About the Manual

The Nerd Manual is meant to be both a useful resource for nerds and a guide for the people involved with nerds. If you're a nerd you can find information here that will help you improve your life and perhaps better understand yourself. If you're close friends with, dating, or married to a nerd, I want to give you insight into things nerds do that a lot of people have difficulty understanding.

I hope to avoid offending anyone--either nerd or non-nerd--but please understand that the manual will get into some sensitive topics, stray into contentious territories, and even use stereotypes to illustrate points. It's OK to disagree with something, but keep your comments civil.


(Not So) Nerd Q&A: Why Do People Care If I'm Still a Virgin?

When you're in high school, and possibly later in life, you might be led to believe that everyone is obsessed with one topic--boys AND girls talk about it, parents (awkwardly) talk about it, TV shows devote episodes to it, entire movies use it as the central plot element.

Some of my classmates constantly ask me if I am still a virgin. I choose to not answer the question because I know what their reactions are going to be like, but since I don't follow the high school trend of talking about it all the time they see me like a weirdo. Why do they care if I'm still a virgin?

I realize this isn’t a particularly nerdy question, but I’m sure a lot of young people think about it, and I believe it would put a few minds at rest if they had a better perspective on what makes this nugget of knowledge everyone's obsession.

The truth is, the people asking you about this don’t care if you've had sex or not. What they care about is where they stand in comparison to everyone else, on an arbitrary scale of coolness and popularity.

What they’re really asking is an internal question: “is this girl/guy so much more attractive than I am that s/he has already had sex and I haven’t?”

It's a pretty silly question. In reality if you could tell just by looking, you’d see (depending on their age, socioeconomic status, geographic location, and whether you’re looking at CDC, NCHS, or NHSR data) that about 60% to 85% of the students in your high school have not had sex.

I know there will be at least one indignant reader out there thinking “but at my school all the kids had sex by the time they were 16!” Ahem…no. A lot of the kids said they had sex, very likely some did, most didn’t, and of course some lied about it. 

I know putting up with your classmates' questions is uncomfortable, but you’re doing the right thing to not answer. It’s none of their business.

(By the way, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having sex. I think people should wait until they’re out of high school, but I’m not judging anyone who isn’t a virgin. It’s none of my business either.)