DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’ve been reading your stuff recently because I’m having a problem and I don’t think you’ve ever answered a question like mine.
Some backstory: I’m probably typical for a lot of your audience. Young, male, straight, nerdy, lot of time on computers, probably somewhere on the spectrum (haven’t gotten tested, but I think I’ve got ADHD like everyone else these days), few dates and zero relationships. Still got my v-card, though I’ve gone further than some guys who write in.
I’m also like a lot of guys who write in because I’ve heard all the same arguments about women and men and I feel like I can’t meet women’s standards, like I can’t get women’s attention when I’m out and I’m not supposed to talk to them unless I’m getting all the signs that they want me or else I’m a creep or bothering them because I’m just not as hot as the guys they want to talk to.
You say all of that’s bulls--t and everything I’ve read or whatever is wrong and you know what? I want to believe you. I can see how maybe you’re right and everyone else is wrong. But how do I start believing that? It’s not like I can just snap my fingers and change what I’ve seen. Like I can just LOOK at dating apps and see how great women are doing while men have to swipe hundreds of times to get even one match and the few matches we DO get are either not attractive, thots trying to get people to sign up to their OF, bots trying to steal my money or actual prostitutes. I see the guys women talk about being so hot and I don’t look like ANY of them. I’m not skinny and feminine like the kpop guys, I’m not tall or jacked like the athletes or the movie stars or even all the Kens in the Barbie movie.
I want to believe I’m wrong and that you’re actually telling the truth, so how do I change that? Like, I work in big box retail, I’m not going to have a six figure bank account or anything like that. I’m not funny, I’m not smooth or a player, half the time I don’t even know how to flirt with a girl.
I’m not trying to pick fights here, I swear, I really WANT to believe it’s not all just 20% of men getting all the women or that women only want guys who have six pack abs. I don’t want to be in my 30s still a virgin and be one of the losers complaining that they didn’t get to f--k teenagers or whatever. What do I do to change this so I’m not feeling like I’m always going to be picked last in gym class?
Men Have It Worse, Please Change My Mind
DEAR MEN HAVE IT WORSE, PLEASE CHANGE MY MIND: You know, MHWPCM, I get a lot of letters that are basically just demands that I debate them – mostly, I suspect from folks who are hoping to launder weird red pill/black pill s--t through my column. But hey, you caught me on a day when someone saying “No, seriously, I WANT to change my mind on this” is a refreshing change. So I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt here and take you at your word.
Which, considering you’ve got a Steven Crowder reference in your sign-off, is something of a heavy lift.
So how do you change your mind about this? Well to start with, you do what I tell people all the time: you quit going to the places that tell you that women are the enemy, that they overestimate their “sexual market value” (or whatever the redpill bros are calling it these days), or who act like women have no interior life and only respond to stimuli that flip their switches like they’re biological robots with very basic programming
One of the things that people miss is what’s known as the Illusory Truth effect; if you hear misinformation over and over again, you’re likely to start believing it… often even when you know it’s misinformation. Familiarity can overpower skepticism if it’s reinforced often enough. Cutting off exposure to the repetition goes a long way to diminishing the effects and letting your rational mind get back in control.
It also means that you’re no longer dealing with people who want you to believe that you’re hopeless and helpless. Some of them want to push an agenda, some want to create a problem and then sell you the solution, but many – if not most – want more people to buy in so that they aren’t the only crabs in the bucket. This is similar to how incels refer to anything that isn’t total agreement with their beliefs as “cope” – anyone who demonstrates that improvement is possible makes it harder for them to hold onto the idea that they’re victims of an unfair and uncaring system instead of the result of the choices they’ve made.
But that’s part of how you stop making things worse, not how you make them better. The next step is to make the decision to believe differently.
Yes, I know, I know, “Oh sure, I’ll just snap my fingers and suddenly my beliefs are different.” But yeah, actually, that’s kinda how it works. You’ve already done this before. I’m presuming that at your age, you no longer believe in Santa Claus. That isn’t something you came to from rational investigation; more often than not it’s social pressure (“you’re too old to do X”) that changed your mind and then hindsight bias fills in the details.
Similarly, you didn’t do rational study to come to the conclusion that women have a better time on dating apps or never struggle to find dates. You had your own frustrations – and I want to emphasize that those are real – and then were presented “answers” that felt logical. They weren’t. They were a mix of confirming what you already believed, but also a certain amount of projection – the assumption that women have the same beliefs and priorities that men do. Guys tend to be more responsive to muscular dudes because those builds represent power. Guys tend to see having money as making one more important, more influential and aspire to be like those guys. Same with the cars, preoccupation with height or hair or whatever else.
Likewise, men will project their feelings and desires about women onto women in reverse. Guys who want to bang women who would make their friends jealous will project the inverse onto women – women want those guys that he would envy. Women care about six pack abs because men’s beauty standards for women are so stringent.
It’s easy to project that desire onto women, because you feel that of course they have to be into it as well. A lot of the beliefs about what women “want” is really just “well, that’s what I would want if I were a woman”.
Then confirmation bias kicks in, and it’s much easier to find “evidence” of the things you already believe to be true, while finding excuses as to why things that contradict those beliefs are wrong or are exceptions to the rule.
Changing what you believe is about changing how you perceive the world. You want to take those things that you bought into – the whole six sixes thing, the “women only like THIS kind of guy”, the supposed alpha/beta divide s--t – and decide that no, you don’t actually believe that.
