73 Comments

Frequently Whimpered Whines: The Nice Guys™ theme song

From the FF101 Jargon File (edited to add, for the benefit of those who can’t/won’t find the time to click on a link, with the full text of the “Nice Guys™” entry, added text in italics) :

“Nice Guys™” – The “™” marks the difference between men who are genuinely nice people and men who wail “but I’m a nice guy!”. There are two types, which often overlap in one individual:
1. a guy who believes that the simple act of being decent means that the universe owes him a girlfriend.[defn from Mickle]
2. men who are looking to date a woman with the appearance of a supermodel, and yet they continually whine about how “women don’t like nice guys – they only want good-looking assholes” [source] [more at the NiceGuy archive at Heartless Bitches International]

Now, from a comment by Caroline at Pandagon:

Incidentally, I’ve always thought the Nice Guy(TM) theme song is “Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend”, by the Mr. T Experience. It goes like this:

I still haven’t found a girlfriend
though I’ve tried a lot
So can you help me please it’s tougher than I thought.
The odds are pretty good but the goods are pretty odd
still at this point I’d take anything you’ve got.
You see this all the time nice girls in love with jerks
What could they be thinking, tell me how it works?
If I’ve got some problems well I wouldn’t be the first
but the ones I have in mind are even worse
And even Hitler had a girlfriend who he could always call
who’d always be there for him in spite of all his faults.
He was the worst guy ever
reviled and despised
Even Hitler had a girlfriend so why can’t I?
Life is full of contradictions hard to understand
and for every happy woman there’s a lonely man.
Nixon had his puppy, Charles Manson had his clan
but God forbid that I get a girlfriend.
Even Hitler had a girlfriend who he could call his own
to sweeten days of bitterness and feeling all alone.
I’m not as bad as Hitler but it doesn’t mean a thing
since they’d rather be with Hitler more than me
I don’t see why they’d rather be with Hitler more than me.

Sadly, no good YouTube videos are forthcoming.)

About these ads

About tigtog

writer, singer, webwrangler, blogger, comedy tragic | about.me/vivsmythe

73 comments on “Frequently Whimpered Whines: The Nice Guys™ theme song

  1. [...] Tigtog: Frequently Whimpered Whines: The Nice Guys™ Theme Song [...]

  2. As a feminist, I am insulted you would group men into either one of those two catagories. Surely, no man can be nice, good looking, and have a girlfriend? Things like this are the reason why many feminists are considered “man hating bitches”. Why is it that we have to result to demasculating and insulting the opposite sex? Is the only way to earn freedom from our oppression, oppressing men in return?

    • Dude, this isn’t supposed to apply to all men. At all. Just a segment of men. Who definitely, definitely exist.

  3. Surely, no man can be nice, good looking, and have a girlfriend?

    Wayward thoughts, I suggest you fine-tune your reading to include all of the words written above, not just the the ones you can lump into something to take umbrage at. Nothing in what is written above implies that ALL men fit into the category of either type of “Nice Guy™”.

    It’s impossible to deny, however, that SOME men do. Those are the men being described. For men who don’t fit into the two “Nice Guy™” categories described above, then this isn’t about them, is it?

  4. that’s funny, waywardthoughts. I think it’s perfectly obvious that the Nice Guy ™ thing doesn’t apply to all men. But I guess if you’re just trying to troll, toss up a bunch of strawfeminists and misogynistic insults then . . .

    For the actual feminists in the audience:

    Do you think it would be better to refer to actually nice guys as good men – or something – to differentiate between them?

  5. Hi, Vera. The full entry in the Jargon File does make that distinction, although I only added it recently for clarity.

    I hoped someone obviously entirely unfamiliar with the term “Nice Guy (TM)” might click on that link to the Jargon File that I provided, but too optimistic apparently.

  6. I’ve added the full text of the Jargon File entry, added text in italics.

  7. I like the idea of calling them “good guys”. I laughed when I saw this because just yesterday I wrote about the “nice guys” because the guys I live with brought it up. Again. It’s a favorite topic among military men.

    Anyway, I like to say that truly good, decent men don’t need to run around proclaiming their “niceness” to the world. We can already see it. They don’t need to point it out.

  8. Sadly, no good YouTube videos are forthcoming

    That is a great loss to the world!

  9. “Waywardthoughts”, I’m paying you the compliment of replying as if you aren’t a troll: You need to read this, too. Especially the two short points at the top numbered (1) and (2).

