I have loved sneaky geek t-shirts since the late ’90s, when I bought a Sunnydale High t-shirt. If you know what Sunnydale High is, then you know of which fandom I speak. If, however, you’re mystified, then that sneaky geek t-shirt did its job.

(I’ll put you out of your misery. Sunnydale High was the high school that Buffy and her friends attended in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)

Sneaky geek t-shirts are kind of the like the nod-and-wink of the pop culture world. For instance, your run-of-the-mill Harry Potter fan might sport a t-shirt that’s covered in tinted photos of the cast members, along with a movie logo. That is exactly the kind of fan t-shirt I can’t stand, the kind with real-life people on them. We are not worshiping the actors, people, we are worshiping the story! The characters! Not the same!

Harry Potter T-shirt

So, what kind of sneaky geek t-shirt do I love? The kind that takes a snippet of trivia, of which only a true fan would know, and displays it in a cheeky fashion on a t-shirt.  For instance, this is a fabulous Harry Potter t-shirt, available on Etsy.

Butterbeer T-shirt

The Three Broomsticks Butterbeer T-shirt on Etsy

If you aren’t a fan of Harry Potter, books or movies (but especially books!), then you might think the Three Broomsticks was a real-life establishment. Potter fans know, however, that it’s the cheerier pub in Hogsmeade, not the dodgy Hog’s Head.

Lord of the Rings T-shirt

Similarly, I love this Lord of the Rings t-shirt I found on Etsy.

Mordor Fun Run T-shirt

Mordor Fun Run T-shirt

There are a couple of jokes going on here. If you’re a fan of the Lord of the Rings movies, especially, you probably spotted them. First, we all know that the run — nay, the walk — to Mordor is anything but fun. Second, “one does not simply walk” was Sean Bean’s line in Fellowship of the Ring that launched a thousand memes. Civilians would know none of this.

Once Upon a Time T-shirt

Here’s another location-themed t-shirt available on Etsy.

Storybrooke T-shirt

Storybrooke T-shirt

Simple and to the point. And if you’re scratching your head, wondering what this t-shirt is talking about, again, mission accomplished! Storybrooke is a fictional town on Once Upon a Time. While this Once Upon a Time t-shirt isn’t flashy, by any stretch, it certainly conveys what a lot of us are feeling a lot of the time.

Game of Thrones T-shirt

Here’s a cheeky Game of Thrones t-shirt for male fans.

Night's Watch T-shirt

Night’s Watch T-shirt

While he might not really be in the Night’s Watch, this Etsy t-shirt at least gives prospective mates the idea that this Game of Thrones fan has a sense of humor, even if he is still single.

Outlander T-shirt

Now, here’s a t-shirt I’m lucky enough to own myself. My sweet husband knows how much I like these sneaky geek t-shirts on Etsy, so he’s gotten me several of them over the years.

Sassenach T-shirt

Sassenach T-shirt

Are you scratching your head? Sassenach refers to an “outlander,” or specifically, an Englishman or Englishwoman who finds themselves in the Highlands of Scotland. It’s generally a deragatory term. Outlander fans know, however, that it is Jamie’s pet name for Claire. Well, one of them. Men, get your woman a Sassenach t-shirt if you want to show her you really are behind this whole Outlander thing she’s into.

What makes you different? What kind of fan are you? Etsy is celebrating our “un-similarities” in their Difference Makes Us campaign. Share what makes you a different kind of fan in our comments below or on our Facebook page.




A collection of sneaky geek t-shirts