Outland Competition: Our Secret Lives

A few blogs ago, I talked about the secrets we have. They’re not necessarily scurrilous or smutty or illegal. They’re just the parts of our lives we keep segregated from other areas, maybe because we think other people will laugh.

In the Outland TV series, the characters are all out and comfortable with their sexuality, but they are very much in the closet about being SF nerds.

The fact is, many nerds working in a more mainstream environment prefer to keep their nerdery to themselves. I used to, but mostly I don’t much care what people think about my nerdery these days. On the other hand, my lovely geek friends can be less than understanding about my enjoyment of shows like Glee.

A friend of mine refuses to use the term ‘guilty pleasure’. Either you like someting or you don’t, and there’s no point in feeling guilty about the things you like. (Well, unless they’re unethical, maybe.)

Or, in the words of Andy in episode 3, “You probably think there’s some grand reason for all this, but the truth is, Rae, people like what they like. Don’t complicate it.”

In the spirit of ‘you like what you like’, thank you to everyone who entered the competition for a copy of the Outland DVD. I hope you continue to like what you like, and can do so openly without fear of scorn or ridicule from people who almost certainly have their own secrets.

Among the entries, Philip admitted that “my secret passion is homoerotic romances, cause I like to be a private person”, and fair enough.

Jason shared: “While at High school I was captain of the Rugby team and Head Boy of my school. Little did most people know my secret… That I was a HUGE science fiction nerd, read scientific journals and all, oh and yea also I am gay… I think I would have got more crap over being a sci fi nerd than gay – lol!”

But the winner of the competition is P, who tells the following story.

“My secret isn’t that I’m a nerd and a geek. I’m very open about that – I even have Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica posters over my desk in my classroom (I teach primary school). My secret is that I like to read trashy romance – of many different subgenres. *Really* trashy stuff. I generally hide this from most groups in my life.

I’ve very selective who within my geek circles knows, as Trashy Romance is seen as the lowest of the low by many of the people I know into who are into books. Telling people I enjoy reading the Anita Blake series or the Sookie Stackhouse series ’cause of the sex and romance earns me funny looks from many geeks, who think I should be reading stuff of ‘higher literary value’. Yes, even geeks can be snobs.

And then there’s my geek friends who are also feminist and feel strongly about romance novels. Some of them might has a few issues with the geek-themed stuff, but they can go on for hours about Mills & Boon/Harlequin style romance novels. I consider myself feminist too, but my own brand of it allows to take guilty pleasure in reading trashy romances with many things I shouldn’t be enjoying, but some other people’s standards, again. It’s kind of like eating fast food; you know it’s not terribly good for you, but it tastes so good you’ll do it anyway.

On top of that, there’s me being a teacher. No way can I admit publicly to my passion for word porn at school. We teachers are supposed to be good, pure, straight, monogamous and asexual remember? No way can we admit we might be reading books full of raunchy stuff. Especially since as well as the Geek romance and the Mills & Boon, I like the queer trashy romances as well. Two guys in love, getting it on? Hot. As. Three guys getting it on? Even hotter.

I can’t tell a lot of my family either. I have a lot of Very Uptight Religious family members and it’s just best they don’t know. I can admit to the mystery novels, or the science fiction novels. If I said I liked Twilight people wouldn’t look at me as weird… but if I admit I like romances heavy on the sex? I’m the weirdo.

And that’s my secret.”

Your secret is safe with us, P, and I promise I won’t judge you. I’m not a huge fan of the romance genre usually, but I recently discovered Anne Gracie (recommended to me by smart, feminist geek-type readers) and I love her work.

Perhaps we should all pledge ourselves to the principle that we may not like to read the same things others like to read, but we will defend to the death their right to read it!

Thanks again to those who joined in, and to those with secret lives! If you missed it, you can get Outland from the ABC shop.

Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, iPhone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.