Have you ever really liked someone? Have you ever been head over heels in love, so much so that you’ll go through anything to be with her? How many times would you ask her out; once, twice, three times? Are you willing to pretend to like what she likes just to impress her? Are you willing to use whatever pick-up line or technique you learned from the internet to woo her? Are you willing to be anyone but yourself to get the girl? Is she all you think about to the point of distraction, regardless of how much she may (or may not) be thinking about you?
If you answered yes to these questions, you are suffering from Urkel syndrome. For those of you who have never watched Family Matters, Steven Q. Urkel is a nerd and a geek (yes, you can be both). He is a geek because he fails to conform to societal norms of how a man should look and behave. He is skinny and frail-looking. His voice is whiny. He wears high-water pants and suspenders that hike them up past his belly button. At first glance, Steve Urkel is different, to say the least.
However, Steve is also a nerd. Ask any of the high achievers thriving in the Chicago business world, and they will tell you. Nerds are always cool. Why do you ask? Well, nerds are smart. They suck up information and use it better than anyone else around them. Nerds become successful business owners, inventors, writers, law professors, and presidents. In case you haven’t noticed from my writing, I’m a nerd, and I’m damn proud of it! I am who I am, and I have nothing to hide.
Exhibit A: I am who I am. Get at me.
All of Steve’s positive qualities are derived from his nerdiness. He’s an inventor who concocts contraptions that no one else can think of. Are they always useful? No, but they’re original, and he had the courage and creativity to experiment. That is an admirable quality. Due to his ability to consume all of the information around him, Steve is also a whiz at basketball. Despite his slight frame and lack of height, he schools his opponents with his knowledge of the game. If you think that’s unrealistic, look up Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and John Stockton. None of these players were highlight reel athletes in their primes, but they are all Hall of Famers and clear basketball nerds. Despite being ridiculed by his teammates, Steve Urkel’s nerdiness made him an indispensable part of his team. That’s usually how nerdiness works. They mock you until they realize how much they need you.
My man Steve saved the game without a single dunk.
So Steve Urkel, the inventor and star basketball player, has a lot going for him. He has a bright future and will most likely become a great scientist, star athlete, or anything else he puts his mind to. He has the potential to make his family proud, earn a good living, and even be world famous; all because of his brilliant mind. Still, Steve Urkel has one obsession that he just can’t let go. He holds an undying love for Laura Winslow(the girl who rejected him at the end of the clip), and she doesn’t love him back.
For the bulk of the television series, Laura wants nothing to do with Steve. While he chases her around and confesses his undying love to her, Laura dates the popular guys in school. Sound familiar? Laura is usually mean to Steve, and though he sometimes stands up for himself, he never leaves her side. He even goes as far as using his intellect to create a serum of his DNA that he dubs “Cool Juice” to transform himself into his alter ego, Stefan Urquelle.
Stefan is smooth and socially adept, but he lacks Steve’s intellect. They are complete opposites, and Laura falls head over heels for Stefan until she realizes that Steve cares a lot more for her. Throughout the rest of the series, Steve’s undying love for Laura never wavers. At first she continues to reject him. Later, she slowly turns around and returns her feelings for him. This takes well over fifteen years.
What frustrates me the most about guys like Steve, is that they don’t think that they are good enough to be happy right now. They don’t think that what they have is good enough, and if it truly isn’t, they don’t try to build on who they are and improve themselves. They try to become someone else for the sake of impressing women who have made zero effort to impress them. There’s nothing wrong with Stefan Urquelle, if that’s really you, but Steve Urkel doesn’t have to suppress his brains with the “Cool Juice” and hide an important part of himself for the sake of impressing a girl. He is fine the way he is. If Laura isn’t attracted to Steve, then so be it. She isn’t the only girl in Chicago, and if I were him, I would move on.
If you still buy into the whole “alpha male” mentality(a.k.a nonsense), guys like Steve Urkel are considered the beta males in our society; not because they’re actually inferior, but because somebody out there just decided that they were beta. Stefan Urquelle is considered alpha, not because he’s superior, but because someone said he’s alpha. These designations of social status are arbitrary. If you step back and look at Steve and Stefan, they are complete opposites but they are also equals; one with the talk and the other with the brains. Still, because Steve Urkel behaves in a way that others may not understand, he is told that he is not good enough. He is placed in a social caste without anyone actually asking him who he would like to be. Laura places Steve below her, and he succumbs to her worldview. He is willing to change himself to win her over because society has told him that he is inadequate. Society has taught him not to love himself despite all of his good qualities. For someone so smart, he’s so naïve. He buys the lies like a well-trained sucker and seeks to change himself to win Laura’s heart; unaware that if he has to stop being himself to gain it, then he’ll never truly have it.
