June 21, 2001

Web review: The most beautiful geek women (and men) of all

Author: JT Smith

- by Tina Gasperson -
When I heard about the "Sexiest Geek Alive" contest I was afraid to go look. I'm always intimidated by beauty contests, or anything that might require holding my head just so, or smiling nicely, or having my picture taken. Especially that. Please do not take my picture, I am not photogenic, have a nice day, buh-bye.And the way the site was plugged didn't help: "Sweet Jesus, yes, there are good-looking geek women..." OK, I thought. Just what I need, a bunch of Christina Aguilera or Britney Spears look-a-likes who are smart too. Maybe I'm not Miss America material, but I've always had brains, and everyone knows that extremely beautiful people are also vapid. Right? Except Geena Davis, she's in Mensa. But there's always an exception or two to every rule. Anyway, it's always been nice to claim superiority over Baywatch babes in the brains department.

So I went to the website and saw the obligatory 'nice-looking woman in a come-hither pose' and I supposed she could be a geek; I scrolled down and saw a stunning platinum blonde (a la Baywatch) and I thought, wow, is that a geek??? No, she's Jennifer Glover, Miss California-USA, and she's just there to crown the winner of the SexiestGeekAlive contest.

I still hadn't decided to turn tail and run, so the next step was to take a look at the finalists. It was on that page that all my fears were assuaged; lo and behold, these 'sexiest geeks' were decidedly uninitimidating in the good-looks department. Not saying they're ugly... just not rivals for Jennifer Glover's crown. Not only that, but there were mostly men in the line-up. Trust me, I like men a lot, my husband is one--but, even as a female, if your eye is expecting to see pretty women and all of a sudden a dude is staring at you, it's a bit of a shock.

Gazing at the list of contenders, I felt much more confident with my own limited supply of external beauty, and decided to take a shot at entering the next contest. There's an online timed test with questions in mathematics, computers, science, and geek culture, and several essay questions to complete. The questions aren't too difficult, but they're certainly geared to more cerebral types, for example:: "Adenine (A), Guanine (G), Cytosine (C) and Thymine (T) collectively make the nucleotide bases of: a)ADD, b) chromosomes, c) Pepsi, d) DNA.

In the computers section one of the questions was: "Which is correct: a) OpenBSD, b) FreeBSD, c) Berkeley BSD, and I can't remember the fourth potential answer, because I got stuck wondering if this was an ideological query or a technical one. Anyway, one of the essay questions was something about how open source software could contribute to the good of society as opposed to closed, "fee-based" software. There was another essay question asking me to explain the differences between fantasy rings or something. Hey, I think this geek exam may be a bit stereotyped. Don't they know that not all geeks are into Lord of the Rings?

The prizes: a "state of the art Gateway system;" (wow, can I get that without the OEM copy of Windows?), a "geek cruise" for two, and "a ton of media exposure" (ah yeah, just what all us introverted, eccentric geeks want, lots of attention from strangers).

Big problem with this site: it runs on active server pages, which with some regularity have a crashy-effect on my Netscape browser. Hmm, wonder why? A geek site that runs on such MS-centric code is a bit suspicious to me. Oh, maybe now I'm the one who is operating on stereotypical preconceptions. Could it be that there is such a thing as an MSoftie Geek? But back to the site problem - you can't go back and start where you left off with the test. If your browser refreshes at all, it takes you to the beginning of the next section and you forfeit all the answers in between. (The site actually has noted this problem in its FAQ, and in the absense of IE, they recommend Opera.)

So unless I go back and re-register with different information, I'll never know if I was good enough to contend for the Sexiest Geek Alive crown. Maybe you can do it.

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