Received a message casually pointing out the overlaps of “Gamer + Atheist + Nerd + No attention span + Alcohol = Redditor, also = non monogamist” and my response quickly turned into a damned essay because I am delirious.

Feel free to put in your two cents - if there are any actual papers out there about this crap, let me know!

There does seem to be a complicated Venn diagram of queer1 / non-monogamous / kinky / gamer / atheist or pagan / physical or mental disorders2 / typical “nerdy” interests / substance abuse.

My hypothesis is that being non-traditional in one way when young often leads to questioning and rejecting other aspects of mainstream society and sexuality. If you are (or like) this thing, and people don’t like it, then what else is fine but socially unacceptable?

The nerd/geek community provides a relatively welcoming space for people who are viewed as weird in some way, which reinforces the standard array of nerdy interests (British media, science fiction, videogames, anime, etc.) as well as the unique speech patterns3 and etiquette of nerds. Reddit is just one of many places for nerds to congregate.

Then the substance abuse comes into play. Feel like an outsider, or have some sort of mental health problem, or are torn up about your sexuality? Coping mechanisms4! Alcohol, weed, and other substances, in conjunction with the escapism offered by the nerd interests… I’m not even going to deny that I basically use booze to fill the hole left by fandom5.

So yes, there’s your brief essay on “why do weirdos seem to be weird in the same ways”.

1. Including, but not limited to: homosexual, bisexual, asexual, transgender, or other non-cisgendered-heterosexual options.

2. Note the prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders, anxiety problems, bipolar, depression, ADD; also remember the stereotype of the weak, sickly, asthmatic dweeb with the full-headgear braces.

3. Ask me more about the nerd accent some other time, it’s really interesting!

4. Nerds are also seem more likely to use substances out of curiosity and experimentation. I’ve known a lot of folks who have tried things like hallucinogens just to find out what they’re like.

5. Now, the reasons for needing coping mechanisms are all different - mine is an inability to deal with constant stress, and getting stressed out too easily.