DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I used to believe that beauty is subjective and different people like different things. But that’s complete bullshit and there are certain features that would make a guy attractive for any girl. It’s just how it is.
Dimples, nice smile, warm eyes etc. I have none of those. My face is an egg, I have a weird look in my eyes, and despite weighing 70kg and being 1.85m tall my face is still chubby and when I smile I look like a disabled person. No girls would ever look at me, and none ever told me I’m good looking, cute etc. Except from my mom and grandmother which doesn’t count. My friends keep telling me I have a great personality but let’s face it, personality is irrelevant if you don’t look good.
And I’m guilty of liking only very pretty, cute, hot, sexy girls who everyone would agree they are good looking. And none of these girls would look at me. Not even average girls don’t. I never saw a girl looking at me. I’m almost 18 and I never ever dated a single girl, never held hands with one and never kissed one. And even if through a miracle a girl I find hot likes me, I’ll probably hardly fail to flirt with her since I HAVE 0 EXPERIENCE and I’ll just look like and idiot. And boom, there it goes.
I’ll find myself at 25 still a virgin unable to find “love”. I’m still trying to accept the idea I’ll die alone but its hard. And no, I’ll not find love at 30 or 22 or whatever, and no I will not pay for escorts. If I don’t find anyone until I’m 18, thats too late. I’ll completely give up searching “love” and I’ll just join some satanic cult and listen to suicidal songs or something. All my friends have had girlfriends and I’m the only one who, whenever people talk about relationships and girls get “You don’t know anything about this” , “just don’t say anything, you’re still a virgin wtf dude” and so on.
I tried improving myself and I still do. The more I try to look good, the uglier I realise I become. When I try becoming good at something, I always fail. I know it because I tried getting new skills and stuff but it’s pointless because no matter how hard I try, I’m useless at everything. I tried dating apps, but even in my best pics, I look bad. I got only a couple of matches from average-ugly girls. The problem is that I’m an useless ugly piece of shit with standards. I’ve got too high standards. I don’t care the least about a girl’s personality unless she looks as good as a Korean model.
To understand how big of a problem it is, I wouldn't be able to walk out on the street or in a mall with an average looking girl. I’ll be ashamed of doing that. I think it's the fact that I’m ugly and frustrated and never liked by anybody makes me like that. It’s because I lack looks that I crave only very good looking girls, and I just don’t know what to do and how to deal with being ugly and shit.
DEAR HUCKIN’ FUGLY: Hoo boy. Let’s roll this one from the top, shall we?
We’ll start with the most obvious issue: you’re 18. I realize this sounds dismissive, but I’m being serious here. I remember exactly what it was like to be 18. 18 is a lousy age; you’re theoretically an adult, but you’re at the tail end of the social hell that is high-school, your brain is still bouncing around in a stew of hormones and you have the undeserved certainty in your grasp of how the world works of a college student who discovered Communism and veganism at the same time, despite having next to zero actual life experience. So everything is a crisis, the world is always ending and you’ve got more overwrought drama than three seasons of Riverdale.
So it’s really goddamn easy to declare that it’s the sexual apocalypse and you’re doomed to die a virgin despite being 18. I was absolutely, hands down, knew-it-in-my-bones sure that I was going to be able to drink before I ever had sex. I knew this with the certainty of someone who has hopped in the TARDIS and went forward in time to verify it personally.
I was, incidentally, completely goddamn wrong. I may have sworn up and down that I could see every step of the next five years with perfect clarity, but I was wrong. And you’re not any more prescient than I was.
(But, listen chief, as long as you’re telling the future, could you look up the lottery tickets? The Powerball prize pool’s going up again and I’ve got my eye on a sweet, sweet rebuilt ’67 Mustang…)
Now, you’re convinced that you’re going to be a virgin by 25. Let’s see if we can fix that, shall we?
Personally, I’d suggest starting by suggesting that you dial back the histrionics. I get that you are feeling things strongly – I refer you back to the whole “18 years old” thing – but the truth is: if I had a nickel for every dude who told me that he made Quasimodo look like a Men’s Health model but turned out to be completely average looking, Elon Musk and I would be having mecha fights outside of Los Angeles right now. So take a deep breath. Take another. Hold it. Let it out slowly.
Now let’s begin.
