A Few Tips for Dating a Nerd

The following is a guest post by Shep McAllister, one of our (nerdy) friends at Hack College, the #1 tech site for college students

If you haven’t dated a nerd yet in college, you should really give it a spin. We’re generally intelligent, motivated to treat you like a princess, and can fix your computer to boot. That said, we do have our fair share of surprising quirks that you should be prepared for. As a happy boyfriend of one year and editor of a blog that supports digitizing textbooks and carrying around portable computer monitors, I feel uniquely qualified to offer up a few tips to break in your new favorite nerd.

1. Try to understand when he whips it out in public.

His laptop, I mean. Or smartphone, if you’re lucky. Either way, most nerds I’ve come across share the common physiological need to access the answer to any lingering question, at all times. Deciding what to get for dinner, and don’t know what bulgogi is? Before you even lift your eyes from the menu your boyfriend will probably have his internet-connected device of choice out on the table to look it up for you. While I’m inclined to say that this behavior enhances conversation by providing valuable information, I realize that many would disagree. If the gadgets coming out a little too often, don’t be afraid to lay down the law and declare an internet-free zone.

2. Start a playful fanboy argument

iPhone or Android? Mac or PC? Xbox or Playstation? I promise you that your nerd has VERY strong opinions about some of these timeless debates, and it shouldn’t take too long to pick up on his tastes. If he’s an iPhone lover like myself, make some passing comment about going to the Verizon store to buy a Droid, then sit back and enjoy as he reconciles his affection for you with his irrepressible nerd rage. After he steps off his soapbox, tell him that his well-informed and impassioned argument changed your mind. This will make his MONTH.

3. Let him fix your computer, even if you can do it yourself

We nerds aren’t exactly famous for toned bodies or intimidating demeanors. We aren’t going to sweep you off your feet by throwing winning touchdowns or scaring away the creepy guys that hit on you at parties. Weird as it sounds, reinstalling your corrupt OS or adding more RAM to your laptop is our chance to feel like your protector. So next time you run into computer issues, hand the reigns over to your nerd and give him the chance to play knight in shining honor.

4. Find websites you can both love, and surf them together

Your nerd probably spends a good part of his free time browsing the web and scrolling through his favorite RSS feeds. You can make yourself part of this sacred ritual by finding some general interest or comedy sites that you both enjoy, and turn it into a couple’s activity. Any nerd would love nothing more than to curl up in bed with a laptop and a girlfriend to browse 9gag, Cyanide and Happiness, or TFLN.

5. Share your passions with him, no matter what they are

There are lots of different kinds of nerds, but the one thing they all share is a strong passion for something.  Your relationship isn’t going to last if you can’t open up to him about the most important things in your life.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense or doesn’t seem to mesh with him; my girlfriend’s passion is becoming a vet, and I don’t really like dogs, but I love it about her anyway.  Nerds usually aren’t too picky, but one thing we won’t put up with is a girl who doesn’t really seem to care about anything.  It could be baking, hiking, neuroscience, underwater basket weaving, South American beaches, or EU politics; it really doesn’t matter.  We just respect the hell out of the fact that you care about something.

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