Friday, 26 June 2009

The nice guy (TM)

I was going to write something on the "the bitch made me do it" defence offered up in the trial of Sophie Elliot, but I see Anjum has already beaten me to it. Thank christ, that case was really too horrible for words.

So instead I'm going to go on bad teen movie nostalgia trip.

Zuh? You may be wondering what the hell does a gruesome murder have to do with bad teen movies.

The answer would be the "Nice Guy."

Many a teen movie is built around the idea of the "Nice Guy." There's the "Nice Guy" who wants to get things going with beautiful girl who only dates arseholes until one day she finally sees the light and they get together. ike Preston Myers in Can't Hardly Wait and poor old Duckie in Pretty in Pink if John Hughes had got the ending he wanted. Alternatively we have the nice guy who only wants the beautiful girl who is a total bitch and treats him badly until one day he sees the light and turns to his supposedly less attractive, but much more lovely in personality, overlooked female best friend. Think of Emilio Estevez hooking with up with Ally Sheedy's character in the Breakfast club or Some Kind of Wonderful the lesser-known of John Hughes teen movie classics.

We have all at some point another heard the rantings of self-professed "Nice Guys." They'll complain ad museum about how "Nice Guys finish last" and that women must WANT to be treated like shit, because he, the "Nice Guy," has failed repeatedly in relationships. Excuse me while I go hurl. It is such an incredibly arrogant thing to claim, "I’m such a good person, and she never chose me so she's the arsehole." But apparently the idea that the problem may in fact be with the "Nice Guy" never enters their head. I suppose it is because they are too busy being "nice."

So aunty ex-expat is going to offer up a valuable piece advice for all those self-described "nice guys." Being "nice" does not make up for stuff like lacking a personality, a sense of humour, confidence and humility. If you have one bad relationship after another, the only common denominator is YOU.

Also nice guy or not, if you’re in a relationship romantic or otherwise where the like where one person is far more adoring than the other, then you’ve got to expect that the results may not be pretty. From the perspective of the person who is taking, it doesn’t necessarily occur to them that they "owe" you something especially if you haven't clearly communicated your desires and expectations. You can’t really be that bitter when you’ve put yourself in a position to be trodden over. If you don't want to "just be friends", why not grow a spine and tell your object of affection that? There's a 50% chance she might say yes, but if she says no, then you've saved yourself all that emotional energy from chasing a girl that to borrow another bad movie title, just isn't that in to you.

The truth of the matter is if you’re truly a "nice guy" you don’t need these kind of excuses. The guys I know are neither "nice guys" or "bad guys", merely "guys." However, the truly nice guys that I’ve met, regardless of their romantic experiences, good or bad, are STILL nice guys, not closet misogynists looking for an excuse to cover up their own romantic incompetence (or should that be impotence?).

Honestly, I think the adage should be changed to nice guys who don't communicate their desires properly but still expect to get laid finish last.

26 comments:

Hugh said...

'Grow a spine'? Seriously?

Anna said...

The thing I don't like about the 'nice guys finish last' thing is that it implies women are a source of competition for men - and that by treating women decently, 'nice guys' forfeit their ability to win the race, and therefore deserve some lovin'. These aren't 'nice' assumptions at all. A genuinely nice person surely doesn't feel like they're owed sex, then feel agrieved if they don't get what they're 'owed'. Besides, genuinely 'nice' guys - ones who are thoughtful and decent without harbouring dodgy ideas about women - are attractive to plenty of women, myself included. My bloke's (genuinely) nice, and I wouldn't trade him in.

anarkaytie said...

seconded, Anna.

I've had relationships with 'nice guys' that didn't fail because of 'niceness', but a myriad of other reasons - like, long-distance didn't work; like, he turned out to be a psychopathic liar; like, I wasn't into S & M (that one was fairly adult & amicable discussion, after a brief, mutually unsatisfying affair).

And how about this one, guys - did you ever start dating someone with a clear idea of what you wanted in six months time?

'Cos mature relationships are rarely developed on a drunken assessment of how an arse looks in a particular pair of jeans on the dance floor.

It's hardly worth re-stating, but I will for the hard-of-cognition: What women want is honesty.

