Geeks need love, too, or why scientists make good valentines

Have you heard about the two red-blood cells that loved in vein? Well, OK, but don’t let me catch you repeating it then. The truth is I don’t understand anything about the science of love. I think there are some subjects that just don’t lend themselves to scientific explanations.

We scientists need to recognize our limitations.

For example, I have never understood what it is that women find attractive in men. Honestly, what could any woman possibly see in a handsome, smiling, muscled, tanned kid wearing tight jeans and driving a brand-new 4-by-4 jacked-up pickup? He’s probably not older than 25, immature and doesn’t have a brain in his head. (And, girls, any guy with a great tan doesn’t have a job.) Then what’s with the sinister dudes? Why are women so surprised when they turn out to be, well, sinister?

And don’t even get me started on bass players in rock ‘n’ roll bands.

If you girls really want true romance, you have overlooked a quiet group of substance, stability and culture. Well, OK, it’s a unique form of culture, but it is one. I’m talking about science geeks, of course. There are so many advantages to dating science geeks that it just surpasses my understanding why women aren’t more enamored with them.

In the first place, they are generally available. Lacking in social skills, motorcycles and tight jeans, they have been overlooked for so long that there is an over abundance of them on today’s market. Not only are they available, but another advantage to dating geeks is that other women seldom try to steal them. I can tell you from experience that my wife and I have been married for almost 45 years, and no woman has even made a pass at me. The only plausible explanation for this, of course, is that I am a science geek — and my wife has never allowed me to buy a motorcycle.

Geeks have other things going for them as well. One is that parents almost always love them. They appear harmless, often make good money and can fix things. That is no reason to marry someone, obviously. But it does remove some of the difficulties from life while you look over the passing parade of bass players.

Science geeks are surprisingly sensitive and romantic people, once you get past their initial social awkwardness. For example, you wouldn’t want to miss out on valentine endearments such as:

The Rosette Nebula is red.

The Pleiades star cluster is blue.

The universe is expanding

Like my love for you!

It can be difficult to meet science geeks in the first place. They often have peculiar tastes in alternative music, so you seldom see them at concerts. They’re even more rarely found in sports bars. They generally hang out in laboratories, which have restrictive access, and they tend to socialize in groups where they discuss obscure and unintelligible topics. When seeking them out, you can be at a distinct disadvantage.

But here’s a tip. Guys wear T-shirts with logos of their favorite bands and sports teams, thus advertising that they are sinister dudes or are manly athletes, right? Well, science geeks tend to wear T-shirts with logos of software programs and science symbols emblazoned on them to show that they are, ah, well, geeks. There is a convivial rivalry about these things, so you could try wearing one yourself. See if your tee strikes up any conversations.

Of course, the best way to meet science geeks is on the Internet. Surfing the net allows science geeks to combine an activity with which they are comfortable — computing — with an activity they are uncomfortable with — socializing. Another strategy is to hang out in the junk food aisle of the grocery store.

Most importantly, science geeks thrive on mystery. So just keep being female, and they will be helplessly fascinated — with an emphasis on the “helpless” part.

Gary McCallister is professor of biology at Mesa State College.


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