1. Ira Glass
Having appeared on everything from David Letterman to The Simpsons (aside from his regular gig hosting This American Life), Ira is the kind of guy who permeates pop culture without you ever fully realizing he’s there. And if you’ve only grown to love him as a pleasant-but-disembodied voice on the radio, you’re truly missing out, as Ira’s sexy-salt-and-pepper-nerd look is a) timeless and b) face-meltingly adorable. Seriously, the man is practically in his mid-50s now, and has looked perpetually 32 for at least the past 20 years. His charming, energetic curiosity would be attractive enough on its own, but luckily for us, it’s coupled with a face that makes us super interested in whatever’s on the show today.
2. Anthony Bourdain
What can be said about Anthony Bourdain that hasn’t already been said? We all know so well by now that, aside from being a humongous food-and-culture nerd that has never met somewhere he wouldn’t go or something he wouldn’t try with unimaginable zest and humility, he’s also smoking hot. (If you’re in the mood to reaffirm your faith in humanity, I recommend you take a look at some picture of him from his early-chef days.) Could you imagine anything better than going shopping at a local market somewhere with Tony, only to go back and cook an incredible, fresh dinner for two? (And then, of course, whatever happens, happens…) The answer is no. No, you can’t think of anything better.
3. Jeff Goldblum
Has there ever been a man, in the history of recorded human civilization, who so fully and flawlessly embodied the nebbishy nerd sex appeal as Jeff Goldblum? Whether he’s adorably fumbling his way through a hyper-intelligent sentence or telling us about String Theory in some blockbuster movie (please, Hollywood, never stop casting him as a scientist), he is constantly the nerd you want to get some serious tutoring from after class. Jeffles, can we all just listen to you talk about evolution and “Dinah-sarrs” while you take your shirt off? Please?
4. Jim Parsons
Okay, yes, he is more famous for playing a nerd on television — Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, for the uninitiated — but come on. Aside from being the only good thing about that show (he is wonderful, the rest of that “sitcom” is laugh-tracked cringing), he remains the same hyperarticulate, charming, slightly bizarre personality that makes him so irresistible while in character. Couldn’t we just go to a comic book convention together?
5. Wil Wheaton
If you didn’t have a crippling love for Wesley Crusher growing up, I don’t know what to say to you. (Latecomers to the Wil Wheaton Nerd Love Train who know him only in his older, more internet-and-Comic Con-based sex appeal, I recommend you do yourself a favor and set yourself up for a nice marathon of TNG.)
6. John Green
Do you like awesome young adult fiction? Do you like adorable blonde brothers who vlog while the older one’s wife remains constantly, mysteriously out of frame? Are you Tumblr, and want to make GIFs of everything someone says and write only “^^^THIS” underneath it? Congratulations, you should marry John Green! (Or, in case of emergency, break glass and marry Hank.)
7. Wyatt Cenac
If you are not familiar with Wyatt Cenac — either his standup or his work on The Daily Show — you are truly missing out. Even I, someone who is clinically averse to neckbeards in all their myriad, awful forms, cannot resist the charms of Mr. C. He is just that perfect combination of cynical, self-deprecating, charming, and blisteringly handsome to make you appreciate any amount of facial hair he does or does not decide to rock.
8. Anthony Misiano
Perhaps you don’t know Mr. Misiano by name, but you’ve certainly seen a photo or two of him from a Con of late — he often goes by Harley’s Joker, or The Greatest Cosplayer Alive. He’s also, as it turns out (from his Facebook), an incredibly awesome guy. He’s been spending the last few years directing/writing/starring in awesome films he fundraised himself in his spare time, as if you didn’t already have reason enough to appreciate him. I think it’s safe to say that the entire internet — regardless of orientation — fell in love with him upon seeing their first image of him as the Joker, and let us only pray that he becomes every bit the star he clearly deserves to be.
9. Bret McKenzie
Whether you know him from Flight of the Conchords, his Oscar win, or you’re a real hipster who knew of him back when he was in NZ with the sheep — Bret is hot. He’s hot, and he raps in character as an urban Rhinocerous. He dresses up in the woods and plays music as Frodo. He seems to have a genuinely good sense of humor about everything — including the more ridiculous stuff he’s done in public — and really, what’s sexier than that?
10. Carl Sagan
Credit where credit is due — to the one who started it all, and is, truly, the sexiest of all nerds. By far.