Not manipulation;
Not a whiny attempt to get sex 'cos you're feeling horny & vulnerable;
Not 'but I think she's my perfect 10', when she really doesn't like your personality ...

In other words, some intelligence, some interaction, some respect, and then, if you're mutually attracted, some sex!

If you're trying to find the woman of your dreams to settle down and have kids with, then you need all of the above, plus integrity, fidelity, and a comittment to continuing to bring up those kids for 25 years (or until the government of the day considers them to be self-maintaining ...), whether the relationship lasts or not.

Or you could just follow the example of my ex-husband, the-man-formerly-known-as-sad-wanker, who has graduated to on-line cyber-sex relationships, which cost less in day-to-day maintenance of human interaction; and only occasionally interfere with real life when his partner arrives in-country for a conjugal, lol.

Maia said...

I have a great affection for the movie Can't Hardly Wait. The movie is much improved if you skip out any scene where Preston and Jennifer Love Hewitt share the screen (that way you get Preston moping being a dick, but not him eventually ending up with her).

But the highlight of that movie is definatley Seth Green and Lauren Ambrose in the bathroom ("it gets - better - it goes - longer").

No I have nothing of substance to say. I agree with the post, and my love for Can't Hardly Wait can remain secret no longer.

David said...

I think the type of guy you are describing is "passive-agressive" rather than the "nice guy".

BTW many guys do have a point about girls who go for the bad guy, then complain that bad guy has cheated on them. Unfortunately nice guys are just like nice girls, they are boring...they like to go home early, dont drink too much, cant dance, never do drugs.....

ideologicallyimpure said...

David, there's nothing objectively wrong with guys who do those things. By suggesting girls are wilfully, deliberately going for the "bad boys" who drink and stay out late over the "nice guys who just want to lead quiet unadventurous lives", you're engaging in exactly the kind of Nice Guy TM bullshit that's getting railed against.

Francisco Hernandez said...

The problem is that the 'nice guys' are quite shy.

They mistake shyness for shyness.
I used to be a 'nice guy' and mistook 'niceness' for inactivity and waited for something to magically happen. But then I realized I actually had to *talk* to girls and *ask* them out.

So yeah. "niceguyness" is really just inexperience.

But I'm probably totally wrong and I look forward to you girls tearing my arguments to complete shreds :D.

Anonymous said...

This post just seems to be dissing men who are shy or who have trouble with women??

These people are unhappy - what makes you hate them so much? Where's the sympathy? The opposing post would seem to me to be a man posting about fat women, saying if you want to meet guys just go to the gym already...

"If you don't want to "just be friends", why not grow a spine and tell your object of affection that?"

Maybe because you genuinely like the person, you don't "just" want to get into their pants and you feel like that would be betraying them in some way? Because all it's probably going to do is ruin the friendship? I mean maybe another girl will come along and which will mean you'll end up staying friends with this one and can happily and unawkwardly keep playing tennis / seeing zombie movies / playing WoW / whatever reason you're friends...

As a male, if I like someone's personality and I find them physically attractive, then I want to sleep with them. No exceptions. But I don't ask everyone who fits this category out. I usually want to feel like those feelings are reciprocated a little before I ask them out.

A lot of men on the other hand seem to have little time for female companionship, and therefore have to worry less often about ruining a friendship - that's what their male mates are there for.

"The thing I don't like about the 'nice guys finish last' thing is that it implies women are a source of competition for men"

In a way they are. Men aren't expected to just like a single women, in fact they are ridiculed when they insist on liking a woman who doesn't like them back. Rather they are supposed to just keep asking any old women out until one agrees to their advances. While on the other side, women get asked out by lots of guys and then get to take their pick.

I kind of agree with David and Francisco. Nice guys are often boring, and nice guys are often shy. Most women don't want boring, which is fair enough. I think more guys probably like boring girls on the other hand because they can almost use them as 'placemats' if you will.

Shyness is also difficult. As a shy male I see a lot of guys not as confident but arrogant, and I see arrogance as a bad thing. So perhaps defensively, I try to comfort myself that I am nicer than them. Am I really? Probably not, but there's often a thin line between confidence and arrogance and so different people probably see it different ways. (And again, it's a defense mechanism.)

