Social Skills and Passion

Over at GQ, Julieanne Smolinski has some advice on how nerds can avoid ‘creeping out’ the opposite sex.

Yes. Nerds are sexy. Yes. We get it. Yes.

Nerd girls are hot. Nerd men are hot. People with cassette fetishes and basement museums now get book deals and “This American Life” episodes instead of swirlies. The word has gone from opprobrium to come-on to something that might be proudly proclaimed via provocatively shrunken spaghetti strap top.

She’s using the wrong word. She means geek, not nerd.
Both geeks and nerds share the enthusiasm trait.
Where geeks and nerds differ is in their social skills. Geeks have them, nerds to do not.
But back to enthusiasm. Julieanne has a problem with too much of it:

The problem here is being too into something. It’s weird! It’s important not to display too much of your -philia to somebody you’re hoping to attract. I know a lot of girls who would find a deep and abiding love for protopunk sexy, but if you can say things like, “Richard Hell is a Libra” then I’m going to suggest you don’t. Be an enthusiast, not an obsessive. (If obsession lies between love and madness, then let us say that enthusiasm lies between “obsession” and “love.” Between obsession and madness? Fan fiction.)

Humans have a problem with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is a gateway drug to passion which in turn leads to fanaticism and fanaticism is a bad word. Someone who’s really believes in their religion? A religious fanatic. Some who loves Apple products (yes, self, I’m looking at you) – they’re a Apple fanatic or Apple fanboi.
For me? I’d rather be fanatical about something, than somewhat/sorta/kinda into things. I don’t want to be ok with my job. I don’t want to think my wife is alright. There’s nothing worse than being someone who loves a particular music genre who encounters someone who has no feelings about music.
The most successful people in the world are fanatical about the thing that made them rich. The fanatics can also be the most dangerous people in the world (Philly Eagles fans? Red Sox fans? you guys are fucking dangerous assholes), so while the object of obsession can be dangerous or destructive, fanaticism and passion, in and of themselves are not negative traits.
Never be afraid of having too much passion about something.
It’s ok to turn the dial up to 11.

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