Starting to get disillusioned with DNL's advice

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Post by Xexyz on Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:23 pm

(I'm going to regret posting this, but here goes...)

Today's DNL column reminded me of a conversation I had with my mother about how she and her husband got together.  They met through Match.com, and my mom had joked that she first ignored his messages to her because she wasn't interested initially, but eventually agreed to go out with him after some persistence on his part; she finally agreed after he asked for the 3rd time.  They obviously hit it off because they got married about a year later, and she seems happy in her marriage.  The thing is, if I were to consider the hypothetical of her husband asking DNL for advice, DNL would've told him to cut his losses and move on, and that he was being a creep for being so persistent.

I then thought about how my father got together with is [now] wife, and then about how my mom and dad got together (they eventually got divorced, obviously), and in each case there was some behavior during the dating/courtship phase that DNL would have advised against - which, hypothetically speaking, if followed would've precluded my parents, and then each parent and their future spouse, from ever getting together.  

Perhaps the explanation is due to the fact that my parents are from a different generation, where expectations are different, but it served to crystallize a feeling that's been with me for some time regarding the advice DNL gives.  Namely, that while his advice is from primarily a perspective of ethical behavior (and I think that's a great perspective to have), it's not necessarily advice that's going to lead to the greatest chances of dating success.  My parents' stories aside, something I've always couldn't help but question when reading DNL's articles is that, given all of the self-improvement things he advises to people, how widespread are these practices, really?  If you add up every thing DNL has advised people to improve upon [from a self-improvement perspective], I have a hard time believing that everyone who would generally be considered successful at dating does all of these things.  For example, in many instances he's advise a letter writer to get therapy for one reason or another.  Hmmm, I wonder how many successful daters out there could stand to benefit from some therapy themselves?  Or are we just to assume that anyone who 'needs therapy' is unfit to date and/or be in a relationship?

Couple the above with the fact that he calls himself Dr. Nerdlove and is ostensibly gearing his advice toward nerds, geeks, gamers, and what have you, and it makes me feel resentful.  So because I self-identify as a nerd or can be identified as a nerd, I'm supposed to jump through all these extra hoops just to earn the privilege of being considered 'ready to date?'  Everyone else is A+ awesome, it's just us pathetic loser nerds who need learn not to be creepy, start a self-improvement regimen, reject toxic masculinity, get therapy, improve our horrible social skills... did I miss anything?  (Full disclosure: one of my personal challenges is the fact that I'm deeply ashamed of being a nerd, which is likely a source of my feelings of resentment.  I still think the rest of my criticism is valid.)

I'm going to stop because I'm beginning to meander into different issues, but to put it simply I'm finding the context & narrative in which DNL gives advice to be getting more and more problematic.

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Post by Enail on Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:55 pm

<mod>First off, since this thread is about DNL Prime, I just want to remind everyone that it's okay to discuss the articles or topics that were raised on DNL Prime here, but please stay away from discussing the DNL Prime community here, whether in general terms or talking about specific people (your starting post was fine, Xexyz, and you're not being scolded) Thanks! </mod>




TBH, I find it strange to be upset that DNL counsels making changes that not everyone has to make - he is targeting his advice to people who are having trouble dating, not people who are doing fine with it. The people who have issues that could use some therapy but are managing to work around them to have a dating life they're happy with, they're not writing to DNL for what to do; it's the people whose issues are interfering with their love life (or vice versa) who write in, so they need to hear "see a therapist".  The people who have the social skills to be more persistent than DNL would advise without making anyone feel pressured or uncomfortable aren't looking for advice from him, it's the people who can't seem to figure out what they're doing wrong or where to draw the line on their own - the less someone's able to tell on their own what the difference between someone who comes on strong but everyone's cool with and someone who creeps people out, the more they need to err on the side of caution. The people who do fine by living up to problematic ideals of masculinity and are comfortable with them, aren't going to be looking for articles on how to be a successful man, and thus aren't here to be steered away from toxic versions. Someone who's looking for advice on DNL is probably someone who needs to make a change, that's what advice is for.

