One of the questions in the “musical meme” I posted recently, in which the answers were provided by the songs that cane up randomly on my iPod, was “What do you like in a guy?” I’ve known exactly how to answer that question ever since I read Christopher Moore’s summary description of his protagonist, Tucker Case, in Island of the Sequined Love Nun: “a geek in a cool guy’s body.”
Mind you, that was not a variety of geek I’d encountered very often – and I’ve had no shortage of experience with geeky guys. I was an honor student; I was an accounting major; my first husband was a scientist – heck, practically the only guys I had much experience with were geeks. However, as it turns out, there are several geeky-guy subspecies, and most of the ones I’ve known have fallen into the stereotypical category of “nerd,” complete with scientific/technical orientation and a history of playing Dungeons and Dragons, and they also looked the part – unfashionable, bespectacled, a bit out of place. There was no mistaking them for cool guys, whether they liked it or not. The few that weren’t identifiable as nerds on sight tended to try to to deny or submerge their geekery.
But I knew that Moore’s characterization of Tucker applied to my dream guy, whoever and wherever he might be.
It was nearly three years after my divorce from my first husband, the scientist, before I was ready to try dating again. Those three years had given me ample opportunity to think about what I wanted to find in a partner, and what mattered in a relationship. There were the big things, of course: compatible worldviews and values, intelligence, compassion – and, for me, sense of humor. But then there were any number of smaller things that I felt would make day-to-day relating more enjoyable, such as similar frames of pop-culture reference and tastes in entertainment. In order for those attributes to mesh well, a guy would have to be…well, a geek.
I went the online-dating route, and before long was introduced to several men. My correspondence with one in particular really clicked, and we agreed to meet in person for a weekend lunch date. He described himself as a “dork,” but other things I knew about him didn’t really jibe with my experience of dorks. He was creative – a trained artist/illustrator, working as a graphic designer – as opposed to scientific, he was into cars and motorcycles (he had regretfully sold his motorcycle not long before I met him, but still had most of his riding gear), and with his goatee and earring, he definitely didn’t look the part. He didn’t even need glasses, due to having recently had LASIK surgery on his eyes. I questioned his nerd bona fides, but looked forward to meeting him in person just the same.
Our Sunday lunch date lasted all afternoon, and we talked about all sorts of things, catching each other’s references right and left. After a few more dates, I knew for sure – the guy’s nerd credibility was established. He wasn’t a techie, but he loved his technology, especially if it was made by Apple; he knew his way around a comic-book store; his music and movie libraries were both extensive, and we knew and liked many of the same things in both of those spheres; and our senses of humor were warped in the same direction. He may not have looked the part, but he not only affirmed his nerdiness, he fully embraced it.
On my second date with this guy, I told him that I was “a geek’s dream girl” during a conversation about how many seasons’ worth of The Simpsons each of us owned on DVD (I had him beat). Apparently he agreed, since he asked me to marry him almost ten months later. And so far, we are living nerdily ever after – only a real nerd and his nerdy wife would be planning to spend part of the upcoming three day weekend at Star Trek: The Tour in Long Beach. I have found my geek in a cool guy’s body – and I have introduced him to Christopher Moore, who has become one of his favorite writers. I hope he’ll be able to get another motorcycle one day, but even if that doesn’t happen, we’ll keep living the dorky dream. We hit it off so easily, and so well, that it feels like we’ve known each other all our lives and sometimes I forget that we met online less than three years ago. But I never forget that, with me and my guy, nerdy is the new cool, and it’s here to stay.
(This post was actually inspired by my gratitude, upon finding the Weird Dating Email blog, that I hadn’t stayed in the online-dating scene all that long. I didn’t have to – I found my dream guy pretty quickly, and I appreciate him every day.)
I’ve mentioned The Park Bench before, but in a development actually somewhat relevant to the rest of this post, they have named Alton Brown as their “Nerd Man of the Month” for January. The Good Eats guy is the newest edition to “The Pantheon of Nerdy Men,” joining such previous honorees as Joss Whedon, John Hodgman (he’s a PC), and Comedy Central’s kings of fake news, Jon Stewart (yes!!!) and Stephen Colbert – to see the full list, go here and here.