Courtesy my fellow Annenberger Tara, we have today a veritable media blitz on why the ladies love the geeks.
The text articles (which are identical, as far as I can tell) feature discussion of “Secret Science Clubs” overflowing with women swooning over geeky guys, plus comments and stories from Beauty and the Geek winner Josh Herman.
Josh mentions that people sometimes accuse him of not being a geek, which I find interesting: If the brainy guy who admits to vomiting around beautiful women doesn’t count, who does? It’s a great example, though, of how some people’s definition of ‘geek’ may be shifting to rhyme with ‘chic,’ while others’ stays fixed on the assumption that geeks can’t be witty or charming. The article recognizes a distinction, too, between different kinds of geeks, stating outright that some are more worth your time than others:
There are degrees of geekiness, of course, ranging from the unsocialized Dungeon & Dragon-heads (who probably would be better off as cave-dwellers) to Star Wars buff s who, though they appear normalâ€”true story from a friendâ€”just canâ€™t wait to show off their chocolate Millennium Falcon in their freezer once they get you home. Then there are the functional geeks, who, aside from an overweening affection for model ships, motherboards, or Iron Chef, make perfectly passable boyfriends.
This notion is echoed in the comments on Tango by at least one self-identified female geek, who also singles out fantasy RPG gaming (this time, computer-based) as on the less acceptable side of geekiness:
There are two types of male geeks: redeemed and unredeemable. The redeemed ones actually know something. The unredeemed ones can go back to WarCraft and rot for all I care. Who put them on the list of chic??
Accompanying the article are simple surveys from TODAY site (image in case that ever disappears) and Tango on whether the audience would prefer geeky guys or musclebound guys (and here’s another image).
If you’re looking for further reading material, see Josh’s field guide to geeks, featuring entries such as:
The Science/Math Geek (Pythagoras MITulis)
Markings: Lab coat, TI-89 Titanium Calculator, pen marks on hands.
Indigenous to: College labs, secret science clubs, open-to-the-public lectures.
Mating call: â€œBaby, youâ€™ve got more curves than an Erlenmeyer flask.â€
If approached: Know your PoincarÃ© Conjecture from your string theory. Or donâ€™t. As all these are theories, just say everything with conviction, or â€œMaybe it doesnâ€™t make senseâ€”in this dimension.â€
The rest of the examples were more media-oriented (comics, games, computers, etc.), but that one was my personal favorite. (That pickup line would probably go over well with my girlfriend, and the “in this dimension” line would definitely work on me.)
Also check out a video link to a roundtable on TODAY with a psychotherapist, a Tango editor, and the aforementioned Josh Herman (who looks much better with his hair grown back out, IMHO). The TV segment includes an unscientific but tongue-in-cheek survey of whether women would prefer a photo of a bodybuilder or TODAY’s intern, some discussion of the genuineness and passion of geeks, and recollection of how women’s tastes have changed since high school (which the psychotherapist pins on changing scales of masculine status). Text cues pop up on the bottom of the screen, including “Geeks are sensitive because they have been made fun of before,” “Geeks are not for all women,” and “Can require time & effort.”
As for the geek’s perspective: Asked to define what makes a geek, Josh replies with a self-denigrating witticism first, and then with, “It’s all about passion.” I suspect those aren’t actually two different answers, but two sides of the same answer, if we’re to be honest with ourselves.
And finally, it might also be worth it to see what people commenting on Tango have to say. There are only 10 comments so far, but they include some words of agreement, some reminders that women can be geeks too, and one really baffled and irritated guy who is wondering how he got beaten by the nerds.