don’t think you’re a nerd. I think you’re more of a jock.” I didn’t tell him I thought he’d actually be a Griffyndor, because that would be too upsetting.
He said, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
I think the jock and nerd divide is more of a continuum than a dichotomy. If we put nerd on the left and jocks on the right, I’d be fairly into the left. Not all the way, because I like baseball, live sporting events, and riding my bike. My fiancé would be just to the right of center. He’s not “all jock.” He likes things like Harry Potter and Marvel. He questions things. He plays video games. (Although he grumbles that I want to read all the quest text.) I think he is a Ravenclaw. He’d be the captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team.
Even if I’m on the nerd side and he’s on the jock side, there’s a lot of overlap. In the places where we don’t mesh up, we try to be understanding. He gets that I have to read before I can sleep. I get that when he turns the NFL on TV that he actually enjoys watching this and finds it fun.
Okay, maybe I don’t really get it. But I’m okay with it.