5 Reasons Nerdy Guys Make Bad Boyfriends

A debate erupted at the office last week. Someone declared that nerdy guys make the best boyfriends, but I argued that, in fact, the reverse is true. Of course, certain nerdy qualities are awesome - who doesn’t want a smart and modest guy who worships you and never takes you for granted? Think John Cusack in Say Anything. *Swoon*. But this cliche of a shy dude who is so grateful for your crumbs of attention that he morphs into the perfect S/O? A fallacy (and an insulting one at that). The real nerds are as complex as the rest of us, and not, I am afraid, a safe choice. Here are five reasons why dating a nerd can be a bad idea:

1. Lack of confidence
Some of us never manage to shake off being bullied as kids, and while you need to be compassionate to those traumas, it can be pretty exhausting to keep reassuring someone that you like having them around. Think about it. How unsexy is it to have to constantly bolster someone’s ego? Think Steve Buscemi as Seymour in Ghost World.

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2. The Secret Dog
If you're conceited enough to think you're doing a nerd-boy a favour by dating him, chances are you’re not the first woman to notice he’s a diamond-in-the-rough. The Secret Dog is famous for keeping up a low-key, geeky persona that makes girls feel safe and worshiped. But what you don’t know is that he’s stealthily using this non-threatening, aw-shucks allure to bed as many ladies as possible. Think Judah Friedlander in 30 Rock.

3. The Nerd’s Revenge
In teen movies, there is the cliché of the cool kid falling for the nerd and the nerd is so grateful at having their unrequited love (and contact lense prescription) fulfilled, they live happily ever after. In real life, a guy who has never had luck in the girl department can get a sudden shot of confidence from being in a relationship. Suddenly other girls are sniffing around and for the first time in his life, he has options. We at iVillage have shared many a tale of a former nerd dumping his girlfriend to sow his (suddenly desirable) oats. I’m looking at you, Michael Cera (in Scott Pilgrim)!

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4. Defective Emotional Radar
If you have a geeky love interest who has spent much of his life delving into his hobbies/obsessions, chances are he hasn’t finessed his people skills. He can be pretty awkward around your friends and family and might start inappropriate and long-winded arguments to prove his point without realizing those around him are dying for him to step off the soap box.

Reading social and emotional cues might not be his strong suit: He doesn’t know how to handle your crises and probably retreats rather than trying to get to the bottom of your bad moods. It’s not that he doesn’t care, he’s just not so good with the expression part, which is why you need a pretty thick skin for this type of nerdy boyfriend (and you might have to teach him how to hug). Imagine Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker in Spider-Man. He was always fleeing major emotional confrontations for his “superhero emergencies”. Uh, yeah, right.

5. When there is no “off” switch
His intelligence and focus are admirable, but he doesn’t know how to switch it off. He will get so fixated on working out a program bug at work, he’ll forget to call you until midnight. He likes to game for hours a day and considers it tedious to have dinner at a table when his fingers are twitching to play “Call of Duty” until 3 am. There is no work-life balance. His work and his hobbies ARE his life, and sometimes you wonder if he even *needs* a girlfriend. Think Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network.

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I don't want to rain on your nerd parade - by all means, girlfriend, pursue that hot geek to your heart’s content! There are so many great nerds out there who don’t fall into any of these categories, and who will always be preferable to the spray-tanned meathead you’d hook up with at a club (who has a chronic need to point at stuff when he gets his picture taken).

Personally, I prefer someone in the middle, but if you decide to foray into nerd territory for your next boyfriend, be patient, and don’t expect this frog to turn into a prince at first kiss!

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