Saturday, April 7, 2012

All Geek and Latin

Howard: I guess times have changed since we were young. Smart is the new sexy. 
Leonard: Then why do we go home alone every night? We're still smart. 
Raj: Maybe we're too smart. So smart it's off-putting. 

I grew up believing in the 'Knight in Shining Armour' theory. From fairy tales to chick-lit, almost everything perpetuated the theory further. That, you know, when you're in trouble, a mysterious man will appear out of nowhere, looking ridiculously handsome while balancing on a rioting white horse, and sweep you off your high heeled feet which are miraculously holding their own, in a tulip field where the winds could put a tornado to shame. (Okay, so I ripped that scene off Baazigar...but you know, we all dreamed of that scene. Admit it.)

And then, somewhat accidentally (I still haven't quite figured how it happened), I grew up, aced a couple of exams, landed up with laurels like 'Best Student' awards and a gold medal for my Master's and got labelled a Geek.

Geeks are, apparently, inversely proportional to the degree of attractiveness, according to a friend of mine, who claimed this to be true as soon as he heard I was a rank holder. To phrase him, 'Damn. You've just slipped a few notches down on my hotness scale', said he.

I could handle that, what with these uber-feminist How dare you brand beauty to be so shallow type lectures just waiting to spout out, but then I realized, that he may mean something after all. Being a Geek does have some effect on how people judge you.

And you know what's worse than just being a Geek? Being a Psychology geek. Not only does it mean you can read minds....duh...but you can now read minds accurately. 

So is that why all the Mills and Boon books that I claim to be a closeted fan of, make the girl all hapless and hopeless? Is that why the knight is the one doing the rescuing? Because the damsel is perpetually in distress, something she could have averted, had she been smarter? Is that why teenage rom-coms always have the college jock transforming the local geek into a supermodel and then falling in love with her? Is that why intelligent men are termed *hot* and intelligent women thought of as *opinionated busybodies* in conventional stories?

When we were kids, being a geek was cool. I remember people in my class (that I labelled intensely annoying, because they would do bizarre things like calculate relative percentages of everyone in class and give individual report cards of their own out of sheer lack of any constructive activity) would hanker to be around the dude who scored a 100 in an exam, just to 'pick up a few points'. How getting the most number of A's in class made you the ultimate champion of sorts. Most importantly, how Nirula's awarded you with a free chocolate float if you got above 90% in your exams.

So what happened to all those little charms of being a geek? (Sadly, Nirula's seem to have stopped the scheme...or so they claimed when I asked them...for my school going cousin, of course. Only.) Today, being a geek is all about wearing thick glasses, mismatched clothes, using words that can put a dictionary to shame....and of course, being hideously unappealing to the general public.

I wonder if that will ever change. As I open the latest Mills and Boon book (which, technically, as a geek, I shouldn't be reading in the first place), I wonder if the hero will ever let the heroine's intelligence speak for herself, rather than her limpid pools of turquoise eyes or shimmering wave of spun gold hair. I wonder if there will ever be a book on someone who is smart, and beautiful because of that.

I guess, some things will always remain Geek and Latin to me.