But I also think there is some truth in the nice guy thing. Sure, lots of guys who call themselves "nice" are actually arseholes, but this doesn't mean all nice guys are arseholes. This just means these particular guys are not actually nice.

If you're nice, man or women, then you think about how your actions will affect other people. When your actions are going to result in pain, but you have an option to afflict this pain on yourself rather than somebody else, then you take this option. While you certainly shouldn't then complain about the pain, it is a little understandable.

Anonymous said...

And lastly I'm not sure women truly understand the desperation around sex that guys feel. Look at the youth suicide rates for young men. (I'm not trying to blame this on straight men not getting laid, but the feeling of loneliness this can lead to must certainly be slightly linked. Whenever I felt suicidal in the past it was certainly connected in a small part to inadequacies with women. Likewise with gay males and the rejection of many in society of such strong feelings that they just can't help.)

Women have closer friendships with other women than men have with other men. And ANY women can go to a bar and find someone to have sex with them if that's what they feel like. On the other hand, if a guy is ugly and lacks personality, nobody is going to sleep with him.

I know women can feel horny but I've literally masterbated every day since I was 13 years old - it's hard to believe the urges are quite so continuous or overpowering for women. They can literally run / ruin a man's life. Yes you need self control etc etc, but it’s easier said than done. Theoretically a person can decide to be happy or not, but nobody has managed to be ahppy all the time.


So what are you supposed to do if you're ugly and lack personality? What if lacking personality is who you are? Are you supposed to be true to yourself, or try to pretend to be someone you're not? (And again I'm sure some women have this problem too, but I don't write mean blog posts about them when they complain about it.)

Sex is such an important part of the human experience, and “nice” guys – whether genuine or not – are not acting they way they are because they’re happy. No they shouldn’t complain, blame others, be defensive, be dicks about it etc etc, but it’s understandable that they do so don’t hate them. They need help.

David said...

Ideologicallyimpure - Yes many women do go for "bad guys" over "good guys", bad guys are more exciting, more edgy, more sexy however on the flip side the bad guy is far more likely to treat you like shit. Now I dont think that women who go out with bad guys want to be treated like shit, its that they just nievely expect that they wont be.

Francisco Hernandez - you and me both bro - youre right a lot of nice guys are just shy or most likely have social phobia.

I've realised that when I meet a woman I realy do like, and if she flirts with me the barriers go up, Its realy wierd its like the auto pilot take over and Im the observer and the next day Im kicking myself! The problem is ofcourse I end up dating the wrong woman and It all turns to crap!

Anon - I agree with most of what you say. Women can have a very one dimensional view of men and they fail to undrestand our complexities.

BTW - I have very fond memories Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of wonderfull. I had a massive crush on both Molly Ringwold and Mary Stuart Masterton.

Anna said...

Anon, shyness is difficult - both men and women experience it. Meeting potential partners can be really hard. I know plenty of women who don't find it easy either. (And if it makes you feel better, I've only ever been nice to guys who have approached me respectfully, even if I haven't been interested - I've got respect for someone with the gumption to do that.)

But it doesn't follow that a shy person should get a sympathy shag simply for being nice. That's like saying, 'You should thank me with sex for showing you some courtesy'. This attitude disqualifies you from being nice, straight away.

And I don't agree at all that genuinely nice guys (not passive-aggressive ones) are boring! For me personally, interest in a bloke is built over time and through friendship, as I get to know and trust him. The nice guy who expects to immediately sweep a woman off her feet might just be buying into an unrealistic ideal?

Anonymous said...

"Anon, shyness is difficult - both men and women experience it. Meeting potential partners can be really hard. I know plenty of women who don't find it easy either."

What I hate is that men are generally expected to do the approaching / initiating / asking out - I look forward to the day when either sex happily does this when anybody interests them.

"But it doesn't follow that a shy person should get a sympathy shag simply for being nice. That's like saying, 'You should thank me with sex for showing you some courtesy'. This attitude disqualifies you from being nice, straight away."

If I implied this I didn't mean to. You should be nice, honest, good etc because they're the right things to do, not for the results. But at the same time nobody is a saint 100% of the time, and I can see how some people can get frustrated an the unfairness of the world. They're in the wrong if they take their frustration out on women, but I can see how they make that step.

