• Mon, Mar 15 2010

Revenge of the Jocks: Why ‘Cosmo’ Thinks You Should Date a Nerd

Raise your hand if you want to be in a relationship where the other person thinks that you are really, really lucky to have them. Oh, no one? Yeah, that’s about right.

Which is why I bridle at articles like the one in the most recent issue of Cosmopolitan that glorify dating a nerd or moodle. There’s an article like this every few years, and I always find it vaguely offensive to just about everyone involved. The assumption, after all, is that you really just need to lower your standards and stop going for the guys you really want, and once you settle for a guy who is somehow less than you they’ll be appropriately grateful. Here’s an idea: date people you are genuinely attracted to. Then you won’t have to expect them to be absurdly grateful that you’re dating them out of pity (odds are, they won’t know that’s expected of them, and won’t be properly grateful anyway).

Of course, Cosmo begs to differ. Below, Cosmo’s reasons you should date a guy you think is nerdy, and the reasons they’re wrong.

Cosmo Says: He’s capable of memorizing every line of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings so he shouldn’t have trouble remembering your birthday and favorite kind of flowers.

TheGloss Says: Except he will. That is, if your birthday isn’t something that fits into his particular group of interests. There’s nothing to indicate a connection between “loving Star Wars” and “loving to remember your girlfriend’s birthday.” And frankly, while jocks might forget your birthday, they do seem less likely to give you a long speech about how birthdays are some sort of construct of a capitalist society and they’re uncomfortable celebrating them at all.

Cosmo Says: Sure, he may secretly want to get it on with his super hot neighbor, but knowing that you’re the hottest girl he’s ever been with will probably keep him from cheating.

TheGloss Says: Nope, if people really want to cheat, they’re probably going to cheat. Hopefully, anyone you’re with is going to appreciate you and respect you enough not to. I imagine a guy commonly considered to be unattractive with bad social skills might be less good at it, so I guess that’s a plus from the not-bringing-home-diseases standpoint, but that doesn’t really make him a saint.

Cosmo Says: Geeks tend to be tech-savvy. Which means not only will he be able to fix a computer problem and upgrade your software, but he’ll actually enjoy doing it.

TheGloss Says: Here’s the number for Tech Gurus 2 Go: (866) 487-8724. Their rates are very reasonable. You do not need to date someone to get your computer repaired. Doing so would be like prostitution, but stupider.

Cosmo Says: Although the dumb jock thing is a total cliche, you’re unlikely to meet a dorky guy who can’t string together a sentence and carry on an intelligent conversation.

TheGloss Says: Huh? The dumb jock thing is a total cliché? But the nerd thing is always true? This seems like a stupid way to go about forming stereotypes, also, it just seems wrong. Sure, nerds are probably going to have some interesting specialized knowledge, but that doesn’t mean its knowledge you’re going to care about. If your hobbies are watching Sixteen and Pregnant and reading oh, say, Cosmopolitan Magazine and they want to spend all their time talking about the nuances of The Dark Crystal and string theory, then you’re in for some conversations that are painfully dull for both of you. Moreover, having poor social skills doesn’t mean that someone has poor social skills except around you. It means that if they’re stilted and awkward in conversations in general, that isn’t going to change, even though you are OMG THE HAWTEST THING THEY’VE EVER SEEN.

Cosmo Says: Since he’s supersmart and probably already making a ton of money, he won’t think being a roadie for Vampire Weekend is a great “career opportunity.”

TheGloss Says: Again, seriously, Cosmo, where are you getting your information? Yes, he may be super smart and making a ton of money. Or he might be working in tech support and living in his mother’s basement so he can spend his money on LARPing outfits. And frankly, at least in the world of finance, when I think super competitive, successful Wall Street boys, I’m more likely to think “former frat boy” than polymer science major (though as Rusty Cartwright has proven, you can be both). Also, I’m sorry, hearing the stories from someone who was a roadie for Vampire Weekend sounds kind of cool. Is it a career opportunity because maybe they’re thinking of letting him in the band? If so, I would be completely in favor of anyone embracing that “career opportunity”! But that could just be because I really like “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”, you know?

Cosmo Says: He was probably bullied during high school so he’ll be sympathetic when you vent about the office bitch…and help you plot a plan to bring her down.

TheGloss Says: Okay, that’s fucking terrifying. It just occurred to me – seriously, for the first time ever – that they guy who had his crush publically humiliate him in front of the lunch room in 7th grade may have just as many issues with women as the jock who spent high school sleeping with all the cheerleaders. I’m not sure I want to date someone who when I say, “my boss is getting on my case today,” immediately replies, “then let us devise a plan to destroy her!” That’s weird supervillain territory, there. You do not want to see what that person is going to do once you break up with them.

Cosmo Says: He’ll never hog the bathroom while he’s manscaping.

TheGloss Says: Oh, well I guess I’m sold then.

Look, I’m not saying that nerds don’t make good boyfriends. I’m just saying that they don’t do so just because they’re nerds. And I’m also saying that no one is going to be a good boyfriend who you have nothing in common with. As for finding someone attractive – that’s pretty subjective. Almost everyone is incredibly attractive to someone. And when you find someone who shares your interests, and who you think is good looking, you’re not going to see them as a nerd, even if everyone else does. And you’re certainly not going to feel like you’re selling yourself short by being with them. They, in turn, will reward you by not becoming a seething bag of resentment. Sound like a plan? Good. Let’s never again take advice from a magazine that recommended putting a donut around your boyfriend’s member and eating it off.

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  • canonizer

    Agreed. But doesn’t the modern aesthetic favor waifish boys anyways these days? Everyone’s 50%+ nerd.

  • alex

    The probability amplitudes of the components of a wave function are generally written as alpha|state1> + beta|state2>, where alpha and beta are hermitian matrices (that is, the diagonally symmetric products are real, whereas elements may be complex), and the sums equal 1.

    Ladies, ladies! One at a time!