A dork is someone who is socially unfitted for survival. In high school, they have the attributes that unfortunately repulse people, like bad allergies, bad acne, braces and/or headgear, oily hair, sweat stains on white shirts, thick socks, high waters, out of date clothing choices, purple sunglasses and cartoon theme watches. Whatever strengths they have don't seem to help them cope with their fate: band, debate team, physics club, yearbook, dungeons n' dragons, chess. If they do help, it is only because dorks throw their lives into their hobbies, as if they were all that ever need exist. People who are dorks usually find ways to mutate dorkiness enough to be more subtle or even marketable as they progress to higher learning. Often, they don't even have other dorks to blend with, depending on the size and variety of the school.

In high school, I was an outcast, not quite a dork, but more a dork by default, since people had to assume I was good at something. No one can tell that all you do is read and write and watch movies unless they ask. But I was dorky enough to attract true dorks, because I suffered velcro friendships with at least one girl per four year increment, those people that completely blow any chances you had at being normal. The girl that picked her nose and laughed like a horse. The girl who was at least 50 pounds overweight and wore an acid washed denim jacket every day of the year and really really dug horses and Toto. These were the only girls who would sleep over, follow me around everywhere, go with me stag to school functions, embarrass me with their inept ability to silence a crowd in conversation when they appeared. I was cursed.

A geek is someone who may have many of the above, supposedly negative, characteristics but who is somehow able to ascend the label. They are not quite so socially retarded and carry an air that they have their shit together. The word geek implies brains, whereas the word dork implies social awkwardness, and there are reasons for this distinction. Their geekiness is worn like a cape at a costume party, one of many ways to be viewed. A geek in high school may have been just as untouchable as his dork counterpart, but people are more inclined to embrace the geek, since geeks usually have an inside line to something people want: answers to the pop quiz, keys to the storeroom, all the teachers' home addresses, term papers for sale. You could say a geek is a dork with a dark side, a deviant side that goes beyond adolescent spying in the girls' locker room and shoe mirrors.

Dorks don't see their traits as marketable to the outside world; they use them to buffer themselves against the void that separates them from it. Dorks obey the lines drawn around them with fear, having long since given up hope of acceptance; geeks play with the lines because they are more confident in the fact that they are not so much as cut off as set aside for a higher purpose. Every college frat house and dorm floor has at least one geek that helps them get the girls of their dreams with flowery prose, or pirates the next hot game off the net, things they are unable to acquire on their own because they don't know how and don't care; so long as they keep the geek happy, he'll do it, and they'll think foolishly, that he's the one being used.

I'm not saying that all geeks are sinister and manipulative. But, really, what's so bad about that if I was?

nerd
Squareness is the hallmark of a nerd. A nerd wants to fit in, but will fall back on intellectual abilities when flustered. A nerd is often found tooling--not for the love (then it would be geeking), but rather because it's a prudent investement of time and effort into the future.

Nerds lack personality

Nerds do very well within the rules given them.

Hygiene is observed
Style is generic/lacking/staid/conformist

geek
Obsession is the hallmark of the geek. A geek really gets into it, whatever it is. They're getting something out of it. They're learning a whole hell of a lot because they have the love for it.

Geeks got personality.

Geeks beat upon the rules. They spend time geeking on the rules. Sometimes they learn them well enough to start hacking them. (This is why I think about law school.)

Hygiene is often neglected
Style is often eccentric

dork (orthogonal quality)
A dork is someone with a glitch in their social game--they respond inappropriately (do something dorky) at inopportune times. Some people become nerds and geeks because they are hopeless dorks.

(no comment on dorks w/r/t the 'rules/hygiene/style' axes)

loser (may be orthogonal)
Someone that consistently loses. Often they are bitter and otherwise socially maladjusted.

They consistently get screwed by the rules. They tend to misunderstand them and/or reflexively react to them in a detrimental manner.

Being that they can't win, they either give up or go overboard on style/hygiene/etc.

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