Dorks Are Sexy: A Referendum
by Dawn Marie Howell


It is commonly assumed that smart girls don’t get lucky. There is a perpetuated belief that if one is smart, one cannot be pretty, and vice versa. As a college student, I have found that this stigma still exists and that a lot of women my age tend to maintain this assumption that a girl who is openly smart is not sexy. In an age when young women are being encouraged to “dumb down,” I wish to insist that dorky girls, and dorks in general, are damn sexy people.

Before I go into too much depth, I will define for you my personal definition of dork and why I proudly proclaim myself one. According to my experience, a dork is an intelligent person with several quirks or quirky interests that set them apart from what is considered by themselves or society to be “normal”. Now, as a bolster to my thesis, the root of the word dork, according to our beloved Oxford English Dictionary, emerges from another word for penis. (I kid you not, you can look it up for yourself.) Beyond that, the OED also tells us that it defines “a foolish or stupid person; also [used]as a general term of contempt.” So, the image of the dork initially started off as a sexy one and has since degenerated into this stigmatized state of being. Where exactly did the two definitions diverge and why has the original meaning became lost to the world? This question is difficult to answer, but it is not difficult to delineate how dorks of all ages and both genders have a certain animal magnetism.

Now, the common stereotype of a dork would lead the general public to believe that all dorks conform to the two following images. The male dork role is obvious and has been reiterated in to the point of cliché: he plays D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) or an RPG (Role Playing Game) of a similar nature; he loves Monty Python and the quoting thereof; he has never had a girlfriend, nor has he had sex with anyone other than himself, and likely never will. The female stereotype is not as thoroughly disseminated or overt: she (likely) wears glasses and openly admits to having a crush on Mr. Darcy or some other literary figure; is also, but not always, a Monty Python fan; dresses in a mode which does not (usually) flatter her tits, ass, or legs; in the event that she has a boyfriend, the farthest they’ve ever gone is kissing…with tongue involved. Scandalous.

Like all stereotypes, these generalizations only hit the tip of the iceberg and really do not address the diversity involved within individuals and the group. Being a dork does not have to mean that you’re a gamer; as a matter of fact, you could just be obsessive about your major or, shocking enough, like to read for pleasure. Also, being a dork does not, under any circumstances, mean that you are not sexy. And I can list a ton of people who are viable and sexually active examples of that statement—myself definitely included.

I have accepted my status as a dork because I know that is how I come off. People see me, see the glasses and the peace symbol earrings, and automatically they size me up and see that fact. If this does not do it, my vocabulary or my single use of the word “woot” give it away anyway. And honestly, I know that they see me and think, “Yeah, she probably wouldn’t know what to do with a guy if she had one.” I know this because of an incident I had on one of my campus tours. While heading down to the ground floor of Davidson Library, one of the girls in my group asked me if people had sex in the library a lot. Well, as a tour guide, I could neither deny this, which would be lying, nor could I simply affirm it with complete confidence, which would perpetuate our “party school” reputation. My awkward answer to the question was this: “I don’t know. I don’t really have experience in that area.” This immediately sent laughter through the elevator and knowing glances were shared between these women who were essentially my peers. This may be paranoia talking, but I felt that their laughter and their glances meant that they thought I was a virgin. By my statement I had simply meant that I had never had sex in the library. Since then, I have definitely been tempted.

This article does not entirely stem from my indignation at being so inaccurately measured. Instead, I feel it is necessary to acknowledge that there is a definite and unfair dichotomy between female intelligence and female sexuality. It is generally believed that the two qualities are mutually exclusive, which is both ignorant and overly simplistic. There are plenty of people, of all backgrounds, who fit the reverse stereotype. There are likely tons of “pretty girls” out there, who feel the need to dumb themselves down in order to be seen as sexy. Well, we dorks take exactly the opposite route: we proclaim, rather than deny, our intelligence and our wit and our quirks. And, dammit, we are sexy. After all, there is something innately attractive in someone who has come to terms with who they are, silliness and all, and remain unabashed about it. Though I love me some Monty Python, I also look hot in a mini-skirt and damn fine in my newly acquired bikini. I do not say it to brag. I say it because we women are too modest anyway. All of us, pretty girls and dorks and everyone in between, need to learn to just be ourselves. Screw make-up, screw conventions, and screw the popular sentiment. Dorks like myself get as much action in a monogamist relationship as do the people who go from bed to bed. And pretty girls enjoy watching Star Wars, too. It is time that we women band together to insist that intelligence and beauty do not have to be separate phenomena.