Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why don't nerdy men date their own kind?

I reread one of my favorite blog entries, Revenge of the Nerds. I stumbled across it while googling “dating nerds” a while back. Although Von was talking about black nerds, I think what she said could apply to many non-black nerds too.

In her post, Von was basically telling nerdy black men to STFU. Apparently these men keep complaining that all the hot black girls (“dime pieces”) only go for the thugs and are overlooking these “good” nerds. She makes several points. First off, not every black man is either a thug or a nerd. She defines a nerd as an oogly mofo with no charisma, no social skills, poor fashion, book smarts and a lot of bitterness toward black women. Think Steve Urkel. She differentiates this group of guys from black intellectuals, who are super smart but also have charisma, social skills and know how to pick out a suit. Think Barack Obama. There are plenty of black men within the spectrum of smart with no swagga (nerds) and dumb with swagga (thugs).

Secondly, she points the mirror right back at the nerdy black guys who call the dime pieces “superficial” for turning them down because the dimes do not find them attractive. Von asks nerdy black men why they are not going after female black nerds? Instead, they complain and pursue the “reject” White women (like the chubby ones) and find those reject white women more attractive than nerdy black women. In her own words, “You want a dime piece black woman, but you'll settle for a nerdy marginal white woman [Linda Gates]. You wouldn't accept a black female version of yourself but you would accept a marginal white woman. Tell me what's wrong with this picture!”

According to Von, of course the dime is going to reject a bitter, “ugly,” socially awkward nerd who hasn't made any money yet. However, there are dimes who will still turn down a black nerd after he makes his money, because they see that underneath the Benjamins is that same bitter personality. Money can't cure every fault. I have to agree that even though I like guys who are nerdy, bitterness toward women is a turn off.

Now Von isn't the final authority on the black nerd dating scene, of course. I mean, who is? And I don't agree with everything she says. For example, while I concur that some nerds look like Chewbacca, beauty is relative. However, as a nerdy mixed gal (I say “nerdy” as opposed to nerd, as I don't think I'm completely lacking in swagga), I have seen a lot of what she's saying. I have known plenty of black nerds, and only one ever pursued me. And yes, by and large, nerds that I have known (of all colors) did chase the “dimes,” at least in junior high and undergrad (I went to an all-girls high school and so cannot comment on high school dating drama), and then they got all bitter when the “hottest” girls chose the “hottest” guys. Black nerds never give biracial, nerdy me the time of day, and I have nerdy, black girl friends who are single.

I can't really blame the hotties for turning down the nerds. About a year ago, the Discovery Channel showed a documentary about attraction, and said that we basically find out where our hotness stands during adolescence and pair up accordingly. In seventh grade, I learned pretty quickly that I was not a “ten.” I went to a magnet (meaning you had to score high on an entrance exam to get in) junior high, so you would think I would be surrounded by homely nerd girls who would make me look like Beyonce. Not so much. My geekiness was not quite at the level of the “Magic the Gathering” players, but I certainly was not dating a high school senior while in eighth grade (like our class dime, “Erica”). Why would the alpha-female go for a nerd when she knows she can get an alpha-male? The girly girl wants a manly man. Duh.

Yes, my nerdy self does have a celebrity crush on Johnny Depp, but seriously, that skinny guy who's in love with France is not an alpha-male. The Rock could totally kick his ass. Alpha-males don't impress me much, though. I like falsetto (i.e. kinda girly) singers. Robin Thicke makes me swoon. Barry White? Meh. I like longer, ear-length hair on guys (kinda girly) and slim bodies (kinda girly). Glasses are also not a turn-off for me. Flattering frames can be a turn-on, actually. And although I like a guy with some charisma, who is not stumbling and bumbling over every word on a date, a man who will just sit with me in the corner at a party and chat instead of mingling with everyone, is just fine with me.

Some nerds, therefore, I actually find attractive! No shit!

In seventh grade, I did have a little crush on some nerdy, twin, eighth grade boys. They sat at our lunch table. They showed me little to no attention. I don't think I said more than five words to either of them all year. For one, I felt guilty for lusting after boys. However, even if I did want to show them that I liked them, I had no clue how to do so at age thirteen! One might argue that if you like a guy, you should just be proactive, get over your shyness and go for him. But why bother even trying to “get over” your shyness when he isn't paying attention to you, especially if he's chasing a girl who is “prettier” than you? Might as well direct your efforts elsewhere (like your homework) and admire the boy secretly.

I do think some nerd men in their mid-late twenties start to get it. I do have nerdy, white girl friends who are dating or are married/engaged to nerdy, white guys. I've gone on dates with nerdy, white, Asian and Latino guys. Despite my “checklist,” most of the guys I know I would happily go on a coffee date with. My checklist is not just to weed out guys I am least likely to like. It's also to narrow the selection to the guys who are least likely to reject me. Anyway, I know plenty of single, nerdy guys that get bitter when they have no luck going beyond the friend zone with the hotties. This they complain about to their single, nerdy, female friends….

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  1. Hi Flamenco,

    So here is where I stand on nerdy girls....

    For one thing, nerdy girls are a rare breed, and when I mean rare, I'm talkin albino rhino rare.

    I studied engineering in college, and let me tell you, the boy-girl ratio was something like 10 to 1... harsh.

    Of my entire college career I managed to befriend ONE girl. And I'm not saying I dated her or anything, she was the only girl who for some reason thought I was worth hanging out with.

    Secondly, nerd girls (from my experience) live a very non-realistic lifestyle. They are generally surrounded by men, nerdy men (witch usually infer smart, single, funny guys). They are usually constantly being hit on, pursued, and date the nerds who happen to either have the confidence or social know-how to get her attention (socially adept nerds exist, and there is always at least one in the group). And if there are no suiters in their social circle, it is very easy for them to find a guy outside their social circle (nerdy girls are still girls after all, despite your trouble I find most women don't have to work too hard to find a guy). From my perspective, the life of a nerdy girl is like a guy living on an island full of lonely, eager amazon women (truth or not, thats just how I see it ).

    A nerdy girl is like the holy grail for a nerdy guy. It's soooo hard to find and even when a guy does find one, he just ends up as one of the dime a dozen other nerds surrounding her and just hoping she gives him a chance. And considering a nerds natural tendency to be awkward and mess something up, if that chance does come it's just as easy for the girl to say "see ya" and move on to the next nerd boyfriend candidate (I'm speaking from experience here).

    Trust me Flamenco, you are a diamond in the ruff here, you just gotta get in that ruff and (shameless plug) work the room!

  2. I do think the situation is more like what you're talking about with non-Black nerds. Most of my nerdy white girlfriends have better luck than I do with guys! Myself and other nerdy girls of color I know are chronically single. I don't know if that's due to my own lack of "milkshake" or never being in the right situation (or a little of both). And yes, there are a lot of men (and women) within the spectrum of "book smart with no charisma" (complete nerds) and "dumb with charisma." There are smart, nerdy people who have social skills. Von was talking about smart guys with zero charisma.