The Stealth Geek FAQ

v. 1.1

Brought to us by the Stealth Geek Goddess, Shanna Swendson. She can be reached at

Converted to HTML by Russell Stewart (

Disclaimer for the humor-impaired: this is intended as humor, but like any good humor, it is based upon nuggets of truth. Any generalizations are not meant to apply to all stealth geeks or geeks. There will be individual variations.

So, without further ado, here we go ...

Table of Contents

1. What is a Stealth Geek?
2. What does a Stealth Geek look like?
3. How does a Stealth Geek behave?
4. What are some examples of Stealth Geeks?
5. Is a Stealth Geek made or born?
6. If a stealth geek is so stealthy, how do I find one?
7. Mating habits of the Stealth Geek.
8.Who is the Stealth Geek Goddess?

1. What is a Stealth Geek?

Stealth Geekdom is a way of life that is difficult to sum up in so many words, but simply put:
A Stealth Geek (SG) is a person who has many of the internal qualities of geekiness yet who does not look or act like the stereotypical geek.
A more detailed definition:
A Stealth Geek is a person of above-average intelligence (often referred to as "a brain") with a deep, almost passionate, devotion to some academic, technological or scientific subject; an interest in science fiction and/or fantasy books, television, movies or comics; a bit of a loner who doesn't always fit in with the mainstream, but who has learned to blend in with the "real world" through behavior and looks. In other words, although they're a geek inside, no one will say, "What a geek!" about them based on an initial encounter.

2. What does a Stealth Geek look like?

An SG looks pretty much like anyone else. It could be said that an SG is a geek who has developed some fashion sense. Not that an SG will ever look like something out of Vogue or GQ, but SGs have learned not to look too out of it, either. Because they still lack supreme confidence in their fashion know-how, they may not take risks, settling for the standard business suit or simple jeans and shirt combination for casual wear. In short, they have come to the realization that the 12-foot-long "Dr. Who" scarf worn with matching orange socks is not quite as cool as they once thought.

Often the watershed in the transition from geek to stealth geek is the purchase of contact lenses, but this is not always the case. A more stylish pair of glasses may replace the sturdy, practical pair worn in the past.

Stealth geek appearance is highly individualized. The bottom line is that no one should look at a stealth geek and declare, "What a geek!"

3. How does a Stealth Geek behave?

It could be said that a Stealth Geek is a geek who has developed social skills.

It could be better said that a stealth geek is a geek who has become aware of his/her geekiness and has made an effort to change.

A geek is generally not aware that he or she is a geek. Geeks tend to think they're the coolest things around. They can't distinguish in conversation with the opposite sex between polite interest and desire, and tend to err on the wrong side.

On the other hand, a stealth geek is aware of geek tendencies, and while not wanting to change his or her self internally, makes an effort to learn to deal with non-geeks. This may come about due to career necessity, when they have to deal with non-geeks in a business environment. It also may simply come about with maturity.

Again, the main test is that no one should think upon an initial encounter with a stealth geek, "What a geek!" They may think that when Star Trek finds its way into a conversation, but they don't think it because of general behavioral characteristics.

4. What are some examples of Stealth Geeks?

Our prime example of a stealth geek is Fox Mulder. In fact, that's how the whole stealth geek thing got started, in trying to find a way to describe him. He is a loner who doesn't fit in with the mainstream, he seems to have an interest in science fiction, judging from the late-night movies he watches, and he has a passionate interest in a sort of scientific-related topic. But he doesn't come across as a geek until you know him well. He dresses nicely, but unimaginatively (except sometimes for the ties), and in casual wear resorts to safe choices like jeans and sweatshirts. He's a little awkward socially, but has enough social skills to get by for business purposes.

Scully also is a bit of a stealth geek, but not geeky to Mulder's extreme. Imagine her in school: very studious and serious, probably didn't pay much attention to fashion, majored in physics before medical school.

Other stealth geek candidates: Duchovny has been granted honorary stealth geek status by the Stealth Geek Goddess, based on his Letterman appearance (probably was a brainy, shy kid who seems to have grown out of it). Harrison Ford has admitted to being geeky as a kid, but we'd have to call him pretty stealthy now. Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys quarterback, is said to spend much of his free time surfing the Internet and e-mailing people using an alias, and he doesn't like to be without his laptop. Kinda makes you wonder, huh?

5. Is a Stealth Geek made or born?

This is a difficult question. Geeks are born with geek tendencies. These may lie latent until the viewing of a Star Trek episode or the first encounter with a computer. But some people are born stealth geeks, while most stealth geeks are geeks who have attained stealth status.