  10. I appreciate how you edited the post before you approved my comments. Originally, it did not make the distinction you pointed out in your revised edition. Furthermore, there were no links in your original post.

    I don’t appreciate everyones caustic remarks toward me when I was at the time making a valid comment toward the original posting.

    Obviously, she got my point since the post was edited. Thanks.

  11. wayward thoughts, the link to the FF101 Jargon File was in the original post.

    The edited additions are noted in the post itself. 24 hours after you posted your comment (which was approved within hours of you posting it) I edited the post to add extra text from the Jargon File to make the point even clearer.

    However, even without the addition of the extra sentence from the Jargon File for clarity, the original quoted excerpt did not state that ALL men fell into one of the two Nice Guy TM categories. You read that into it all on your own.

    I fully expect that occasionally what I write won’t be as clear as it might be, and I appreciate feedback that points out where I could be more clear. I don’t appreciate it so much when it accuses me of being a manhating harpy. Funny, that.

  12. “I don’t appreciate everyones caustic remarks toward me”

    People in glass houses and all that, wayward.

    Moving on –

    “Anyway, I like to say that truly good, decent men don’t need to run around proclaiming their “niceness” to the world. We can already see it. They don’t need to point it out.”

    This is an excellent point. Actions speak louder than words. If you have to spend a great deal of time trying to convince people you’re nice (or whatever), then you’re not. The whole world isn’t wrong – you are.

    It’s like the those people at work who, when you first start, take you aside to “warn” you about all the “mean, gossipy, nasty” people there, and then you find out that it is THAT person who is all those things.

    If you’re a good person, it shows, and needs little explanation.

  13. What stuns me most about the whole Nice Guy/Handsome Jerk dichotomy is that so many women I know buy into it and use it to explain their own failures in love. The basic script here is, “I know so many Nice Guys, but I always fall for the assholes. I know I’m an asshole magnet because even when I try to date a Nice Guy, he turns out to actually be an asshole.” What makes this especially fascinating to me is that I generally know the Nice Guy she tried to date, and he’s almost universally precisely of the type described above (i.e., a walking testament to passive-aggressive male entitlement).

    The distinction I always draw when I’m mistakenly identified as a Nice Guy (after all, I’m not an asshole and people love their simple dichotomies), is that I am not “nice,” I’m “kind.” Then I do my best to explain the difference.

    I’m reminded in such circumstances of an exchange in Anne of Avonlea between Anne and Marilla. “You wouldn’t want to marry a wicked man!”
    “Oh, I don’t know, Marilla. I think I’d like to marry a man who could be wicked, but then wouldn’t.”

  14. The distinction I always draw when I’m mistakenly identified as a Nice Guy (after all, I’m not an asshole and people love their simple dichotomies), is that I am not “nice,” I’m “kind.” Then I do my best to explain the difference.

    Simon, I was thinking about exactly the distinction between “nice” and “kind” myself the other day. There’s too many instances in our society generally of expecting that “nice” (or “civil”) is enough to get one a free pass from criticism or self-examination. I much prefer the higher and more socially-beneficial generally standard of “kind”.

  15. That’s interesting. I always thought that “nice guy” is either just that (nice guy, a gentle-man, sort of) or, depending on the context, some kind of dating lingo – “You’re such a nice guy” meaning, “I’m a nice person, so I’m trying to tell you that you’re never gonna see the inside of my panties without hurting your feelings too much.”

    What’s the semantic difference of “nice” and “kind” in this context?

  16. Johnny Doe, take the “TM” as indicating a sarcastic tone for the original post. So, it’s a sarcastic description of men who are anything but kind but who think that displaying polite manners to a woman’s face counts as being “nice”. (Edited to add: that’s separate from the dating code use of “you’re a nice guy but” that you mention, which is generally not sarcastic but, as you say, an attempt to gently refuse an advance)

    That’s the general problem with the word “nice” – it has come to be too vague in meaning. “Nice” pretty much means “conforms to social norms in a way that I approve” and nothing more.

    “Kind” on the other hand is very specific. It’s more than just manners, it is genuinely caring for the feelings of others and acting from a core of empathy rather than calculation of social metrics.

    “Nice” people don’t insult other people to their face. “Kind” people call people out on insulting other people behind their back.

    “Nice” people put money in the collection plate. “Kind” people volunteer for the soup kitchen.

