Are Guys Really Intimidated By Me? Ask A Pro

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Dear HP,

I will do my best to keep this as short and sweet as possible (lies), but I'm at my part-time job where I'm avoiding actually doing work.

So, here it goes: I am getting to a point in my life where I will sooner or later have to turn in my single lady shoes – figuratively speaking of course, they will bury me in my high heels if I get my way – and think about getting into a relationship.  I turned 25 a few months ago, and by no means do I feel that 25 is old, but I've been in school all of this time (I'm finishing up my PhD in neuroscience this year) and never had a real relationship…the only semi-stable relationship I've had in the last 8 years is with my liquor cabinet.  I'm starting to feel that nagging desire to find something a bit more consistent once I finish school, but I have no idea where to start – I am aware of the online dating scene, but I'm a bit more old school, such that texting and emailing don't really do it for me…that and my mom always watched America's Most Wanted on Saturday night, so anything that involved meeting someone online usually ended with the girl lying face down in a ditch or in the trunk of a car.

Now it's not really that I don't know where to start looking – currently the majority of my life involves me sitting in a room playing with a microscope or conducting animal studies, so anything outside of my concrete dungeon is probably a good place to begin.  The main issue involves my own fucked-upness.  First, I have abandonment issues (I know, very cliché, girl with daddy issues, right?) and I'm working through them, but I still struggle with letting people in.  This usually results in me going for guys that I know are emotionally unavailable, since deep down I know that it is doomed from the beginning and will never work out (I won't get as hurt).  I really haven't had much more going on in my life than very dispersed random hookups.  Essentially, my schedule makes it impossible to date, and I'm not someone who enjoys talking daily (I like my alone time).  I'm honestly the anti-clinger, but this usually has me wind up in the friend zone with most guys, especially guys I like since I believe they won't like me back (serious insecurity issues, I know).  I know that I am very attractive, highly intelligent, and can get along with just about anyone.  I know something that hurts my confidence is that guys never pursue me and rarely make the first move (unless it's a bar or party situation).  I've been told that it's because I'm intimidating and don't necessarily come across as available.  I also don't really make a lot of good guy friends – most of the guys I've really gotten close to develop feelings for me and most guys seem uncomfortable around me.

One thing I've been told is that I'm very confident in everything I do, except guys, so if I don't act completely interested in a guy, they may assume I'm not interested…is this even a thing?  I'm really just trying to see you if you can tell me what I'm doing wrong, and also if you have some suggestions to get me on the road to not dying alone or owning a substantial amount of one animal?
Xx's & oo's,

My vibrator needs a vacation

P.S. I have to give you props on some of your email signatures, you can be quite witty (I'm sure you don't need another betch to tell you that).

Dear Vibrator Abuser,

Lies indeed. Part of your problem has to do with the fact that I had to cut 325 words from your novella in order to make it manageable, all of which were for the benefit of hearing yourself talk: You are so deep inside your own head over what is essentially a non-issue. If you have attachment issues, that’s reasonable – lots of people struggle with that. But consider, too, that forming a relationship isn’t just about allowing yourself to become attached to someone. It’s also about finding someone who makes you want to open yourself up to them. That’s harder for some people than others, but as you move on from your isolated academic environment and mingle with more diverse people, you’ll be surprised who you meet. There’s also the fact that it doesn’t have to be that serious. I’ve said 1,000 times that trying to get into a relationship for the sake of a relationship is a bad idea – not every interaction needs to be viewed through the lens of whether you could one day be capable of opening up to this person.

I don’t think guys are “intimidated” by you – that’s usually a nice way of telling someone that you think they’re kind of a jerk. Good looks, brains, ambition, the ability to have real opinions and conversations, etc., those are all things men look for in women. If we’re going to play armchair pop psychologists, I would guess that your insecurities and lack of confidence lead you to hide behind your intelligence and wield it in a way that people find off-putting. The great pains you go to in order to make sure we know you’re a “science betch” [subj. line of her email], for instance, or thoughtfully letting me know that I “can be quite witty” but then immediately disqualifying your own comment. If you’re smart, attractive and amicable, you don’t need to hide behind your brain because you have nothing to hide. As you said yourself [in the uncut version of the email], everyone around you is smart and pretty – they likely assume you are, as well.

More than anything, you’ll have to get over this sense of “wah I’m helpless I’ll never be happy.” As Jon Taffer says in “Bar Rescue,” I don’t embrace excuses – I embrace solutions. If your abandonment issues are preventing you from getting what you want, then get therapy – that is literally what it’s for. You say guys don’t go after you, but who are all of these “guy friends” that develop feelings for you? That seems like a pretty eligible pool of guys, if you ask me. You say guys don’t make the first move – “unless it's a bar or party situation,” where 99% of the world’s first moves are made. You don’t want to go online. You don’t want to communicate via email or text, and not every day. You like your alone time. That’s all perfectly fine, but if you think you can change absolutely nothing about yourself and still expect a custom-made “soul mate” to come out of the woodwork and find you, you’re gonna have a bad time. You know who else does that? Katie Heaney, and that girl is fucked.

Honestly, you’ll be fine. I think you’re just an introvert who needs to get out there and have a casual social life without overanalyzing every situation and interaction. If you can manage to get out of your own head, some of your insecurities may take care of themselves. For those that don’t, that’s why God invented cocaine.

You don’t need to hit space twice after a period because the computer does it for you,

Head Pro

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