‘Nerd’ Is Not a Dirty Word… Or Is It?
Therefore, when I read a
column a few years ago in Time Out
Chicago about a class called "Flirting for Nerds" led by sex
educator Rebecca Steinmetz, I felt I had a soul sister in the big city to the
south. I finally met Rebecca earlier this year and am happy to say that she
will be bringing her class to Milwaukee
on Sept. 10. In advance of her workshop, I asked her a few questions.
Laura (LAS): The term "nerd" could be
considered derogatory by some people. Why did you choose to call the class
"Flirting for Nerds"?
Rebecca (RS): I take a poll at the beginning of
every workshop, and I've found that, on average, half the audience doesn't
self-identify as a nerd. But everyone has that awkward or unselfconscious part
of themselves that I think resonates with the term ânerd.â The name of the
workshop came about quickly and just stuck. A co-worker and I were at Early to
Bed [the feminist sex toy store in Chicago
where Rebecca works] and chatted about a friend of ours who was pretty awkward
when it came to the dating scene. My co-worker suggested our friend could use
some time in Early to Bed for some confidence and one of our workshops for some
added skills. She said, "Wouldn't it be great if we did a dating class? We
could call it âFlirting for Nerds.â" Seconds later a customer who
overheard us interjected, "If you had a class like that, I would
definitely go!" And âFlirting for Nerdsâ was born.
What types of people have attended the class in the past?
I've had people of all ages, races, genders and sexual orientations attend the
class whenever I present in the store. But I get a lot of requests to present
for student organizations at universities, so I'd say the early-20s crowd has
been my primary audience. My favorites are students who attended the workshop
the previous year and attend the workshop again (just in case they missed
What's your favorite thing about teaching the class?
The "aha!" moments that people have when something we're talking
about helps them address a flirting situation they're currently in.
What's the most important thing that you think someone will take away from the
To own their nerdiness!
I echo Rebecca's last
statement: Own your nerdiness. Everyone sometimes feels shy, everyone has
embarrassing dating or sex moments, and unless you put yourself out there and
take a chance, you will never be able to boldly go where no nerd has gone
Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Not all questions received will be
answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions
that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in
this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and
Laura Anne Stuart has a masterâs degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. She owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukeeâs East Side.