Matt Wasowski, Founder of Nerd Nite, Talks Speed Dating for the Four-Eyed Set
Matt Wasowski, founder of Nerd Nite (the social gathering/lecture for the intellectually cool and inebriated) attempts to give nerds the respect they deserve by getting them laid (or at least have a stimulating conversation about wildflowers) through speed dating. Tonight, Wasowski is hosting a dating event along with some stimulating discourse, this time on oil-paint pigment, Liverworts, and the history of sexual manuals and their authorship. The nerdy hookups will take place in between lectures, followed by cabaret.We caught up with him recently over email to talk about the difference between nerds and geeks, famous nerds, and the women they love.
Famous nerds: Wasowski on the right...
What kind of women are nerds into?
Surprisingly - and sadly so - often only the good looking ones. When Nerd Nite announced its first speed dating event, all 25 women-seeking-men tickets sold out in less than 40 minutes. I had made an announcement via email and then an hour later I received several messages in my inbox from women complaining that it was sold out. I was convinced it was a server error (after all, how could 25 women Nerd Nite speed dating tickets actually sell out in 40 minutes?) but it turned out that's just what happened. As disgustingly stereotypically as this sounds, it seems that most women want to be with a kind, smart man. Sometimes they're difficult to find in New York because the alpha males are always on the prowl, but with a little sifting the women can find a giant underbelly of nerds here in this brainy metropolis. But the men on the other hand seemed to mostly opt for the hotter nerdettes. There was definitely a noticeable trend toward the pretty brainiacs.
What's the difference between a nerd and geek?
Nerds are much more encompassing. They possess some social skills and can be nerdy about a much broader range of things (pretty much anything; history, sports, science, math, movies, etc.). Whereas geeks are much more socially awkward (even amongst other geeks and even nerds) and are generally the Star Trek fans. Geeks live in a more insular world whereas nerds are more well-rounded.
Name five famous cool nerds.
Weird Al Yankovic (accordian nerd)
Mel Kiper, Jr (NFL football nerd)
Chuck Klosterman (pop culture nerd)
Trey Parker & Matt Stone (writing nerds)
Isaac Asimov (science nerd)
What are some misconceptions about nerds?
That they dress like Lewis and Gilbert from Revenge of the Nerds. That film is particularly bad for nerds because of the nerd aesthetic which it portrays (glasses, pocket protectors, booger picking and eating, etc.) but the end of the movie is quite accurate when nearly everyone at the university claims to be a nerd. The misconception is that nerds are a small segment of the population, when in reality nerds actually comprise the majority. In the US there are probably less than 5,000 professional athletes out of more than 210 million adults. That's a lot more nerds than jocks.