    Kind people are all nice, although if they are poor and unfashionable then some “nice” people won’t be kind to them.

  17. Hi again,

    thanks for the explanation, although, being a non-native speaker of English, I think I get the difference you are referring to – sincerity (“deleontological niceness” vs cultutal technique (“teleological niceness”), but I do think both may have their appropriate moments, particularly in courtship rituals.

    I read some more about the issue at hand – although I don’t quite understand why this is a part of feminist jargon – on that heartless bitches website and I think I found some info there which is missing in this thread:

    In my opinion, the group you are labelling “nice guys” ™ is usually characterised as socially maladroit, shy, or – likely AND/consequently – not able to be sufficiently sexually forthcoming in situations where they would like to/where it would be appropriate. They are therefore apparently trying to show their affection (which may be genuine or not) and their sexual interest by being nice, but not kind, since they are being “nice with a purpose” (teleological).

    In a way, they seem to communicate in a language their desired partner cannot understand – in some societies being “nice” to each other could possibly be the appropriately coding for what they’re trying to say.

    I find it strange to blame the recipient for a miscoded message – apparently that’s what you say is also a common thread of “nice guys”.

    Interestingly a quick google brought up a book called “Overcoming the niceguy syndrome – how to stop being a nice guy without becoming a jerk”. There is whole syndrome I had no idea about ;)

  18. although I don’t quite understand why this is a part of feminist jargon

    This gets covered in some of the material over at Heartless Bitches, but it becomes relevant because it gets tied up in a particular sort of victim-blaming aimed at women, which is that for any given X that women complain about, X is actually all women’s own fault because women don’t really want what they say they want (cue drawing out the stereotype “women say they want nice guys but the end up actually choosing jerks”).

    Of course, even if it were empirically demonstrated as fact (requiring an objective measure of “niceness”) this “women don’t know what they want” meme in respect of NiceGuys(TM) requires that women who say they want a nice guy and end up choosing “a jerk”
    * agree that the guy actually is “a jerk”
    * agree that the “nice guy” complaining actually is a “nice guy”
    * have actually said that they only ever want to date “nice guys” rather than “one day I want to marry a nice guy”, because maybe at the moment they just want to shag a hot guy and probably several more aspects that I can’t think of right now

  19. Yeah, I think the “women say they want nice guys but the end up actually choosing jerks” says a lot more about the men complaining and their self image than about a female dating pattern.

    Still, trying to find at least a grain of truth, there is – apparently – (saw this in a BBC documentary about a year ago, can’t produce the evidence now, unfortunately) empirical evidence that women are more likely to have extramarital affairs with men who sport higher testosterone levels and the according physical features than their current longterm partners, particularly on their fertile days.

    I know it’s unfair to equate “high testosterone level” and “jerk”, but it could be an indicator of a sexual aggressiveness looked for by women in certain phsychological or biological states that could be the origin of the “women say they want nice guys but the end up actually choosing jerks”-myth.

  20. For those who would like more elaboration of the substance[1] of a Nice Guy(tm)’s frequently whimpered whine, have a look at this post (scroll down), then have a read of some of Hugh Ristik’s recent posts at Feminist Critics.

    Lauredhel

    [1] for want of a better word

  21. women are more likely to have extramarital affairs with men who sport higher testosterone levels and the according physical features than their current longterm partners, particularly on their fertile days.

    extramarital affairs are different than primary partners. women may be looking for a thrill or an ear with extramarital affairs.

  22. Hey, Johnny Doe, maybe women who CHEAT like jerks because they themselves are cheaters? Just a thought, that’s not the standard to judge by.

  23. It SERIOUSLY pisses me off when self-identified ‘nice guys’ talk about women “only wanting to date jerks” and how somehow feminism is to blame for this. This is, possibly, because when I hear about “nice guys”, the image that first pops into my head is my ex-boyfriend–a skinny, nerdy guy who had never had a girlfriend before me because “nobody liked him” or was “willing to take a chance with him.” Hmm, wonder why? Of course, when I broke up with him he began demonizing my current boyfriend–a MUCH taller, more powerful-looking alpha-male type…who despite all of the stereotypes that tell him he should be Mr. Jerk is actually one of the sweetest guys I have ever met, not to mention a feminist ally. And guess what? He never really dated when he was in high school either– but he didn’t blame the women/feminism for it.

    Guess I’m just throwing my two cents/experience in, but this IS why the whole ‘poor me-nice guy-can’t get a date-mean women’ thing pisses me off so much.

