Posts Tagged ‘nice guys’

It’s no secret that I hate the whole “Nice Guy” thing. I’m a big hater of the idea that women have this supposed “Friend Zone” or “Friend Ladder” and once you’re there, there’s no escaping.

There is so much wrong with this idea that I can’t even begin. Others have done a much better job.

However, I can relate.

Congratulations... You've Just Been friend-zoned 16/366

Recently, I was reminiscing about Miss K. There was an ad on TV that they were going to show that 101 Dalmatians movie that came out in the 90’s. I recalled watching it one long afternoon after school.

In high school I was pretty out as being bisexual. I was sexually inexperienced, and even less relationship-ally experienced. I desperately wanted to be in a relationship, but I also desperately wanted to be in a sexual relationship. I tried asking boys out, but got rejected a couple of times. I wanted them to ask me out, but NONE of them did. I went out with a friend for a bit, (how’s that for this friend zone thing?) but it didn’t work because after spending a lot of time with him, I realised I just wasn’t as into him as I hoped I’d be. I’d hooked up with another friend and it did work, until he decided we should stop. I hadn’t really gone out with any girls yet, but I was keen to give it a go.

Enter Miss K. Miss K was adorable. She was a high achieving academic student who was suddenly really into the punk scene and hanging out with my particular set of weirdos. She was a year ahead of me and bisexual. She talked openly about how frequently she masturbated and about her vibrator ‘the Silver Bullet’. I was completely smitten. And she lived close by. One day she asked if I wanted to come have lunch at her house, and, of course, I went. She made amazing ramen for me which I could hardly eat, I was so excited. We hung out at school, but this was one on one. Then she invited me to hang out after school and watch a movie. Of course, I went, hoping I’d find my moment, read her signals somehow and she and I would have hours of fun with the Silver Bullet.

Then we sat on the couch and watched 101 Dalmatians. And nothing happened.

I chalked it up to reading the signal wrong. She wasn’t actually into me. Or maybe I just needed to hang out with her more and build up a relationship. Yeah, that’s it…

Several weeks later and she came back from a weekend talking about her new boyfriend. He was from out of town. Or something. Basically, my hopes were dashed.

So, she wasn’t into girls really. I was totally reading her signals wrong and really just holding out false hope. Oh well. That sucked. And I moved on.

It was only in thinking about it again recently that I realised my situation fit the usual pattern of getting ‘friendzoned’. I had interest in a girl, she was probably interested in me too, but instead of telling her I was interested, I relied on this magic of ‘signals’ and waiting for the ‘right moment’ to come along (you know, like in pornos). Instead of putting my interests out there, and risk being rejected (and lose the right to hang out with her), I held back and waited for some sign from above (or for her to make an obvious move). Then when she went for someone else, I wrote it off as some flaw of hers (“she’s just not really into girls” = “girls always go for jerks”) instead of looking to see what I might have done differently.

So yeah, I have a tiny bit of sympathy for these ‘nice guys’ after my revelation. But really they just need to grow up. If you keep placing the burden on external factors and don’t take responsibility for the outcome, you’re not going to get anywhere. Yes, it means risking making the girl you like feel weird around you. And then you deal with it and move on.

I didn’t learn how to ask a girl out until last year. And I got to have a real relationship with her before she dumped me for a guy. What could I have done differently? Well, I did everything I could and tried my best. She met someone she was more into and who could give her what she needed (which was more time and support). So, short of not being married and not having a kid, there was little I could do. And while it hurt to be rejected, I’m happy she found someone she is into.

I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to help any of these PUA guys who spew this nonsense, but maybe my story offers a different perspective. And maybe if they stop seeing this whole ‘friendzone’ thing as a ‘guy’ problem, then maybe they’ll stop being such whiny dickbags about it.

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I don’t have a problem with guys who are nice. Nice people are great. Awesome, even. Some of my closer friends are guys who also happen to be nice.

However, one person, an acquaintance really, decided to remove himself from the fold of my Facebook friends because I posted a link to this article on Wired. The article is a gentle yet witty bit of advice to those individuals who describe themselves as ‘nice guys’:

If you are describing yourself as “nice” you are like one of those tiny motels where the sign out front just says “Air Conditioning — Color TV.” You are saying “I have nothing to recommend me other than a bare minimum level of acceptability.”

I found it amusing and posted it because the topic of “Nice Guys” is one I find amusing and irritating.

However, this ‘friend’ of mine first commented that he strongly identified with the subject of the article, and felt like it was personally attacking him. After two of my female friends commented in support of the article, he responded by accusing (them or the article, I’m still not sure, having deleted the comments) of making generalisations and not knowing him at all (and, further, cussing me out). Then, before I could respond, he promptly unfriended me.

Which was odd. Because for one thing, this ‘friend’ was not someone I regularly interact with. With his reaction, he made some pretty broad assumptions about my attitude and the article’s intentions, which, had he known me and the topic a bit better, he would probably not have made. For another thing, not the first article I’ve posted over the last two years on the topic of ‘Nice Guys’. And it was, by far, the least harsh and most forgiving.

What I would have said to this ‘friend’ before his, in my opinion unwarranted, reaction, was this:

The problem isn’t that some guys are nice. It’s that there are some guys out there who think ‘nice’ is enough of a rubric to attract a mate. Who think that being nice entitles them to a happy ending. Who think that because they are nice, their romantic feelings should automatically be reciprocated. THOSE ARE THE GUYS THE ARTICLE IS REFERRING TO.  If the attitude I described above doesn’t apply to you, then you are not part of the problem. Guys who are shy, meek, timid, introverted or in other ways possibly labelled as ‘nice’ but actually, when you get to know them, are, funny, talented, intelligent, kind and caring: you’re ok. I shouldn’t have to say it, but yeah: If you’re nice but you don’t think that means a guaranteed ticket to pantyland, then these articles aren’t about you.

Sadly, ‘nice’ is not enough. There are plenty of guys who do have a lot more to offer than ‘nice’ and being nice – as in kind, considerate, caring, understanding, forgiving, warm, cuddly – is a plus. But it is not, and in my opinion should not be, enough in itself.

Part of the problem is that too often, a clear definition of what ‘nice’ means is difficult to ascertain. I’ll tell you a story.

Years ago, I lowered my standards in order to get more sex.
Then later, I raised my standards, but lowered my relationship needs.
Being ‘nice’ has never counted against a guy.
Being boring, clingy, needy, and giving too much too soon, have definitely counted against a guy (as stated in this article from The Attractive Arts).
However, those traits could have been viewed, by those guys, as part of being ‘nice.’
Maybe to them what I see as boring (likes top 40 music, Dan Brown and romantic comedies) could be just that we’re into different things. What I see as clingy (calling five times a day, insisting on coming with me everywhere), they see as romantic. What they see as affectionate and caring (bringing flowers to a first date, telling me they love me on the second date, putting me on a pedestal), I see as needy or giving too much too soon.
It’s all a matter of perspective.
But if you treat women like equal human beings and don’t treat them like “vending machines where if you put in enough Nice, sex comes out,” then hey, you might actually be a nice person and not just a ‘nice guy.’ And maybe, just maybe, you can calm down and realise the world doesn’t hate you, but it doesn’t owe you anything either.

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