Wednesday, April 01, 2015

In The Pursuit of Happiness: On the evolution of geeks

Yesterday, we began an intimate look inside the ever-evolving world of geekdom, and I shared a quote from Lauren Stracner, a Los Angeles-based PR coordinator and self-proclaimed nerd fan. Today, I'm psyched to share the rest of our interview! Ready to get your geek on? Here. We. Go...


A bit of background about Lauren: I work for a public relations firm that specializes in working with consumer electronics clients. In 2009, I went to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to work at a client’s booth, and CES is where I met my boyfriend. The Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions was being filmed at the Sony booth, and I secured stand-by tickets for the final show. I was #5 in line, he was #6 -- all bespectacled, curly-haired 6’9” of him. We had two hours to talk and the rest is history.

Why have geeks suddenly gained such credibility now?
The joke phrase "the geek shall inherit the earth" has come true: We've become a society that’s almost wholly dependent on technology not just for entertainment, but for making our day-to-day lives run smoothly. Even non-geeks are trying to out-geek each other by lining up for the latest consumer electronics gadgets. Even Hollywood stops for geeks when Comic-con International -- a.k.a. Nerdvana -- rolls into San Diego every year, with studios previewing their latest blockbusters to gauge the all-important reactions from the attendees. Smart phones, high-powered laptops, super-realistic video games, eye-popping movie special effects -- geeks are behind all that now “wows” us, making the brains that develop such toys the new hot commodity.

Why have they been avoided as potential dates in the past?
Societal pressure from movies, television, magazines and books has always dictated that geeks should be shuffled to the sidelines as the endearing sidekick to the more masculine romantic lead. A perfect example of this is actually embodied in my boyfriend, who has long had several close girl friends who had no desire to actually close that space and become a girlfriend because he was a geek and not the guy they felt they should be dating. Their loss. ;)

However, with the culture shift towards an emphasis on science and technology, geeks are in the spotlight, as is their success. With the exposure, they’re also finally able to shed the basement-dwelling gamer stereotypes and present themselves as clever, funny, even cute people with multi-layered interests and an endless supply of conversation topics. With smart becoming a new form of sexy, they’re definitely transitioning from third-wheel to main catch.

What can women gain by giving a geek a chance?
Most geeks make great conversation because they’re excited about learning and want to share their knowledge and engage in discussions. Also, in my personal experiences, geeks don’t try to adhere to the expected alpha-male model of masculinity; they aren't afraid to be sweet, sensitive and genuine.
What are the best hot spots for meeting a lovable geek?
As I mentioned, I met my geek at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. I’ve also talked to some great geek guys at Comic-Con, Siggraph (a graphic artists’ convention) and E3 (a game developers’ convention). However, most of these are industry events I get into because of my job, but alternative approaches are out there. The most important thing is to go where geeks are in their element and comfortable. You’re probably not going to pick up a geek at a trendy bar.

P.S. An EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT is coming up this afternoon! Get pumped, friends! :)

[Photos via We Heart It]

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