Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lets Hear It For Nerds

Sometimes I wonder why I write romance. There's not much sense to it, given the type of guy I go for. People talk about Matthew McConaughey and I don't see it. I picked up People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" issue and came up with maybe three or four who did anything for me. I mean, for someone who writes romance novels, I've got some pretty quirky taste in men.

Maybe that's why I write Blaze as opposed to lines expecting the ultra-alpha-macho-gorgeous-wealthy types. I just don't know that guy, can't imagine dating him, so I have trouble writing him. And the beautiful thing about Blaze is that I don't have to. Blaze offers a little leniency. It gives me leeway. My guy doesn't have to be quite the stud you'd find in, say, Presents or Desire. I can lean toward the Gamma man. Because for me, no matter how great my heroes are on the eyes, no matter how fantastic they are between the sheets, I've got to throw in a little vulnerability or I just can't stand them.

As a newbie writer, I've so far played it safe and kept my heroes leaning toward the more classic romantic lead, but what I'd really, really like to do someday is write a romance novel featuring the kind of hero who seriously tugs at my heartstrings.

Yes, ladies. I'm talking about the nerd. That funny, clumsy, sometimes goofy man who, despite the fact that his six pack is in a grocery bag and the only thing chiseled is his hairline, seems to catch my eye anyway.

I don't know what it is about them. Maybe it's their approachability. If you're like me and at the age of forty-six still haven't gotten over those scarring incidents from high school, the down-to-earth, friendly, likeable guy does have his appeal. Unlike the captain of the football team, these are men you aren't afraid to talk to. They're modest, they're nice, they get embarrassed. And when they find their way onto national television, you can bet they're probably rich, too!

(Now wait a minute, I'm not talking Bill Gates. There's nerds, and then there's nerds, and some guys even fistfulls of cash won't help.)

No, I'm talking about guys like Alton Brown, here.

Okay, so he probably won't be edging George Clooney out of his spot as People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive", but there is something deliciously appealing about this man, and it's not the fact that he can cook or that he can explain the molecular science behind water purification.

What I love about Alton is his vulnerability. It's the self-deprecating humor that makes me want to overlook that dorky hair spike thing and do something sinfully bold--like show him that some of those uni-task kitchen utensils he complains about actually do have alternate uses, he he.
But Alton isn't the only one. I've also got a fetish for Mr. Mythbuster himself, Adam Savage, and the fact that I do has left me perplexed on more than one occasion.

I mean, for one thing, I've seen the man in his underwear--on TV, you dirty minds!!!--and seriously, Colonel Sanders couldn't come up with a pair of whiter chicken legs. Yet there's something about the guy that makes me want to write him into a book.

I think it's that he's smart yet slightly dangerous. He calculates numbers in his head like Rainman then uses the information to blow something up. I mean, what's sexier than explosives, ladies?! Couple that with his wide-eyed boyish reaction when Buster blows sky high and I'm willing to overlook the impending man-boobs and attempt some combustible science of my own.

Now, I will admit not all nerds are, shall we say, nerdy. If you can't get into a man who's more jiggle than gigolo, science has options for you.

Yep, what would a blog about sexy nerds be without mentioning this man?

Ahhh, Grissom, Grissom, Grissom. You know, I saw William Petersen back in his prime twenty years ago in a movie called "To Live And Die In LA". I'd thought he was okay, nothing to write home about. Yet age him two decades and give him a fascination with bugs and I'm putty in his petrie dish.

But my fascination with Grissom stems from something completely different than the others. He's not vulnerable, or boyish, or self-deprecating. He's funny, but only in a dry, infrequent kind of way. No, what Grissom's got is that calm, cool and quiet thing going. Oh, yeah. What woman doesn't adore a man who's not only flippantly ignorant of his own sex appeal, but doesn't even recognize when a woman's coming onto him?

Just think of the things a bold and sexy Blaze heroine could do to a guy like that without even resorting to a bug suit.

Personally, I'm dying to write a romance that features one of my guys, here. I haven't figured the right angle yet, but I have to believe with enough experience under my belt I could pull off the consummate nerd hero and possibly convert thousands of women over to the bungling side of love.

What do you think? Could you get into a romance novel featuring a nerd, or do you really need those fantasy men to be bad-boy dangerous and bigger than life? And have you read any romance novels that featured the kind of guy I'm talking about? If so, which ones? (I'm making a list ;-) )
PUTTING IT TO THE TEST - Harlequin Blaze, April, 2008
UNLEASHED - Harlequin Blaze, November, 2008


Ellen said...

I actually agree with you about Grissom. Now he's a hero I could enjoy.

Estella said...

Vicki Lewis Thompson has written several books about nerds.

Lee Hyat said...

