Geek Gods

From a thirtysomething female friend of mine:

I am sure you have already read this, being the instigator of the fabulousness of geekdom for the past umpteen years…but I definitely think these geeky guys have become the football jocks of this genration–the "popular" girls are gravitating toward them in high school–a true reversal of fortune that need not be waited out until the post college years as it once did!

I LOVED hanging at the Apple store on Prince Street–taking it all in –when I was in NY –and now, the one in the ___________ mall here is not bad either.  The geeks are usually a bit young for me, but the energy, the socialization and the action and excitement of all the newest and greatest Apple products–is romance enough.  Teenage girls are usually circling these glasses-clad geeky guys with little body strengthin the black shirts–pining for the bits of insight that they drop so fluidliy.   The demise of the jock getting the Homecoming Queen is upon us. Ah, the times they "have a changed" indeed.  If my generation was only so forward-thinking, those former cheerleaders would be rolling in IPO money now instead of  the dirty laundry of their weekend warrior pot-bellied former jocks husbands.

Here’s to the geeks…

From today’s "New York Post":

GEEK GODS
By LAURA J. VOGEL and SARA STEWART
————————————————————————
The men of the SoHo Apple Store’s Genius Bar in uniform:
black T-shirts.
Photo: J. Scott Wynn

May 31, 2005 — HIS name is Carlos. He’s cute, in that rumpled Williamsburg-geeky way. And he’s smart, really smart – you can tell the instant you meet him. Sitting across from you at the blond-wood bar, looking deeply into your eyes, he gently confides: "I think you’re going to need a new battery."

So goes a typical tension-filled encounter at the Apple Store’s Genius Bar, where the men of the help desk have become a draw for New York’s damsels in hard-drive distress.

Single women are having their rescue fantasies fueled by the suprisingly chatty, sociable Mac daddies, some of whom look more like members of the Strokes than the cast of "Revenge of the Nerds."

"It’s really a scene!" says one customer, Anthea King, visiting the Prince Street hot spot on a recent night. "That guy over there, the one checking people in, is really cute.

"The people are incredible. They spend as much time with you as you need. It’s really fun here – almost like going out."

Genius Bar’s new late-night hours – it’s open until midnight Monday through Saturday – mean more cruising than ever in the repair bar, which is not unlike a true SoHo watering hole with its mod vibe and black-laquer stools.

Helping to create a clubby atmosphere is a musical playlist (courtesy of iTunes, natch) featuring Beck, Bjork and Coldplay in heavy rotation.

"Too bad this isn’t a real bar!" says writer Kate Donnelly, who has "rocked the Genius Bar"six times in the last year with her Powerbook G4 in tow.

"I almost had the Carrie Bradshaw moment – where she loses all her work – these dudes rescued me and I will always be grateful to them.

"Usually, the vibe here is great and you see lots of funny things: There’s always some smarmy guy hitting on you, and then there are the criers . . . weeping because their iPod is screwed up – please!"

"Do you work out at all?"one lanky male customer behind us said, as if on cue, to a bored-looking woman.

The romantic foray didn’t help much, but the Apple SoHo managers say they’ve heard of romance blossoming at the Genius Bar, which is not suprising.

This is a place where normally reticent New Yorkers are forced to sit, often for a few hours, and most end up chatting with strangers.

If you’re here, you’re in crisis mode, when people tend to open up and cling to one another – and especially to their perceived rescuers.

When the store first opened in July 2002, there were eight Geniuses on staff; today, the ranks have swelled to about 65.

They’re Apple’s front line of customer service, tasked with assisting all manner of puffed-up, peeved New Yorkers – and they do it gracefully.

"Everyone here is so cute and friendly," raves independent realtor Dana Lang.

"It turns out that they can’t help me. I have to send my hard drive to a data-recovery place. But it’s like the piano player on the Titanic – they make you feel good while you’re sinking."

Even among the attractive, educated ranks of the Apple Store employees, the Geniuses are gods.

"Those guys know way too much, man," gushes one employee standing near the front door. "They’re so smart."

Aspiring Geniuses are put through the paces.

Aside from weeks of intensive Mac training, "it’s about personal, face-to-face interaction with the customer – so we look for Geniuses who can convey their knowledge and experience, who can work with the consumer," was all a company spokesperson would say.

The winsome wizards do engage in a bit of good-natured flirting, but mainly keep things professional. Mostly, they’re far too swamped with software glitches to notice, but a real looker might rate a break-room "Check her out."

Most of the love flows the other way. And the fact that all of these super-smart saviors wear their names on lanyards around their necks goes a long way toward helping the be-crushed track down the objects of their affection.

One scruffily good-looking Genius (who must remain anonymous due to Apple policy) said he just received a greeting card from a smitten customer in the mail.

And craigslist.org, that repository for all things geeky and romantic, usually has at least one mash note to a Genius in its "Missed Connections" section.

"We were both on the N train, then were both at the store, you working, me needing help with my 3 problems," reads one recent posting. "i think your name is robin. anyway you’re supercute. i was wearing a straw fedora."

Luckily for the love-struck, Apple’s new ProCare program allows obsessed Mac users to spend even more quality time with their favorite Genius. For $99, among other perks, ProCare members can book consultations with the Genius of their choice.

"It’s kind of like an escort service," jokes Lang. "You can choose whichever one you desire. . . but I want to know if it comes with a ‘happy ending’!"

(And to think there used to be this kind of energy and excitement in RECORD
stores!  If only the record industry were selling wares as cool and necessary
to one’s lifestyle as Apple Computer…)

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