We spoke in hushed tones, glancing up expectantly – but Rich was in his own world. God forbid he hear us talking about such “unclean” things as RPG’s. Was it okay to talk about Dungeons and Dragons while an outsider was in the room? I had only told one other person at school about my obsession with PnPRPG’s – Mike, I knew he wouldn’t tell anyone. But now here was Rich, his roommate who I didn’t know quite as well at the time.

We cornered him, standing now (because we were serious), and by the look on his face we knew that he knew something serious was about to be said. Finally, we asked, “Ever hear about Dungeons and Dragons, Rich?”

And it was history from there… Rich became one of my closest friends (and I have DnD to thank).

Of course he wanted to play! Who wouldn’t? We made him swear never to tell (as I had made Mike). I sensed that he seemed to think we were being a little silly, but he kept his composure and agreed. Mike and I said something to the effect of, “Girls wont come near us if they know.” My friend from home was running a DnD campaign “openly” and I was appalled by his willingness to share his nerd-dom with the world (no offense Chris). But it wasn’t until many months later that I was forced from secrecy. Mike bought me this shirt:

Of course this raised a lot of questions when I wore it around. I found that most people didn’t even know what the hell all these dice were for (which at the time shocked me… I thought everyone knew what DnD was). It was a perfect birthday gift – Mike knew what he was doing. He wanted to ease the transition of my “coming out of the nerd closet.” But what most surprised me was that people weren’t offended by my nerdiness, they were actually curious as to what playing DnD actually entailed. Most people who I talk to think its a computer game…

It can be tremendously difficult to tell friends and loved ones about your obsession with hobby gaming. But I can honestly say its one of the best decisions I made, a tremendous burden had been lifted. When I told my buddy Chris that I was “open” in the way he was, he simply chuckled to himself.

A wise man once said, “Hater’s gonna hate.” So my advice to all you closet nerds out there, is get out and play – you might be surprised who wants to join in.

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