Grace: Wood doesn't actually burn. Joan: That's insane. Grace: What burns is the gas released when the wood gets hot. Therefore the reaction would have to be gasification, through oxidation reduction, then combustion. Luke: It is so hot that you know that.
In Black Lagoon, Greenback Jane is massively aroused by watching Benny break a tricky encryption. The fact that breaking the encryption resulted in her getting a lot of money probably didn't hurt either. And soon they become a sort-of Official Couple.
Battle Programmer Shirase gives us a female Programmer who tells the main character that seeing the way he coded "Made me a little wet..."
Sousuke tends to get very happy and enthusiastic whenever he engages in conversation with anyone who's as enthusiastic about Humongous Mecha and battle tactics as he is. The fastest way to gain friendship with him is to be able to speak on equal terms as him.
On the other hand, Nami is definitely shown to be this way with him. When he first surprises her and starts talking Arm Slave jargon, her overwhelmed reaction pretty much equates to "What a man."
The first Tiger & Bunny Drama CD shows that, back in high school, Kotetsu Kaburagi and Tomoe Amamiya (the future Mrs. Kaburagi) were rather antagonistic towards each other... until she saw him trying to come up with a superhero name for himself.
Tomoe: Huh!? You're going to try to become a superhero?
Yorick being attracted to girls with obscure interests is a bit of a Running Gag in Y: The Last Man. A shining example is when he, upon learning that that a woman named her boat after the ship in Sirens of Titan, instantly proposed to her. Yorick's sister Hero lampshades this when Beth (not that Beth, the other one) starts rattling off side notes about the Swiss Guards that kidnapped them both in the name of the Catholic Church.
Hero: "Yup, you're definitely the sort of chick my brother would bone."
This is actually sort of how Peter and Kitty in Ultimate Spider-Man started going out. Or at least, it's how they flirt.
Kitty: 'Well, Indiana Jones, you certainly haven't forgotten how to show a lady a good time.' Peter: 'Yeah, you're somethin'.' Kitty: ... Peter: You're supposed to say: 'I'm something all right, until I get my five thousand dollars back you're getting more than you bargained for'' No' Nothing' Kitty: Wow, you out-geeked me there. Peter: Well, I'm sure it won't be the last time.
The Ultimate version of Mary-Jane Watson. Which, considering her mainstream counterpart is a cheery, party-girl/glamour model, is a bit of a surprise. And of course, she's a redhead.
Mainstream MJ presents us with something of a one-sided varient. While there's no character A says x geeky thing and character B says y geeky thing, it's was pretty clear that during their marriage to each other, MJ considered Peter's science talks a turn on. Y'know, until...
This trope explains about 50% of the interaction between Oracle and Blue Beetle in Birds of Prey. At least from Ted's side, anyway.
In Watchmen, Silk Spectre is turned on by the Nite Owl when he goes in-depth about his ship, his costume, and his gadgets. Presumably she had the same thing going for Dr. Manhattan when they were together.
Done in Jason X Special. Where after two lovers stumble upon a crater left by what seemed like a meteorite, the woman says "science makes me horny." The two promptly begin having sex right there as the guy starts spouting out scientific equations. Very weird, but they are both VR simulations.
One of the reasons Denys fell so hard for Karen Blixen in Out of Africa was her ability to tell stories... really, really good stories.
Mikaela in the live-action Transformers films manages to make both Sam and Leo fall for her with her detailed knowledge of cars and engineering. But then, that pales in comparison to her other assets.
In 17 Again, two characters fall madly in love with each other when they discover that the other speaks Elvish. Cue the following exchange:
"You can plunder my dungeon any day." "I'll bring the long bow."
Commander Galloway in A Few Good Men is very thorough and very book-smart. She also rants.
Galloway: If this case is handled in the same fast-food, slick-ass, Persian Bazaar manner with which you seem to handle everything else, then something's gonna get missed. And I wouldn't be doing my job if I allowed Dawson and Downey to spend any more time in prison than absolutely necessary because their attorney had predetermined the path of least resistance.
In Mozart and the Whale Isabel is turned on by Donalds math abilities.
In The Sorcerer's Apprentice, near the end Dave tries to let Becky off so she doesn't end up in danger, explaining to her about the evil sorceress trying to destroy the world, and Becky (who has no magical powers) says that she wants to help and insists on going with him. He responds: "You're sexy."