Another thing is that it sounds like you're feeling like you need to do everything DNL suggests. But he's not writing for you and only you! Different people are going to need different advice, and it's your job to figure out which ones apply to you and which don't.

One thing I do find a bit frustrating about DNL is that he tends to lean towards an extroverted, "cool" model of what successful dating looks like, which sometimes obscures his messages that everyone should find a way to be appealing that works for them. I think a fair number of people could use some help imagining what an introverted, weird, not-perfectly-smooth person's best self could be like (that's not just 'become extroverted, cool and smooth'), and I can see how that would contribute to your frustration that it feels like nerds are expected to do more than other people.
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Post by reboot on Fri Sep 04, 2015 2:19 pm

You have to remember, though, that your parents and their partners are from a different generation with very different dating norms. Sure, they may have used modernish methods to meet, but they still come from a time with different values and gender roles. The things that work for that generation will not work for yours and vice versa.
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Post by eselle28 on Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:08 pm

I think it's worth noting that DNL is responding to specific letters. This week, they were from a man interested in woman who worked in the gas station where he worked who was explicitly avoiding him and a man who was interested in a friend who'd already rejected him and who was dealing with some pretty serious problems.

He doesn't actually advise men to run away and never look back every time there's been a rejection. Last week, in fact, a lot of people felt he might have been a little too optimistic about a situation between a man and his friend. I don't really think differences in his advice are "because nerds" so much as "because the specific people in this specific letter."

As for the rest of the advice, yes, I would agree that it suggests doing more, being aware of more, being more careful, being more thoughtful than a lot of other people who date seem to be able to get away with. I think that's the nature of dating advice, though. Every dating advice book I've read (and admittedly I'm usually only up for purchasing ones for women) suggests that women pay more attention to their appearance, try to be nicer, try to be firmer about what they want, and so on than the average woman I see in the dating market. PUA stuff, as bad as some of it is, also advises that people seeking it out do more.

I don't think Doctor Nerdlove is perfect and there are some areas where I basically just shrug and say "yeah, that's not for me" when he advises things. That being said, I'm kind of with Enail in that I think any advice is going to be geared toward people who are struggling and trying to come up with either solutions for uncalibrated people who are turning others off and suggesting ways to work around being uncalibrated or ones for people who are failing to spark others interest and suggesting they do more.
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Post by lonelyoffices on Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:12 pm

First off, Xexyz, I'm saddened that you feel ashamed of being a "nerd".  I get it, but it pisses me off that your experience to date affects you that way.  Not original words, but accepting who you are, without labels that may not help, will lead to more contentment than trying to morph into someone you're not.

I agree with reboot and Enail's responses, but a couple of points seem worth expanding on a bit.  I think generational differences do apply, but there are still plenty of young people who hold pretty traditional courtship expectations. The idea that men should persist or else they're quitters is more than just a cultural echo and has plenty of current adherents. Those people don't tend to participate here or at DNL, but they exist and their different experiences may be part of the backdrop for your frustration with the idea that the rules seem different for you.  

I think the ideas and methods DNL suggests that apply to areas where you struggle are not panaceas. but worth considering, Xexyz. Those "rules" or "hoops to jump through" might better be though of as ideas and methods, and those that do apply might be well suited for you and for the type of person you want to connect with.

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Post by Xexyz on Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:22 pm

Enail wrote:TBH, I find it strange to be upset that DNL counsels making changes that not everyone has to make - he is targeting his advice to people who are having trouble dating, not people who are doing fine with it. The people who have issues that could use some therapy but are managing to work around them to have a dating life they're happy with, they're not writing to DNL for what to do; it's the people whose issues are interfering with their love life (or vice versa) who write in, so they need to hear "see a therapist".  The people who have the social skills to be more persistent than DNL would advise without making anyone feel pressured or uncomfortable aren't looking for advice from him, it's the people who can't seem to figure out what they're doing wrong or where to draw the line on their own - the less someone's able to tell on their own what the difference between someone who comes on strong but everyone's cool with and someone who creeps people out, the more they need to err on the side of caution. The people who do fine by living up to problematic ideals of masculinity and are comfortable with them, aren't going to be looking for articles on how to be a successful man, and thus aren't here to be steered away from toxic versions. Someone who's looking for advice on DNL is probably someone who needs to make a change, that's what advice is for.

