There is a certain pivotal point in every nerd's life when he realises that any efforts to run with a popular clique are futile, and so instead he settles into a comfortable state of nerdism and all it entails.

Part of this is the realisation that due to our un-aesthetically pleasing faces, and being socially retarded, the chances of us spending most of our lives in the company of some attractive female are probably slim-to-none. We've all been there, so we accept it, allowing our muscles in our right arms to get larger, and the amount of used tissues in the wastepaper basket to increase into an evidence-mountain of self-abuse.

That is until someone yanks away this rather sticky comfort blanket and you come crashing back down to earth.

Your friends. Your relatives. Make no mistake, as long as you are in sustained contact with older members of your family, you will be asked that most embarrassingly pertinent and hideous of questions: Are you dating?

[in]The answer is, of course you aren't, but that doesn't mean to say your private life needs to be patronisingly probed. Why people feel the need to humiliate us like this is anyone's guess. However, here are a few ways you might like to try to get yourself out of this situation. Let's imagine in this scenario that you are having a nice meal with your grandparents when they decide to push the issue. After the inevitable uncomfortable silence as you struggle to come up with an response, how about trying one of these

1. Faint/Feign Illness

Simply keel over at the table, preferably slamming your face into the remnants of your chicken dinner. Whilst effective in the short-term, this strategy doesnt ensure that you wont be put on the spot again in future.

2. The Homo-incest Spectacular

When asked the question, reply no, but I've got my eye on someone, as you vigorously wink at your granddad and rub his thigh under the table.

3. Pornographic Shock and Awe

Only to be used in extreme cases, this tactic employs embarrassment as a weapon for use against your interrogators. When asked if you currently have a girlfriend, pull out your pre-prepared explicit photo collection that you have mocked up using your photoshopping skills. As you flick through, give commentary to your horrified relatives e.g. and heres me doing (insert made-up girlfriends name here) on the kitchen table

Trust me, they won't ask again after that.