Women sell sex (so to speak) and men buy sex, and in doing so they are exchanging valuable resources. Women give sexual access to men after men have given them money, commitment, affection, respect, or time. It seems crude to think about sexual relations in this way, but sexual economics theory demonstrates that basic economic tenets can explain men’s and women’s negotiations about whether to have sex.
Nerds often have a less permeable membrane from their subconscious to their conscious. Hence, they are deceived about their hidden motives and those of others.
Hard-to-fake signals include money and health, hence why they are prominent criteria for female assessment of male attractiveness.
Amotz Zahavi suggested that cheating (sending convincing signals that are not actually expensive) could be controlled by the handicap principle, where the best horse in a handicap race is the one carrying the largest handicap weight. According to Zahavi’s theory, signalers such as male peacocks have ‘tails’ that are genuinely handicaps, being costly to produce.
Not being attuned to one’s own hidden motives and those of society are genuine handicaps, hence why they are attractive. Being a “nerd” who accidentally succeeds at the hard-to-fake signals should correlate with higher sexual attractiveness to females than men who succeed by “knowing what is going on.”
I arrived at this hypothesis by generalizing from peacock dynamics to humans, but it seems plausible given that an uncanny amount of males avoid “just making money” when there is ample opportunity and instead want to get there as a side-effect.