Science Guys and Why Women Love Them

Asimov once wrote an article about why women found Spock sexy. Far be it from me to follow in the great man's footsteps, but I will attempt a similar analysis of TV (male) scientists.

First, and this may get confusing, there is the image of the male scientist: the nerd in a lab absorbed by some obscure subject matter. I will call this the "classic" image.

Now, there are real classic TV scientists and then there are fake classic TV scientists. Real classic TV scientists, of whom Hugh Laurie's Dr. House is the latest addition, are those who are believable nerds in a lab absorbed by some obscure subject matter. They say all the right stuff in the right way with the right attitude.

Fake classic TV scientists are those whom the audience are suppose to find classic despite the fact that they look and act like classic jocks. Nick from CSI is an example of a fake scientist; we are told that he was an unpopular geek in High School but he doesn't look or act like one. However, in Nick's case, his history is plausible. (Just for clarification: I don't considering acting like a classic jock a negative anymore than I consider acting like a classic scientist a negative). Greg (played by Eric Szmanda) is an example of a semi-real scientist since he is more believably off-kilter than Nick, and it truly isn't his fault that he is a beautiful person (being a classic scientist has less to do with being more or less beautiful and more to do with how the scientist carries him/herself--classic scientists can be beautiful and they can be confident; the rest is a state of mind). Gil, also from CSI, is a totally believable scientist (much more so than the leads of the other two CSIs) and is one reason the original show is so fun to watch.

To continue, Luke Giradi from Joan of Aradia is one of the realest of the real TV scientists and this is where we come full circle to Spock. Because fans adore Luke, played by Michael Welch (for more insight on Luke check out: http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/ChemicalBreakdown/). He appears thin and gawky, wears glasses, explains everything in terms of science and buys his girlfriend things like geods. So what's so sexy about this?

What is so sexy is the fidelity of it. The classic scientist is single-minded and faithful in his single-mindedness. In TV-land this faithfulness to the subject translates over into faithfulness to his spouse/girlfriend. One only has to look to Stephen Hawkins and Einstein to realize that it doesn't necessarily translate over in real life (although they seem to have been interested in only one woman at a time). But in TV-land, and possibly to a certain extent in real life, if you get a scientist, you get him for life. And he's just too obsessed with his science to give the woman any anxiety. This is incredibly attractive. (It's also the reason A&E's non-scientist but definitely single-minded Darcy worked so well.)

And it isn't just the female need for security (not a route I wish to go down at this point). CSI is built on the basis that "the Truth" (i.e. scientific truth) is of overpowering importance. Gil repeatedly tells his people, Don't interfere with the evidence. Let it speak for itself. Don't lie. Hugh Laurie's Dr. House is a rude, sarcastic (piano playing) guy. But he doesn't lie. I think this attracts people, and I know it attracts women.

And it's important that Truth here isn't political truth (the TRUTH about Iraq) or philosophical truth (the TRUTH about life, the TRUTH about dying). It's scientific truth. It's science guys in a laboratory doing experiments that nobody has ever heard of simply for the sake of the experiment. (Granting the fact that on CSI, where scientific truth leads to the capture of bad guys, it gains an extra bit of panache.) But the point is: there is no (or appears to be no) ideological agenda. And if the scientist can love the subject for its own sake, he must be able to pursue and love his lady for her own sake. And that--realistic or not--is very sexy.

The female scientist, by the way, is a variant of the male type, except that she is usually cold and aloof (rather than absent-minded) and she always has long hair which she lets down and--voila-- gets sexy. Dax from ST:Deep Space Nine and 7 of 9 from ST: Voyager as well as Dr. C from I, Robot all fall into this category. Men obviously find them sexy, but I'm afraid it has more to do with the latex than the nerdiness, although men do seem to like the female scientist's directness.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
This might be over-simplistic, but I think one reason women are attracted to scientists is that the women themselves are intelligent, and appreciate intelligence in others. Speaking from my own experience, I know that the men I’ve been attracted to in real life have been intelligent, and I need to connect with someone on an intellectual, as well as emotional, level.

Going back to tv and your examples—unfortunately, the only person in your list that I am familiar with is Luke from Joan of Arcadia (thanks for the shout out, by the way). And yes, here is where I delve into, surprise, surprise, the relationship between Luke and Grace. Grace, despite being a sarcastic, angry anarchist, is highly intelligent, and we learn early on that she values intelligence in others. OK, so, what we learn is she detests idiocy in others, as evidenced in her comment to Joan, “Small cerebral cortex?” when Joan brings up a jock wrestler. It’s no surprise that she caught—or rather, allowed herself to be caught by—the smartest guy in the school.

What it may boil down to is finding those with whom we have commonality attractive. I don’t mean to imply that women who aren’t attracted to geeks aren’t intelligent, though. A different type of commonality might be more important to them.

On a different note, I can see that I’m going to have to get up to speed with Star Trek and CSI to keep up here!


2:48 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home