  24. Self proclaimed nice guys are rarely nice. In fact, if you ask them just how nice they are, their answers usually demonstrate that they are not even meeting the minimum social standard of nice. Further, when a woman tells a man that he is a nice guy but she does not want to date him, it seems fairly obvious that she aspires to date a man who exceed the minimum social standard of nice.
    Let’s face it, the minimum social standards for a man to be considered nice are so low that being toilet trained exceeds expectations.

  25. [...] piece is fascinating, but not surprising, because he is the ultimate Nice Guy™. The premise is that he has this female friend who complained that chivalry is read. He explains [...]

  26. [...] brought down on yourselves also plagues the sex lives of kind men (not to be confused with “Nice Guys™”), bisexual women and lesbians. And heaven help those people who don’t fit into any of these [...]

  27. Wonderful Nice Guy™ post from Jeff Fecke at Shakesville:

    Explainer: What is a “Nice Guy®?”

  28. Just found this one – interesting… maybe there’s actually something to this frequently whimpered whine –

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19826614.100-bad-guys-really-do-get-the-most-girls.html?DCMP=ILC-hmts&nsref=news4_head_mg19826614.100

    “NICE guys knew it, now two studies have confirmed it: bad boys get the most girls. The finding may help explain why a nasty suite of antisocial personality traits known as the “dark triad” persists in the human population, despite their potentially grave cultural costs.

    The traits are the self-obsession of narcissism; the impulsive, thrill-seeking and callous behaviour of psychopaths; and the deceitful and exploitative nature of Machiavellianism. At their extreme, these traits would be highly detrimental for life in traditional human societies. People with these personalities risk being shunned by others and shut out of relationships, leaving them without a mate, hungry and vulnerable to predators.

    But being just slightly evil could have an upside: a prolific sex life, says Peter Jonason at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. “We have some evidence that the three traits are really the same thing and may represent a successful evolutionary strategy.”

    This observation seems to hold across cultures. David Schmitt of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, presented preliminary results at the same meeting from a survey of more than 35,000 people in 57 countries. He found a similar link between the dark triad and reproductive success in men. “It is universal across cultures for high dark triad scorers to be more active in short-term mating,” Schmitt says. “They are more likely to try and poach other people’s partners for a brief affair.”

    “They still have to explain why it hasn’t spread to everyone,” says Matthew Keller of the University of Colorado in Boulder. “There must be some cost of the traits.” One possibility, both Keller and Jonason suggest, is that the strategy is most successful when dark triad personalities are rare. Otherwise, others would become more wary and guarded.”

  29. I was wondering when someone would bring that up! Like a lot of discussion of the “women prefer bad boys” trope, people are gliding over the distinction between pure sexual attraction and what women look for in a life-partner. The same distinction exists for men as well, of course.

    Many people (male AND female) who aren’t ready to settle down yet are far more interested in having a fling with someone HOT than they are in having a stable relationship with someone caring and supportive. This broad preference of course creates heartache for plenty of pleasant, ordinary young men and women who DO yearn for a more stable relationship but find that the people they are most attracted to are still very much just looking for flings.

    Mix that in with the fact that Beautiful People learn very early in life that their looks give them greater leeway and more second chances than other people, and that means that many Beautiful People (male and female) learn to exploit the advantage that their looks give them and develop a habit of treating other people insensitively (and worse) in pursuit of what THEY want. Because there’ll always be someone else who wants to fuck them just because they are HOT.

    Once most people have had their heart broken by someone they were only infatuated with because they were hot, they develop exactly that ‘wary and guarded’ behaviour that the researchers mention, which leads to them having more appreciation for the pleasantly ordinary people who offer stability.

    If more people stopped thinking about Love&Marriage in terms of the romantic fairytale, and just recognised that it’s natural to be attracted to different types of people at different ages (and that it’s OK if your life-partner has had a few flings before you get together, because now they know what they really really want) then most people would be a lot happier in their relationships (which would mean that they’re less likely to cheat with a hottie further down the track).

  30. TigTog,

    just wondering – the article didn’t mention physical critera like “HOT” (aka, I presume, sexually attractive) but psychological ones – socially checked “narcissism and self-obsession”. I’m not sure that there’s a cause-consequence relationship between the two like you seem to suggest: hot >>> exploitative. I don’t think there’s a statistically relevant relationship between these psychological traits and physical attractivity.

