Forum Thread: How to Recognize a Steampunk

Steampunks don't always walk around wearing their full Steampunk finery, so how can you tell whether someone is a Steampunk or not? Here's a tongue-in-cheek (and yet 100% true!) guide to help you determine whether someone you know is a Steampunk.

They may be a Steampunk if....

  • ...their eyes light up whenever someone throws something metal away.
  • ...their everyday clothes are several decades out of date.
  • ...they adopt an English accent for no discernible reason.
  • ...they wear goggles but don't actually need them.
  • ...all of their plastic items have been spray-painted to look like brass.
  • ...they own more than one hat that isn't a baseball cap or a fedora.
  • ...many of their stories start with "I was in the workshop and..."
  • ...they eschew a wristwatch in favor of a pocket watch.
  • ...they use words like "eschew".
  • ...they own more broken than working clocks.
  • ...they own more books than movies.
  • .......most of which were written more than a hundred years ago.
  • ...they take pride in how old their belongings are.
  • ...they own more than one set of cufflinks.
  • ...they know what a cravat and/or bustle is.
  • ......and the difference between a gear and a cog.
  • ...their Nerf guns are all in various stages of being painted and/or taken apart.
  • ...their ears perk up whenever someone says the word "esteem".
  • ...they have a crush on Nikola Tesla.
  • ......and they get angry whenever someone mentions Thomas Edison.
  • ...their wardrobe consists entirely of shades of brown.
  • ......and yet will tell you that brown isn't the only color in Steampunk.
  • ...they use a smart phone, but it has a wood or leather case.
  • ...they visit their local thrift store more often than their local department store.
  • ...they've picked up something someone has thrown away and said, "Oh, I could make ___ out of this..."
  • ...they visit the hardware or sewing supply store more often than the grocery store.
  • ...they work odd historical facts into every conversation.
  • ...they used to drink coffee, but now exclusively drink tea instead.
  • ...even their underwear is historically accurate.
  • ......or only their underwear is historically accurate.
  • .........or their underwear is so concealing that it would qualify as outerwear.
  • ...when they refer to The Wild, Wild West without the word "bad", they mean the TV show from 1965, and not the 1999 movie.
  • ......and likewise when they refer to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, they mean the comic books and not the movie.
  • ...when they wear Steampunk clothes, they insist that it's an "outfit, not a costume".
  • ...they carry a cane, but don't need it.
  • ...they own a parasol, and don't refer to it as an umbrella, or worse as a "sunbrella".
  • ...they don't like anise, but cultivated a taste for absinthe.
  • ......or they drink vodka screwdrivers just for the name.
  • .........or they've learned to appreciate the taste of gin.
  • never occurred to them to wear their corset under their clothes.
  • ...they are convinced that they alone know the true definition of Steampunk.

If more than five of these apply, the person in question is probably a Steampunk. If more than ten of these apply, the person in question is definitely a Steampunk.

If more than twenty of these apply, the person in question doesn't need a list for other people to know they're Steampunk, because they ooze it out of every pore!

Cover photo by Amy Ratcliffe

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9 Responses

I am definately Steam Punk then

wow...I didn't know it was so I know why I'm separated after 20 years!!
I didn't count how many I had because I thought it was just a check list of my traits!!!
Bloody fasinating...oops ther's that Engish accent!!
Time for a spot of tea before I go back to my workshop. I need to update my site

...they adopt an English accent for no discernible reason.
Please insert the word "affected" in front of "English" in the above.

I'm sorry to tell you that what you Americans think of as an English accent is unlike anything any British person has ever spoken, except on American TV.

The cockney accent you portray only exists in Mary Poppins.
The Lara Croft, Amanda Tapping and all the other British lady characters accent too has absolutely no basis in reality.
English girls/ladies/women do not say generally "Bloody Hell".
Today they are more likely to say those words which are not permitted on your overly controlled and censored tv.

I'm English and bloody hell is one of my most used expressions! I must admit that many of the above list seems to apply to me. Today I purchased a broken old clock for parts and some brown thread for altering a corset, seems like perfectly normal behaviour to me ;p xxx

OK, I meet about 15 of these criteria, so I guess I qualify.

Definately over 20, Im absolutely mad for it! lol

In defense of corsets worn on the outside, a well made corset is not cheap and personally, if I'm spending over $50-$100 (high qualityand custom made ones often run into and over the $200's) I want to show it to the world

I laughed out loud at some of these: odd historical facts especially. You've nailed it. Thanks, man!

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