It's not that I'm upset that he counsels making changes in ways which may or may not apply to me, it's how he characterizes the narrative around what kinds of people are the ones who need to be making the changes.  Bluntly speaking, he may call himself Dr. Nerdlove, but all he does is denigrate us [nerds] and put us down.  To illustrate, consider this recent article of his:

What’s Really Wrong With Nice Guys – Entitlement, Nerds and Neanderthals

Now, as a thought experiment, imagine you were from a different culture and had no idea what 'nerd' meant.  After reading that article, how would you define 'nerd'?  What would you say were the characteristics of a such a person?  I identify as a nerd.  I identify as a nerd because I like things like collectible card games, D&D, anime, complex boardgames, and so forth.  I totally understand and appreciate why follow nerds will have 5000+ post threads on whether or not Star Trek is better than Star Wars, or who was the best Doctor.  I'm willing to bet if you spoke with other self-identified nerds, they'd describe their nerddom in similar ways.

Yet if you read that article as the hypothetical person-from-a-different-culture, you would certainly never define what a nerd is or means by my definition.  No, more likely you'd think that a nerd was a flavor of Nice Guy(tm) - note how consistently he uses the phrase "nerds and Nice Guys" in the article.  You'd think a nerd was someone with entitlement issues.  If you went on to read other DNL articles, you'd come to the conclusion that a nerd is someone who is socially awkward, a Nice Guy, a creeper, someone with poor personal hygiene, someone who thought he was entitled to women, and other negative attributes.  You'd think that because this is the only context in which DNL ever discusses nerds and nerddom.  Harris, in his writing, has basically taken all the negative stereotypes about nerds and presents them as our defining attributes.  So yes, I'm resentful and offended, and this is why.

The common refrain that's proffered up is that, "if it doesn't apply to you then it doesn't apply to you so don't sweat it."  That's horseshit and unacceptable.  Because it doesn't matter that I might disregard those things because they don't apply to me, it's that other people whom I may interact with who might think that being a nerd means all those negative things I mentioned.  DNL's articles only reinforce those negative stereotypes in peoples' minds, "If the self-proclaimed nerd Dr. Nerdlove says nerds are [all those negative things I mentioned above], then certainly it must be true that's what it means to be a nerd."  

As I mentioned above and have posted before, I'm ashamed of being a nerd and it's a personal challenge for me to overcome.  But because of the way DNL talks about us, it's one of the reasons I feel I have to get to know a person before I can "reveal" the fact that I'm a nerd - I have to first reassure them that I'm a kind, well-adjusted person so they don't hear 'nerd' and immediately disengage.  And I'm sick of it.

I really do think a lot of the advice he gives - in and of itself - is good and that the behaviors he challenges are behaviors that need to be challenged.  I just wish he'd drop the entire 'nerd' piece of it.

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Post by eselle28 on Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:33 pm

I disagree. Particularly on topical articles, I think Doctor Nerdlove writes about tendencies that aren't universal to, but tend to be fairly prominent in, nerd culture. I can understand being annoyed with negative nerd traits being presented as being the defining ones. I sort of...I find it difficult to deal with when people call it stereotyping even if the criticism is offered by others who are within the same subculture. Because not all subcultures have the same problems, and from what I have seen, nerd and geek culture has a few problems that other groups don't experience as keenly.

Do you really think that Doctor Nerdlove's articles are targeting in any extensive way people who are outside the community? Because I don't get that sense. To me, they're targeting men and women who already identify as nerds and address concerns specific to the community, particularly concerns that people in the community already have and either aren't voicing or are only talking about in small groups. I'm a nerd, and I don't date other nerds, and this is why. To the extent it gets reinforced, it's not in the articles but in the comments sections. The articles often make me think, "Oh, dating someone who shares my interests could maybe be really awesome, if he realized one or two things..." and then I get jolted back to reality. And I'm honestly not really sure how someone would go about offering an advice column to nerds (a specific subculture) without offering advice that caters to particular challenges within that community. It seems that someone who's a nerd who wants only that would prefer to read more generally focused advice.
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Post by Wondering on Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:00 pm

All the upvotes of agreement to what eselle said.

