So you’ve met yourself a great guy. But after a few dates, you begin to realize he’s not like the other guys you’ve dated. He’s smart; he’s a little shy; he’s quirky; and he loves science fiction, online gaming, comic books, or other related pursuits. In other words, he’s a nerd.
While nerds often make great partners (in fact, many of us in the dating business consider them the unsung heroes of the single male demographic), women tend to overlook them. Thus, when a woman decides to give a nerd a chance, she may find herself in uncharted territory.
As a scientist and closet nerd, I’ve known my share of nerdy men. They’re great guys, but if you aren’t accustomed to being around them, here are a few things you can do to ensure success.
1. Appreciate him. When some women date nerds, they tend to focus on the “negative” side of his nerd-dom (e.g. his logging in long hours online gaming or his dressing up like Frodo every Halloween). Instead, focus on his intelligence, faithfulness, and other great traits. Moreover, while nerd-dom has become mainstream (even cool), it didn’t used to be, and many a nerd grew up suffering at the hands of dumb guys or b*tchy girls.
To succeed with him, show him you aren’t one of those people and that he’s awesome the way he is. Is he smart? Computer savvy? Well-employed? Make sure he knows you recognize what makes him great!
2. Never knock his nerdy tastes. Sure, the Star Wars posters or long days spent at Comic Con may seem silly to you, but everyone has unique interests that other people don’t “get.” And, really, how are a nerd’s interests any different from a non-nerdy guy’s obsession with Fantasy Football or baseball cards? To belittle or make fun of his hobbies is to belittle him and sends the message that he isn’t good enough the way he is.
3. Take an interest in his nerdy stuff. While it’s totally fine if you don’t engage in his nerdy hobbies, it never hurts to occasionally take an interest. Ask him why he loves his favorite sci-fi books or movies. Try playing his World of Warcraft game. Pay attention when nerd-dom hits national news — for example, just this week Disney announced that it purchased the entire Star Wars franchise (for a sum numbering in the billions) and will release more Star Wars movies. Likewise, he should do the same for you.
4. Find common ground. You may have different interests, but one way to spend quality time with your nerdy guy is to watch sci-fi movies or TV shows that also appeal to female non-nerds. Here are some of my favorites:
‘Game of Thrones’. Immensely popular, Game of Thrones chronicles seven noble families fighting for control of a mythical land. With its backbiting, battles, and sexual intrigue, this show is about as addictive as they come. On HBO (season 1 is on Netflix).
‘Hunger Games’. Based on a trilogy of books, the first Hunger Games movie was a big success and they’re in the process of making the second. Set in the future, a totalitarian leader selects a boy and girl from each of 12 districts and forces them to fight to the death, until only one stands. This is a gripping, well-acted movie with a very strong female main character.
‘Star Wars’, the original trilogy. On a cold or snowy day, pop some popcorn (or grab some beers) and watch the old trilogy. Yeah, it’s a bit cheesy, but there’s a reason this franchise was so amazingly popular: it has memorable characters (including a strong woman), lots of good humor, and a cosmic theme that appeals to everyone.
‘Battlestar Galactica’. I have gotten non-nerd friends (male and female) hooked on BSG. It has none of the cheesiness of Star Trek and everything it lacked: sex, violence, drama, very strong women, and seriously hot guys. You can find all the episodes on Netflix.
In many ways, relating to a nerdy guy isn’t all that different from relating to a non-nerd; he just has different toys. Love him for who he is, and he will be a loyal partner.
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