Ask Jono: Guys Like Me More When I'm Gross!
This plea for help is not in regards to a crush or a certain boy (though, of course, both exist). This is me grovelling on the ground as I try to figure out the inner workings of the awkward boy's mind.
I've always found myself attracted to awkward boys, and I recently did a science project concerning them. The title of my secret little project? Boy Attention vs. Girl Grossness.
I found that, while I was looking all nice and awesome-like, awkward boys tended to be withdrawn and moody. However, the one day that the subject (me) accidentally forgot to wash her hair and looked like a mess, Awkward Boys 1 and 2 were suddenly very social and actually a bit flirty. Smiles were everywhere. Glasses were glinting in the autumn sunlight. Textbooks and videogame controllers were flying through the air. Happiness all around. This happened the next times that the subject looked gross.
I have two questions. Why did the awkward boys get less awkward when the subject (me) was grosser? And how does one get rid of their awkwardness while still taking showers and looking decent?
A Mini Boypsych Scientist
In the spirit of your boy psychology experiment, Sparkler, I'm also going to do some science in a field that is totally alien to me (girl hygiene). My hypothesis is that you were not objectively gross, at least not by dude standards, which are far more forgiving. The data that supports my hypothesis is that I'm currently wearing a shirt I found on the floor and that I do not recognize, and I am fine with this. To a guy, personal upkeep often involves glancing in the mirror and thinking "Am I wearing anything instead of nothing? OK," and then heading out the door. There are some lapses that a dude will notice, like if you recently lost an argument with a skunk, but anything short of that may escape their attention completely.
This is only one possibility, though; there are other explanations for this trend you've noticed.
1.) Unwashed hair is superior, apparently
I polled several girls I know on how often a high-school-aged girl should wash her hair. After convincing them that they should put down the phone and stop calling the police, and that teenage girl hair was somehow a topic germane to my work, I received a range of answers from "every other day" to "a couple times a week." I would like to clarify that none of the girls who gave me these responses had visible stink lines emanating from them. Skipping hair-washing for a day or two isn't only okay, it's desirable, according to celebrity hairologists. Note that this doesn't necessarily apply to everyone, and it depends on your hair type. If your hair type is "dude," because you are a dude, you should never try to skip hair-washing, because you are 20 times more of a greaseball than women are.
2.) You were not actually gross
I realize there was probably more to your grossness theory than just the status of your hair, but the same thing applies to other aspects of your appearance. I've known girls who were under the impression that going jogging or being at the gym made them appear "gross," which couldn't be further from the truth. First of all, making out in the rain is a common romantic trope, even though both parties involved look like a mess, and second, women are much harsher critics of their own grossness than dudes are (in part because their sense of smell is significantly stronger).
3.) You were more laid-back
There's also the possibility that your lack of attention to your appearance coincided with a lack of attention to everything else. That is, you rolled out of bed and ran to school late and were mildly distracted, which made you less apprehensive when talking to these nerdy dudes. Maybe going through your normal beauty regimen also makes you ever so slightly self-conscious, so instead of saying "Sup dudes" you say "Hello there gentlemen, I am a girl now, talking to you, now, with my mouth. Hello." People usually feel more confident when they know they look good, but I can imagine it having the opposite effect too.
4.) They were less intimidated
Call it the reverse-Angelina Jolie effect. Maybe these guys aren't normally withdrawn and moody, they just thought you were unobtainable. ("Lipstick?? That's something adult lady women wear, in the movies! I'd better just go back to my Cheetos and video games.") Maybe when you roll up looking like a mess, it makes them think they have more of a chance with you, although I urge you not to turn this possibility into a long-term strategy or take it too far. ("Oh my gosh, look at that pile of hair wearing a potato sack. Truly this is a match made in heaven.")
5.) Random chance
Of course, there is always the possibility that life is just a series of meaningless events with no bearing on each other whatsoever. If you flip a coin a hundred times, sometimes it will hit a boy on the head and make him act flirty instead of not flirty. Maybe there are no lessons to be learned from anything and we should all just eat a lot of hamburgers and die. That said, this is not a very helpful possibility, so let's just move on.
The reason for your trend could be all or none of these, or something I didn't think of, but as for your second question (how to make dudes social while still being hygienic), I think you only need to concentrate on one thing: approachability. I mean, I guess you could skip showers and stink on purpose, but I don't think that's the operative factor here. My guess is that your experiment also involved you seeming more receptive to these dudes' advances, whether you realized it or not, and you can achieve that without smelling like a mud fire. Just focus on making your body language friendly and open, try to feel relaxed, smile a lot, and see if these nerds continue flinging their woo.