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Marcy hadn’t been the least bit interested in geeky men before she met Jess. But, once she’d fallen for him, she’d discovered how reassuring geek love could be. Or so she’d thought.
Jess Margate wasn’t your average geek. He was a certified genius. The real deal, a wow whiz kid, an IQ beyond the beyond. He was Super-Nerd, so different from her in so many ways. So smart he was on another planet, one that spun faster than hers. But he was incredibly decent. Kind, when he remembered to be. Attentive, when he had nothing else going on.
Before Jess came into her life, Marcy knew a few geeks. Guys who were content on a Saturday night to be rewriting a computer program. Or solving Heisenberg’s uncertainty equation or something. That’s why she’d never fallen for one of them before Jess came along. Geeky guys just weren’t her type.
When she met Jess, he was still a virgin. A real late bloomer sexually. He’d made it through the usual rounds of day-to-day bullying during grade and middle school without dumbing down, without going bad. Which explained why, senior year in high school, he became the Boy Most Likely to Succeed—but not with the chicks. Totally awkward, gawky, not cool. Big glasses with dark frames, pale and bony. No sun, no exercise, too much time in the basement creating algorithms for software design companies and financial investment firms. Jess breezed through college with honors, graduating magna cum laude. But without a single hot date on his resume.
In his early twenties, however, Jess finally decided enough was enough. He wanted some action. He went for long runs every morning, sculpting himself into a lean and mean man-machine. He got some color to his complexion and started wearing tinted contacts. He had his smile whitened and grew out his hair, which he got in the habit of tossing back with a casual shrug. Women began to check him out.
Around this time, geeks in general enjoyed a widespread image boost. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg. Go ahead, laugh, geeks were saying. I’ll be your boss one day. The attitude had shifted overnight. Suddenly, the smartest guys in the room had magnetic appeal for women. Women everywhere said to themselves, You know what? We like them nerdy. High IQs make us hot.
It was at this exact tipping point in the cultural consensus of opinion on high-tech sexiness that Marcy Buenaventure first turned blurry eyes to Jess Margate. In the midst of a crunky party, where she’d already had a bit too much to drink. Her most recent fling had ended in a flame-out; she’d kind of liked the guy, but not enough to stay with it for more than a few months. Marcy was feeling old, tired of easy sexual conquests that, in the long run, meant nothing. She was standing by the keg, trying to change the double Solo cup in her hand back into a single, when Jess stepped up.
He introduced himself and began telling Marcy about the software he designed. She didn’t understand much of what he said. His words made her head spin on its axis. But she could tell the guy knew his stuff. Impressive. He mentioned persistent venture capitalists, lunch dates with CEOs, interviews with online journals. It was all geek to her, but oddly aphrodisiacal.
Marcy decided she wanted this guy. She was attracted to his intelligence and challenged by his disinterested innocence, his half-attention to what she was saying, the way he looked through her while texting someone.
“A guy I work with,” he explained in defense of his rudeness.
And Marcy believed him. Because all Geek Guy did was work. He’d been so busy nerding his way to the big time, he hadn’t had a chance (or an opportunity, like the one Marcy planned to offer him) to discover the joys (and miseries, although she wouldn’t, of course, tell him about those) of sex.