“The Feels” is a phenomenon that nerds & geeks experience while enjoying fandoms. It happens when the story generates an emotional response, often unexpectedly, although many of us come to expect frequent feels from certain stories & storytellers. This may be a character dying, or a character doing something heroic, or two characters demonstrating beautiful friendship or even romance – the list goes on and on. Some of us get goosebumps or big, silly grins on our faces. Sometimes we laugh uncontrollably, and sometimes we cry.
This sensation feels like a punch to the soul. It’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t experienced it themselves. As a result, nerds don’t really talk about the feels. It’s an inside joke with fellow nerds, and non-nerds just think we’re crazy.
The biggest thing we don’t really talk about is the fact that we enjoy getting punched in the soul. We like the feels, even when they’re sad feels. It’s weird, I know. Maybe it’s because we nerds tend to see the real world through logical lenses and in order to feel this emotion we need to get it from fictional stories. Plus, the happy ending is even happier after we’ve been punched in the soul. Is it healthy? No, not really. But, as a nerd, I feel obligated to defend the feels.
You know that woman in that video who is sobbing because she can’t hug all the cats? Those are real-world feels, and they’re not going to stop. She is going to continue to be unable to hug all the cats.
Some may say we should be caring about all the real-world problems, like poverty and war. But those things will continue to happen, and even if we care deeply about them and get “the feels” about them, that won’t make any noticeable difference, so we’ll just keep feeling sad. When we get the feels about fiction, we can turn them off (eventually, in theory) and return to the real world.
As a Christian, I sometimes get an indescribable feeling from God, similar to the feels. Some people call it a spiritual high. Sometimes it hits when I’m worshiping in church, and sometimes it’s the little things that remind me he loves me. I enjoy that feeling just as much as the goosebumps I get from fiction, and I can’t describe why.
What are your favorite feels? I get them from delightfully clever quotes, like this:
[On the Doctor being a ladies’ man.] “Cleopatra? He mentioned her once!” “Yeah, but he called her Cleo!”