I also decided when I was in the dating scene not to date men who labelled themselves nerds. Because of all the negative (primarily boundary-pushing, mansplaining, objectifying, nice-guying, and other male nerds excusing all that) experiences I and my female friends had had with such men. This had nothing to do with what people on the internet or elsewhere said about nerds. It had everything to do with my actual experiences.

My husband is a nerd (but never labelled himself as such). He fully admits that he was a Nice Guy when he was in college, almost a decade before I met him. I would not have dated him then. But he made, on his own, many of the changes that DNL talks about in his articles. My husband reads many of them now and shakes his head in understanding and a "Yup, I used to do that."

Geek Social Fallacies are rampant in the nerd community at keeping women on the fringes, treating them badly, and excusing that bad behavior. It needs special attention because it's a major issue there. Not all nerds (#notallnerds), of course, but enough of them that it's not an anomaly.

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Post by Xexyz on Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:01 pm

eselle28 wrote:I disagree. Particularly on topical articles, I think Doctor Nerdlove writes about tendencies that aren't universal to, but tend to be fairly prominent in, nerd culture. I can understand being annoyed with negative nerd traits being presented as being the defining ones. I sort of...I find it difficult to deal with when people call it stereotyping even if the criticism is offered by others who are within the same subculture. Because not all subcultures have the same problems, and from what I have seen, nerd and geek culture has a few problems that other groups don't experience as keenly.

If you're sick of that, then you're sick of that, of course. And maybe a few more positive articles on nerds are in order (though as a nerdy woman who avoids nerdy men, I find that a lot of articles assume that nerdy guys who aren't incredibly toxic are the ideal mates in a way that I just need to read over). I don't know. I think it's a little disingenuous to pretend that there aren't any problems more problematic in specific subcultures - again, especially if offered as criticism from people inside them to people inside them. And I really don't think Doctor Nerdlove is trying to target people who have no interest in nerddom at all.

I don't see it that way. Issues like Nice Guys, male entitlement, creepers, and so forth to me are separate from and more universal than nerd culture - I peruse Feminist online communities that have nothing to do with nerds and nerd culture and they discuss Nice Guys, male entitlement, and the rest just the same. The problem (as I see it) is Patriarchal culture, not nerd culture. I certainly don't mean to imply that there are no problems within the cultural sphere that nerddom occupies, rather that the problems within nerddom are more accurately described as problems common to heavily male-dominated cultures & communities. To me that's an important distinction - a distinction I wish DNL would take better effort in making.

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Post by Xexyz on Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:09 pm

Wondering wrote:I also decided when I was in the dating scene not to date men who labelled themselves nerds. Because of all the negative (primarily boundary-pushing, mansplaining, objectifying, nice-guying, and other male nerds excusing all that) experiences I and my female friends had had with such men. This had nothing to do with what people on the internet or elsewhere said about nerds. It had everything to do with my actual experiences.

My husband is a nerd (but never labelled himself as such). He fully admits that he was a Nice Guy when he was in college, almost a decade before I met him. I would not have dated him then. But he made, on his own, many of the changes that DNL talks about in his articles. My husband reads many of them now and shakes his head in understanding and a "Yup, I used to do that."

One thing I feel I must highlight after reading this is that when I said, I feel I have to get to know a person before I can "reveal" the fact that I'm a nerd - I have to first reassure them that I'm a kind, well-adjusted person so they don't hear 'nerd' and immediately disengage. I wasn't just referring to a dating context, I was referring to every social interaction.


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Post by Wondering on Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:29 pm

One thing I'd like to clarify, too, is that when I said "labelled themselves nerds," I specifically meant those guys who said "I'm a nerd" instead of "I'm a Trekkie" or "I'm a Star Wars fan" or "I'm a Tolkien zealot" (okay, that last one is me Wink ). I didn't have as many problems with people who talked about their interests, but I did with guys whose self-identity was Nerd and not just a collection of nerdy interests.

