Nerds Are Sexy: In the Empire, almost universally so. It’s an emergent consequence, and an entirely predictable one, of certain other cultural characteristics: see, for example, For Science, Serious Business, and Wrench Wench. Also, thereby, self-perpetuating.
Fic-wise and other-reason-wise, see also Nice Labcoat.
Serious Business: The corollary of valxíjir and estxíjir (see: Blue and Orange Morality) is that they can focus on even things that an outside, or outworld, observer would deem trivial. Probably quite a few of those things. Everything from board games to wine is often taken very seriously indeed. It is generally understood, therefore, among the socially ept, that everything is Serious Business for someone, and that the polite will respect that and refrain from treading on other people’s sensibilities.
(And since at least some people’s Serious Business involves wielding their considerable social-fu against people who disregard the rules of polite conduct in general and this particular rule in particular, the general understanding is also the advisable understanding.)