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Sort 166

On Nerds and Tattoos.

by Dear Jon
August 23, 2002

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Sort 166_Dear Jon-On Nerds and Tattoos. ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

I am a young nerdy guy with an aversion toward word games. I have a problem. I've been seeing this girl for about 8 years now. I really think she's cute. How do I tell her without giving up my independence?

- D. Webster Sweed

Dear D,

You’ve been “seeing this girl for about 8 years....” If you mean that you have been dating the same girl for eight years, and you have not yet told her that you find her attractive, then your problem is not one-fifth the size of hers.

If you mean that there is this girl whom you have seen pass you by on the street for the past 8 years and you want the courage to talk to her, then I could give you advice on being less nerdy.

However, the issue is confused by your “aversion toward word games.” This seems to imply a relationship already exists, you are concerned about your independence, and you have little patience for nuanced romantic conversation and all the secret meanings that are received whether or not they are intended. In this case, “You’re cute” is, in your mind, in danger of being received as “I’m ready to make a commitment.” Since your relationship has been ongoing for eight years, and if that is what you are afraid of, then as I have said, she has a much bigger problem than you do, because she should have dropped you a long time ago.

In very general terms, telling a female “You’re cute” or “You’re pretty” is usually well-received. This is because, on the surface, any human being likes to be told that they are looking good. So, on the surface, a female will often smile and blush slightly.

However, once beyond puberty females begin to interpret the hidden message behind the statement “You’re cute,” which is: “I want to have sex with you.” This leads to their own hidden message which it is the male’s responsibility to interpret. The way to interpret the female’s response is, of course, by reading her mind:

If she finds you icky and gross and inept in a scary way, and you say “You’re cute,” she will smile and blush slightly while in her mind she is screaming “HELP! RAPIST!”

If she finds you funny-looking and unattractive but harmless, she will smile and blush slightly and might even say out loud, “Thanks. You’re sweet.” This is the ultimate female brush-off, as inside her mind she is thinking “What a pig.”

If she finds you to be her manager, supervisor, or boss, she will smile and blush slightly while she tries to recall her lawyer’s telephone number.

If she finds you an encouraging prospect, she will smile and blush slightly and panic, desperately afraid that you will ask her out and desperately afraid that you will not.

A more deflected, less personal way to communicate the concept is to say, “That outfit looks great on you!” This statement is an excellent way to confuse a female and thus diffuse her own hidden responses. The female is left to wonder whether it is her appearance being praised, or simply her fashion sense. The statement works very well in an office or even in a night club, but falls apart on a beach.

After eight years, if she correctly interprets the statement “You’re cute” as “I want to have sex with you,” then you are a complete jerk for still clinging to your independence.


Dear Jon,

Which is better, Uruguay or Paraguay, and why?

South of the Border

Dear Sou,

Paraguay is better, because then you have two guays.


Dear Jon,

Can you please give your opinion on tattoos (and no, not the little guy that used to follow Mr. Roarke around on "Fantasy Island)?

Tattoo guy

Dear Tattoo,

I can appreciate the mediums of art. Face and body painting have a place among the mediums; the human skin can be a canvass for creativity. However, part of the art of the human body is that it changes. Body painting should be no more permanent than a hair-cut or a manicure. For permanence, take photographs. I do not like tattoos because they are permanent. The person making a statement as a teenager may desire to make a different statement when they are forty. What is fresh and in-your-face now can in twenty years become no more than a fancy scar, a permanent reminder of regrets and ignorance.

Industries have grown up to exploit the idea that we can make statements with our bodies. There seem to be two main audiences for this industry: socialites that dress for success, and those that dress and mutilate themselves to rebel. The rebels need to realize that they are conforming themselves to an image just as much as socialites are: individuals in both groups are equally subject to peer pressure and have goals of peer acceptance and conformity that are equally shallow.

Let me describe two couples: Couple A features a skinny girl, in a black gown and pearls, riding in a Lexus driven by a man in an Armani suit. Couple B features a pudgy girl with a ring in her exposed belly button and three in each eye-brow climbing on to the back of a guy’s motorcycle, and the guy’s arms are tattooed with the Confederate battle flag on one shoulder and a naked girl wrapped in a python on the other. I form the same impression of both couples, and my heart wells up with the twin sentiments of pity and revulsion.

The true non-conformists are the ones who dress for comfort according to what they can afford. I am not talking about the faculty at the university either. (Talk about your peer-group in-fighting and need to conform!) The non-conformists are the ones you see every day at work. They meet the written standards for dress code, but with woolen knee-highs instead of hose, or a flannel shirt with a Bugs Bunny tie. Nobody thinks of putting them on the fast track to management, but nobody complains about their work, either.

Thought for the Day: Dear Jon has not had a "Thought for the Day" in well over a hundred sorts, unless I'm forgetting something.

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Dear Jon Letters: Tips for Dating and Mating
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