Note: As always, follow my continuing journey on my personal blog, So about what I said...
I first spotted Cute Cafeteria Guy one sunny spring afternoon as I sat down to eat my usual, boring lunch. The cafeteria was crowded, but it didn’t seem to bother him as he tucked himself away at a corner toward the back. He had that boyish cuteness about him, his attention transfixed on his laptop, which of course was a state-of-the-art model.
He remained quiet, shy and reserved, and I remained, well, very interested. He was mysterious and I wanted to know more. Over the next week, I continued to spot him as I sipped my Mountain Dew and tried to work up the courage to approach him. But he suddenly disappeared, and alas, my hopes were quickly and swiftly dashed.
Actually, his disappearance made me want to seek out more of his kind. Why? Because ripples of change are coursing through the modern love scene. Thin is definitely not in. Pretty boys and party boys are oh so passé. And masculine, muscular men? That’s just mundane.
Those were the top three ‘man types’ that made my list of “ECK NO” when I recently found myself in a man-hunt rut. Maybe it was the weather or maybe it was something in the water, but the classic male mold (think all-American, clean cut, chiseled twentieth century walking, talking versions of Michaelangelo’s David) just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. They had their heyday, but were now sadly, sorely outdated. A cool piece of arm candy at one time, but now all-too stale. Expiration date long passed.
Before long, Cute Cafeteria Guys suddenly appeared all over the place – in the library, in the bookstore, slinking in the shadows. He looked a little scared, a little mysterious, and his arm candy typically consisted of, not a pretty bubbly blonde, but a laptop, cell phone, ipod or some equally shiny techy gadget. I also noticed he could rattle off comic book and Star Wars trivia with ease, gossiped about Bill Gates and the latest version of Windows Vista.
It was official: I was intrigued.
A coworker recently proclaimed on his blog that “Nerd is the new cool.” He’s right. There’s never been a better time to be a bit quirky, offbeat, a little left of center. With shows like The Big Bang Theory (to answer your question: Yes, I am in love with all four of those geeks, but if I had to choose one to play video games with, it would have to be Howard Wolowitz), Mr. Bespeckled no long has to hide under the peripheral radar. The time has come where it’s finally hip to be a square.
So how did those self-proclaimed nerds go from geek to chic? And what can we women gain by hopping on the Geek Express? Though their mystery still lingers in the air, I do have a few pertinent theories.
Out with the In crowd
It comes down to this: There’s something incredibly sexy about a guy who doesn’t give a damn about following the crowd. They’re comfortable enough in their own skin to do their own thing even if it’s casually displaying a prize-winning Lightsaber in their living room. With the geek, there are no rules, no expectations, no ‘reputation’ he simply has to uphold or else the world will crumble to pieces. Like Diet Sprite, it’s delightfully refreshing. Plus, as my friend Samantha says, geeks don’t realize they’re actually hot, so they retain that charming sense of modesty. The lesson: Nothing is worse than an arrogant frat boy.
Smart is the new sexy
I ended up in the hospital due to an allergic reaction to a medication when I was 20. It was there I was introduced to what I view now as the obvious sexiest part of the human body: the brain. I can still picture Steven (that was the medical resident) who oversaw my case. One morning, he came to take my blood, his eyes poised and fixated as he ran his index finger up and down my arm looking for a ripe, blue vein. All the while, he chatted about my prognosis like we were old friends. He later told me that I’d been one of his bravest patients. When he left, I had to check to make sure my fever was actually gone!
Geeks, I’m told, have an amazing memory, so things like your anniversary, the day you met, even the day you learned to ride a bike as a kid will never escape his brain. In a world where women have to practically put Post-It notes on their boyfriend’s head to remind him to brush their teeth, this geek trait is awesomely refreshing.
The lesson: There’s nothing sexier than a man who knows what he’s talking about, whether it be cooking, sports or, yes, even medicine, not in a pompous way, but with a subtle air of confidence. And of course, my Dr. McDreamy’s glasses and lab coat didn’t hurt either.
Geeks are passionate
I recently met Matt, a self-professed geek, who told me that “If they like something that much (in his case, it was Star Wars), they stick with it.” Geeks are passionate about what they love....Yes, that may mean Star Wars and Star Trek conventions, but think of everything else it means: YOU, YOU and YOU. They probably throw themselves wholeheartedly into a love affair with you; true, his idea of romance might be designing a Web site devoted to the two of you, complete with alarmingly realistic avatars of you two at the beach, but this will last longer than the already-worn-out gift of roses and chocolate. Their boundless imagination will make every one of your past relationships seem too stereotypical and downright boring. I’ve never experienced it first-hand, but I’m sure this enthusiasm and imagination extends to, well, you know…
Geeks are comfortable in their own skin
They wear their ‘costume’ with pride: the glasses, the perfectly set hair and sometimes an old-school pocket protector for some added flair. Superficiality has no place in his world, so why not let him teach you how to love the skin you’re in? You’d be surprised how sexy he thinks you are without makeup or the way his Lord of the Rings shirt brings out your blue eyes in the early morning light.
Of course, the awkwardness and dorkiness is absolutely adorable too. I’ll admit that I saw Superbad three times after I fell in love with Michael Cera and McLovin.’ Anyone remember Cera’s character’s awkward rendition of “These Eyes.”? Pure poetry.
Geeks can show you a whole new world
Being with a geek will ultimately mean truly immersing yourself in his world. His loves (video games, sci-fi flicks, endless discussions on the newest ipod) may, surprisingly, become your loves too. But like the gentleman that he is, the geek will never force his world upon you. Instead, you two can enjoy the leisurely swapping of activities, like going to his gaming convention one weekend and watching your favorite romantic comedy the next.
As my friend Amanda summarized, “They don't care what’s hip and what’s not; all they care about is you and what happens to you. They don't care about being superficial; they realize you don't live in high school forever and life is hard, but if you have those special "geeks" in life, you can get through anything!!!”
In case you were wondering: I’m pretty sure ‘getting through anything’ means you’ll have your very own Mr. Fix-It 24/7. What more could a woman want?