2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate?
46 minutes ago
By Tricia Garner -
I've found the perfect woman.
No, really. Her name is Summer, and she lives in Houston. Curiosity piqued yet?
She's a cheerleader for the Texans.
She's an aerospace engineer for
Yeah, I know. I'll give that to you again: She's an NFL cheerleader, and she works for NASA.
My initial reaction: Yeah, right. And Brad Pitt is a brain surgeon.
Next reaction: So, really -- did she have, like, a summer job as a receptionist at NASA or something?
Final reaction: Whoa. That's cool.
Of course I'm going to be skeptical. If you're hot, you have to be an idiot, right? And if you're smart, well, you can be cute in your own kind of way but definitely not in the kind of way that makes teen-aged boys put up posters of you in their bedrooms.
Obviously, conventional wisdom does not apply here. This girl is a walking contradictor of stereotypes. Even my first question to her, phrased as a statement -- "I knew you couldn't be blond" -- is blown out of the water. "I am naturally, actually," she laughs. "I started dyeing it when I was like 19."
It's a rare specimen, this perfect blend of beauty and brains. So rare that I enlisted the help of a half-dozen equally skeptical-but-impressed women (ranging in age and profession) to help me interview her.
One of the burning questions: How does a woman who calls herself an "enginerd" find herself shaking her assets in front of 70,000 people every Sunday, anyway? "I took dance classes from when I was 3 years old," she says. "When I moved to Houston, I quit dancing, but a couple of my younger male colleagues saw that the team was having tryouts and talked me into going. They said, 'We'll buy you lunch once a week for the rest of the year.' I didn't have to make it or anything -- I just had to go.
"I'm an engineer, I haven't danced for a while, and I'm sitting in line with all of these beautiful young Texas women, and I called them and was like, 'You owe me so big. You owe me sushi once a week just for standing in line with these women!'"
Of course, she made the team.
She says that, yes, coworkers at both jobs know about her "alternate" lives, and, no, they don't treat her any differently.
Other questions the panel of six asked Summer (sorry, boys, she can't give out her last name -- and besides, I've got to make you work a little):
How often do you have to put up with sexist comments from people who think you're "just a cheerleader"?
"I don't give them an opportunity to make a comment. But I mean, it's also not the first thing I tell people. Not because I'm ashamed or embarrassed but because I do understand there are stereotypes."
Have you gotten a lot of criticism from feminists for the cheerleader gig?
"No, I haven't. It kind of surprised me at first, but I also have a tendency to not pay attention to negativity. If it was there, I totally ignored it and was unaware."
Are you single? What do you tell a guy on a first date?
"I'm very single. I prefer to talk about working at the Johnson Space Center. Eventually, the cheerleading will come up. I have to have a reason why I can't go out on a weeknight or on a Sunday. I just say, 'I have another job, and it's this Texans game.'"
Are you concerned about intimidating guys?
"I never was until I spent all this time being single. I question my male friends: 'Why am I single? I'm low-maintenance, I don't require time or money ...' and they tell me I am intimidating. So now, sometimes I wonder."
Which type are you more attracted to, a supersmart guy or a phenomenal athlete?
"An intellectual type. Definitely."
Do you suck at anything?
"Patience. I also suck at art. I can't draw a stick figure."
Have you had any plastic surgery?
"I won't comment on that."
Oh, yeah -- one last thing: Summer's a pilot, too. Ask her if flying is scary and she laughs: "No. It's scarier driving in Houston than it is flying a small plane."
Let's see some hands: Anyone want to volunteer to chauffeur her around?