"And I don't agree at all that genuinely nice guys (not passive-aggressive ones) are boring!"

Again I think different people find different things interesting. I think I'm kind of interesting but that doesn't mean any given woman will agree. It's just about finding people who connect with you.

hungrymama said...

As someone who used to date "bad boys" before settling down with a "nice guy" it was all about where I was at. There wasn't any point dating someone who wanted serious commitment when I just wanted to play so it made sense to date people I could have fun with without risking hurting them too catastropically.

Maturity comes to most of us eventually and, as far as I'm aware, several of my bad boys are now someone else's nice guy.

Prole said...

'But it doesn't follow that a shy person should get a sympathy shag simply for being nice. That's like saying, 'You should thank me with sex for showing you some courtesy'. This attitude disqualifies you from being nice, straight away.'

As one who probably fits into the 'nice guy' category (or at least did for many years) I would say the above statment is a huge misconception.

Us guys only get that attidude when we see a girl who goes for a total arsehole and then complains to us about all the bad things he does (more often than not things we would never do) and then proceeds to tell us how sweet, good looking, reliable etc we are. Then when the girl is single, we ask her out and she says "we should just be friends".

Fuck!

Mikaere Curtis said...

There is literally an industry created by guys who have collectively figured out the typical mechanisms involved in attracting women. It was documented in The Game by Neil Strauss.

These guys call themselves Pick Up Artists, and some run Boot Camps where they teach your typical Nice Guy the way to meet and attract women.

Caveat: From what I've read, many of these PUAs are not very nice, and don't treat women nicely at all. But I do think they have figured out the craft of attracting women.

It goes like this: Women are attracted men with high value (which is a contextual determination), so to attract a women's attention you need to subtly demonstrate high value. As it happens, this tends to correlate with Alpha attributes and Nice Guys are seen to not display these and therefore have Low Value.

Once you establish a rapport with a woman, the next step is to keep demonstrating High Value until you see the Indicators of Interest. If she's interested, great, you can move on to Comfort Building.

Comfort Building is about engaging emotionally with a women. This is something that few men learn, but is basically about the man being aware of the woman's emotional responses and engaging in a way that builds comfort, not detracts from it.

So, back to Nice Guys: they don't demonstrate higher value in the way the arseholes (who are typically Alpha) do, and even if they did, men generally don't learn to engage emotionally with women - they remain rational. Complaining about not getting sex because you are a Nice Guy is a rational response, and in the context of a women, a total waste of time.

According to the PUA businesses (e.g. Love Systems), the art of attraction and seduction can be learned and that any guy can become successful with women. But they would say that, wouldn't they ?

Anonymous said...

Mikaere. Thanks for that very useful post. Reinforces my view I have been getting that many women are irrational and are completely bonkers!

AWicken said...

I've seen a lot of attractive, intelligent women put up with inconceivable crap from some utter jerks.

This is not why I currently "don't get laid".

I currently "don't get laid" because this is not a priority high enough for me to do something about it. And hasn't been since my late teens/early 20s.

"Don't have a partner" is a slightly higher priority, so I'm doing a bit about that. But then, finding a partner is not like purchasing a microwave, so patience is also required.

Gentlemen, if you want to "get laid" try enrolling in a PUA course - but then shut up about "not getting laid" or about being "nice guys" (if you need a training course and a mental checklist, you'll still be socially awkward and therefore probably not a "PUA". Grow up).

Ladies, ease up on "nice guys" and the socially awkward. I know some "nice guys" do not fall into the subset "whining, pitiful & sexually frustrated". A couple are single. A few of them are married. As far as I can tell, I'm the only whinging bastard among them.

Danielle said...

This comments thread is like a Nice Guy (TM) bingo card bonanza!

Mikaere Curtis said...

Mikaere. Thanks for that very useful post. Reinforces my view I have been getting that many women are irrational and are completely bonkers!
You're missing the point. They are not bonkers, they just respond emotionally rather than purely rationally to men. Read some PUA literature, they make (IMO) a pretty good case that a lot of mate-selection choices have survival-benefit underpinnings.

