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Niels Hoven

How fake is Beauty and the Geek? (part 2)

I mentioned in my post yesterday that as zany as the cast seems so far, you ain’t seen nothing yet. It’s a shame that so much of the first episode was devoted to the logistics of the season and the competitions because the social interaction in the house bordered on ridiculous.

It’s not that the girls are dumb; most of them are just used to a lifestyle where there’s no motivation for them to know anything about the world. Why exert yourself and learn something if you’re already getting everything you want because of your looks? I want to say that the beauties are out of touch with reality, but all things considered, maybe it’s the geeks who don’t understand how the world works.

As for the guys, none of us were doomed from birth to a life of social ineptitude and isolation. Most of us simply placed a low priority on socializing. I know I did. Especially since beginning my Ph.D. at Berkeley, every minute of every day was about getting your research, or your paper, or your homework set done. Any time spent socializing was time that could have been more effectively used improving your research.

For my professors, that was fine. I see them in their offices at 11:00 on a Saturday night because there is genuinely no other place they would rather be. They love doing research. That wasn’t true for me. But I had to be surrounded by girls with a polar opposite worldview to really make me see it.

To me, the essence of Beauty and the Geek is a reexamination of your priorities. There’s more to life than looks, or books. What’s important to you? What do you need to accomplish to ensure your future happiness? And perhaps the hardest question of all: Are your current priorities moving you toward those goals?

41 comments… add one
  • I actually think beautiful women can be quite intelligent.

    But the thing is, intelligence isn’t rewarded in a woman and can actually be a negative thing. I remember reading that, statistically the more educated and intelligent a woman is (beyond standard college level), the less likely her chances at relationships and marriage.

    Ergo, the world punishes excessive displays of intelligence by women.

    Also, I’d say beautiful women are quite intelligent in the emotional and social sense of the term. They, at least unconsciously, understand social situations, social hierarchy, and how to affect (ie manipulate) men (and other women) to their perceived advantage.

    Why use intelligence if it requires extra work when simply flirting (and occassionally putting out) lands them a sugar daddy or provider type boyfriend who will pay for things? If she can make just $40K a year, but have men cover $60K of her expenses AND she doesn’t have to do a lot of work, why the hell not?

  • Shelby

    Well said. It looks like you’ve gained a lot from this experience.

    I don’t have much to comment on, except for the fact that you’re my favourite geek on that show =)!

  • urcute

    ur soooo cute

  • name

    did u really get a perfect score on the sat
    thats like impossible

  • Jay

    “I was looking at her boobs” Episode 2: Niels

    Atta Boy Niels…Atta boy…

  • mdc

    hey niels,

    well, wasn’t i surprised to find my classmate of 12 years and fellow magnet student in… what was it? US weekly? i picked it up because i’m an american idol fan. normally that would be something to “confess” to people but hey. you ARE on a reality show.

    so that’s how i found out you were on b&tg. i’m hooked now and will be keeping up with it. frankly, after john lindh i’m glad to see the next one of our bunch make the national airwaves for at least a theoretically positive reason.. i still really don’t know what to think about john and what really happened there, but i only remember him as a sweet and pretty sickly kid.

    this is michelle. it’s funny seeing your old photos here because having gone to school with you since kindergarten, they’re all very familiar XD not gonna say my full name here for the whole internet to see (ahh, anonymity) but i’m sure i’ll end up emailing you at some point.

    so sad to see one of the awesomest (from a viewing-at-home vantage point) girls go tonight. i totally love mario and nadia. technically good strategizing on their part, but i wish nadia could have stood up to the apparent blond clique. i thought your comment on how the girls could stand to learn something about socializing from the guys was very astute and i fully agree. i’m glad that at least at this point in the game, you guys were all good friends supporting each other.

    so, keep on writing here… i’ll certainly keep on watching.

    oh yeah, and to that “did u really get a perfect score” question above? seeing you continue to get billed as mr.1600 makes me think of evan, one of the stage crew guys who got a perfect score and dressed like all of us unkempt teenagers with personality. i believe we took him in to a PTA meeting to protest parents trying to instate a high school dress code..

  • somegirlwatchingthisshow.

    I completely agree with what you’re saying. It is really important to achieve happiness, but i don’t think anyone can truly be happy without being social. It doesn’t matter if you look awful or what not, i don’t think that matters. But it does matter that you have a sets of goals, and more importantly sets of friends.

    I’m also a “nerd” i guess, except i socialize a lot. Many times, I’d rather be dumb and have my friends than be a nerd.. friends are life.

    by the way, might i add that i am very jealous of your sat score. i could never score that high, not even close, and its ruined my apps. pft. lucky.

