Holmes is as inhuman as a Babbage's Calculating Machine, and just about as likely to fall in love.In Fiction Land, being very smart can damage your social prospects. This can hold particularly true in the area of sex and dating. However, this character doesn't care about driving off potential suitors with their intelligence or unusual interests. The Celibate Eccentric Genius knows that there are many more interesting and intellectually stimulating activities in this world than dating. The Celibate Eccentric Genius is Exactly What It Says on the Tin - an intellectually brilliant, eccentric character who does not, in canon, engage in sexual or romantic entanglements. They may or may not be considered a potentially desirable partner by others, but to count as this trope, their celibacy must be, to some degree, voluntary - an eccentric genius who just can't get a date does not qualify. Possibly due to the influence of Sherlock Holmes, these characters are usually introverts, often lack interest even in conventional social activities that don't involve the pursuit of romantic partners, and tend to suffer from Intelligence Equals Isolation. These characters often lack a canonical sexual orientation, but are often perceived as Asexual by the fandom, or, for the ones involved in close same-sex platonic friendships, Ambiguously Gay. However, a heterosexual Celibate Eccentric Genius is possible. See also Celibate Hero, Confirmed Bachelor, and Intelligence Equals Isolation. Often overlaps with TV Genius and/or Absent-Minded Professor.
— Arthur Conan Doyle, in a letter to Joseph Bell
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Lloyd from Code Geass - an eccentric scientist known as the earl of pudding. He seems to show no interest in his fiancee and doesn't seem to mind when his engagement is broken off. In fact, he outright admits that the only reason he agreed to marry her was solely so he could inherit the old Ganymede-class Knightmare Frame her family owned.
- L from Death Note appears to be this. He avoids thinking about anything other than detective work, which honestly seems to be only thing he's interested in. He's partly based on Sherlock Holmes, which might explain this. Also played straight with his successor Near. Possibly Mello, too, who although he licks chocolate bars in a provocative manner and dresses in revealing leather, is never seen snuggling up with girls (like the other Mafia members do), and ignores Halle's attempts to seduce him.
- While his Arch-Enemy Light has at least two relationships in the series, both are based entirely on manipulation and usefulness, so he may qualify as this as well. Its not clear how far either girl "gets" with him, but the second isn't with him very long before he murders her and as for the first, Misa, he only shows interest in her when he wants her to kill or otherwise do something for him; he also thinks about killing her on several occasions, and the only reason Misa lives is due to Xanatos Speed Chess necessitating Light keeping her alive. It's established early on that Light is quite popular with the ladies but rarely showed interest in them even before becoming a Serial Killer.
- Steins;Gate's Okabe Rintarou claims to be one of these, though mostly it's an excuse for his social and romantic inexperience.
- Sasuke from Naruto seems to be this, since though he plans to eventually revive his dead clan, he shows zero interest in all of the In-Universe fangirls who have been throwing themselves at his feet since he was at least 8. This all changes by the end of the series, however, as he marries Sakura Haruno and has a daughter with her named Sarada.
- Adrian "Ozymandias" Veidt from Watchmen, maybe. In the original graphic novel, "the smartest man in the world" is shown totally devoid of any visible romantic or sexual interest (and doesn't appear to be repressing it a la Rorschach, either), despite being regarded as something of a celebrity sex god in-universe (reporter Doug Roth comments "[e]very girlfriend [he's] had in the last four years has wanted to lay this guy") and thus implicitly having his free pick of partners, if he wanted them. Rorschach believes he is "possibly homosexual", but this is never elaborated upon.
- This is not the case, however, in Before Watchmen (which has a throwaway implication that he is bisexual and his later celibacy is a kind of permanent mourning for his dead girlfriend Miranda St. John) or the film version (which gave him what may or may not have been a collection of gay porn and — in tie-in materials — described him as having dated Madonna, Stevie Nicks, and Sheena Easton).
