For the Love of Geeks

Lizz Zitron

I love boys with glasses, who look like they cut their own hair, who wear their grandfather’s clothes. I love boys who trip over cords, fall when they go upstairs and stammer and blush when I talk to them. I am a sucker for scientists with no social skills and English majors with no shoelaces in their shoes. I think accordions and pocket protectors are sexy. They won’t dump you for a cheerleader because you gained five pounds. Nerds don’t care if you have PMS or zits or if you wear sweatpants all day. In fact, they are just so thrilled to be in your presence, they plain worship the ground you walk on. They are even willing to take ballroom dance lessons. And enjoy them. You might think you couldn’t take a nerd out. Sure, he does well one-on-one, but you are worried he will embarrass you at the next beer bust by discussing the intricacies of double crystal defractometers. Most likely he will, but you would be surprised at how many people actually find intelligent and challenging conversations interesting. Remarkably, many of your cohorts are sick of discussing this week’s “Must See TV.” Your nerd’s knowledge of medieval religious rhetoric is a welcome alternative to getting drunk and hitting on the same people with no success. Sure, your friends might think he is having a seizure out on the dance floor, but this guy loves you so much he will make a fool of himself if it makes you happy. And, my mother always says, grab the man who will dance with you; those kind are few and far between.

You might think the Ricky Martins of the world are the way to go when choosing a man. “But, he’s so pretty,” you whine. Okay, but do you really want to be associated with a man who makes his living shaking his bon-bon, and encouraging others to do so? How faithful do you really think such a man will be? And, what about his career potential? Do you really think Ricky Martin will have a stable job in five years? A nerd will never spend a year flipping through the want ads in between stock-car racing or send you out to get beer. Nerds have stable careers and employment records, which means they can take you out on real dates and don’t ask to borrow money.

There is a downside to nerds. While they are prevalent and generally highly successful in our society, they tend to resemble turtles on the dating scene. Very rarely will a geek actually ask you out. You could sit on a nerd’s lap and start nibbling on his ear and he will ask in all sincerity if you are trying to tell him something. The reasons for a nerd not making that initial move vary. Nice guys often think since you are so pretty, you must clearly already have a dashing, rich, Italian boyfriend who jets you off to Europe on the weekends. After all, you are a girl; therefore, you must be taken. This is the dating logic of a geek. Or, he doesn’t get it. You might think it is obvious that wearing your cutest outfits and baking him cookies means you would not mind kissing him at a later date. He just thinks you are a really nice girl, but by golly, he is just a nerd and you are a girl, and girls do not go out with geeks. He actually probably fantasizes about you at least every two minutes (all men do), but would never let himself consciously hope that any of his thoughts about you in a Xena costume have a chance of coming true. Geeks tend to have fragile egos and prefer dreaming than risking rejection. It can be frustrating to throw yourself at a man with no apparent clue you are female.

In fact, it’s my pet theory we women date assholes because we are so grateful for the attention. Sad, but true. An ******* flirts back, often approaching you first, and goes in for the kill quickly. After spending what feels like futile months trying to get a geek to ask you out, you may be tempted by one of these bold Don Juans. I know. I have too often settled for a slick jerk looking for a trophy because he was the only man who asked me out in a year. Trying to date a jerk can take a toll on your ego. You begin to wonder what is wrong with you: are you unattractive, charmless, and completely undesirable? Trust me, it is not you.

You have to be willing to put time, patience and work into a geek. But it is worth it. My friend Rachael’s geek sent her a new monitor after hers blew up. Another good friend’s nerdy husband built her an observatory on the roof of their house (which he also built, according to her specifications). I know a girl whose computer-programmer boyfriend sends flowers each week with inscriptions no pretty boy could comprehend, let alone write. I dated one geek who took care of me when I was so sick my own mother would not come near me. In between vomiting, as he held my hair back, he would sigh and say, “You are so beautiful.” He meant it.

If you still need convincing and are not sure you want to invest in a nerd, I have one more thing to say: A geek will never, ever ask you to wait until the game is over.