I don't know if that's significant and has any meaning, or if it was just a quirk of my experience, honestly. But I suspected and started treating as if Collection of Interests that Includes Nerd Interests vs Nerd! Self-Identity was a corollary to problematic behavior with women.

When you say that you have a problem telling people of any sort that you're a nerd, are you calling yourself a Nerd and leaving it to them to decide what that means, or are you telling them you have interest in collectible card games, D&D, anime, complex boardgames, which lets them know more about you as an individual person?

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Post by Xexyz on Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:50 pm

Wondering wrote:When you say that you have a problem telling people of any sort that you're a nerd, are you calling yourself a Nerd and leaving it to them to decide what that means, or are you telling them you have interest in collectible card games, D&D, anime, complex boardgames, which lets them know more about you as an individual person?

Mostly the latter, but reading DNL has started to make me nervous about the former as well.  I've always - especially since I've gotten older (I'm 36) - been nervous that if people find out that I'm into CCGs, D&D, and the like that they'll think I'm immature or a man-child or something along those lines.  If they're cool with it I might joke and say something [after I told them my interests] like, "yup, I'm a big 'ol nerd!" just as a way to lighten the mood.  But it was after I started reading DNL that I began to worry, "Holy crap, if I mention or self-identify as a nerd, are people going to think I'm a creep or a Nice Guy or otherwise shitty person?"  I came to DNL in the first place looking for dating tips and have come to learn that me thinking of myself as a nerd means that other people are going to take that to mean I'm a rotten scumbag - which serves just to reinforce my feelings of shame.


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Post by eselle28 on Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:51 pm

Xexyz wrote:
I don't see it that way.  Issues like Nice Guys, male entitlement, creepers, and so forth to me are separate from and more universal than nerd culture - I peruse Feminist online communities that have nothing to do with nerds and nerd culture and they discuss Nice Guys, male entitlement, and the rest just the same.  The problem (as I see it) is Patriarchal culture, not nerd culture.  I certainly don't mean to imply that there are no problems within the cultural sphere that nerddom occupies, rather that the problems within nerddom are more accurately described as problems common to heavily male-dominated cultures & communities.  To me that's an important distinction - a distinction I wish DNL would take better effort in making.  

I wouldn't mind some more connections with patriarchal culture, either, though I'm not sure if Doctor Nerdlove is really up for providing them. I think it would be an interesting discussion, but I also think he might need to bring in some people who are insiders on the frat scene and football culture and whatever else to write effectively. He knows being a nerd and being a PUA, and I think it's somewhat understandable if he usually keeps discussion to those perspectives.

If the column was targeted at nerds and talked only about patriarchal culture and never about problems specific to nerddom, I'd run far away, though. Framing all problems in that light only makes it easy for people to assume that those being spoken of are the other - the frat boys or the club kids or whoever else it is they don't identify with. I also think that at least a few of those problems are worse among nerds than in other patriarchal cultures - Nice Guys tend to be more common than outright aggression, and while many communities tolerate popular creepers, I've found that nerds often put up with creepers who are also widely disliked because it's seen as mean to outright exclude anyone. There are also problems that are essentially patriarchal but that have particular manifestations in geek culture as well. I saw an open comments post on io9 a few days ago where people described their worst experiences with tabletop gaming. It seemed like it was about a third terrible GMs, a third Mary Sues and people who enabled them, and a third women describing campaigns where their characters kept getting raped. That connects to patriarchal culture, but it's also specific to the way nerds interact in a way that an article criticizing rape jokes probably wouldn't touch.

Xexyz wrote:
One thing I feel I must highlight after reading this is that when I said, I feel I have to get to know a person before I can "reveal" the fact that I'm a nerd - I have to first reassure them that I'm a kind, well-adjusted person so they don't hear 'nerd' and immediately disengage. I wasn't just referring to a dating context, I was referring to every social interaction.

For whatever it's worth, I don't generally "reveal" I'm a nerd until I've established the other person is a kind, well-adjusted person. I understand that Doctor Nerdlove writes some things that make you anxious, but I do think they also come from legitimate anxieties about the community and that many of them are coming from within rather than from outside.

