The things I have to research for my story,….
“What Happened to All the Nice Guys?”
[Date: 2007-11-19, 3:52AM PST]
I see this question posted with some regularity in the personals section, so I thought I’d take a minute to explain things to the ladies out there that haven’t figured it out.
What happened to all the nice guys?
The answer is simple: you did.
See, if you think back, really hard, you might vaguely remember a Platonic guy pal who always seemed to want to spend time with you. He’d tag along with you when you went shopping, stop by your place for a movie when you were lonely but didn’t feel like going out, or even sit there and hold you while you sobbed and told him about how horribly the (other) guy that you were fucking treated you.
At the time, you probably joked with your girlfriends about how he was a little puppy dog, always following you around, trying to do things to get you to pay attention to him. They probably teased you because they thought he had a crush on you. Given that his behavior was, admittedly, a little pathetic, you vehemently denied having any romantic feelings for him, and buttressed your position by claiming that you were “just friends.” Besides, he totally wasn’t your type. I mean, he was a little too short, or too bald, or too fat, or too poor, or didn’t know how to dress himself, or basically be or do any of the things that your tall, good-looking, fit, rich, stylish boyfriend at the time pulled off with such ease.
Eventually, your Platonic buddy drifted away, as your relationship with the boyfriend got more serious and spending time with this other guy was, admittedly, a little weird, if you werent dating him. More time passed, and the boyfriend eventually cheated on you, or became boring, or you realized that the things that attracted you to him weren’t the kinds of things that make for a good, long-term relationship. So, now, you’re single again, and after having tried the bar scene for several months having only encountered players and douche bags, you wonder, “What happened to all the nice guys?”
Well, once again, you did.
You ignored the nice guy. You used him for emotional intimacy without reciprocating, in kind, with physical intimacy. You laughed at his consideration and resented his devotion. You valued the aloof boyfriend more than the attentive “just-a-” friend. Eventually, he took the hint and moved on with his life. He probably came to realize, one day, that women aren’t really attracted to guys who hold doors open; or make dinners just because; or buy you a Christmas gift that you mentioned, in passing, that you really wanted five months ago; or listen when you’re upset; or hold you when you cry. He came to realize that, if he wanted a woman like you, he’d have to act more like the boyfriend that you had. He probably cleaned up his look, started making some money, and generally acted like more of an asshole than he ever wanted to be.
Fact is, now, he’s probably getting laid, and in a way, your ultimate rejection of him is to thank for that. And I’m sorry that it took the complete absence of “nice guys” in your life for you to realize that you missed them and wanted them. Most women will only have a handful of nice guys stumble into their lives, if that.
So, if you’re looking for a nice guy, here’s what you do:
1.) Build a time machine.
2.) Go back a few years and pull your head out of your ass.
3.) Take a look at what’s right in front of you and grab ahold of it.
I suppose the other possibility is that you STILL don’t really want a nice guy, but you feel the social pressure to at least appear to have matured beyond your infantile taste in men. In which case, you might be in luck, because the nice guy you claim to want has, in reality, shed his nice guy mantle and is out there looking to unleash his cynicism and resentment onto someone just like you.
If you were five years younger.
So, please: either stop misrepresenting what you want, or own up to the fact that you’ve fucked yourself over. You’re getting older, after all. It’s time to excise the bullshit and deal with reality. You didn’t want a nice guy then, and he certainly doesn’t fucking want you, now.
A Recovering Nice Guy
Maybe it’s just me — but did any of that sound ‘nice’ to you? Clearly there were sexual expectations, and a sense of righteous entitlement that contradict his self-designation of Nice Guy™.
That’s creepy. Way creepy.
Am I alone in suspecting that all his supposedly selfless efforts and attentions were actually investments, investments that demanded some kind of coital pay-off? If that’s the case, then he clearly sees her as a prostitute, and that he’d felt he’d paid for rent on her body, and was ready to move in.
Not so ‘nice’ at all, really.
Nice? The polar opposite.
After pondering the smouldering anger over an absence of eagerly anticipated reciprocity, were the female equilvalent of this diatribe written and posted, I realized it would be signed Door Mat™.