I have to chime in for Grissom (William Petersen) too. His character is totally cool and I love the calm, dry sense of humor... and that look he sometimes gives, like a "do you Really expect me to answer such a stupid question?"

And funny that you said you'd seen an older movie of his. I did too and he didn't make an impact on me but with CSI, I noticed him from day 1.

I think some men get finer with age... like wine. :) Good taste, Lori!

Pat Cochran said...

"Amen" to your selections of Grissom
and Brown, I don't know the other
fellow. I echo Estella on Vicki Lewis Thompson, I've enjoyed her
"Nerds" series! You have four takers here for any future heroes of the nerd persuasion!

Pat Cochran

Jane said...

"Good Eats" is one of my favorite shows. Only Alton can do a whole show about canned tomatoes. I would add Jon Stewart and Seth Rogen to that list. Funny is sexy. I still like to read about macho, alpha heroes, but I could fall for a rocket scientist or computer geek, too.

Lori Borrill said...

How nice to see so many Grissom fans--and on the eve of this year's season finale, even. (Anyone but me sad to see Warrick go? I'm so going to miss those piercing green eyes.)

And oh, Jane--I LOVE Jon Stewart. It's the only news I watch. Seriously! That guy can make me laugh just with a quirky look. And I remember seeing Oprah one time talk about him and what a great husband and dad he is. Damn.

Boy, I could do a blog on him and Stephen Colbert alone. LOL!

Jill said...

I love nerdy guys (I married one), but to be fair, I am also a nerdy girl. There is something so sexy about a guy with a great brain who is not afraid to use it. It is hard for me to have respect for a guy who isn't intelligent, no matter how pretty he is!
Another part of reason I like nerdy guys is they are less shallow and self-absorbed than most conventionally attractive men I have met. Nothing turns me off faster than a man who spends more time primping than I do.
Smart men, as adults, are usually comfortable with themselves and even though they notice attractiveness in the opposite sex, most of them are also genuinely interested in what women have to say. Kind of refreshing!

Lois said...

Oh geez, I love nerdy guys. . . and yep, I agree with the Vicki Lewis Thompson's nerd books. . . I know I've read others, I just can't think of any right now! LOL :) But I do also like it when it's a more nerdy girl. . . then I really identify with the heroine in the book. ;)

Lois, who also loves Jon Stewart! (Steven Colbert is okay, but I prefer Jon myself) :)

Dina said...

I can't name a specific book that I have read with a nerdy type, but I wouldn't mind it. They are smart and some can be very attractive, not to all women, as usual it depends on the womens likes.

Michele L. said...

Hi Lori!

Yes the best examples are Vicki Lewis Thompson's NERD books. I have them all because they are fantastic! Here are the titles,

I also read a matchmaking book, ANYONE BUT YOU, by Jennifer Crusie where the guy is a young ER doctor. He is incredibly sexy and very nice. The woman is 10 years older than him. I loved the premise of this story because a basset hound named Fred brings the couple together.

I really like the NERD type books also! I remember reading another one where the guy was a graphic artist who worked for a movie studio and he spent all his time on his computer. He hires a lady to decorate his house for him because he doesn't have time to do it. He even didn't have time to cook himself a meal. Anyway, the guy is drop dead gorgeous under his scruffy clothes, and mop type hair. He doesn't have time to get his hair cut, since he always trying to meet a deadline. The lady gets him to start living and enjoy life. She brings him meals, gets him to clean up, etc. He slowly notices how beautiful she is when he pries himself away from the computer. I wish I could remember the name of the book because it was really good!

Oh yeah there are a lot of male actors who have gotten better looking with age. Jack Nicholsen,(in Somethings Got to Give he looks great!), Keaneau Reeves (Not so boyish looking anymore), Simon Cowell,(American Idol). I like the show and have to confess that I love his bantering with Paula. He really tells it like it is to the contestants. There are others but can't think who they are right now.

Good luck to you Lori!
Michele L.

Virginia said...

I could get into a book written about someone like Grissom. I like him a lot. I don't think I have ever read a nerdy book but would enjoy it.

Karen H in NC said...

Grissom....gotta love that guy. I think he has gotten so much more good looking as he is getting older. It just isn't fair though that men seem to age better than women.

Another nerdy type that I like is Greg from the same CSI show. He is another one who's getting better looking as he matures.

mulberry said...

I adore the more nerdy type guy- and I married one! He's still the sexiest man alive for me, so let's here it for the nerd! I definitely like to read books with the less than tall dark and handsome hero. I had crushes on few Alpha-ish types when I was younger, but now I say give me a man who is smart, funny, great in bed and who adores me, even if his hairline is receding, his waistline is expanding, and he needs reading glasses!
Maybe that's why I'm struggling so much trying to write stories with Alpha heroes, I need to write the oh-so-sexy nerd instead.