  • Kevin

    Niels, I’m still looking for that shout out, which episode is it in?

  • Anonymous

    Imagine this; these geeks gaining strong social skills they would become the trophy man. Degrees, intelligence, etc.

  • hi Niels!

    I just caught the third ep and all I can I say is OUCH! for that tongue-lashing you got from your partner. Bravo on the makeover though. (I hope you got to keep the outfit! Shirt, jeans, jacket and all.)

    Anyways, the one thing would add upon reading your blog is I also think there are a lot of commonalities to be said between the girls and the guys, for example, the resistance to change and the tendency to become creatures of habit. How often was it that a guy or girl would revert back to their respective habits of old? Notwithstanding being put to the challenge, whenever a girl or a guy broke out of their mold, I would get up from my sofa and cheer.

    To your earlier comment about priorities and how how there’s more to life than books and looks, I also think how “accessible” these other things are in life starts first with personal flexibility and mental adaptability. On this note, I have greater hope for the guys than the girls b/c the guys seem to each have found some personal happiness that is truly intrinsic. The girls on the other hand, most of their happinesses seem to be associated with the “gains” from their looks. What becomes of those happinesses when they get old and lose their looks?

    What’s common to both camps though is still that near-ubiquitous need for companionship – whether it be a guy and a girl or just all guys or all girls – from what I can tell. Few people I would say are OK or comfortable about being alone. It sounds almost too obvious but it follows that the weight or priority one puts on companionship has direct bearing on how personally and mentally flexible one cares to be.

    My two cents.


  • urcute

    omg ur like sooooo cute

  • Blazer

    I’m one of the swim team captains at Blair currently, and just wanted to let you know that several of us are watching the show and very much enjoying it. The show has become a popular topic to stall Mr. Swaney from making us get into the water at Thursday practices. Can’t wait to find out what happens the rest of the season!



  • Jamie

    I must say, I stumbled across the show at the first episode, and was hooked. I appreciated all of your ‘geekiness’. But the other day, I stumbled across all your myspace pages, and was a little disappointed to see members of the cast who seem to be in the ‘business’, or seem to have joined the show to boost their careers? That’s the weird thing about reality tv. How real is it, any? Like you said, it’s all a matter of editing. But I’m glad to see you open and real, and using the experience to improve yourself. Keep it up!

  • freeman

    You hit it. A lot of these hot girls may have latent intelligence but they can get by quite well on their looks without expending any effort. It’s a tried and true survival strategy. Watch American Psycho and there’s a classic line about how the ugly girls have to be smart because no guy is going to take care of them.

    Man – get power and status
    Woman – be as beautiful as possible
    Man pursues Woman, and each get what they want.

    A few of the girls on the show seemed very dimwitted, but for the most part, hotties just have a different survival strategy. Personally I like it if they have an awesome personality and at least decent looks.

    Oh yeah, it’s also a social faux pas for them to ‘be smart’. Their clan will see them rising up and awkwardness and jealousy ensue.

  • freeman

    The empty hot girls basically have kids and devote themselves to them. Oh, they also usually let themselves go. If not that, they’ll have affairs to prove they are still sexy.

  • Rod

    So dude, may I inquire, you said “departure from grad school” and “search for a new career”. Are you venturing into the uncharted (bold soul!), or did you finish school?

  • Liz

    Hey Neils!
    I’m sure I’m not the first one (as I can see from these postings) to come out of the woodwork and remember you. I’m friends with your sister and I used to come over and play with Honey. Congrats on all your success with the show and your social life!

    I just wanted to agree with Asian Playboy about the liabilities of being an intelligent woman. I walk a delicate line between the beauty and geek sides of my life: I’m a sorority girl who also happens to be a molecular biology major at Princeton. My friends and I joke about the problems with revealing to our dates where we go to school– we call it dropping “the P-bomb.” A lot of people like to assume that if you’re attractive, you must be dumb– it’s pretty convenient and allows them to feel superior to you. It’s amazing how many men will turn and run (or at least have their egos hurt) when they discover that the random chick they picked up at a bar happens to be studying the proteins involved in conjugation in S. cerevisiae.

    I finally discovered that the only way around this problem was to date geeky hunks– my boyfriend is a football player who is attending Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering graduate school next year. He stopped dating dumb girls when he realized that he didn’t want to have stupid children.

    So warn all those guys out there– brains and beauty are not mutually exclusive!

  • Hi, Niels!

    I really enjoy seeing you on the show and look forward to seeing how the season will end.

    In the mean time, you just submitted this article to my “Calling All Reality TV Fans!” blog carnival and I would like to thank you! It’ll be published tomorrow, so please drop by.

    Also, I’d love to interview you for my blog. I hope you’ll consider it. Please let me know.