Due to his undying obsession over a woman who doesn’t want him, Steve does something else that frustrates me. He loses a woman who loves him for who he is. Myra is a woman who loves everything about Steve; even down to his snorting laugh. She isn’t perfect, but a lot of her issues stem from her confusion over Steve’s infatuation with Laura. She has no idea why he’s so fixated on a woman who spends her time dating everyone but him. Meanwhile, while Myra’s sitting right in front of Steve, all he can think about is somebody else. Instead of sticking with the woman who likes him for who he is, he chases the woman who will never be satisfied with the real him. If you’ve been through this, you know how infuriating it is. On television, Steve eventually gets the woman he wants, after years of thankless effort. In real life, he gets neither. One will always run from him. The other gets fed up and moves on with her life, despite the fact that you were probably perfect together.
Seriously. This is so perfect it’s scary, and he still let her go.
Does any of this sound familiar? Have you ever watched a woman run from you into the arms of another man and ask yourself if you did something wrong? Well, you did. You got tied up with the wrong woman. Let me tell you from experience that I have never had to chase any woman for a date. The women I asked out twice, or even three times, were always busy until they had a boyfriend. Those situations can make you feel like you have to change something about yourself; that maybe if you did this or that differently, you could’ve gotten the girl. Maybe if you were more like the other guy, you would have more success. Maybe if you changed into someone else, she would have wanted you. Meanwhile, there is a woman right next to you who doesn’t require you to change a thing, doesn’t require you to chase her, and doesn’t look down on you. That woman is wondering why you are wasting your time chasing someone else. She will eventually move on because she is tired of you taking her for granted, and who can blame her? I’ve made this mistake more times than I would like to admit. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else.
I’m not saying that you should pursue anything with a woman just because she happens to like you. That’s not fair to you or her. What I am saying is that, unlike Steve Urkel, it is high time that you accepted and valued yourself and acted accordingly. Be that nerd, geek, inventor, basketball player, and have the balls to ask Laura out once. If she doesn’t make herself available to you, have the balls to keep it moving. You have nothing else to prove to anyone, and that includes her. Instead of fixating on the one who never has time, focus your efforts on people who make time. Like a wise man once told me, don’t try to fit in with anyone. Instead, find people who fit in with you. Your romantic relationships should be no different.
You are enough.You are more than how society tries to make you feel; which in turn makes you feel like you want to buy their products so they can make money off of your insecurities. If you think that’s all in my head, watch how the media treats women. Those makeup ads and magazine covers tell women that they’re not good enough every day. She must wear this brand of make-up so that he can think she’s pretty; until the make-up comes off and he calls the police to report an intruder in his home. She must have this (photo-shopped!) body for him to find her desirable; until he gets irritated because she’s asked him for the hundredth time if she looks fat. Follow “The Rules”, and he will love her; until he figures out that she’s playing head games and runs into the arms of a woman he can actually trust to be honest with him. It’s cool to wear makeup, work out for the body you want, and have standards for your dating life; but not when the intent behind it involves losing yourself to catch a man, and the same goes in reverse. Convincing people to feel inadequate and then offering them a manufactured way to improve is an old hustle that has simultaneously made money for businesses and ruined people’s lives for years. If you think that such a lucrative strategy targets only women, you’ve already been duped. Smarten up and think for yourself, or you’ll be a sucker too.
Call me a critic. Call me old-school, but I think Urkel Syndrome can be cured by thinking for yourself, loving yourself, and only hanging with people who appreciate the real you. Pickup techniques work in the short-term(sometimes) until your confidence is tested. If you believe in those techniques more than yourself, you will fail because real people can smell your fakeness a mile away. Wearing the right clothes is entirely too subjective. The reaction I get from women doesn’t really change whether I’m wearing jeans, sweatpants, a shirt and tie, or a suit. I wear whatever makes me feel comfortable at the time because the right people will be drawn to the man under the clothes, not the clothes themselves. I’m often wary of anyone who actually thinks that the clothes make the man. Such superficiality usually doesn’t lend itself to anything positive, and if it’s not positive, I don’t want it. There’s really no reason to settle for less.
Look, at the end of the day, there is just no substitute for being yourself and accepting yourself for your strengths and improving your weaknesses. You are enough, and if there is anything about you that you are not satisfied with, work at it. Improve upon yourself. Don’t try to be someone else, and don’t try to impress the people around you by subscribing to a load of nonsense that makes you feel inadequate. Like the title of this blog suggests, I want everyone who reads this to be themselves with no apologies. Unless you do that, you will never be happy. When you do, you won’t be able to see yourself living any other way. With that thought, I leave you with this awesome speech from Ashton Kutcher. Apparently, he never lost sight of the fact that he was enough. If that’s good enough for him, then why not you? You are who you are. Accept yourself, and don’t bother with anyone who can’t accept you.
You are enough, my friends.
p.s. This will be my last post for the next three weeks as I study myself silly for the bar exam. Next installment: July’s Rule Your Nation Awards.
Steve Urkel: http://www.octavarius.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/steve-urkel-224×324.jpg
Laura Winslow: http://images.tvrage.com/cguide/18/1312.jpg
Stefan Urquelle: http://images.tvrage.com/people/11/30100.jpg