The Beauty of the Dork
RON ATHEY: In the early 80s, there was an elitist, almost snooty quality to the underground scene in L.A. This attitude sort of deteriorated after MTV, which functioned as an inverted subversion. Gangster clothes, kooky-color hair and dreads no longer signified specific cultural identities, but became public domain. In the 90s, when a lot of underground people began dressing ducky, you coined the term neoconservative chic, and lately fashions been wrapped up in the house of geek chic. But more fetishistically, weve both been going on about the mystique of the hot, humpy dork. How does the humpy dork differ from the geek?
VAGINAL DAVIS: Geeks are insufferable. If anything chic comes out of them, I assure you its purely by accident. Geeks are also manipulative and passive-aggressive. Oh, and covetous of anything that someone with style and pizzazz possesses. I especially cant stand the beady-eyed geek, the weasel, the worm or the mole. A lot of geeks got into punk rock and underground culture because they secretly wanted to be jocks and cheerleaders and lord it over everyone, but never achieved that in high school. In the underground they were finally able to create a hierarchy that they could be at the top of.
R.A.: So are you saying the geek is clueless?
V.D.: Not exactly. Most geeks are clued in enough to want savagely to be that obscure object of desire. What makes the dorkus better is that he isnt fully aware of his charms. Extreme modesty always prevails a nice body will almost always be covered in ill-fitting or baggy clothes, the better to hide any traces of post-pubescent development.
R.A.: The physical traits that constitute dorkiness i.e., harelip, buckteeth, myopia, post-adolescent acne and so on are basically minor congenital defects, and that doesnt add up to sexy-humpy. Wouldnt you say its the dynamic of perfection prevailing over scar tissue that makes the humpy dork a veritable prodigal son? Im thinking of the strabismic cholo busboy at Astro Family everyones been drooling over for years, or Joaquin Phoenixs accentuated harelip in Gladiator. Theyre both hypermasculine, yet flawed. This contrast is humbling while knowing they are sexy, they still emote an eyes-downcast low self-esteem.
V.D.: The low-self-esteem issue is what truly warms my heart. Dorks rarely toot their own horn the way geeks have a tendency to do. The young male ingénue Jason Biggs, who starred in the teen flick in which he sodomized an apple pie, is now a geek who has become completely full of himself. He was so cute and personable in that movie, his chubby post-adolescent body so perfectly awkward. But recently I saw him at a multiplex, overly trim and exuding such big-dick arrogance that I was ashamed I ever found him attractive.
Anna wears an Estevan Ramos short-sleeved leather trench coat over vintage one-piece swimsuit from SquaresVille. Sun-glasses from Peggy Guggenheim. The boys stand at attention in Jared Gold striped-crotch shorts and sleeveless T-shirts.
R.A.: Maybe its a geographical issue. Anyone who lives in an urban environment is overly aware of their market value it seems every somewhat good-looking teenager wants a modeling career and only country bumpkins or suburbanites are oblivious to their worth. There arent as many pairs of hungry eyes, and therefore not the same level of body consciousness. Underground was a rebellion against mainstream, neoconservative chic the backlash against underground gone mainstream. But humpy dork is more of an accident, or a triumph over certain traits that are considered imperfect. Its the relationship of the dork to the super-Adonis, as seen in advertising or American gay iconography, that creates this special beauty. Also, humpy dorks are usually much shorter than model height, 5-foot-7 or under. A tall dork is a goofus. Many humpy dorks are thusly so because they suffer from body-dysmorphic disorders, perhaps at a higher rate than average, because of the need to overcome their childhood traumas of being relentlessly badgered. The commonplace use of braces, contact lenses and corrective surgeries is causing less severe traits to disappear. I personally love gap teeth, overbites, underbites, thick eyeglasses, freckles, lazy eyes, prematurely receding hairlines, as long as they arent all happening at once. And I disagree about the baggy clothes. A lot of humpy dorks are consciously understated in tight-fitting jock gear, or seem to be stuck in fashions from the unhappiest period of their lives Buster Brown shorts and sandals.
V.D.: My dear, recently deceased mother was very prejudiced against diminutive men. She felt a man wasnt really a man unless he was 6 feet or taller. Id howl every time shed rant, I dont like little men with little hands and little feet. How would you like something little crawling all over you? Thats an image deeply embedded in my mind. There are certain types of tiny men I find really attractive, such as 40s film stars like John Garfield, John Hodiak and Eddie Bracken (who was so adorable as Judy Garlands love interest in Summer Stock, with his tortoiseshell glasses and ever-so-slight lisp). The short and stocky barrel-chested bulldog is such a masculine type those men looked so sharp in World War II uniforms. Thats one look that will undoubtedly return to vogue, maybe not the next season, but the one after that. I predict that soon every boy on the runway will be a 5-foot-nothing pud able to leap tall buildings in a single cartwheel.
Styled by Ron Athey & Susan Matheson
Hair & Makeup: Veronica Lorenz www.veronica lorenz.com
Location: Courtesy Paul & Rhonda Davis
Clothes: Soyun Available at Diavolina II and Curve
Estevan Ramos Available at Macys, Nordstrom or, for custom work, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jared Gold Available at American Rag, Aero & Co., Fred Segal, Barneys, Curve and Prototype
Vivienne Westwood Available at Traffic and Maxfields
SquaresVille 7312 Melrose Ave., (323) 525-1425
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