In the fourth movie, he is interested in Scarlet Sinister not just for her looks, but also because she speaks Latin the first time he meets her.
Older Than Feudalism: Little actual historical information is known of legendary Chinese strategist Zhuge Liang's wife Huang, but popular folktales characterize her as a plain-to-unattractive woman who was extremely gifted in astronomy, strategy, and geography. According to a record written around 429 CE, Zhuge Liang asked for Lady Huang's hand in marriage specifically upon hearing of her great intelligence, and he was particularly impressed by her numerous mechanical inventions. (A different version of the story claims that Huang was actually quite beautiful but spread rumors of her own ugliness as a Secret Test of Character for potential suitors. Zhuge Liang was the one who passed. This can still be considered a Geeky Turn-On since in nearly all tellings of the story, both fall in love when they realize they've met their equal in cleverness.)
Many Impossible Task stories, such as the variations on the "peasant girl saves her father from the whims of a capricious king by answering his bizarre riddles; he's so impressed that he marries her" theme. In some versions it even saves the marriage — the king has a case brought before him about the ownership of a colt (or whatever) and absent-mindedly rules that the man who owned the wagon the colt was born under owns the colt, rather than the man who owns the mare. His wife hears about this and advises the rightful owner to set up a fishnet in the middle of the road when the king rides by, and when asked for an explanation, to say, "It's as easy to catch fish in the middle of the road as it is for a wagon to give birth to a colt." The king gets the message, but is annoyed at being shown up and divorces her — she can take anything she wants from the palace, but she has to be gone by morning. He wakes up to find himself being trundled down the road in a wheelbarrow; he said she could have anything she wanted, and all she wanted was him. D'awww.
If any readers had the slightest doubt whether or not Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane were made for each other, it was dispelled the minute they started quoting the classics at each other; the only person who didn't catch on immediately was Harriet.
In The Silmarillion, Fëanor's wife Nerdanel. Considered 'not the fairest among her people', the Noldor widely wondered what the canonically gorgeous king's son and prodigious polymath wanted with her, but Nerdanel became widely renowned for her wisdom, being the only one who could 'restrain Fëanor' in the beginning. She also was a skilled sculptress, whose more abstract works escaped comprehension. Both of these things perhaps comprise an acceptable example of elven geekdom.
Scherarzade in Arabian Nights won the heart of a psychopathic tyrant-and cured him of his psychopathy-by telling hundreds of stories while making love.
In one Dying Earth story, Guyal of Sfere seeks out the long-lost Museum of Mankind. Facing unknown danger with a young woman he's just met, he emphatically declares his craving for knowledge. Her reply: "Guyal of Sfere, I am yours, I melt for you..."
In Little Women, Louisa May Alcott commits a Writer Revolt in magnificent fashion. Heroine Jo March winds up married to her best friend and beta-reader, with whom she bonds when he starts editing her stories for her. And it is adorable.
Queen Ehlana, from the Tamuli series, has just assisted a fellow ruler with a self-coup. In the aftermath, someone requests that Xanetia read Ehlana's current thoughts to prove that she can read minds.
Xanetia: She hath, as well, certain designs of an intimate nature upon her husband, for political activity doth ever stir that side of her personality.
There's a rather endearing example in "Shindig". The resident Wrench Wench, Kaylee, accompanies Mal to a grand ball. She is snubbed for her store-bought dress by the resident Alpha Bitch, when an elderly gentleman (in a Crowning Moment of Awesome) cuts said Alpha Bitch down by commenting on her loose corset. Kaylee, grateful, starts a conversation with him. A few minutes later, she's surrounded by several more gentlemen engrossed in her highly technical talk of spaceship frames and engines. And when one of them tries to ask her to dance, the rest shush him so Kaylee can keep talking.
For that matter, Kaylee's arrival on Serenity was the result of another geeky mating call: Kaylee turned up to enjoy some nookie with the previous engineer, but it turned out that she was just sleeping with him because the engine, er, got her engine running, and when it came out that she knew how to fix it and he didn't, he was fired and she was hired.
Simon agrees, sort of, in "Jaynestown," saying that Kaylee is especially pretty when covered in engine grease.
Zoe is clearly turned on in the pilot by Wash's awesome flying.