I don't mean this to reinforce your feelings of shame - I feel bad that you feel them - but I do think that they're not the only thing that's out there when we discuss nerds in the context of dating.
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Post by Xexyz on Fri Sep 04, 2015 5:16 pm

eselle28 wrote:I wouldn't mind some more connections with patriarchal culture, either, though I'm not sure if Doctor Nerdlove is really up for providing them. I think it would be an interesting discussion, but I also think he might need to bring in some people who are insiders on the frat scene and football culture and whatever else to write effectively. He knows being a nerd and being a PUA, and I think it's somewhat understandable if he usually keeps discussion to those perspectives.

If the column was targeted at nerds and talked only about patriarchal culture and never about problems specific to nerddom, I'd run far away, though. Framing all problems in that light only makes it easy for people to assume that those being spoken of are the other - the frat boys or the club kids or whoever else it is they don't identify with. I also think that at least a few of those problems are worse among nerds than in other patriarchal cultures - Nice Guys tend to be more common than outright aggression, and while many communities tolerate popular creepers, I've found that nerds often put up with creepers who are also widely disliked because it's seen as mean to outright exclude anyone. There are also problems that are essentially patriarchal but that have particular manifestations in geek culture as well. I saw an open comments post on io9 a few days ago where people described their worst experiences with tabletop gaming. It seemed like it was about a third terrible GMs, a third Mary Sues and people who enabled them, and a third women describing campaigns where their characters kept getting raped. That connects to patriarchal culture, but it's also specific to the way nerds interact in a way that an article criticizing rape jokes probably wouldn't touch.

I like the points you're making here about how patriarchal influences particularly manifest themselves in nerd culture. Perhaps I'll have a re-read of some of DNL's articles, because even though I'm in agreement with you here I don't feel that Harris does a very good job of articulating these things. I mean I can recall reading of these issues in his articles, but they still came across as nerds = scumbags.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Fri Sep 04, 2015 5:19 pm

Xexyz wrote:
Wondering wrote:When you say that you have a problem telling people of any sort that you're a nerd, are you calling yourself a Nerd and leaving it to them to decide what that means, or are you telling them you have interest in collectible card games, D&D, anime, complex boardgames, which lets them know more about you as an individual person?

Mostly the latter, but reading DNL has started to make me nervous about the former as well.  I've always - especially since I've gotten older (I'm 36) - been nervous that if people find out that I'm into CCGs, D&D, and the like that they'll think I'm immature or a man-child or something along those lines.  If they're cool with it I might joke and say something [after I told them my interests] like, "yup, I'm a big 'ol nerd!" just as a way to lighten the mood.  But it was after I started reading DNL that I began to worry, "Holy crap, if I mention or self-identify as a nerd, are people going to think I'm a creep or a Nice Guy or otherwise shitty person?"  I came to DNL in the first place looking for dating tips and have come to learn that me thinking of myself as a nerd means that other people are going to take that to mean I'm a rotten scumbag - which serves just to reinforce my feelings of shame.

I must always exercise careful judgment before revealing that I like reading comic books. That's a Nerd Activity, and everyone knows what Nerds are like. And then, among a handful of the women I know who like comic books, I mustn't be bored by Captain Marvel or Ms. Marvel because they're so feminist. And I mustn't say I like Spider-Man or Ant-Man, and hells forbid I actually relate to those characters at any time. (But it's totally cool to like Nightcrawler, even the homophobic asshole Ultimate version of him. I'm sure there's a perfectly good explanation for that.)

I skipped answering the infamous OKC dice question, because I feel pretty ambivalent about tabletops and P&P; I've played a few different types with a few different groups of people, and I have fun but it isn't my most favoritest thing. (To be fair, I have a hard time getting really enthusiastic about much of anything, ever.) So I don't want to signal "I live in my basement pretending to be a wizard with a bunch of other insular neckbeards" to non-nerds but also don't want to signal "I'm not a Real Nerd and I hate fun" to those who do share some of my interests.

