I was reading a fascinating post the other night, Should we cut Men some slack, and it got some thoughts rolling around. Usually that’s not a good thing but this time I think it was. I left what I thought was an interesting comment… And then decided to write a post about a question the author posed.
She asks whether it’s true that nice guys finish last. I commented on that in my response to her but thought I could do a more thorough post here (some sentences are copied from my comment).
I’m going to qualify this because otherwise I’ll probably end up with hate mail- To a degree, nice guys do finish last. Did you see that, I said “to a degree”.
There are definitely some aspects to being a ‘nice guy’ that can sometimes make a guy seem less masculine, more a friend than a potential mate, and less successful at dating.
For example, typical gender roles would say that men are supposed to be fairly aggressive, loud, sex crazed, never talk about their feelings, insensitive, and vulgar. None of those are traits that would be associated with the “nice guy”. I think this can cause confusion during dating and relationships because sometimes when a woman sees a nice guy, who’s sensitive, who talks about feelings, who isn’t aggressive, she doesn’t think he’s interested in her sexually because he isn’t showing “typical” male behaviors. Or, she isn’t interested in him because he isn’t as aggressive as other guys. To a degree, we all want to be pursued, and sometimes a nice guy comes across as less assertive in his approach… which can turn some women off.
Sometimes this leads to some perfectly good men wallowing in the short end of the dating pool.
As embarrassing as this story is, I’ll use myself as an example here:
When I first got back into real dating (not just hooking up) after my divorce, my first date I went out with an amazing woman I met on OkCupid. She was hot, we had a fantastic time, easy conversation, we totally hit off, and then it came time to say goodnight. I was playing Mr. Nice Guy and gave her a hug at the end of the evening. She paused before letting go… for a while… and I didn’t kiss her. I’d like to say that this was due to the awkward new-to-dating thing (I’d been married for almost ten years, I hadn’t been on a real date in a looong time) but the truth is that I had such a good time that I was paranoid about over stepping. I had those doubts, I should kiss her… but what if I’m reading this wrong and I ruin my chance with this awesome woman? It’s only the first date, I shouldn’t risk it, I’ll kiss her next time. But there wasn’t a next time, she stopped returning my calls. I mean, she made it about as obvious as she could and I didn’t kiss her. Looking back, I’m sure that she thought I wasn’t interested or attracted to her because I didn’t go for it. Nice guy finishes last. But is that my fault or her fault? I think that’s the key question.
All that said, I’ve also seen plenty of guys using the excuse “nice guys finish last”, or “I’ve been friend-zoned”, to blame women for their lack of success at dating. In my example above, was that her fault or mine? Personally, I’m fucking positive it was my fault that things didn’t progress. I learned from the mistake and moved on, but some guys in similar situations might not see it that way.
I’m a nice guy, I do all these nice things and pay attention to her, I listen to her fucked up dating stories… but she still won’t sleep with me. Obviously there is something wrong with women.
Guys that have no luck at dating will sometimes get bitter and blame women for their problems. It’s an ego thing, the guy can’t see or admit that they are doing something wrong so it must be the entire female gender’s fault.
(The same might hold true for women, though I tend to doubt it. Men seem to externalize their issues, blame others, whereas I think women internalize it and blame themselves. Feel free to correct me if that’s wrong, it’s just a guess since I an only speak from a male perspective.)
Now, I typically see this woman-blaming behavior with insecure guys. They lack the confidence and assertiveness to have success at dating so they end up “friend-zoned” and bitter. I think that’s probably the type of guy you find trolling in the comments sections online leaving nasty, sexist messages.
Yeah, those guys have issues and not just the dating kind.
What does all this mean? It means that to a degree there is such a thing as nice guys that finish last. It means that some of the traits that make a guy nice can also be problematic with women and dating.
For the nice guys: You can be nice but still be assertive. Rather than saying “I don’t care where we eat” because you just want to spend time with her, pick a fucking restaurant. There is also a point where it is possible to be TOO respectful when dating (laugh all you want, I know I blew it), women want to be pursued and know that you’re interested. Step a little out of your comfort zone and a little into hers and you’ll both be better off.
For the ladies: If you want a nice guy, be a little patient with the guys that aren’t as aggressive. That doesn’t always mean that he’s not interested, sometimes it means that he respects you and doesn’t want to be pushy. Give him a chance, let him relax a little and show you what he’s really like.