There's a pun in there somewhere...
While prostitution and brothels are widespread throughout the Verse, Companions are highly-educated, cultured, artistic and intelligent women of high status in society (in fact, aside for perhaps Simon and River, Inara is probably of a higher social class than the entire rest of the crew) who are often valued by their clients more for these reasons than for just their appearance and for the sex.
Mulder: Looks like the fuselage of a plane. Scully: It's a North American P-51 Mustang. Mulder: I just got very turned on.
Or the one from "Chinga":
Mulder: Maybe you don't know what you're looking for. Scully: Like evidence of conjury or the black arts, or shamanism, divination, wicca or any kind of pagan or neopagan practices. Charms, cards, familiars, bloodstones, or hex signs or any kind of ritual tableaux associated with the occult, santeria, voudoun, macumba, or any high or low magic. Mulder: Scully? Scully: Yes? Mulder: Marry me.
This one from "War of the Coprophages":
Scully: The very idea of intelligent alien life is not only astronomically improbable but, at its most basic level, downright anti-Darwinian. Mulder:Scully...what are you wearing?
Also, in "Kill Switch", The Lone Gunmen were turned on by Invisigoth's programming expertise much more than by her actual hotness (of which there was a plenty).
In "First Person Shooter", a record reveals the suspect as a sexy young woman in Stripperiffic outfit. Byers' reaction: "Holy Toledo..." Frohike's follow-up: "...she is packing a flintlock!"
In The Middleman, Wendy Watson and her boyfriend find an ultra-rare, frequently banned video game. $17 worth of quarters and a victory later, they can't keep their hands off each other.
Mac and Max get into an "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" conversation about whether Mac can take down Max's term-paper-selling website. Logan picks up on the subtext and wonders if he could sell tickets for this "hot nerd-on-nerd action."
When Mac sees the supercomputer, she remarks "Hello, lover!"
On Chuck, the title character and his girlfriend Jill turn each other on by communicating a time for a meeting through a chemistry-based code to avoid surveillance.
NUMB3RS: Charlie is trying to break a code for one of his FBI cases, but he's only gotten halfway. Amita looks it over and tells him the solution to the second half. Charlie just stares at her for a moment before blurting out, "Do you want to go out sometime?"
Sports Night has Jeremy and Natalie. "Say some computer things. Right now." Subverted in one scene, where Natalie gets hot and bothered over Jeremy's Techno Babble until she gets mad that he obliviously keeps rambling instead of playing "phone sex" with her.
In Season 2, when Jeremy and Natalie have broken up, Jeremy is over at a bar one night, and becomes attracted to a woman named Jenny because she corrects him about the parallelogram he's trying to make, and she's turned on by the fact he works at "Sports Night". Subverted again when it actually doesn't go anywhere (though nothing to do with the geeky turn-on; he finds out she's a porn star).
In the last episode of season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Anya comes up with some very helpful suggestions to win the day. Xander's worshipful comment of how hot smart girls are prompts Unlucky Childhood Friend (now gay) Willow to remark somewhat wistfully, "You couldn't have figured that out in tenth grade?"
Wesley responds to Fred's description of a demon's life cycle ("A Hole in the World") with "Are you trying to turn me on?"
Cordelia's taste in men is wide-ranging. She's been turned on by financial analysis, Xander's goofy wit, and pretty much everything Wesley said before their disastrous first kiss.
The financial analysis bit is a particularly noticeable version of this trope.
David: "Oh. That's easy. You could look into seller financing, take over the owner's payments and skip the bank completely, or you could make a play for a preservation grant. Offer to restore the original décor and get the city and the feds to give you a tax break and a loan at a sweetheart rate. Or you could apply for an FHA and get a PMI in lieu of a down payment."
Cordelia: "Is anybody else getting warm? Do that 'tax breaks,' FHA and PMI part again."
Not stereotypically geeky, but in Pushing Daisies, Alfredo Aldarisio becomes intensely attracted to Olive when she asks if he's ever felt like all the oxygen left the room. She's talking metaphorically, but he has a phobia of the Earth literally losing all its atmosphere and everyone floating into space, and feels that she's a kindred spirit.
Toby: You negotiated that? C.J.: Yeah. Toby: And they agreed to it? C.J.: You want to make out with me right now, don't you? Toby: Well, when don't I?