Gentlemen, if you want to "get laid" try enrolling in a PUA course - but then shut up about "not getting laid" or about being "nice guys" (if you need a training course and a mental checklist, you'll still be socially awkward and therefore probably not a "PUA". Grow up).

Read The Game by Neil Strauss. He starts out as a standard Average Frustrated Chump Nice Guy(TM), who didn't have a clue about interacting with women and, if his story is to be believed (and he's a professional journalist, so why would he risk his reputation by concocting a false story?), then learned to change the way he approached women and became very successful at attracting and seducing women.

My point is that most men do not learn how to successfully approach women by social osmosis. But it can be learned, like most things.

@Danielle: heh :)

AWicken said...

I don't believe that most nice guys are socially dysfunctional. And most guys DO learn social skills without a training course, otherwise the species would have died long ago.

Whether socially dysfunctional men decide that they're "failing" because they're too nice - by definition the evaluation is made by a flawed authority.

The fact that the PUA objective is "seduction" (with the connotations of manipulation) rather than relationship/personality building indicates that PUA training focuses on a rather narrow objective. If someone wants to pay good money because they're terrified of going a week without sex - grow up.

Random Lurker said...

The way I see it, there are three types of nice guys:

1) These guys are respectful, intelligent, confident, caring and lots of other good things. They are rare and much sought after by women.

2) These are the nice guys referred to in the post. These guys are really just jerks who are attempting the nice-guy approach to getting laid. All jerks have their preferred techniques. This one is a relatively unsophisticated hit-and-miss technique where they pretend to be this next group in the hope of gaining sympathy.

3) These guys have no discernible personality (they do have one, but it's extremely subtle). Knowing this, and being nice, they choose not to inflict their tiresome presence on women or indeed people in general. They'll live their lives in a shadow somewhere, alone, content with the fact that even if nobody likes them or even knows they exist, they are genuinely nice.

-
Now, here's an xkcd which we can all enjoy:
http://xkcd.com/513/

Marie said...

I agree with Danielle - what a roll-call of "Nice Guys" this comment thread has been! An eye-opener, to be sure.

A Guy's Opinion said...

It looks like you are over-thinking it a bit, dismissing some circumstantial situations; however, for what it's worth, I think you are partially correct.

A "Nice Guy" is in fact a nice guy, however, you seem to have a false sense of who a nice guy is - thinking they're perfectly nice ALL the time. That's sort of an idealist view of a nice guy without thinking they have flaws or real emotions.

If you think a nice guy can never become temporarily bitter or upset, you are over-thinking it.

It would make more sense to call it the Nice Guy versus the Upset or Rejected Nice Guy. Same person, but one is emotionally hurt and the other is your idealist view of a guy who is just clueless.

Marie said...

Hey, A Guy!

The term "Nice Guy" has a bit of a history around it - it refers to the type of man who will act like a good guy, but who is under the impression that by doing so, they deserve sex, no matter whether the object of their campaign likes them sexually or not.

A Good Guy - heck, a Great Guy, like mine - is kind and generous for the sake of kindness and generosity, recognises that you can't tally up sex points according to how many times you let someone cry on your shoulder, and is actually a fully decent and amazing person. And, yes, they can be shy!

Dave said...

http://divalion.livejournal.com/163615.html

I think that right there explains what the author of this particular post was going for, if you didn't get her meaning about what a "nice guy" is.

Jack said...

"A Good Guy - heck, a Great Guy, like mine - is kind and generous for the sake of kindness and generosity..."

I don't know... Is anyone really kind and generous ONLY for the sake of kindness and generosity? I hate to sound Ayn Randish, but it seems to me that total altruism may not exist and might not even be desirable. I mean, even Jesus said you should do unto others in order to get into Heaven, which is an extremely selfish motive. I would imagine that your Great Guy's kindness and generosity toward you is motivated at least partly by the fact that you appreciate it. I've given this a lot of thought lately because I'm pretty obsessed by the whole "nice guy" concept and the Neil Strauss book someone mentioned above.

By the way, I think the original post's line about "the only common demoninator" might have been subconsciously plagarized from the Nice Guy article at Heartless Bitches International.