The Nerdy Boy Catch 22

Well, when I started this blog a few weeks back I said I might talk about sex at some point. So here we are. It’s entry five, and I want to talk about boys who don’t get laid enough. Ha ha, you say, it’s a tautology! She’s making a funny joke! Alas, I’m serious. Some people get laid way, way less than they would in a just, sensible world where we weren’t all fucked up over gender roles and carrying around baggage from high school. Substitute “have meaningful romantic relationships” for “get laid” if that’s your preference, “get laid” is just my shorthand.

If you’re a nerdy boy who gets laid enough for your liking, congratulations. This post is not for you. If you’re a nerdy boy who doesn’t get laid enough and what follows here comes across as patronising or useless, I apologise in advance. I just want everyone to get laid more, and I’m trying to do my bit. It’s a tough job, etc.

Doubtless most of you will agree that the heinous experiences most smart people have as teenagers tend to stay with us, even once we find our niche among the other nerdy / alternative types as adults. I think the social stuff is easier to catch up on than the sexual stuff – most of us have made a lot more new friends by the time we’re 25 or 30 than we’ve had new lovers. This results in something I recently christened the Nerdy Boy Catch 22.

It goes like this: You don’t think you’re attractive. You don’t notice when, or you’re never sure if, girls are interested in you. You almost never hit on anyone. You don’t get laid much. You don’t think you’re attractive.

The reason it’s the Nerdy Boy Catch 22, not just the Nerd Catch 22, is this: girls, at the very least, will have been hit on by their mid twenties. Maybe only rarely by boys we were attracted to, and probably much more frequently by drunk / creepy / sleazy dudes we couldn’t get away from fast enough, but hit on none the less. We’re still subject to a bunch of toxic shit about beauty and a lot of us are really unhappy with the way we look, but most of us have at least exposed to the idea that some people want to sleep with us anyway. I don’t know if being hit on by people you’re really not into is better or worse than not getting hit on at all, but the effect it has on your self-image is clearly different.

Of course if you’re a gay boy who’s not involved in a gay scene, none of those proactive (mostly straight) boys will be hitting on you either, which I’m sure is at least equally miserable. I don’t feel like I can say a whole lot else about that experience or how to make it better, because I’ve never been involved on either side of it. I am, however, frequently a girl trying to get a nerdy boy into bed without embarrassing myself. Sometimes it requires neon signs and / or rugby tackling. Awkward.

Nerdy boys: You’ve probably been attracted to a bunch of girls without getting the impression they were attracted to you. In some cases you were right, unfortunately, but I’m almost certain that at least once or twice you’ve been wrong. I know this because I occasionally surprise the hell out of nerdy boys by hitting on them – not just because girls don’t hit on boys a whole lot, but because these boys didn’t get that I was interested until I’d put up the neon billboard and hired the singing telegram.

My own nerdy ineptitude probably makes me useless at flirting, but that’s something else to keep in mind: some of the girls you’re interested in are just as hopeless at all this as you are. If nobody gets up the courage to hit on anybody else, we’re going nowhere fast. If the only guys who hit on girls are those sleazy, sexist creeps, nobody’s having a good time. Probably not even those guys. I know you’re most likely a good feminist and I’m glad of that, truly. But even if you are, please, for the love of all that is holy: tell the second wave to leave you the hell alone, and ask a nice, nerdy, third-wave girl out for coffee.

Girls who like nerdy boys: if you think it may be well received, be prepared to hire the singing telegram. Seriously. That guy is just as scared of making an idiot out of himself as you are, and he has the added pressure of really not wanting to be a creepy dude. He might be so scared of being that guy that it’ll take everything he’s got to ask if he can add you on Facebook. If you’re waiting for him to make a move, you may be waiting forever. Be prepared to hit on boys. Just as importantly, assuming we’d all like to live in a world where hitting on people is less scary: be gracious when boys hit on you and you’re not interested. Unless he’s a drunk asshole, hitting on you is hard. Don’t look at him like he just threw up on your shoes. If you’re polite about it he’ll be less scared to hit on the next girl, and she might think he’s a fucking rockstar. In which case, you’ll have helped someone else get laid. Hooray sexy karma!

Nerds of both genders: There’s obviously a risk involved in hitting on people, especially when you’re not great at telling whether or not they’re actually interested in you. That in turn is something you only get better at with practice. Disasters are best avoided by taking baby steps. You don’t need to show up at anyone’s house with a bunch of roses and a hand-written collection of Neruda’s sonnets. (In fact, please don’t.) Just take one more step than you have previously. Does it seem to have been well received? Maybe one more after that.

Don’t convince yourself there’s no way they could possibly be interested in you. Ask them out. It could be awkward, but it could be great. If you feel like a complete idiot trying to flirt, just talk enthusiastically about stuff you both like. Don’t be reticent. Once you’re hanging out having fun talking about stuff, you’re half way there anyway. Be fearless.

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