I don't think I really have negative feelings about most aspects of who or what I am. Instead, I just feel a lot of outside pressure that says I should hate being what I am. Even on Paging, and sometimes especially there. But this is maybe part of why I get so frustrated with a lot of self-improvement rhetoric to begin with. There just aren't any things in my life that I'd want to improve for their own sake. If I didn't want anyone to love me, I'd be doing the same exact things I already am doing, minus looking for a partner and whatever the latest thing is some advice blogger claimed would help. Plus nothing.
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Post by eselle28 on Fri Sep 04, 2015 5:24 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:I mustn't be bored by Captain Marvel or Ms. Marvel because they're so feminist.

For whatever it's worth, I think Ms. Marvel is boring too!

Though I'll say I also feel some pressure to like it, both from women and from men. It's just...not my thing. Too heavy handed on the messaging, especially past the first arc and into the second where the message was all about young people being valuable?

(Off topic, I know, but wanted to at least lend a bit of counter-support.)
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Post by Xexyz on Fri Sep 04, 2015 5:38 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:I skipped answering the infamous OKC dice question

Crap, I know exactly what question you're talking about about because I answered it publicly.  You're telling me that question is infamous?  Now I'm nervous and anxious and wondering if I should go an un-answer it. Uh-oh

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Post by nearly_takuan on Fri Sep 04, 2015 5:54 pm

Xexyz wrote:
nearly_takuan wrote:I skipped answering the infamous OKC dice question

Crap, I know exactly what question you're talking about about because I answered it publicly.  You're telling me that question is infamous?  Now I'm nervous and anxious and wondering if I should go an un-answer it. Uh-oh

Oh, sorry. Poor choice of words. I mean to say that it's come up before around here a bunch. Johnny tends to cite it as one that he'll mark Very Important because of what it signals to him, for instance. It signals something else (a lot of something elses) to me and to some of the people I know and to some of the types of people who I think might be in my target audience. That's all I meant by that.
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Post by BobTheNinja on Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:28 pm

...Does this all mean that self-labeling as a nerd while trying to online date may be a bad idea? Because I'm already having a rough enough time trying to get responses with the way online dating dynamics are by default.
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Post by BasedBuzzed on Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:49 pm

Why can't you search questions on OKC manually? I now want to find that one and answer it with a FATAL reference.

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Post by eselle28 on Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:58 pm

<mod>Specific questions about identifying as a nerd while online dating, in a practical sense rather than a venting one, should probably go in the dating profile thread or in their own. They seek a step away from the frustrations that are being voiced here.</mod>
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Post by litterature on Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:42 pm

I think DNL's take on nerds is "I'm a nerd and I like being a nerd but the community has such and such issues", rather than "nerds are trash". All subcultures are relatively insular and have potentially toxic issues with cred and determining who's in and who's out, but that said, the nerd community can be a wonderful thing because usually nerdy interests are meant to be pursued alone, and being able to share them with others is great, as is the fact that community-oriented nerdy activities such as cosplay have appeared.

Btw, don't be ashamed of being a nerd. I lived with a hikikomori for a while and it was pretty traumatic so I completely disavowed nerddom, but the only thing I got out of that was wasting 8 years of my life not majoring in Japanese and being rude to other nerds. Really, I think lifestyle preferences are pretty irrelevant in the grand scheme of things so I tend to think it's best not to judge anyone because of them - not even yourself.

As for today's column, I think his advice is fair enough - from the looks of it, LW2 is getting explicitly brushed off in the present. I do agree that there might be some Nice Guy paranoia sometimes, but it's understandable because the point is to steer people away from being Nice Guys and besides, DNL has a column or two about crushing on your friends being alright, and like 3 thousand ones about daring to do what you want and not being passive. I think he's a bit optimistic about crushes fizzling so easily but other than that I'm not really sure I see that much negativity in his advice.

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Post by Jayce on Sat Sep 05, 2015 1:47 am

From my perspective, I think the Doctor writes what he thinks is best practice when it comes to pursuing dating success. However the idea of best practice is only an ideal though. For example in the field of Education there is a belief for always using, "best practice", but lets say there's a classroom with 30 high school students. Now ideally the best practice is to be patient, and give thorough explanations that have some depth, to students right? However realistically, more often than not, those students are talking on top of each other, each one is asking for help and as a human being you only have one hour to give this lesson on this topic. The idea of "best practice" does have validity but people don't always use best practice and still might succeed. For example a teacher tells everyone that no one can talk in this classroom, not even discussions, that is not best practice, but it works for them.

