Hello Dr. NerdLove
I am what you might call a stereotypical 16-year-old nerd, geek,or nobody in high school. I love comics, movies, video games, and geek stuff in general. I have a 4.0 gpa, and in between playing sports and reading classic literature I can usually be found browsing through Spill.com and listening to the League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen podcasts on my iPod. At school I have one or two good friends who sort of understand my geeky passion, but from what I can tell I’m the only person in school who knows the origins of just about every goddamn major Marvel superhero. I’m even complete with some bad-ass (in my opinion) Marvel t-shirts, glasses which will soon require tape repair, and really bad acne problems that Proactiv and soap can’t seem to fix. Of course all of these traits make me quite an unattractive specimen for girls in high school, of whom which I have yet to actually gain romantic experience with. I hold doors open for them, I pick up their books when they drop them, I complement them on their new shoes, but for whatever reason I just seem to be invisible to the opposite sex. I’ve also noticed that my frustration with this hasn’t gone unnoticed with some girls, and now I try to avoid appearing as that “pissed off little prick that reads comics”. Even my dad has been jumping on my ass for not having a girlfriend, and I don’t need to take his shit since I’m pretty sure he was never a nerd who was ignored by his peers.
So now I suppose I should ask the wise Doctor a question. What am I doing wrong? Yes, probably a very vague question, but sitting in my room raging about the situation with parents who haven’t been any help isn’t what I’d call progress. Is it just teen angst? Do I need to stop reading the latest Green Lantern issue or quoting the previous Archer episode just to be deemed socially acceptable?
You, my friend, need to be more zen when it comes to girls. Frustration and annoyance are unattractive in anyone who isn’t Dr. Gregory House, and since you’re not popping Vicodin and nearly killing patients every 50 minutes, I suggest you try to relax a little. What you need to do is to not obsess about girls and spend more time working on yourself. You’re in high-school, which is – despite what television and movies keep telling us – not the critical time of your life. And frankly, if high-school is the best time of your life, all that indicates is that you’ve done something horribly wrong.
You don’t need to quit reading comics, but you do need to be able to talk about things that aren’t comics or making “DANGER ZOOOOONE!” jokes. And while holding doors and picking up books are noble and chivalrous, they’re not exactly going to make you the Don Juan you hope to be, especially if girls can tell you’re simmering with resentment. Neither is venting in your room by yourself. So dial it all back a notch.
What you need to do is spend your time working on yourself; go to a dermatologist to work on the acne issues, get some new glasses and clothes, study the basics and generally make yourself a more interesting person. Sports and literature are a great start! You want to be in shape and well rounded, intellectually. I recommend social hobbies as well; theater, music, volunteer work, after-school jobs… you’re at an age where much of your life should be about collecting experiences and stories and getting into social shape for the years to come. As you calm down and improve yourself, you’ll find people’s attitudes towards you changing.
And don’t worry about your parents; in two years you’ll be out of the house anyway.
I’m a chick and I like nerds. You’ve been giving advice to nerds so you understand how shy and nervous a nerdy guy might get around me. What advice do you have for a girl who likes the good guy, but he’s too shy to make the move? I’m not one to freak out over rejection so if I like a guy I go for it, but nerd guys just get super bashful. How do I let a nerd know I’m interested with out completely intimidating him?
Nerd guys, as I’ve said before, tend towards the shy and passive. They’re usually afraid of rejection and this over the years has taught them to avoid conflict or the possibility of humiliation; to make it worse, poor socialization and low self-esteem mean that frequently they won’t notice when someone is flirting with them or even openly hittin gon them. As a result you end up with a lot of frustrated girls who like nerds who just never man up and ask them out.
So make the first move yourself; corner your nerdboy somewhere, plant one on him and tell him in no uncertain terms that you like him and want to date him. Odds are good he’ll be relieved that someone else took the initiative.