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A couple of days ago I returned to my native land of Loveland to celebrate my grandpa’s birthday. After the grueling 45-minute drive, I was parched. I swung by my favorite NoCo java joint, Loveland Coffee Company, where I noticed the barista had a huge tattoo on her forearm featuring an ornate “221B.”

So. Badass. (Sherlock Holmes abode.)

I love tattoos. I get emotional over the commitment people make to their tattoos the way other girls get emotional over weddings. I look at them the way people look at babies on the street. I love hearing the stories behind people’s tattoos and making up stories for the people I don’t ask about their ink.

So, natch, I commented on the barista’s Holmes devotion and we fangirled over actor Benedict Cumberbatch and she told me about how I just HAD to read the books — and that I should at least give “Elementary” a try. It was wonderful.

Not only is getting inked with your favorite nerdy words/symbols/images a hardcore way to show your devotion to your passions — it’s also a way to find fellow nerds form a bond over it. I’m all about building nerdy relationships, so I wholeheartedly endorse this method of nerd searching.

Of course, I feel obligated to include the standard “tattoos are forever, make sure you really want it, think about your employer etc. etc.” speech… it’s decent advice, and I think it’s important to consider. But it’s also your own fleshy canvas, and I think you should be able to do whatever you want with it.

Some of my friends have the coolest nerdy tattoos I’ve ever seen. A friend of mine who majored in MCDB has a tattoo of DNA on one leg and the Deathly Hallows on another; one has a Shakespeare quote between her shoulder blades and a couple of friends of mine are inked with the “Quake 2” logo.

I have friends who are huge fans of different artists, from Salvador Dali to Banksy. What better way to celebrate that passion than to get that art on their bodies?

I don’t have any nerdy tattoos, and I’m not really planning any, but I have mad respect for the people who are committed enough to mark themselves with what they love.

Nerd life is all about expressing your excitement for the things you care about. It doesn’t matter whether you choose to do that by finding friends with similar interests, blogging, collecting memorabilia, cosplaying or getting yourself inked.

If you do get a kickass nerdy tattoo, be prepared to answer a lot of questions — and possibly even to make some new friends.

Jessica Ryan is a community manager and CU grad. She writes about nerdy things once a week for the Colorado Daily. On Twitter: @JessicaLRyan.