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Friday, March 25, 2011

I Heart Geeks

I'm coming to a point in my WiP when I need to introduce the love interest, and I can't bring myself to make the "dream guy" be someone I wouldn't be attracted to. I like a nice guy whose a bit of a geek, always have. Hubs is a bit of a geek. I'm DEFINITELY a geek.

I knew there was a difference between and nerd and a geek. But until I looked up the terms on, I thought it was much better to be a nerd than a geek. For some reason, most of the T-shirts say "I Heart Nerds" and "Nerds Are Cool". So why are geeks getting the shaft? Maybe Best Buy is on to something with their Geek Squad.


–noun Slang .
a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.
an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer nerd.


–noun Slang .
a computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.)
a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.

Take these two definitions (ignore the carnival performer who bites off chicken heads - not sure why that's in there). Based on these, a nerd is like a Napoleon Dynamite - a bit of a weirdo and a social outcast, who talks about ligers and puts tater tots in his pocket. A geek is like Bill Gates - a bit awkward and maybe not the most exciting, but is a smart guy. Both might not (OK definitely not) have rugged good looks, but it's the geek who has the brains and basically more to offer a leading lady. Combine those brains with the "nice guy" factor and a sweet smile, and I'm butter. I want my MC to turn into butter too, so I figure I should write what I know. It wouldn't feel real if she fell for a bad boy or a hunky model. He has to have that nerd/geek factor.

To illustrate, here are some of the famous geeks who have all of those factors: geeky, sweet, a bit awkward, romantic and nice smile. Because I don't know what these actors are like in real life, I'm basing my descriptions on their characters and their looks:

Peter Parker in Spiderman - so smart and attractive, especially when he first gets his muscles. Yowza! Plus he's super sweet and not afraid to wear his emotions on his - um - spidey suit. And he's a super hero! How can you get any better than that? It's funny because people say Hubs looks just like him, so there you go.

Jim Halpert from The Office (which I happened to be watching as I wrote this blog post). He has that goofy smile and great sense of humor. Plus, he's a closet romantic and much smarter than he lets on. He's maybe not as geeky as Peter Parker, but he has the geek look for sure.
Mac guy from the Mac vs. PC commercials. He too has that geeky look and funny smirk. And he's obviously smarter than the goofy PC guy (though personally I like PCs, oh well). He also has a charm that's difficult to define, but definitely there. Justin Long has these factors in other roles he plays too.

And last but certainly not least, Chuck Bartowski from the NBC show Chuck. He has it all: the goofy, awkward smile, romantic and not afraid to show it, super sweet and he has a freakin' computer in his head. Plus he wears Chuck Taylor shoes, ha ha. Before he was the intersect he was still brilliant, even though he worked at the Buy More. But now he's a spy! Super cool and also super geeky. Though he lost some of the charm when he cut his hair because he doesn't look quite as geeky (I almost put nerdy, whoops).

All of these guys wouldn't be considered "dreamboats" in any sense, but I am much more attracted to them than some model type with tan muscles. I guess it's the emotional attraction being more powerful than the physical because I know that a geeky guy is more likely to be a good partner.

When you create a love interest, do you make him/her someone you would be attracted to? (Assuming the love interest is the gender you are attracted to.) Have you ever written a love interest you weren't attracted to, and did it feel real? What characteristics are you attracted to? Do you think it's better to be a geek or a nerd, or does it matter?


  1. Wow, I had no idea about the chicken heads! How gross! Chuck Bartowski is my favorite geek ever, and on a side note, did you know Zachary Levi can sing? The love interest in my MS is not necessarily geeky or nerdy, but he's just a regular guy. But he is super nice, like my husband :)

  2. I like to make love interests that are the antithesis of their partner. That doesn't work for real life partners of course but in fiction it gives a lot tension in their relaionship and when they finally get together they have developed more as individuals as well as a couple and even each other out.

    Also geeks are better than nerds. Hands down.

  3. Sorry I'm so late replying to your comments!

    @Jeigh - Oh I love Zachary Levi. Did you see him sing live with Mandy Moore at the Oscars? I was so impressed!

    @Taryn - I like the opposites attract angle too. Almost like a forbidden love, which is instantly more exciting.