Similarly in dating, there are people who don't do those things the Doctor suggests but still get dates, get married etc.. However for every guy that does get a date by continually pursuing a woman, there's another guy that's just being annoying to a woman. In fact, I'd like to argue that in most cases, if you are continuing to pursue someone who's already rejected you, chances are, you are just being annoying and they'll never say yes to you.

You aren't counting all those other stories that didn't end in success (like that twitter guy that won't leave that woman alone, or countless other stories that happened). I'd like to wager that most of the stories of continual pursuit don't end up being successful.

And in the long run, overall, "best practice" is best, its why its called best practice. Lets say hypothetically a guy gets a date/relationship cause he kept sending messages on Okcupid even though she already said no, then after a while they break up, then because of his previous success he thinks that "hey! this is what worked last time! and proceeds to keep sending messages to other women despite them saying no/no response. Most likely he will be better off not doing that.

In the long run most people are better off if they lookout for their mental health, understand boundaries, social appropriateness etc... The advice isn't just to get a chance to have coffee with someone next week as a date, its also about being a good partner. Its pretty hard to be a good partner to someone if you are really struggling to piece yourself together, don't care about boundaries etc...

Sometimes you do have to jump through all those extra hoops just to get something small and other people don't.

If you aren't very good at something, its often best to stick to what is considered best practice, because there's a higher chance that you have made the correct decision. Like what others have wrote, the target audience does seem to be for people that aren't good at social interaction and dating.

DNL does write a lot of negative stuff about nerds, because he's an advice columnist and article writer for an online platform. They are meant to point out issues and address them. And also some of the things are a bit click baity, like that Don't Date Nerds article or provide some shock value, 5 things men do to make them less attractive etc.. to get people reading, visting his site, creating discussions themselves, thinking about these topics.

I do agree with Enail though, that DNL does skew his advice to his own brand of how to succeed. More, extrovert leaning.

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Post by jcorozza on Sat Sep 05, 2015 4:40 am

I think the Scott Aaronson article really exemplified to me that the entitlement/nice guy thing is a problem that is huge in nerd culture, not with individual nerds, per se. I think a lot of what DNL is doing with those types of articles is tearing down these stereotypes that nerds are all nice, harmless guys who just pine away for girls who always want nothing to do with them. Because nerds are just regular people who happen to have interests in particular things, and they are susceptible to the same problems that all people are - they can be jerks, or sexists, or racists. And because they have been stereotyped as quiet and nice and all of that, there's this prevailing idea out there that nerds can't be bad people, which is a bunch of BS. There are people like Aaronson who use "nerd" as a shield to protect them from being considered a bad person as they would if they had some of the same views and were, say, jocks or fratboys or any other cultural group that thinks of itself as mostly male (because, of course, ladynerds are unicorns).

One of the things I like about DNL is that he takes this idea that nerds are nicer or somehow better than other groups of people and basically says, "nope. You have the same damn problems, you just have different interests. Now here's how to work on those problems in ways that might be more appealing to you because you have those interests".
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Post by BasedBuzzed on Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:11 am

Between Aaronson and the Doc in his PUA phase, I wonder who had more net worth in badgering women in an entitled way. This is, of course, impossible to determine, and pales in comparison to the reach harmful worldviews perpetuated by these respective parties would have. Whether you read the Doc as having matured and sharing his mistakes with the world so we don't make them or as a reformed nerd with convert's zeal now that he's got a wife, a public rep and a proggy circle of friends is thus a moot point.

The fact that you're disillusioned with his advice is something that should be embraced: there's a tendency for his views to fall within nerd stereotypes(those who view the world through the lens of the media they enjoy to an excessive degree) and a columnist approach to social science(Sex At Dawn, etc.), to list some personal gripes. Never get your dating advice from one source, and be aware of the context in which the advice is written. The aims of the writer may not overlap with your own interests at certain points, and then you should feel no guilt about verging from it.

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