Or the scene where the President admits that he loves when his wife goes into Doctor mode.
Or "Process Stories," when Bartlet, Leo and Bruno Gianelli all flirt with their womenfolk using data from that night's landslide election victory.
Bartlet: I won the Dakotas. The Badlands. The Black Hills. But let's go down, way down, to the Deep South and the humid bayou of Louisiana and its nine electoral votes. What manner of man it must take to win the state. Which by the way is the only one operating under the Napoleonic Code of France, and I still don't know what that's all about, but back to me... Abbey: Hon, this is like, nerd hot talk? Bartlet:(handing her a drink) Who's your commander-in-chief? Abbey:(taking it) You are. Bartlet: And do the women like him? Oh yes... to the tune of fifty-eight percent!
In the second half of 20 Hours for America, Mallory (Leo's daughter) admits to Sam (with whom she has some Unresolved Sexual Tension from the first couple of seasons) that she was "weak" after hearing a speech that Sam wrote.
NCIS: This happens every now an then when McGee Techno Babbles something or other, be it hacking, codes, or cracking something with super geek powers. Abby makes a comment along the lines of, "And it's completely getting me hot"/"Sometime I think I love you". Abby is a master manipulator of this trope too.
Abby:(to Gibbs, who has just walked in) McGee is rewiring my hotbox.
McGee: That’s er, er, a nickname for a bundle of receptors in the firewall. That regulates the flow of energy throughout the system. See when stimulated correctly it sends waves and waves of rhythmic pulses (Gibbs can't even look at McGee at this point) waves, waves that er that hypercrank the er transfer speed, er, that digitised infor- Abby?
Obligatory Star Trek example: Kirk falls for Edith Keeler ("City on the Edge of Forever") not when he sees how pretty she is (and this is Joan Collins, after all) but when he hears her enthusiastically discussing the possibilities of space travel and atomic energy. And then Spock gets very very jealous.
"Vampire Weekend". They're investigating the murder of a comic artist.
Castle: He was good. His stuff reminds me of early Frank Miller. Beckett: Which Frank? Epic or Dark Horse? Castle: That is the sexiest thing I've ever heard you say.
And from "Suicide Squeeze":
Castle: Did you just use the word "veritable" in a sentence?" Beckett: Yes. Castle: Sexy. Beckett: You should hear me say "fallacious."
In Dollhouse, both Topher and Bennett end up essentially Squeeing over each other's technological knowledge and aptitude.
Not to mention both Tophers' reaction to her wearing glasses on a chain.
In Top Gear, pretty much whenever James May talks about physics, like during the Winter Olympics where he explained gravity is pretty much a constant around the world. It gets flung right back at him when, during a challenge, he drives a group of people home from the pub and talked shop with the woman who owned the car. (She knew more about the car than he did.)
In the I Carly episode "iSaved Your Life", Carly tells Freddie that his computer talk is geeky and cute at the same time, leading to her coining the combination word 'cukey'.
In How I Met Your Mother Ted considers a woman being a Star Wars fan a big turn-on. When he and Barney are hitting on a pair of girls together, and one of them compares the blizzard outside to the planet Hoth, Ted tells Barney, "Dibs."
Zoe: [Extended explanation of how to programme a computer to generate an infinite variety of trees.]
Philomon: [Gazing raptly into her eyes.] "I work with top secret military robots."
Zoe: "That's really hot." (Commence making out)
Unfortunately, that one is a subversion since a): Zoe never liked the military and hates military technology and b): she ishis top secret military robot. Although she really did like him, she was still using him.
Peep Show: "She knows about cubits, she's uncomfortable in her own skin — she's one of me!"
In Bones, after Angela has described a complicated procedure:
Hodgins: That's so cool.
Cam: You don't even know what that means.
Hodgins: No, but I'm really turned on right now. I'm turned on by her brain. I'd like to see her brain totally naked.
The guests on QI sometimes exhibit this, given the nature of the show.
One memorable episode featured Rory McGrath continually impressing with his knowledge of things like periodic table numbers and latin animal names, to Stephen's increased pleasure.
Jimmy Carr: Rory I believe you've pulled.
Stephen Fry: (Coyly) All it takes is a keen mind.
