Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Nerdy-Sexy

In Kissing Jessica Stein, two women are discussing men and the term "ugly-sexy" comes up. One of them defines the quality by listing a number of actors who have it: Harvey Keitel, Jeff Goldblum, James Woods. Yeah (except for Keitel, who rather repulses me on every level), I can get behind that list. But I am more of a nerd-loving kind of girl. I just love really brainy guys with quirky looks who aren't dangerous or menacing (unlike Woods and Keitel, for example).

I have since compiled a list of nerdy-sexy guys to whom I've grown attached of late. Some of them are characters in much-loved movies and t.v. shows, some of them, the actors who play them.

Jefferson Smith (as portrayed by Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) - Jefferson Smith is one of my favorite nerds. Earnest, bright, but not very worldly, he finally catches wise and learns how to make the system work in his favor. His sincerity and integrity prevail over the twin evils of greed and injustice and he manages with one philibuster to clear his good name, foil the unholy, power-mongering politicians and get Jean Arthur by end titles. Where are the Jefferson Smiths when you need 'em?

Alan Rickman (British actor, director) -- I've had it bad for Alan Rickman for a very long time. Why he doesn't just leave his lifelong partner of 30 years, economist Rima Horton, and run away with me, I'll never understand. I think I completely fell in love with him for his portrayal of sniffly ghost Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply. Oh, sure, he's plenty menacing in a lot of his roles, but even as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and his uneasy, secretive Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films, there was a touch of abject nerdy awkwardness. He's quirky and a more than a little odd, and anyone who can pull down his trousers to reveal a sexless, Ken-doll-like pubic area (as Metatron in Dogma) with such dash and aplomb -- why, that's the nerd for me.

Dr. Carl Sagan -- Smart, sexy, a stylish little overbite and, man, oh, man, those turtlenecks. I was in college (the first time around) when Cosmos debuted on PBS in 1980. I never missed an episode. He was forthright about his belief in the Drake equation, which used mathematical calculation to prove that there must be life in the universe, because for Earth to be the only planet that bore life would simply be statistically improbable. Any guy who can make algebra sexy (while wearing a turtleneck, mind you) can whisk me away to his alternative universe any day. Sagan scoffed at all the then-popular "ancient astronauts" claptrap, because the claims couldn't withstand the scientific standards for putting theories to the test in his book "The Demon- Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark," (the title alone just makes you want to sleep with him, doesn't it?) which included such axioms as "Try not to get too attached to a hypothesis just because it's yours," and "If there are two hypotheses that explain the data equally well choose the simpler (Occam's razor)." If he had an enormous ego (he was a Scorpio, after all -- ahem), he managed to keep it well-hidden in favor of the science.

Adrien Brody (Academy-award winning actor who kissed Halle Berry like she's never been kissed before or since -- and who was kissed the following year by Charlize Theron). Let me tell you something. I got me five dollars here that says there were girls in Adrien Brody's high school who swore they'd die before they'd let him anywhere near them, who are now kicking their own ever-expanding Elmhurst housewife asses for being so stupid. If I were twenty years younger, I'd stalk this boy and marry him right quick. You go, boy. (Darn that Halle Berry anyway -- she gets to have all the fun!)

Frank Darabont (director, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Majestic) -- the only one of my nerd crushes that I've actually met (I moderated this Q&A with him for Fox Searchlab). Frank happily embraces his nerdiness and flaunts it like a badge of honor, God love 'im. Frank seems to have settled nicely into the filmmaker nerd role, along with friends George Lucas (maxo-nerd) and Steven Spielberg (uber-nerd of the first order). We are less than two months apart in age and grew up less than three miles apart, and I'm stunned I never met him while we were growing up (I knew a bunch of kids at his school, Hollywood High). Now, I understand he's gotten married to Collateral producer Julie Richardson. I guess it was never meant to be between Frank and me. Which is a damn shame, since my daughter was already picking out the color Porsche she was going to buy if he ever became her stepfather. Sucks to be her, I guess, huh.

David Levinson (as portrayed by Jeff Goldlum in Independence Day) -- if Goldblum's Ian Macolm (Jurassic Park) was "ugly-sexy", his scientist-turned-superhero in ID4 was the height of nerdy-sexiness. Geeky, awkward, hopelessly in love with a wife who won't talk to him, and jealous of the man he thinks has stolen her affections (who also happens to be the hunky President of the United States) -- so much so that he actually punches him in the nose -- Levinson finds himself shunted into herodom with his cranky father (Judd Hirsch) and hotdog fighter pilot (Will Smith). Still, he's funny when he's frightened and charming when he's falling all over himself and how Margaret Collin manages to resist him for the first 120 minutes of the movie is an utter and complete mystery to me.