Tragically for all concerned, what “Recovering Nice Guy” failed to understand is that at the outset of the relationship — with his “Platonic guy pal” approach — is that he’d cast himself in the role of a brother, or a cousin, or an uncle, or at the very worst, a father. Once that’s set in the other’s mind, it’s a damned difficult thing to dislodge.
I speak here from bitter experience: having someone you see and feel towards as a brother, someone you foolishly trusted, coming on to you sexually — especially if aggressively — is frightening and sickening. It’s wrong in every possible direction, and sets off all kinds of claxons because it howls of incest.
Yet, somehow, it’s all her fault.
(And neither are we allowed the woman’s side of the story.)
But to my great delight and vast relief, I also encountered the rebuttal to the ‘nice guy rant’, also posted on Craigslist, also quoted intact:
RANT: The Myth of the Nice Guy Finishing Last
[Date: 2004-12-08, 3:01PM CST]
I think it’s important to expose the lie of the “nice guy” because I see too many of my female friends feel guilty over these losers that they don’t want and I hope to give these dumbasses a wake up call, so they stop hiding behind simplistic notions like “I’m too nice” or “girls like assholes” and actually go out and improve themselves.
I’m not saying there isn’t a game being unconsciously played that makes people harder to get more desirable, but assholes with nothing to offer don’t get girls and assholes with something interesting to contribute do.
I do think genuine nice guys exist, but in my experience, they fall into one of two categories. They are either mentally retarded or they’re actually attractive, talented, successful men who are happy with themselves and don’t feel a need to prove anything. They are just nice to everyone, unless there is a good reason not to be and they don’t have problems “getting the girl”. Most people are a mixture of assholness and niceness with varying degrees of success in the mating game based on their own individual qualities and the girls they’re going after.
The stereotypical “Nice Guy Who Finishes Last” (NGWFL) is not nice at all, but resentful, envious, negative, hateful boy who blames every failure on outside influences and thinks a relationship with you is going to make them complete human beings.
They’re nice to you, because you’re better than them (in terms of looks, talents, personality, wit, general desirability, you get the point) and they have nothing else to offer you. They use niceness as a defense mechanism, a futile attempt to keep you around and keep you from ditching them, which just prolongs everybody’s misery. This is not to say they don’t have positive qualities, but compared to you they don’t. The NGWFL usually is pretty knowledgeable in one, maybe two things, but isn’t well rounded enough to keep the attention of potential relationships. Also, these very same boys ignore or are inconsiderate to girls that don’t meet their expectations (i.e. fat, ugly).
So you see girls, you’re buying into this manipulative, pathetic jerk’s game. It’s not helping them and it’s keeping you from finding some of us who are actually together and would make good, interesting company. Maybe some of you have low self-esteem or daddy issues or whatever, and it makes you feel special to have a NGWFL wanting you while you string him along. Well, you’re a dumb bitch, and need to get a life too. You’re only making things worse.
So, you selfish NGWFL, get over yourselves, stop playing your video games 24/7 and whining about being too nice, don’t threaten to kill yourself if she dumps you (that did happen to a lady friend of mine), get out there and find more interests, develop a better personality and when YOU are happy with YOU, maybe a girl will be too.
Succinct, and no more blunt or harsh than needed.
Now, to add to the confusion and/or clarity [dependent upon your own perspectives], here is a more recent post on the Topic That Will Not Die A Dignified Death, by Lore Sjöberg at Wired.Com:
There are any number of geek guys running around out there without the love and companionship that many people and all golden retrievers deserve. Sometimes these guys sit down and try to figure out why they’re living a life devoid of love, romance, sex and discussions about whose hair it is in the shower drain.
They undertake a deep self-assessment, questioning all their long-cherished beliefs about themselves, and this is what they conclude: They’re too nice. And that’s hilarious!
Guys, you’re not “too nice.” That’s like saying you can’t get seated at an L.A. restaurant because you’re too famous.
I know lots of nice guys, fellows who are much nicer than me, and nearly all of them have what ’70s-era singer-songwriters call “special ladies.” Seriously, even guys that in college struck me as the sort that would have trouble sweet-talking a hand towel and a bottle of lotion into bed are married with offspring that are, presumably, theirs.
I also know tremendous jerks with girlfriends, but that just proves there’s someone for everyone.