Pretty much every attraction in Fringe has this at some point. Peter's reaction to Olivia's ability to count cards, to Astrid's and Olivia's communing on coded messages and many a female viewer's reaction to Peter.
Sabrina's aunt, Zelda Spellman often falls for guys who share her interest in science. One of the earliest examples is in the episode "The true adventures of Rudy Kazootie" where Zelma gets attracted to Sabrina's biology teacher, Mr. Pool, and vice versa, when talking about some science thing I can't even pronounce.
Cody and Bailey from 'Suite Life On Deck tend to revolt others when they coo nerdy facts to each other and Cody often comments "I love that you know that."
Surprisingly enough, generally averted on The Big Bang Theory. Whenever Penny expresses an interest or familiarity with any of the guys geeky habits it's generally considered a surprise but nothing so great that it changes how they see her. The fact she hangs out with them at all is considered enough of an appeal. In one episode she was trying to sort of "lay claim" to them when a new, attractive tenant was shamelessly flirting and manipulating them; her sudden interest in Battlestar Galactica was seen as odd, not hot. That said, when she and Leonard had finally gotten together she made a Star Wars reference (complete with listing the proper character and movie) that got Leonard really excited.
In The Psychic Vortex, Raj can only convince Sheldon to be his wingman at a university mixer by giving him a Lantern, which Sheldon insists on taking. It attracts two girls, one of whom is mildly interested, and her friend who is clearly head over heels for Sheldon because of it.
Amy's "experiment" to make Sheldon more attracted to her included "playing doctor, Star Trek Style".
The A plot of The Holographic Excitation can basically be described as Leonard explains sciencey stuff and Penny jumps his bones for it.
The Egg Salad Equivalency ends with Penny revealing she bought a pair of nerd glasses in order to invoke this. Leonard's skeptical at first...and then she puts them on.
Leonard: Oh my god you look so smart and hot!
He then leads her off to his room so he can "take off everything except those glasses...and maybe the boots."
There was an SNL sketch with a phone sex line for nerds. There was a Star Trek girl, a Star Wars girl, a Lord of the Rings girl and a Dr. Who girl (among others), all of them knowledgeable on their topic.
Subverted once when Zane made a basic Doctor Who reference and Lupo didn't understand it. He was very disappointed.
Claudia on Warehouse 13 after learning that Todd is in the witness protection program, and instead of being someone who works in a hardware store and knows nothing about computers, is actually a very, very good hacker. Next scene during their make-out session, she has him talk about computer coding in between kissing.
Also, in the episode Warehouse 13.1, after fighting robots off with a freaking lightsaber together with Eureka's Fargo, she says "Marry me".
In an earlier episode, Pete complains that Artie sees them as Redshirts, and Myka replies that he doesn't see them as Redshirts at all. Pete's reaction: "It is awesome that you knew what I meant!"
In Kingdom, because lawyers are professional geeks. Lyle and his girlfriend Emily in the final episode of the third series:
Emily: Anything exciting?
Lyle: (standing up, slightly husky) Strict liability negligence polluted river case. No win, no fee.
In Person of Interest, Harold Finch notices Grace Hendricks and thinks she's attractive but only gets seriously interested after he checks her out online and finds out she's an "ardent lover of Charles Dickens." Conversely, Grace lights up when he starts talking passionately about the artistry of Giorgio de Chirico.
Finch has also shown evidence throughout the series of tending to be attracted to smart, literate women.
Sherlock's deductions in Sherlock have this effect on Watson, in a non sexual way, probably, but then there was his encounter with Irene Adler
Sherlock: Please don't tell me that was remarkable or amazing John's already expressed that thought in every way imaginable.
Irene: I would have you right here until you begged for mercy... twice.
The song Conventional Lover by Speck, describing a romantic date in geek terms. And no, "conventional" here does not mean "stereotypical." It means...well, if you don't know, you're probably on the wrong trope.
At the end of one concert performance of "In A Little While", after showing footage of the space station, Bono sings "Space travel turns me on." several times.
The song Geeks in Love by Lemon Demon is completely about this trope.
In Fiddler on the Roof, Fyedka first notices Chava at the bookseller's, noting - when he finally manages to talk to her - that "Not many girls in this town are into books."