And, finally, Dann Florek (L.A. Law (as direct-marketing nerd-king Dave Meyer; Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU (as slightly less nerdy, but just-nerdy-enough-to-be-sexy Capt. Donald Cragen)) -- Dann Florek won my heart as the painfully socially challenged Dave Meyer, who managed to pursuade financially troubled legal secretary Roxanne Mehlman to marry him on NBC's L.A. Law. He went on to play badge-and-gun-toting-nerd-of-authority Capt. Don Cragen on the first three seasons of Law & Order and then to reprise the role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for the past six (going on seven) seasons. Aside from being a really good dramatic actor, he's got a way with comedy, and he can take a potentially obnoxious character like Meyer and embue in him such an underlying sweetness that he was watchable for a season or two (rather than what I'm sure would have been, with any other actor in the role, six episodes at most, then -- blam! -- hit by a bus). Florek also distinguishes himself in another way. Florek doesn't just play a nerd on t.v. -- he actually is one in real-life. According to his L&O:SVU bio, Florek started as a math and physics major at Eastern Michigan University, only to switch to theater because -- get this! -- he thought acting might be "more fun than synthetic projective geometry." Oh, my Jesus gay! Beat me, whip me, teach me differential calculus -- baby, I'm all yours.

So, there's more about me than you ever wanted to know, I'm sure. I suppose I like nerds because I know that I need a guy with a brain, who can hold up his end of the conversation. I need someone who is more interested in what's going on with the world than what's going on with his crow's feet. I just sense that I'd work with a nerd, perhaps because I'm kind of one myself (or so my kid tells me). Not a math nerd -- more of a natural sciences nerd, who as young child pointed out to her mother that paisley was kind of creepy because the pattern looked like amoebae swimming around under a microscope. I figure there must be a nerd out there with my name on him. It's only a matter of time before he finds me.

~CA~

14 comments:

  1. Ah-ha! You see Johnny!! She is just an imaginary Star F**er. Whereas I love you blindly, madly and truely FOR WHO YOU ARE!

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  2. Mmmm...Alan Rickman! I've liked him ever since Die Hard.

    Great post. :)

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  3. Ah, Rhonda... You've sussed my secret. Johnny, while smart and odd, is not anywhere nerdy enough for me. Take him. He's yours. Just... please... be good to him.

    Tracey -- Die Hard... where he was a Euro-nerd. "Mr. Takagi won't be joining us for... the rest of his life." He rocks.

    ~CA~

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  4. Okay... you're a "LITTLE BIT" of a nerd? Ha! Very understated. But that's what I love about you.

    I completely agree and seem to have the same problem in the men I've dated. I need intellectual stimulation more than, well... nerds tend to be more teachable than other men... so I'm not as concerned about their OTHER skills.

    However, I have to say that I wouldn't kick a rocket scientist (with a burnin' hot body and the face of a model) out of bed. :D

    Great post. I should ponder a list of my own.

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  5. I think the same could be said for women - there is a very definite sexiness in those who are not perfect - too perfect is just that - too!

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  6. mmmmmmmm.....adrian brody!.....I gave you a few of those!!!!!.....because I know my Catharine as if I've known her all my life!.........oh.......wait.....
    nevermind

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  7. amoebae......LOL GOD MOM YOUR SUCH A NERD!!!!!!!!

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  8. I have always been attracted to the nerdy types. The attraction goes away when I get close enough to detect the bad breath. And I keep searching for the Jeff Smith/Jimmy Stewart type. But I'm not holding my breath (which is loaded with mint candy).

    Love your blog!

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  9. Oh, I am so with you when it comes to Alan Rickman. Did you ever see him in "Rasputin" - which I have a video copy of that is one of my prized possessions - it has written on the side by my ex-husband "Rasputin, starring Alan Rickman, who my wife likes more than me..."

    Jude Law does nothing for me. Adrien Brody? Woof.

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  10. ummm ok so nerdy guys are sexy now?! Why didn't somebody tell me!

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  11. Ddot the King - What? You didn't get the memo?

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  12. you know who you forgot? William Peterson in CSI....Grisum.....bad spelling I know....but I know you're in love with him mom....

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  13. You know, I thought about Grissom, but he's a little too conventionally handsome to be considered nerdy-sexy. Johnny Depp falls into that catagory, too -- unconventional, quirky guys who are totally hot. Not really "nerdy-sexy" in the true sense of the word.

    But I DID realize I forgot someone from the list, though. Paul Giamatti from SIDEWAYS and AMERICAN SPLENDOR. The epitome of "nerdy-sexy"... I may have to do a "nerdy-sexy part deux."

    ~CA~

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  14. yes.....you just might

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