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2010 June 8

In grad school, we called the boys who were attractive in a kind of unconventional, nerdy cute way “WLP hot,” as in, not quite “real” hot, just “Writing, Literature & Publishing (the name of our grad school program)” hot. Stereotypically, people cannot be both smart and hot–it’s just not socially acceptable. You pick one or the other. Or that’s what we’re led to believe, anyway. But is smart becoming the new hot, at least where women are concerned?

A couple of popular new blogs are mixing the boundaries between “real” hot and “nerd” hot. Hot Guys Reading Books is a blog that contends “There are plenty of attractive men in the world, but unfortunately few of them that are avid readers.” While I strongly disagree with this generalization, I think the blog is fun, and I appreciate that it’s playing with our preconceived notions about image a little bit. Here are a few images:

One of my favorite new blogs, Nerd Boyfriend, highlights the style of quirky icons who aren’t conventional heartthrobs. Best of all, they offer current items to help dudes out there emulate their style. Here are some highlights:

Tom Wolf and Kurt Vonnegut. Together. In a lifeguard chair.

LOVE everything about this photo of Jimmy Stewart.

Harold Crick from Stranger than Fiction–so great.

Oh Joyce, you magnificent bastard.

What do you think? Are these sites questioning society’s standards of attractiveness, or just promulgating stereotypes?

6 Responses Post a comment
  1. June 9, 2010

    As a lover of books and intelligence, I am on the nerd-hot bandwagon. I often find myself defending those I find attractive to my friends by saying, “well he’s not hot-hot, he’s nerd-hot. You know, the way I like them.”

    I think it’s a combination of the 2 really. Recently, women have been more open about saying, “I’m attracted to that!” even if it’s unconventional. However, now that women started doing that, it’s also “cool” to like smart men, so it’s hard to tell if they’re conforming to the new norm or honestly admitting it.

    And some of those men aren’t reading, they’re just looking at the books because they want to be on the site. THAT DOESN’T HELP EITHER.

  2. Lauren S permalink
    June 9, 2010

    I love this post. We’re lucky to live in a city where there are quite a lot of readers, and they’re globbed together on public transportation twice a day. I mean, we all ignore each other anyway, but hey, I appreciate the atmosphere.

  3. June 9, 2010

    I love that blog! Too funny!

  4. June 9, 2010

    I went to the Dublin Writers Museum and, of course, James Joyce was a large fixture. Man oh man, what a piece of work that guy was. Personally I think Samuel Beckett was a hottie. Really good hair.

  5. Joe permalink
    June 9, 2010

    I’ve been thinking about the concept of “nerd-hot” all day. Eventually, I realized that it’s just a way of expressing attraction vs. lust. It’s a lot harder to express a deep pull towards someone than it is to say “they’re hot and I would enjoy making out with them.” Probably every generation has its own way of talking about love, and “nerd hot” fits with the multi-tasking, internet-soaked, hipster-laden world my peers live in. In the end, I think there’s nothing that special about being attracted to a girl because she’s smart and likes to read in public. I should be attracted to that person! It’s just that we’re given a lot fewer basic tools by our culture to talk about attractions that aren’t sexual, even though those non-physical levels of attraction are more personal and more vital.

  6. June 16, 2010

    I’m too tired and lazy to think about your final questions of this post, but mainly I just want to say that I love. that. picture. of that army guy reading at his desk. With his legs crossed like so. Amazing.

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