Ask Dr. Nerdlove by Harris O'Malley

How Do I Finally Become Confident With Women?

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: just wanted to reach out to you for some advice, I have never had any luck with women and at 25 I’m still a virgin not that it matters because it just means I haven’t had that experience.

I have zero self confidence around women whatsoever, I have never fit in and have been bullied most of my life. I have always been the socially awkward, quiet, shy and weird guy, I have just recent been able to start making friends in college. I am really worried that I will say the wrong thing and appear creepy to women or I get consent and they regret being with me later and my ability to practice in my potential career will be ruined.

There is a girl that I work with that is five years younger than me that I have feelings for but I won’t act on because I don’t want to make things awkward or uncomfortable. I also think she is way out of my league as she is funny, intelligent and really cute where as I’m weird, awkward, goofy, slightly below average looking and not the sharpest tool in the shed.

This girl teases me all the time and work and makes me laugh but, I think just does it to make fun of me, I asked her why she did it over text and if it was because I’m and easy target and her response was “Could be ;)” “but I dont make fun of you!!”. This coworker has also randomly messaged me “Love Yoouuuu” out of the blue and randomly referred to me as “babe” at work when I asked her if it was a slip of the tongue and she said no. This behavior confuses me maybe I should just avoid her entirely if possible.

The other thing that I fear is affecting me is being ginger, I don’t think most women like or even prefer ginger guys, gingers are popular with men not women. I also feel like I have to have a rhinoplasty to correct my crooked nose and braces in order to be even average looking to women.

How would you gain confidence and get over someone who you shouldn’t have feelings for?

Weird Awkward Nerd

DEAR WEIRD AWKWARD NERD:Ok so this is one giant tangled knot of misconceptions, WAN. But I think rather than trying to pick things apart, we’re just gonna take the Alexander approach and cut straight through it.

First things first WAN, let me help you put this fear to bed: nobody is out there consenting to sex, then deciding they didn’t like it and using that as a vehicle for destroying somebody’s life. The myth of “regret=rape” is bulls

t being spread by folks who think concepts like “enthusiastic consent” give too much power to women to say “no”.

Similarly, saying the wrong thing isn’t going to be the end of the world. Creepiness isn’t a one-off event, nor is it about looks; it’s a series of behaviors and attitudes that make people feel unsafe. Basic consideration and social calibration goes a long, long way towards avoiding being a creeper. Most of what you need to do is simply relax and be mindful of other people’s comfort.

By the same token: there are no such things as leagues; there are people who are into you, and people who aren’t. If someone’s attracted to you and wants to date you, then by definition, you’re in their league… even if they’re a princess and you’re a cave troll.

But at the same time: dude, where in pluperfect f

kery did you get the idea that women don’t like gingers? I mean, this is easy to dismiss by looking at the number of girls who went apes

t for Ron and George Weasely in the Harry Potter movies, or the women who get the screaming thigh-sweats for Eddy Sheeran. Or, for that matter, the fans of Michael Fassbender, Paul Bettany, Domnhall Gleeson, Robert Redford…

I mean, I could go on.

(Also, dude. *I’m* a ginger and I can tell you from experience: that’s never been a problem for me.)

Your biggest issue is that you’ve convinced yourself that you’re unattractive and you’ve worked backwards from there. And look, if I had a nickel for everyone who’s written in convinced that they’re Phantom of the Opera level deformed and was actually perfectly average AT WORST, then Elon Musk and I would be having giant mecha fights off the coast of San Jose.

Here’s the thing: 90% of being attractive is about presentation, not bone structure or physical features. All you have to do to see this is to do a search for “celebrities without makeup” or “instagram vs. reality” to see just how much conventional attractiveness is about how you present yourself. S

t, watch some episodes of Queer Eye and see just how transformative a change of clothes and a hair cut can be.

You don’t need a nose job to be attractive; you need to make changes to how you present yourself. People spend luxury-car amounts of money on plastic surgery and are still miserable. Getting a good hair cut and wearing clothes that fit and look good on you will do far more for making you feel like a sexy bad-ass.

All of these doubts and self-limiting beliefs are just retroactively justifying what you already believe. It’s confirmation bias in action; you ignore any signs that people might think you’re cute as “that doesn’t count”, while you double and triple down on anything that goes along with your belief that you’re an unf

kable troll.

Which actually brings us to your friend at work. I think you’re radically misinterpreting what she’s doing and why. Yes, she’s teasing you… but teasing isn’t inherently malicious. In fact, a lot of people will use teasing as a form of flirting; they’re showing interest in a gently playful way. I strongly suspect that this is coming from a place of affection. Part of the fun is how flustered or worked up you get; I’m willing to bet that if someone asked her why she likes to nudge at you like this, she’d tell them that it’s because your reactions are cute.

Because, straight talk: women don’t call folks “babe” or tease folks the way your coworker is teasing you if they don’t like them. This isn’t necessarily a sign that she’d like to date you… but it’s a damn sight closer to that than the idea that she’s taunting you or being cruel. The problem is that you don’t want to believe that someone you think of as attractive could like you.

If you were to start teasing her back, the way she teases you? Not only do I think she’d love it, I think you’d find the two of you would really connect. I can’t say that you’d start dating… but you sure as hell would have a much better time at work and make a very good friend. And that might lead to something new and amazing.

But to do that, you have to start by accepting that hey, people think you’re cute, fun and like you.

Because hey: they clearly do.

You’ve got far more going for you than you realize, WAN; you just won’t let yourself believe it. Take some time to make some changes to how you dress and style yourself, let those changes sink in and make you feel awesome and open yourself up to your own potential. I think you’ll surprise yourself in just how much you’re capable of if you give yourself a chance.

Good luck.

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