Many stealth geeks are geeks who have matured. One theory (okay, so I made it up, but I still think it's valid) states that when a person is in the developing/growing stages, only one thing at a time can really grow well. In the case of geeks, it's the brain growing at a rapid pace, which leaves everything else behind. A geek who is chronologically 16 may be mentally 25, emotionally 12 and physically (developmentally-wise) 14. The combination of these diverse age factors results in the stereotypical geek awkwardness. Stealth geekdom occurs at full maturity when everything catches up.

But there are Stealth Geeks who never go through the usual geeky phase. The most common of these are the jock stealth geeks, who because of some athletic ability manage to hide some of their geekiness. People only notice the star quarterback; they forget that he's also a whiz in math class and not all that social, even if he does get invited to all the parties.

It often happens that soon after the moment of awareness of geekiness, a stealth geek will try to deny his or her internal geekiness and distance him/herself from all things geeky. After the stealth part of it is mastered and the geek has more confidence, he or she may then more fully embrace the geekiness, knowing they'll never go back to being a real geek.

6. If a stealth geek is so stealthy, how do I find one?

For starters, look in any place you tend to find geeks: computer stores, science fiction conventions, bookstores, etc. Look for the people who on first glance don't fit in because they look too "normal" but who seem to be pretty knowledgable about the subject matter.

Or you may find stealth geeks in non-geek environments. Then it can be very difficult to pick the stealth geeks from the non-geek crowd.

Clues to tell a stealth geek from a boring normal person: look at their wrist. Geeks love gadgets, and a stealth geek's watch will probably be full of features. It's probably digital, with a stopwatch and alarm, and possibly a calculator, or else it's some high-tech sports watch. (remember all of Mulder's watches)

Also look at the keychain. Most of the male stealth geeks I've known have been former Eagle Scouts. Look for the Swiss Army knife loaded with features. They also may have a number of keys, for no apparent reason, or other keychain tools, like a tiny flashlight (I carry a small Swiss Army knife, myself).

Another way to find a stealth geek in a non-geeky crowd is to pick out your target (someone you hope, for whatever reason, is a stealth geek) and start a conversation based on your favorite geek subjects. If he or she responds, you may have a stealth geek. If they're not a geek, they'll look at you like you're insane, and you can move on to someone else.

Suggested conversational openers:

Another way to find out if you're in the middle of a group of stealth geeks is to throw in a good incendiary line and watch to see if sparks fly. NOTE: only try these if trained security personnel are nearby:

You get the idea.

7. Mating habits of the Stealth Geek.

The ideal combination would be male stealth geek with female stealth geek, but that's not always what seems to happen, which is why so many stealth geeks don't have much of a social life.

Male geeks (especially those of the non-stealth variety) think of the female stealth geek as the ultimate catch. "Hey, a babe who can intelligently discuss Star Trek! Cool!" Unfortunately, geeks are geeks and not stealth geeks primarily because they have no social skills. They interpret acknowledgement of their existence as passion and then become pests (see Frohicke). Stealth geek females frequently become geek magnets.

But male stealth geeks often feel self conscious about their recent bout of geekiness and go through a phase of trying to avoid anything geek-related. Instead of trying for a female stealth geek, they set their sights on a totally non-geek woman, who ultimately has little use for him (see Phoebe Green).

Female stealth geeks find male stealth geeks absolutely adorable. They like their lack of annoying male ego, they find the shyness appealing, and they get really turned on by the glasses. Unfortunately, female stealth geeks also are a bit self conscious and aren't able to really make a play to catch the male stealth geek, who is usually completely oblivious to her interest. It can go on like that indefinitely, both being very fond of the other but neither doing anything about it (and I'm not going to touch that example with a ten-foot pole).

8. Who is the Stealth Geek Goddess?

Yours truly! I coined the term Stealth Geek in an a.t.x-f. post about Mulder's interests and it really caught on. Apparently there are a number of stealth geeks in this group who were excited to finally have a term they could use to describe themselves (I'm saying apparently because, having seen almost none of you, I can't say how stealthy any of you really are). As coiner of the term, I soon promoted myself to Goddess, and no one argued, so it stuck.

I'm also very much a stealth geek, myself. You'd never pick me out in a crowd as anything approaching a geek, but I've recently fully embraced my internal geekiness and am less worried about my stealth factor (which had the effect up upping my stealth factor another level. You're even more stealthy when you're confident).

Stealth geekdom has been validated in print in the Dallas Morning News (well, the reporter talked to me and used it in a story about something else). My mother said she heard Sandra Bullock call herself a stealth geek in an interview around the release of The Net, but I haven't validated that. If it's true, then perhaps Sandra is a closet X-Phile who lurks or joins us using an alias.

So, embrace your geekiness, discard your pocket protector and stand proud! Join the few, the proud, the stealth geeks!

Brought to you by the Stealth Geek Appreciation Society. Don't ask to join. We're even more secretive than the Ratboy Brigade.

The Stealth Geek Goddess

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