In the musical version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, it turns out that Belle and the Beast are both huge fans of fantasy books. This scene was first shown in the movie (cut but then restored), however the musical version expands on their conversation more.
in Steve Martin's play Picasso At The Lapin Agile, when the countess arrives and finds Einstein, she says: "Now what's that you were saying about it being impossible to distinguish motion produced by an outside gravitational force?" and Einstein says aside: "God, she's sexy!"
Variation: In a Dilbertcomic strip, Dilbert asked out Webmistress Ming and she asked him why he would be attracted to someone who was never nice to him. He replied that "Good personalities are overrated", to which she said "You're getting me all hot over here".
Mordac and Ming also started dating after insulting the other's firewall and HTML skills respectively. They embrace passionately and one says, "Talk COBOL to me, baby!"
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal introduces Ratchet's Girl of the Week Sasha with her telling him about her impressive space ship, citing size, weaponry, living quarters with game system, etc. Ratchet promptly asks her to marry him (not literally, just as playful banter). And then she only gets a cameo in the opening of the next game.
Gabby: The new armor reinforcements really threw off the gravimetric profiles. But engines are good to go. I rebalanced the Gillbourne coefficients and adjusted the anterior intakes on the second tier stabilizers.
In Planescape: Torment, the (reformed) succubus Grace runs the 'Brothel Of Slaking Intellectual Lusts' which is exactly what it sounds like- a place where people go to have conversation, really good conversation, with the lady of their choice. (Well, not always- one of the prostitutes is mute, and her patrons pay money to just talk a lot at her, without fear of being interrupted.) Each 'prostitute' is good at a different type of conversation; for example, Yves loves to tell stories, and Dolora is a Robot Girl of great intelligence who loves debate. Oddly, there are normal prostitutes scattered around the city, and all of them are poor and forced to work on the streets.
Popped up at least once in Casey and Andy: A "geek knowledge" quiz, where Casey mostly scores the big points, while Mary provides slightly blander replies. Then she gets an extremely obscure question about the The Lord of the Rings 'verse right, and Casey replies, "It's so hot that you know that."
In Something Positive, Tamara had an intrauterine device installed after a pregnancy scare. Her boyfriend Mike had been sort of hoping she was pregnant and got disappointed...until she pointed out she was technically a cyborg now, which perked him up a bit.
Meta Example: Mel'arnach of Drowtales suffered several major redesigns both to her attire and her personality. With each remake, she became less insane and more dressed. In a scene that takes place before the reveal, she is shown as completely sane, fully dressed, and discussing clan politics with one of her guards. The fans were delighted.
Mister Cool of the Whateley Universe is a supervillain who in Real Life is a physics grad student. When a fellow physics grad student (female) realizes he has built his own working cryogenic armored suit, she doesn't call the police. She jumps him.
Happens in thisNot Always Right story: A client calls a phone sex hotline, asks the girl to call herself "Cortana"... and she turns out to be a Halo fan herself.
Arthéon from Noob is The Roleplayer, but is surrounded by people who tend to Play the Game, Skip the Story. He immediately falls in love when he meets a female player who shares his interest in the game's background and his dream to find a unique item and wants to marry her after finding the item in question at her side.
The Futurama episode "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back" combines this with an Insult Backfire. The Central Bureaucracy inspector Morgan Proctor finds out that Fry is a slob, and in her own words...
Morgan: Admit it, Fry: You're a slob. [She kisses him.] A dirty, filthy slob. [She kisses him again.] Dirty boy! Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!
Fry: What the hell's going on? I thought you were anti-dirty, not pro-dirty.
Morgan: I'm surrounded by neat freaks every day. There's nothing kinkier to me than a filthy slop-jock like you.
In an episode of Totally Spies!, Alex falls hard for a TV character, but then is crushed when she discovers that he is a computer-animated virtual character. However, she immediately falls for the computer programmer who created the character.
In Danny Phantom, whenever Maddie Fenton kicks some ghost butt, husband Jack will say, "Man, that's hot!"
The word 'sapiophilia' means turned on by intelligence.
Some historians theorize that Cleopatra was not considered that physically attractive, but rather was considered so attractive partially because she was so smart. She was fluent in several languages. Though being powerful herself didn't hurt.
In countries in which respectable women were traditionally cloistered it has sometimes been the case that courtesans were able to ply their trade less because of their looks and more because they were educated and could carry on an interesting conversation.