Your biggest problem isn’t your looks, it’s your attitude. You’ve thrown your hands up in defeat over a future that you don’t know and can’t know. In fact, the way that you’re talking makes me suspect that you’ve been spending time on incel boards. But whether you’re hanging out with the Incels or just assh
e-infested sections of Reddit, the best thing you can do right now is log the hell out of them. I realize that it can feel like you’re facing harsh truths and peeling the pleasing lies, but that’s not what you’re actually doing. You’re engaging in what YouTuber ContraPoints famously calls “Masochistic Epistemology”: if it hurts, it must be true. But the fact is, that’s bulls
t. All that you’re doing is emotional self-harm, the psychological version of cutting. The only difference is that you’re cutting your soul and your self-esteem, not your flesh.
And that needs to stop. If you want to find love and lose your virginity before all-is-lost-woe-and-alack, then the first step is to stop treating self-harm as a path to truth instead of intellectual mutilation.
But hey, you want hard truths, I’ll give ’em to you. And here’s a hard truth for you: most of the issues you’re complaining about aren’t things something that are actually happening to you. You’re making broad worst-case-scenario assumptions based off of confirmation bias and your belief that you’re inherently unlovable and unf
kable. You’re drawing conclusions based on things that you assume to be true with no facts actually in evidence. And to add to the self-loathing morass, you’re not considering that there are likely explanations that don’t have anything to do with you. Case in point: no girl besides your family has told you that you’re handsome? I’m not surprised. Not because you’re ugly but because for the most part women don’t tell random dudes they’re handsome; not unless they’re already in a relationship with them. In fact I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times a woman I wasn’t dating spontaneously told me I looked good.
Once. It’s happened exactly once.
I’ve gotten more compliments from pissed-off incels than I’ve gotten from women.
You want to know why they aren’t telling you that you’re hot on toast? Because we live in a culture that actively discourages it. We live in a culture that teaches us that male sexuality is aggressive, even predatory. Men are supposed to be the ones who make the advances and who take the lead when wooing women. Women are supposed to be passive and receptive, not to act but to be acted on. When women flout gender roles, guys get uncomfortable. Men almost immediately assume far more interest than actually exists, or presume that it’s a trick or a trap. I mean, if a woman were to tell you, HF, that you were actually attractive, would you believe her? Or would you immediately assume that she’s setting you up for an especially cruel joke?
So no, most women aren’t going to tell you that you’re hot. That has nothing to do with your looks and everything to do with the world we live in. We live in a world where male beauty was historically valued but hardly a priority and where men are currently discouraged from validating one another about how they look. Women, on the other hand are incredibly vocal and supportive of their friends, even strangers, in no small part because they don’t have the specter of “fag” looming over their heads. So you’re left without validation, without reassurance or comfort; your guy friends can’t provide it because guys are uncomfortable with expressing emotion or appreciation and women can’t provide it because guys freak out at them when they do.
Here’s another truth: your looks are incredibly malleable.
While you can’t do anything about your bone structure or your overall frame, it is almost mind boggling at how much minor changes can affect how you look. You talk about your chubby, egg-like face. This is less of an issue than you realize. At 18, you almost certainly aren’t done changing. The odds that the chub you still have on your face will melt away as you hit your 20s is rather astoundingly high, especially with your height and current weight. But even if it doesn’t, it’s incredibly easy to change the way that you look with even small changes. If you’re upset about the way that your face and head is shaped, simply changing your hair style can work wonders; anyone who’s been watching Queer Eye can tell you to never underestimate the transformative power of a hair cut. Letting the hair on top keep some length and allowing for some volume on the sides goes a long way towards adjusting the shape of your head and balancing things out. Similarly, some square or rectangular eyeglasses can give structure to a face that might need a bit more width towards the top. If you’re worried about a narrow jaw-line, consider a well-trimmed beard to fill things out.
But what about your ability to flirt? You have no experience to draw from! Well no s
t. Neither did I, chief. I had no game whatsoever growing up. I was awkward and uncomfortable and I didn’t find relationships so much as stumble into them. And that first one… well, I’ve written about that toxic situation at length before. Hell, even after my Long Dark Night of the Soul, my Batman moment when I fell into the PUA scene, didn’t immediately fix things for me. The fact that I now had a script to work from didn’t magically give me the gift of gab. In order to get better at flirting, I had to go out and practice flirting. That meant doing a lot of experimenting, trying to find the flirting style that worked best for me and, yes, being willing to make mistakes and look like an idiot. Nobody gets good at something, whether it’s sport or social skills, without putting in the work. If you want to get better at flirting, then you’re going to have to go out there and risk looking like a fool. It may be uncomfortable, but the question remains: are you willing to endure that discomfort in order to get better?
