PEACHES GELDOF'S REVENGE OF THE NERDS
Princess Peach on the appeal of the underdog.
I HAVE A CONFESSION: I LOVE DORKS. And weirdos. And misfits. Show me a muscle-bound male model, and I will turn my head towards a bespectacled, skinny, and socially awkward boy instead. I'd take Clark Kent over Superman any day.
This story was published on March 24, 2009.
My first boyfriend was a total nerd. I was 14 years old and very impressed by his knowledge of comedy rap, his assortment of Scooby-Doo memorabilia, and his extensive action-figure collection. The second guy I dated had greasy, black hair, glasses so thick that they made his eyes look like fried-eggs and he possessed an unhealthy interest in biblical apocalypse theories. He could also quote lines from Home Alone at will.
As I got older, my friends were all into ruggedly good-looking jock types (the ones who looked like they could lift you up with one pinky), while I was swooning over boys who haunted the dive bars of east London. My heart would leap into my mouth every time one of those effeminate, unassuming oddballs met my open-mouthed stare. My palms would break out in a sweat when one of them ventured timidly onto the dance floor, doing a self-conscious shuffle with his gangly limbs.
I tend to pine for boys who have the shy charm of Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, the wit of Woody Allen, and the looks of Seth from The O.C. (who, with his love of comic books, won me over far more than bad boy Ryan). I prefer interesting conversation over toned biceps--there's something very appealing about a man who can overcompensate in the brain department. And these guys don't take women for granted: When you're a little wimpy and dressed in a Microsoft T-shirt, you have to work harder at getting female attention. Looks alone won't cut it, so perhaps their sweetness and computer literacy will.
I'm not alone in my love of beta males: Take Kate Moss, arguably the world's most iconic face, falling for skinny, unassuming cult-magazine editor Jefferson Hack. The slight chap fathered Kate's daughter, Lila, and is now engaged to the equally beautiful Anouk Lepere. Then there's French sex kitten Jane Birkin, who was turned on by the height-deficient, big-nosed crooner Serge Gainsbourg. And most recently, a small batttalion of gorgeous actresses has been championing the rise of rock-star geeks: Mandy Moore just wed the prince of folk-angst rock, Ryan Adams (who has a penchant for shrunken, luridly colored wool sweaters and a pageboy haircut). And Zooey Deschanel is engaged to Ben Gibbard, the tortured soul from emo warblers Death Cab for Cutie (a band any self-respecting geek must have a poster of). Natalie Portman even jumped on the bandwagon, briefly dating the musically gifted, commune-dweller look-alike, Devendra Banhart.
In the end, most of us just seem to want someone who can be self-deprecating--someone who knows his shit and isn't hiding behind a cliched macho front. Nerds are the loveable mavericks of an overbearingly masculine society that is driven by old-fashioned ideals. These Dungeons & Dragons-loving, Einstein-quoting, chunky spectacles-wearing guys are the true catches.--PEACHES GELDOF