essay + photos: an ode to dorks, misfits and weirdos

April 10, 2017

By Tanlume/Bananaemoji, AFROPUNK contributor


And misfits. And weirdos. All my
crushes tend to be lanky, angst-y boys with great one liners and a
variety of mood disorders. Tortured geniuses are another weak spot for
me. Show me a muscle-bound male model, and I will turn my head towards
a bespectacled, skinny, and socially awkward boy instead. I’d take
Clark Kent over Superman any day.

My first love was a total nerd. I was 14 years old and very impressed
by his knowledge of conscious rap, his assortment of Bruce Lee
memorabilia, and his extensive action-figure collection. The second
guy that wasted my time had greasy, black dreads, a goatee and he
possessed an unhealthy interest in biblical apocalypse theories. He
could also quote lines from Home Alone at will.

As I got older, my friends were all into the good-looking jock types
(you know, the ones who looked like they could lift you up with their
one thumb), while I was swooning over boys who haunted the
neighborhood bars of Gaborone west. My heart would leap into my mouth
every time one of those effeminate, unassuming oddballs met my
open-mouthed stare. My palms would break out in a sweat when one of
them ventured timidly onto the dance floor, doing a self-conscious
shuffle with his gangly limbs.

I tend to pine for boys who have the shy charm of Donald Glover, the
wit of Woody Allen, and the looks of Dan Humphrey from Gossip Girl
(who, with his love of Rainer Maria Rilke and old Belgium films, won
me over far more than blue-eyed jock Nate Archibald). After repeatedly
watching 2001 cult classic Ghost World, I’ve come to the conclusion
that I would definitely fall for Steve Buscemi in his role as hapless,
obsessive, record-collecting loner Seymour. One of the most depressing
geeks ever to light up the screen.

I prefer interesting conversation over toned biceps–there’s something
very appealing about a man who can overcompensate in the brain
department. And these guys don’t take you for granted: When you’re a
little wimpy and dressed in a Microsoft T-shirt, you have to work
harder at getting romantic attention. More especially in the
increasingly image obsessed gay community. Looks alone won’t cut it,
so perhaps their sweetness and computer literacy will.

In the end, most of us just seem to want someone who can be
self-deprecating, someone who knows his shit and isn’t hiding behind a
clichéd macho front. Nerds are the lovable mavericks of an
overbearingly masculine society that is driven by old-fashioned
ideals. These Star Trek-loving, Spielberg-quoting, chunky
spectacles-wearing guys are the true catches.

Creative Direction, Styling & Words: Tanlume
Photography & Art Direction: Giancarlo Calaméo LaGuerta
Model: Eugene Hilton
Artwork incorporated: “David” by Michelangelo & “Querelle de Brest” by Jean Cocteau