Here’s a more important truth: your looks aren’t going to hold you back. Not in the way that you think. Because, contrary to what you insist, your personality matters far more than you realize, much more than your looks do.
I mean, William H. Macy is married with kids and he looks like Droopy Dawg. Steve Buscemi, he of the disturbing eyes, is married, with kids. Patrick Fischler, a man whose entire career is “that creepy looking dude” is, you guessed it, married with children. And I don’t know if you’ve seen Geoffry Arend, the guy that Christina Hendricks married, but let’s be real: People’s Sexiest Man he ain’t.
Except your personality? It kinda sucks, my dude. I mean, I get it. You’re 18. That’s an age that’s gonna exhaust people because you have that combination of energy, free time and self-generated drama. But the way that you go about is going to turn people off, no matter how much your face changes. You’re complaining about your looks and your lack of love, but you’re immediately turning around and insisting that women who aren’t the hottest of the hot aren’t worth your time. As much as you are longing for love and acceptance and possibly someone to look beyond your appearance – and let’s not forget that you’re not the most reliable judge here – you’re being as cruel and judgmental as the women you imagine are rejecting you. You’re not willing to extend the compassion and caring to others that you wish people would extend to you. And while I’m not saying that you need to lower your standards, the way you go about expressing them tells women everything they need to know about you as a person.
You say that you could care less about a woman’s personality unless she’s a 9 or a 10. You’d be ashamed to be seen with a woman who’s “merely” average. Why would any woman, regardless of her beauty, want to date someone who’s that casually cruel? That’s the ugliness you should be concerning yourself with, not the shape of your face or the way that you smile.
Which reminds me: you REALLY need to drop “…like a disabled person” comparisons from your vocabulary. That sort of ableism ain’t helping your case either.
Like I said, this doesn’t mean that you need to lower your standards to “just barely above non-existent” or any such bulls
t, but you do need to consider the vibe that you give off to others. If the only thing that you care about is superficial beauty, then why should anyone want to spend time with YOU? If you’re willing to dismiss people’s existence – to see associating with them as shameful because they don’t pass the “You Must Be This Hot To Ride” test – then you’re ensuring that folks aren’t going to want to spend any time with you, regardless of whether you have an egg-shaped head or you wake up the next morning looking like Idris Elba.
But here’s the most important truth: you can change all of this. Like Ebenezer Scrooge pleading in his grave, you are not, in fact, out of time. You can take steps today that will change the trajectory of your life and help you become not just the man you want to be, but find the love and experience you’re looking for. But if you want to find love before you’re 25? Then you need to commit to making some changes. Not to your looks, but to your heart and your soul and your life.
Start with where you’re spending your time. Get the ever-loving f
k off whatever boards you’re reading that’ve been dripping poison in your ear and encouraging you to slice up your self-esteem and spend some time around people who actually love and care about you. If your friends are the ones telling you to STFU because you’re a virgin? Then get a better class of friend, because those guys sound like assh
*s. You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. So ask yourself: what kind of person do you want to be? One who has love to give, who supports and cares for others? Or who casually dismisses people for bulls
t reasons? The people you surround yourself with, the places where you spend your time… these all directly affect who you are as a person. If you want to be a quality, high-value man, then you need to put some serious thought into where you invest your time and your friendship.
Next, get thee to a therapist. You’re drowning in self-loathing my dude and it’s poisoning everything about you. You need to spend some time talking about these feelings and these issues with an actual, honest-to-God mental and emotional health professional. One of the most important qualities to have in order to date is to be in good working order, emotionally and the fact is: you ain’t there. The sooner you start talking to a counselor or therapist, the sooner you can unpack these feels, dig into the source and learn how to let go of all that pain.
After you’ve spent time with a therapist and working on your mind, THEN you can start to work on your dating skills. And the only way you can do that is to go out into the field. Now, there are some best practices to follow; I’ve written literal books on the subject (New Game +: The Geek’s Guide to Love, Sex and Dating - available from Amazon and iTunes!). But at the end of the day, there is no way to grind out those levels in social skills without actually using them. So you’re going to need to take risks, make mistakes, collect some scars and just put yourself out there. It’ll be hard. It’ll be uncomfortable. But at the end of the day, it will be worth it.
Things aren’t as bad as you think they are, HF. You’re not doomed by genetics or cursed by a twist of fate. You’re just young, with a bad attitude and a heart full of pain. The sooner you fix those, the sooner you’ll be in a good place to start finding the love you’re looking for.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org)