In defense of "adorkability."

In its list of word we will be glad to never see again, the Today Show included “adorkable.”  They’re dead wrong about this.  “Adorkable” is a great word: it neatly encapsulates a concept I have been trying to describe for years.

You know these guys*:  brilliant, awkward, often shy.  They were the geeks.  Then they grow up, get their Ph.D. (s), some of them — others just become experts without bothering with that education business. Some of them slim down if they were pudgy, add a few pounds if they were skinny.  They may cut off the hair that obscured their face, or grow out the odd looking buzz cuts to be long and shaggy.  They exchange the round glasses that often made them look like owls confused by the sunlight for contacts, radial keratotamy, or skinny frames with Transitions lenses. They grow into the angles of their face.

In their field of expertise, they can be rock solid confident; outside of that, they can sometimes seem diffident.  They have a wry, self-deprecating sense of humor, and are usually far more adventurous than you might expect. They occasionally can come off as goofy or off-centered.

“Adorkable” is not the same thing as simply “brilliant.”  My friend Jane is brilliant.  She is also beautiful, tough, compassionate, funny as hell, and has never suffered fools gladly, even when she was twenty, which is when I met her. Quite frankly, I’m glad she’s my friend, because otherwise I would find her really intimidating.**  She’s never been adorkable a day in her life.

For my adorkable friends, I used to use the term “geeky cute,” but that required explaining. “Adorkable” fits the bill nicely.  I would hate to see it go away.

Because then, of course, I would have to just use the word sexy.

*Both men and women, although tending more toward men than women.
**She’s a business litigator who can chew up her opposition into little bits, all the while smiling pleasantly at them.

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