So if confirmation bias is going to make you see the evidence everywhere, you may as well choose to believe things that will help you instead of harm you.
That’s why the next steps aren’t just saying the words like a magic spell; it’s to go out seeking proof that your old beliefs are wrong while living and acting like you have already found that proof.
To give an example, you can start going around and looking at who women actually date. Yeah, you’ll see some pretty people dating other pretty people, but you’re also going to see absolutely average men dating attractive women and attractive men dating women who you would think are mid at best. You’re going to see that fat guys, short guys, bald guys, femme-presenting guys all do, in fact, date, marry, have kids and live their best lives without the benefits of a Bugatti or any of Andrew Tate’s sex-trafficking, fraudster bulls--t.
(Also, practically speaking, sports cars are s--t. Not only do women not care about them nearly as much as men do, but they’re absolutely the wrong car for everything you do on a daily and weekly basis. Try fitting friends into an Audi R8 for a road trip or getting groceries in a Ferarri some time.)
Similarly, if you just interact with people as people, rather than trying to run game on them, you’ll find that most folks are actually a lot more friendly or open to talk than you currently believe. Part of the reason why women will complain on TikTok or whatnot about guys approaching them everywhere isn’t that they don’t want to talk to ugly dudes. It’s that they’re running int guys who don’t care about them as people but are just trying to get dates or get laid; the individual is secondary to the goal. The guys frequently don’t care about what the other person wants; their desire to talk to her has overridden her desire to not be hit on and so they just bulldoze through and are about as welcome as a cockroach on an ice cream cone.
A guy who is willing to read the room, to be friendly and normal rather than going about like a horny shark is going to be far more welcome… especially since he’s much more likely to recognize the difference between someone who wants to talk and someone who wants to be left alone.
Another thing to consider is just how those beliefs affect how you interact with women. Let’s say for argument’s sake that you’re at a bar and see a hot woman. Under the ideas you already hold, if you were to go talk to her, you’re already at a disadvantage. You’re not six foot whatever, you don’t have washboard abs or a six figure salary. So now you’re coming to the interaction with the idea that you need to seek her approval because you are somehow less than her. So now you’re in a place where you feel like you have to “prove” your worth to her so that she’ll find you attractive and then maybe the power dynamic will switch.
Except… what do you actually know about her that makes her someone whose approval would be important? You know she’s hot… but that’s it. Hotness is situational at best, especially in environments like bars or clubs; it’s the product of a hell of a lot of prep work and effort. It’s not an objective measure of one’s value or importance. You know nothing else about her – whether she’s a good person or not, whether she’s even someone you would like. So you are putting yourself in a position where you crave the approval and validation of a total stranger who may well be a complete s--thead.
And on top of that, you’ve put yourself into a mindset that since you have to gain her approval, you have to do everything as close to perfection as you can, because she’s (supposedly) looking for reasons to disqualify you. If you show the slightest bit of weakness then BOOM you’re out.
Now sure, there’re women out there who are like that. They’re uncommon at best and tend to be in very specialized and specific environments, but they do exist. But those are also people who you would never actually want to f--k because they’re awful people. So anyone who is legitimately like that is someone you should avoid.
What you should be doing is coming to the interaction with an air of interest in getting to know them. Are they someone who’s worth your time – not because you’re The Emperor of All Ice Cream or whatever but because life on this planet is too damn short to spend on folks who aren’t right for you. So getting to know her, being curious to see if there’s more than just looks and if what she brings to the table meshes with what you bring to the table, puts you in a much better place. It’s collaborative, not supplicating, nor competitive.
But what if you don’t bring anything to the table? Well… then instead of saying that women are too rigid, too privileged or whatever… focus on finding the things that you bring to the table. Go out and cultivate those skills, those interests, the things that would make you uniquely you and make someone who’s compatible with you wish you’d come into her life. If you see yourself as someone who can improve, instead of someone who’s been f--ked by the fickle finger of fate, then you have made yourself 100% more datable that the dudes telling you that if you make 75k a year, you’re too poor for women.
Oh, and remember what I said about repetition and belief? Well, that works both ways. Part of why positive self-talk, including affirmations, are powerful is that it changes how you see yourself. Saying it to yourself over and over again invokes the same effect as hearing other people saying something over and over again. So if you’re telling yourself that you ain’t s--t and that no woman will ever love you? Congrats, you played yourself and ensured that you believe it. If you tell yourself that yeah actually, you’re pretty damn hot and the right woman would be lucky to have you, you will come to believe it. And by believing it, you come to embody it through your actions and behaviors.
But what about all the times when things don’t work out and they don’t like you? Well, that’s simple: that’s just, like, their opinion, man. That’s one person out of thousands. And if you do need to work on something – maybe cultivating your sense of humor or working on connecting with women on an emotional level – then that’s well within your ability to achieve. It’s telling yourself that you can do better and you will do better, instead of throwing your hands in the air and declaring that it’s all bulls--t.
Please note carefully as you read this that it’s not just about belief, it’s about action. Belief by itself isn’t going to improve anything. Belief is motivation. It’s what pushes you to act – either to make your move or to work on yourself so that you are better prepared to pursue your goals. To quote the master: knowledge without mileage equals bulls--t. If you’re not putting belief to work, then you’re not doing any better than letting your belief be the reason you don’t do something.
So if you want to change your beliefs, choose to do so and go out and prove your new beliefs to be correct and your old beliefs to be wrong. I promise you: you will find all the evidence you need when you do.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, email@example.com