Thanks for all three posts.
He is an interesting kid -- "unmeasurably high" verbal IQ, coupled with really low processing speed, mild inattentive ADD, and dysgraphia. Oh, and perfect (musical) pitch. I think I am not smart enough to parent him very well, but I try really hard.
That said, I agree that it could be anxiety-related. I certainly struggle with anxiety. He also picks at his fingernails, which I do think is 100% a nervous (anxious) habit. That one has abated a bit in recent years.
I also agree that, ultimately, someone (a peer, or a potential love-interest) is the most likely solution to the problem. I hate for it to come to that, but so it goes. Entering that age where peers have a great deal of influence over things like this...
Again, thank you for reading and replying! If the band-aids work, I'll post back for someone else to benefit!