- In the Comic Book/Grendel comics, Hunter Rose appears uninterested in sex or romance except for the memories he carries of his first and only love: Jocasta Rose (he was fourteen; she was thirty six).
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic An Extended Performance, this is one of the reasons why The Great and Powerful Trixie is alone. As least if you ask her it is.
- Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm: Jason Shepard possesses extreme intelligence (enough to completely memorize the entire inner workings of 3 long-dead superheroes and himself), yet never gives any indication of wanting a relationship, physical or otherwise. When Luna first takes Sailor Moon to see him, he is living a quiet (read: lonely) life far from Tokyo, yet evidence in the stories indicate that he preferred the isolation because it gave him peace. Combined with the fact that he seems to dislike the idea of intimacy, Jason seems to be quite celibate and no worse off because of it.
- In Flash Gordon, Professor Zarkov, Half-Mad Scientist is the only named character in the entire movie who doesn't express interest in anything romantic or sexual at any point. This especially noticeable given that everyone around him is incredibly lustful, and even The Hero is Not So Above It All. This may be justified In-Universe. While his memories are being drained, one of the scenes is his beloved wife drowning in a pool accident and him mourning her. Watch it here.
- Emmett "Doc" Brown in Back to the Future finds the notion of Love at First Sight to be ridiculous, until he finally meets Clara Clayton in Part III.
- Ghost Busters: Egon Spengler is The Spock and a bit of an eccentric, though not nearly as eccentric as either Ray Stantz or Peter Venkmann. Yet he's the one their Sassy Secretary, Janine, has the hots for. Too bad Egon's married to science.
- Sherlock Holmes in the original novels by Arthur Conan Doyle, may very well be the Trope Codifier, despite what most later, non-Doylean, adaptations will have you believe. Sherlock's brother, Mycroft Holmes, is another example.
- Nero Wolfe. The "celibacy" part is due to being rather unsociable and not fond of women.
- It's come out over the course of the books that Wolfe was married before immigrating to America, and that he discovered his wife was attempting to slowly poison him. (Her fate is officially unknown, although the author once said he assumed Wolfe murdered her and got away with it.) Both Wolfe and Goodwin have made comments to the effect that Wolfe does have a continued interest in women but is determined to avoid showing it; he's certainly celibate from the first novel on but has at times tolerated a woman's presence - or even residence - to a degree that makes Goodwin uncomfortable.
- Arguably, Granny Weatherwax in the Discworld novels is a variation of this trope. Celibacy: her known romantic history consists of an unconsummated youthful romance with Ridcully, and as an old woman she's still capable of attracting unicorns. Eccentricity: she's proud, intimidating, solitary, would have made an impressive Wicked Witch under different circumstances, and rides an alleged broomstick. Genius: she's a powerful witch and accomplished Guile Hero.
- Interestingly, both Weatherwax and Sherlock Holmes are thin and wiry, have intense light-colored eyes, and are interested in apiculture.
- This trope is discussed briefly in the Robert A. Heinlein novel Stranger in a Strange Land. Jubal Harshaw explains that Great Men, particularly the great founders or reformers of religions, are either completely celibate, like Jesus, or the complete opposite of celibate, like The Prophet Muhammad and Joseph Smith.
- The title character of the Mediochre Q Seth Series is one of these. The genius is natural, the eccentricity is implied to be a coping mechanism, and he forces the celibacy on himself because he's functionally immortal and trapped in the body of a fifteen-year-old, so things would be too confusing otherwise.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows reveals that Severus Snape remained celibate due to a failed relationship in his youth. Word of God confirms that Albus Dumbledore became this as well, also due to a failed relationship in his youth.
- A Song of Ice and Fire gives us Lord Varys (as does the TV adaptation). Celibacy? Check (he's a eunuch, so that's kind of a given). Eccentricity? Check (due to his creepy, effeminate appearance and mannerisms). Genius? Check (he's The Spymaster, so all the tropes related to Magnificent Bastardry and Chessmastery would naturally apply).