  • carmen


    I’m a fan from Canada and ever since I accidentally stumbled onto this show, I’ve been hooked. I’m really glad to see that you and Jennylee are in the final three.

    Just going off on a tangent, what nationality are you? It’s just always been a question on the back of my mind everytime I watched the show.

    But yes, moving along, I’d like to comment about the stereotype of geeks and beauties. The way the media portrays these two different groups are actually quite sad. Without doubt, there are people who are fairly similar to the ‘geeks’ or the ‘beauties’, but truth is, the other 90% of the population are more normal than peanut butter and jelly.

    I am female, I can not say that I have been graced with good looks, but I’m normal looking; a person with eyes, nose, ears, and a mouth. I excel at most things I set my mind on and my grades have always been top notch. When I have the time I go out with my buddies for a fun night. People like me have a social life, but are intelligent as well. I just really frown at the thought of these dumb categories that are not true for the most part. I know that there is a geek and a beauty within each and every one of us, just for some of us, one character is more prevalent than the other.

    I hope I really haven’t rambled on for too long. I wish you best of luck in the coming challenges and I hope you win.

    P.S. You’re really hot!

  • carmen

    Ha, so I realized, shortly after I posted, that the show probably is done filming; and by me wishing you good luck in the last post, I just sounded like an idiot. It’s at times like these where I truly wish there was an edit button!

  • Hi, Neils! Excellent post; very thoughtful. I was wondering if being on the show had influenced any of your perceptions of *female* geeks. (Memo to Ashton Kutcher: We exist! And some of us would love to go on a reality show with pretty boys!) Would you say you felt more comfortable now around “beauty”s or around female geeks? (Understanding that these are stereotypes, useful only as guidelines.)

  • These women may be getting what they want(or what they think they want) because of their looks, I don’t think they’re getting what they need. These women may be beautiful, but in some cases it’s working against them, it’s causing them to miss out on a lot. I don’t see the guys as geeks, they’re actually nice looking men, they were just hiding it.

  • S.

    Interesting blog!

    I just wanted to comment on Asian Playboy’s comment up top. While it may be that educated women are statistically less likely to marry, this may be because they have higher standards for their mates, rather than because they’re not chosen by men. In my experience, intelligence IS indeed rewarded in women, as well as men, by their own kind: other people of intelligence.

    While I agree that there may be fewer privileges for women of ability when compared to men of comparable ability, that’s very different than presuming that smart women are just waiting to be chosen by men for marriage. Educated and intelligent women may simply have fewer choices in romance because most don’t cherish the idea of living with inferior men. Naturally, people with high standards have fewer potential people who can meet those standards.

    More than anything, it’s about our choices and our willingness to take risks and go beyond our fears and self-doubts. We choose what we want, and usually we’re attracted to people with the same best qualities as we have. An outwardly good-looking person who values beauty above all else may want a similar mate. An intelligent and ethical person will probably search for the same. It’s a lot harder to find intelligent, ethical people in this world than good-looking ones.

    Thinking about an example from Beauty & The Geek, would anyone actually want to date someone like how Cecille was portrayed over an intelligent, ethical but average-looking woman? If you say yes, I bet that ethical woman wouldn’t want to date you either.

    At any rate, good for you, Niels, for addressing the ethics and not just getting lost in the challenges and competitions.


    “Just so what is morality but high intelligence?” – Henry James

  • Ace the Chavette

    It’s sad that it’s 2007 and intelligence still isn’t valued in women in our society–that nothing much has really changed in the past 50 years for us.

    You know, more of us should watch Star Trek–it has to be the most gender egalitarian show on television–even if it is only in reruns. And I don’t mean the Kirk sexcapade episodes–I’m talking Voyager here. Those were my role models throughout high school and college–Seven of Nine, Captain Janeway, B’Elanna Torres–strong, sexy, smart, powerful women who didn’t have to compromise either their femininity or their intelligence in order to live the lives that they wanted.

  • L

    I don’t know if the show exaggerated the “dumb blond” stereotype in the girls because many of them had an university education.

  • L – see my post on the BaTG finale…

  • urcute

    ur cute

  • MrsNielsHoven

    Niels, I definitely think you learned the most from the show and really came into your own.. you are not a geek at all! You seem really cool and fun, and just happen to be super-smart too… I think you’ll have girls flocking around you wherever you go!

  • Angela

    I think BATG season 3 really potrays all the stereotypes that people have in their mind such as the rivalry between the blondes and the brunettes, the geek is weird and the “dumb blond” idea.

