May 10, 2007 | ASAP
Paul Lundgren embraces his inner geekiness.
Growing up, he knew he wasn't the coolest guy
in school. His sister beat him up, he says, and he had to
wear a retainer. In 2002, Lundgren decided that he and his
fellow nerds and dorks should join forces for a good time.
His idea? The first Geek Prom.
"It came out of a feeling that the social
misfits of the world needed their own prom, a gathering to
celebrate their awkwardness," Lundgren, a freelance writer
from Duluth, Minn., said. "I think a lot of people try
to cover up how geeky they are and I've always felt that nerdiness
is something to be proud of. Geekiness is the spice of life."
The sixth annual Geek Prom is set for May 12
in St. Paul, Minn., where Lundgren expects 350 people age
18 and over to attend at between $10 and $15 a ticket.
To quote GeekProm.com: "For those who were
too geeky to attend their high school prom, it's a chance
to finally be accepted. For those who were too cool to properly
enjoy their high school prom, it's an opportunity to finally
let that inner-geek out."
With those hundreds of fellow geeks, Lundgren
says he feels empowered.
"It's about the knowledge that I'm not
alone," Lundgren says. "There are many many other
geeks out there."
Just where do they hold this annual celebration of geekdom?
The Science Museum of Minnesota, of course, where it's not
your usual night out.
What to Expect
Geek Wear: Geek Prom is part costume party, part formal dance.
Lundgren says mainstays include dressing as Star Trek characters,
wearing lab coats, marching band uniforms, powder blue tuxedos,
hideous pink dresses or contorting cardboard boxes into sort-of
computer outfits. "For most people that come to Geek
Prom, this is what they wear anyway," Lundgren says.
Geek Drinks: Every year boasts a themed drink,
Lundgren says, drinks named after famous nerds or super heros.
Some examples: Incredible Hulk drink, Leonard Nimoy drink
or the Pocket Protector drink.
Geek Events: There's the king and queen coronation
and the spaz-dancing competition with awards given to the
best female and male participants. There's also the "geek
streak," or as Lundgren describes it, "seven naked
nerds come running through the room." And if you have
a collection of, say, stickers? Bring it and show it off,
Last year's King Geek, Eric Houston of Hudson,
Wis., and Queen Geek, Shari Hartshorn of St. Paul, Minn.,
will be on hand Saturday night to pass on their titles.
Hartshorn says a panel of geek judges decides
who will be the prom royalty. Among her Queen Geek biography,
she lists volunteering at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival,
taking calculus in college for fun and describes herself as
a science fiction and fantasy nut.
"As prom queen it was my job to instill
the general happiness of accepting your inner geek, being
accepting of the fact that, 'Yes, I am a geek and I'm OK with
that. I have fun with that,'" she said.