Live Action TV
- The title character of Sherlock considers himself married to his work, though that doesn't stop an intense - but brief - relationship from blossoming between him and Irene Adler in A Scandal in Belgravia, the exact romantic/sexual nature of which is not discussed; and then there's the Ho Yay between him and John Watson that certain fans claim to see all over the place (and which is occasionally referenced in-universe to John's annoyance).
- In The Big Bang Theory
- Dr. Sheldon Cooper before Amy Farrah Fowler came along. Even his dynamic with Amy isn't particularly conventionally romantic.
- Sheldon and Amy both qualify. Ironically, it's the very thing that brought them so close together - they understand each other's disdain for sex better than anyone else.
- However, that may be changing. As Amy spends more time with Penny and Bernadette, she does begin presenting the desire for more intimacy in her relationship and it's implied some of her celibacy at least was from restraint. With Sheldon though, it's just how he always was. However, when Penny and Leonard asked him, if he would ever become intimate with Amy like that, he paused to think about it before mentioning it is a possibility, showing Character Development on his part. Sheldon and Amy do finally engage in coitus a few episodes after they get back together.
- In the backstory Leonard's parents only had sex in order to procreate. Once that was done, they were done.
- This was essentially Gil Grissom for the first few seasons of CSI; he did make a few remarks to Sara that ship fans now adore, but he really didn't seem interested in romance at all up until it was revealed he was with Sara in the season 6 finale. We don't know the exact time they became an item, but we know it wasn't the entire series. In fact, he gets divorced offscreen, and then doesn't reconcile with Sara until the end of The Movie.
- In Seinfeld, men become more intelligent when they stop having sex, because most of their brains are always obsessed with sex, and that part begins to function properly when sex is no longer a factor in their lives.
- The Doctor in Doctor Who, depending on his regeneration. Five and Seven were extremely celibate, which became a plot point with some frequency in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe. From his Eighth regeneration onwards, the Doctor starts getting more and more intimate with his companions (though Tom Baker loves to imply that this started way back with Four). And of course, the First Doctor had a granddaughter and even got engaged to a Girl of the Week.
- Eleven certainly fit this trope for a while, though it went away somewhere between the Battle of Demons Run and when he got married.
- For Five, Word of God was a strong influence. Producer John Nathan Turner was famous for saying that "There is no hanky panky aboard the TARDIS". To stress this, he also went as far as to forbid Peter Davison and his female co-stars from any physical contact.
- Atlantis has Pythagoras, who is explicitly more interested in his triangles than women.
- Played with and Deconstructed in Hawkwind's ''Quark, Strangeness, and Charm,''. The song pokes fun at certain acclaimed scientists throughout history, such as Einstein and Galileo, as being lovelorn through missing that one titular piece of discovery (and if you're wondering, no, Lemmy was not involved).
- In My Fair Lady, the linguist Henry Higgins has two whole musical numbers about how much he hates women and loves being a confirmed bachelor.
- In Chess, Freddie prefers to get his kicks "above the waistline". He's also the second-best chess player in the world. He's also freaking insane.
- In the Mrs Hawking play series, the deductive genius titular character Victoria Hawking is, according to Word of God, an aromantic asexual.
- Prof. Mordin from the Mass Effect series. Eccentric genius: double check. Celibate: because his entire species has very little sexual drive.
- Jade Curtiss, the party's reformed Mad Scientist in Tales of the Abyss, has enough trouble grasping friendship as a concept that might apply to his own relationships with others, let alone romance. He seems for the most part to regard emotional closeness as something that happens to other people, although he does get a bit better about this as the game progresses.
- Fumi Kanno in Devil Survivor 2. She isn't above jokingly flirting with the protagonist, but at a whole shows little interest in love or romance.
- Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth is certainly a genius in his own field and appears to be at least above-average in general intelligence. He has no sort of romantic inclinations at any point in the series; in fact, he seems genuinely astonished that the ladies find him irresistible (or, in the case of people like Oldbag, flat-out horrified). Any advances from the opposite sex he generally ignores, choosing to expend his energy on his work instead.
Edgeworth: D-do I really inspire this sort of frothing desire from the female masses?
- At the beginning of Chester 5000 XYV, The Scientist is so uninterested in sex that he builds his wife a sexbot so she'll stop pestering him. Later, he has a Green-Eyed Epiphany and tries to confiscate the robot and sell it to someone else. Drama Ensues.
- Professor Twiggit, from Eerie Cuties, is another female example of the trope. She's in her early 30's and fairly attractive, but has yet to show any interest in romance. And calling her eccentric, would be putting it mildly.
- Frank from Two Guys and Guy has admitted to "...[turning] down romance in favor of science." His lack of a love life is later addressed in this Guest Strip.
Wayne: Frank, how come you don't go out on dates?Frank: Dating takes away from my important sciencing time.
- For a value of "genius" that includes "Crazy Awesome schemer," the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series. He's too focused on his schemes to care that his minion is throwing herself at him. Disturbingly, this series includes probably one of the most brutal (halfway realistic) depictions of Domestic Abuse ever put to western animation.
- The Real Ghostbusters: Much like the film entry, Egon is still in it For Science! and still oblivious to Janine's affections. It's eventually subverted when he finally notices and reciprocates; likely helped by the fact that, here, Janine is a Sexy Secretary. Whereas her film counterpart is just sassy.
- William "Master Billy Quizboy" Whalen from The Venture Bros. is this, although he's Brilliant, but Lazy and does end up getting laid.
- In general, not uncommon for people with Schizoid Personality Disorder.
- Nikola Tesla, real-life Mad Scientist and life-long bachelor.
- Isaac Newton supposedly said on his deathbed that his proudest accomplishment was managing to die a virgin.
- Henry David Thoreau: Poet, hermit, nonconformist, life-long virgin. This could be a case of Single-Target Sexuality, as he and his brother had a falling-out over a woman (whom neither ended up with).
- Thoreau's contemporary Emily Dickinson was another Reclusive Artist and experimental poet who stayed single for life (although there is speculation, largely fueled by the many love poems she wrote, about secret romantic relationships).
- The wildly eccentric and avant-garde artist Andy Warhol remained celibate throughout his life, possibly due to his Catholic faith.
- Lewis Carroll is often interpreted as this, given that he was an eccentric genius and a life-long bachelor. There's still debate as to whether he had certain...unsavory sexual interests, as he sometimes took naked pictures of little girls (granted, this wasn't uncommon in Victorian Britain), and he hung around with a lot of little girls (like ten-year-old Alice Liddell, the inspiration for that other Alice). But it's not certain that that behavior was due to any perversions, and even if he did have any shady urges, there's no evidence that he took his urges any further than that. What's more, Carroll appears to have had a number of love affairs with adult women, but his family swept those under the rug.
- The great philosopher Immanuel Kant never took any interest in sex during his lifetime.
- William James Sidis was a child prodigy who entered Harvard at age eleven and excelled in most fields throughout his life...and was also celibate.
- Temple Grandin. At 69 years old she still hasn't had romance or sex (and adamantly refused to let the makers of the film about her put romance in it) and wears cowgirl shirts even when not in Colorado where she lives and works in the cattle industry; in spite of being born to an upper class family in Massachusetts.
- Lise Meitner was a physicist who was a driving force behind the discovery and articulation of nuclear fission and even seemed to be a platonic life partner to her married collaborator Otto Hahn, yet there is no evidence of romance in her life.
- Truth in Television: Historically, all dons at Oxford and Cambridge universities were required to take a Vow of Celibacy. This had a fair bit to do with the expectation that they would also serve in the priesthood or holy orders. The rule remained in place until the late 1800s.