Nice Guy, You Aren’t Really That Nice


Some months ago, Wired writer Lore Sjöberg, wrote a telling story about the myth of the “nice guy.”

If you aren’t familiar with what that means, the nice guy is that one guy who’s always saying the reason why he isn’t getting sex, love or play, is because he is too much of a nice guy.

Sjöberg writes the reason why these guys aren’t getting some isn’t because they are “too nice.” The reason why they aren’t getting some is because these guys are  just “unpleasant.” Sjöberg then lists six unpleasantries these nice guys posses. Some of these are,

  • 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…. 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.”
  • 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.”

And my favorite:

  • 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.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Of course the article caused a bit of a firestorm in the comment section. Some calling this article BS, others agreeing with the author, and some offered their stories about how hard it is to just have confidence in yourself in this area. (A reference to point #6 in the article.)

I bring this up because one of the commenters, a female, gave her experience of how it is to be dating in this world of nice guys and geeks. And in some places, IMHO, she is dead-on. (And of course she got flamed, but hey, it’s the flippin Internet, what do we expect.)

The comment is posted in it’s entirety, cuz man it’s a long one, after the jump. But my favorite part is this:

–Point 3: Putting female on pedestal, and getting pissy when she doesn’t adhere to the Plan (frequently related to points 1 and 2 above). Frequently takes the form of telling partner how sweet and wonderful they are, and then refusing to accept negative emotions on partner’s part, especially as a reaction to points 1 and 2 above. Having sexual needs/wants that don’t fit with The Template can also be part of this problem. Insistence on cultivating interests and hobbies that are important to you and may be tangentially important to partner but get disappointed when partner has other interests that are not a Perfect Fit to Nice Guy’s.

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Oy, where to begin on this one. I’m a middle-aged GenX she-geek who has dated both geeks and non-geeks over the years, and here’s my take on the “nice guys who aren’t nice” phenomenon:

–Biggest Sin #1: Passive Aggressive Behavior! This is a super-biggie that I’ve seen both up close and as an innocent bystander. Passive-aggressive behavior means showing up late constantly even if you know it makes your partner crazy, repeating behaviors in intimate moments that one has been told aren’t good/uncomfortable and constantly then apologizing rather than just not doing it (ie touching the “wrong” way, etc), and generally missing the larger point of things important to one’s partner/generally fucking things up that a trained chimp wouldn’t due to over analysis and trying to show off one’s intelligence rather than just listening to partner (insert blurbled apologies here).

–Next Biggest Sin: Hygiene/Dress Appropriateness and Resistance Thereto based on Vague Personal Convictions that Frankly I Don’t Give a Fuck About. Examples: Not wearing deodorant due to its aluminum content (go to any health food store and get one of those salt things or something for fuck’s sake), refusal to put on a suit even when told that something is a formal event, not packing swimwear or shorts on a trip to Cancun and then refusing to buy them on site (then why fucking GO) and then complaining that you’re hot while wearing Dockers and suit shoes on the beach. Some would see this as “I don’t want her to change me” but then get pissed off when SHE won’t change, which leads to point 3

–Point 3: Putting female on pedestal, and getting pissy when she doesn’t adhere to the Plan (frequently related to points 1 and 2 above). Frequently takes the form of telling partner how sweet and wonderful they are, and then refusing to accept negative emotions on partner’s part, especially as a reaction to points 1 and 2 above. Having sexual needs/wants that don’t fit with The Template can also be part of this problem. Insistence on cultivating interests and hobbies that are important to you and may be tangentially important to partner but get disappointed when partner has other interests that are not a Perfect Fit to Nice Guy’s.

–Point 4: This one is actually the Object of Affection’s Problem: Putting up with all 3 above steps because EVERYONE ELSE is telling them that their Nice Guy is such a Nice Guy! Oh, yeah, he calls every night, sends you gifts, listens to you, etc…but…you can’t take him anywhere, you do all of the “relationship work” in the relationship, he gets over-apologetic and/or petulant and ranty if you try to tell him what’s NOT working, if you want anything to happen YOU have to plan it, and the sex is mediocre at best. But but but…he’s soooooo niiiiiice….. In other words, yes, I blame the partners of Not Really Nice Guys to some extent also for not articulating what they REALLY want in a relationship vs. what the rest of the world tells them to want.

As mentioned above, I’m older. I do NOT want to get married or have kids. The best relationships that I’ve ever had consisted of sex and dinner a few times a week, peppered with intense conversations and some social outings as a couple. I’m fairly self-sufficient, and don’t really WANT someone who is too deeply ingrained in my daily routine. I’ve been accused of everything from being a heartless bitch to a total evil slutsicle for articulating this. Which leads me finally to Point #5…

–#5 Double standards for genders fuck up EVERYONE. See my above argument. Women are “supposed” to want solid providers first and foremost, and worry about stuff like satisfactory sex and intellectual compatibility later. So, they’re pushed to date folks who may bore them to death or creep them out a little because he has a job/advanced degree rather than that interesting artist or that cool guy who’s in your home town 2 or 3 times a month but is a hell of a fun time when he’s around.

Likewise, men are “supposed” to be the sort of gatekeepers of sex-acting polite and deferential towards women but then somehow flawless performers when the pants come off. This sets up disappointment all around.

Lastly, since women are supposed to “settle for less” it also means that lots of otherwise middle of the road guys think that they are entitled to the New Hawtness simply because they have that job/degree and a dick. Add the propensity of porn consumption by some Not Really Nice Guys, combined with lack of experience, and you get one hell of a bent view of the female gender.

I’m sure I’ll get flamed for at least some of this, but there it is.

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3 thoughts on “Nice Guy, You Aren’t Really That Nice

  1. Pingback: Understimulated « Queens and Bees

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review « Queens and Bees

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