    The season ended nicely concluding that people can change as long as they have the willingness and the motivation to do it. It was great to see some of the girls realised that they can be more than just a beauty. Some of them even proved that they could do and learn new things in just few days. Also, they realised not to judge people by their looks, it’s what in their heart that matters.
    The guys have changed greatly since the start of the show. Their makeover were great and stunning. This actually showed that these people are just ordinary people like the rest of us and “geek” is just a term people named other people who are shy and blessed with this ability of being geniuses. These people can actually be cool and funny people.
    I actually envy these people, especially you niels. You got a perfect SAT score >__

  • tamy

    hey neils u were like the hottest geek from the entire geek network lolz. so spill it, did the experiance help u get any hot girls? LMAO.
    watching u waz great, i so hate u 4 getting a perfect score. lol.

  • Miles

    hmmm, Niels

    I just saw you on TV, and I yelled to the wife – I know that guy, I used to play waterpolo with him! Certainly a long way from the Nerdom of Rice, but of all the career moves, I bet you are having more fun than most of you classmates. And grad school has got me nowhere, so all the best to you!

  • Alot of people judge us by the way we look “beauty”or”geek” sterotypes have been with us since middle school i mean dont you miss the whole elementary scene where kids interact with one another without worrying about the way they look?as soon as we get to high school jocks are usually with one another and the ones who love to study are always together and we all just seem to pool to what we are comfortable with thats how we creat ignorance….If we all forget about what we look like we might just be able to see behind the book cover and actually like the words underneath the cover…i get misunderstood alot!and so do many other people out there but i ALWAYS try to get to know a person beauty or geek were all just people!some of us are just more confident with ouselves in certain situations but if we at least try to open up to things we fill uncomfortable little by little then i think we could all be just fine.

  • Mathew

    anyone who thinks this show is real… is a dumbass. it’s all a big joke. it’s less obvious in the beginning, but by the end, it seems like the writers are seeing how far they can push it. just watch… sometimes they even have the same scene, but they say different things. or, once after the elimination room, neils was hugging someone, then the camera shifted, and he was standing straight up, with his body in an entirely different position, and when he realized they were filming, he grabbed her again. there’s no way this is real. some things are just TOO FAKE. for example, their facial expressions when they are watching their “old selves.” COME ON! it’s so fucking cheesy, it’s hilarious. i choose to watch this show as i would watch family guy or the simpsons.. not thinking it’s real. and to anyone that thinks “it’s a reality TV show!! it CAN’T be fake!!” ….. is wrestling real? they never CLAIM it’s real, and they never tell you it’s fake…. just like beauty and the geek.

    don’t get me wrong, i think this show is utterly hilarious and i love it.. but you guys are just such idiots to thinkit’s real………

    but at least the show has a good message.

  • Mathew

    and, come on, ashton kutcher is an executive producer……………………………

  • Monica

    I’m sorry but i really hated those girls. They were brainless, insipid girls who thought nothing of labeling and criticizing as well as mocking others. They make horrible examples and should not be famous or on national television.I felt like pulling out my hair everytime one of those girls spoke. Their lack of intellect or at least a desire for it made me sick to my stomach. Foreign countries look at this and think “Wow, this is an example of an American girl!”. ANd I have to deal with that prejudice and generalization. I’ve been to places like China and Africa where everyone loves me,especially my kindness, intelligence and knowledge (I’m a board-certified doctor and a genetic engineer), but when they find out I’m “American”, they can’t believe it or treat me differently or ask me about Paris Hilton who frankly doesn’t deserve to be on the news for being in prison for a short time after her DUI-many people do that- and her “ordeal” shouldn’t be glorified and dramatized. People usually assume I’m of European origin since I speak fluent English, Spanish, French and Sign Language so when they find out I’m American their attitudes do a complete 180. I’ve been a member of Mensa since 7 and my IQ is above 140. Not to mention, I’m an attractive(I was a model for a few years) American woman in her early twenties.

  • Mike DeVine

    Its so fake, the male beauty is an actor. He has been in movies such as the brink, accepted, etc. He is not a club promoter. I smell something fishy!

  • E.

    S. –

    Couldn’t have said it any better.


  • absolutroot

    Mike, actors are people too. Look at the beauties in all the past episodes– they have traditionally been in the field of modeling, etc. Why not bring him in? I would only object to it if they rigged the show just to keep him on longer. I do think it was kind of unfair to have a male beauty in general though, because he had more of an edge in the competition…

  • Monica, that wasn’t even a proper comment. By your second sentence you started talking about yourself and didn’t stop.

    S, you are a clear example on why these women don’t get married. You are self-absorbed and have a inferiority complex. Both are incredibly ugly personality traits.

    Asian Playboy, being manipulative is not a good thing nor something that determines intelligence. Why would you want to date someone who is rude and betraying towards other people?

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