I mean, let’s concede right here that there are people of all available genders who are messed up in the brainpan and because of this are only into people who treat them poorly. These folks are, thankfully, in the minority. They’re also not the sort of people you want to be dating. Self-loathing people are actually kind of a pain to be around.
Which brings us back to you! Given that nice guys get bedded and/or wedded all the time, you must have a more specific problem than that. Here are some specific behaviors I have witnessed in guys who think they’re “too nice” when actually they’re “unpleasant.” Is this you?
* For some reason, you think “nice” means “completely devoid of sexual energy.” When you’re attracted to someone, you treat her like you’re her brother. Her brother the priest. Her brother the elderly Victorian priest who is actually a large stuffed animal. Then when some guy comes along and does a little thoughtful flirting and actually gets her attention, you think “Man, that guy’s a jerkface.”
* When you say you’re trying to figure out “what women want,” you actually mean you’re trying to figure out what this one specific woman you’re friends with and have had a crush on for three years wants. (That one’s easy, by the way. The answer is “not you.” Now move on.)
* You don’t know many women. Having been passed on by the six or seven ladyfolks you see on a regular basis, you are now ready to assume that all women are deeply broken individuals who don’t know what’s good for them. Somehow you think that treating all women as freely interchangable mentally damaged goods is compatible with being “nice.”
* You’re one of those guys who wishes he lived in the Arthurian era — which is to say an era that never actually existed — and who actually uses the word prithee. You practice some sort of demented Hollywood version of chivalry. When women are creeped out by this, you assume they don’t like nice guys, rather than assuming more accurately that they have no desire to get involved with your little love-LARP.
* You’re not actually nice. Ask yourself this question: All these nice, thoughtful things you do for women you have crushes on, do you do them for your friends whose panties you don’t want to chew off? Do you remember everyone’s favorite pizza topping? Listen to them bitch about work? Tell them when you see something neat on ThinkGeek that you think they’d like? Getting extra attention from someone who’s generally nice is flattering. Sitting under the laserlike niceness focus of someone who’s usually oblivious is actually pretty unnerving.
* Finally, the most common affliction: searing, blinding desperation. There’s a big, inviting grassy area between being a schmuck and being an Alpha Jerk, and it’s called “self-confidence.” It’s nice for picnics! Seriously, if there’s any one thing that’s universally attractive to men, women and intersexed individuals of any and all types, it’s confidence. People like people who like being the people they are. The sort of guys who worry about being “too nice” don’t want to be who they are. They want to be Someone’s Boyfriend, as if that will solve all their personal problems. That’s as off-putting as real, true niceness is attractive.
Many colorful reader comments follow on the post’s original site — there’s a great deal of frustration, bitterness and tunnel-vision on the two loudest sides of the argument. If you’re having a stray moment of bravado and don’t know what to do with it, feel free to wade into the fray. But let me warn you: it ain’t pretty.
My gut reaction? I wouldn’t want to be in charge of that zoo at feeding time. Based on observations from a distance, whether the suffering one is a Nice Guy™ or a Door Mat™, I feel the bulk of this misery is borne of:
1) a sense of entitlement after having jumped through imaginary hoops, as though one’s real life were a Quest™ with plot-points — i.e, collect the tokens then redeem them for sex/fawning adoration;
2) delusions spawned by unrealistic expectations or fantasies;
3) misconceptions fermented and aggressively peddled by Corporations With Something To Sell;
4) folks who refuse to take personal responsibility for their own happiness;
5) and, perhaps most importantly, the crippling absence of confidence and a healthy self-esteem — like fear, it can be ‘smelled’. And that isn’t a scent that entices anyone but users and predators.
Anyone who approaches me with a private agenda for himself and poorly communicated expectations from me is not ‘nice’. And when he finally realizes I can’t read his mind,… well, that’s when the Nice Guy™ shows his true colors. This I learned the hard way, because some ‘nice guys’ refuse to respect the fact that I’m already in a committed relationship.
Another thing I’ve learned: good men don’t need to label themselves as ‘nice guys’.
I’m glad I found the ‘nice guy rant’ and the follow-up anti-rants — it gives me a superior grasp and a deeper look into the mangled mind of one of the more disturbed and disturbing characters of in my multi-part beast of a story.
I may even give him his own book.