    “Many people (male AND female) who aren’t ready to settle down yet are far more interested in having a fling with someone HOT than they are in having a stable relationship with someone caring and supportive.”

    Again, I think it’s impossible to suggest that people’s looks may be correlated to their character. I would rephrase your argument though: People who aren’t looking for longterm relationships are more interested in people who get their juices flowing instead of stability. We are people, we’re all dopamine junkies. Apparently, bad guys and gals, regardless of their looks, will get those juices flowing. So the question is: how can nice guys and gals manage to create that effect.

    “This broad preference of course creates heartache for plenty of pleasant, ordinary young men and women who DO yearn for a more stable relationship but find that the people they are most attracted to are still very much just looking for flings.”

    In some sense, isn’t that a concession about the accuracy of the frequently whimpered whine?

  31. “In some sense, isn’t that a concession about the accuracy of the frequently whimpered whine?”

    Let me rephrase this – this is probably indeed telling us something about human possibly particularly female preferences. It doesn’t justify not being honest (unable to express) about one’s sexual interest and then complaining about female preference structures if she doesn’t “get it”. Maybe telling her instead of hoping she’ll understand what one really wants while being silent and carrying her shopping bags may be a way of getting her juices flowing…

  32. Two responses:

    * Although I use the phrase “hot” as shorthand it’s not just about looks (charisma, excitement play a role) and I would certainly never suggest that all “hot” people become walking dark triads. Just that it’s much easier for “hot” people to make other people do what they want generally – google “halo effect” – and some “hot” people will exploit that.

    * The whine isn’t so much just “women only want the bad boys” – the whine is more complex along the lines of “women say they want nice guys but they don’t want meee right now so they are lying bitches who can never be trusted and I just don’t understand why exuding all this resentment and desperation isn’t getting me laid”.

    That’s the major problem with the NiceGuyTM – if women don’t give him a cookie for just hanging around he gets all huffy as if they’ve promised him something by smiling at him a couple of times and then not “delivered”. It’s also as much about not really listening to women who are saying that they want to settle down one day with a stable supportive guy, failing to appreciate that one day is not right now, and then feeling hurt that they don’t want to settle down with him right then and there.

  33. tigtog,

    I’ve read the whole archive you linked to above at the hearless bitches international website. Interesting stuff. I would like to suggest though that there are also a lot of “nice girls”(TM) who suffer the same kind of problem – they’re attracted to people with a different set of preferences and blame all men for that. Listening to that as a male friend is probably just as annoying as the hearing the “nice guy” frequently whimpered whine. Still, these are people who suffer from a significant preference mismatch – as you say –

    “This broad preference of course creates heartache for plenty of pleasant, ordinary young men and women who DO yearn for a more stable relationship but find that the people they are most attracted to are still very much just looking for flings.”

    I’m not sure this is only a temporal/developmental mismatch, but it is certainly contributing to their suffering. I think the increasing disappearance of clear cut behavioral gender roles, while liberating for many, if not most people, also takes most social norms away in this area. This certainly is a problem for some people, possibly more for men who are overall, in my opinion, more confused about the changes to the social construction of “masculinity” than women are about the changes of “feminity”.

    Reading through the archives at hearless bitches, I found that there’s some thing possibly confusing to a lot of men: A lot of that reads like “women have a preference” for what’s often described as classic masculin behavior – but don’t do that. Be assertive, but be sensitive at the same time. Don’t always ask if you want something, that’s annoying, but you still better know exactly what women/I want (in bed and otherwise).

    There is a certain disconnect in what women are asking for in a man and I suggest that this disconnect is probably as much caused by their confusion about the changing definition of what masculinity is as the male confusion about their role.

  34. Personally, I think this is the best explanation of the “Nice Guy” phenomenon that I’ve read:

    http://kugelmass.wordpress.com/2007/06/20/absolutely-fun-and-true-fact-4-the-history-of-nice-guys/

    The one sentence synopsis:
    “Nice Guys are guys whose approach to women is a mixture of fear, passivity, eager interest, deference, and misogyny. ”

    The author admits to having been a Nice Guy at one time – I suspect it’s a phenomenon best understood thru experience.

  35. The F Word published a piece on that New Scientist report which has some interesting comments but maybe a bit off topic for this thread.

    http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2008/06/do_you_love_a_b

  36. Here is my problem with the Nice Guy and the whimpered whine about so-called female mating preferences:

    While I don’t deny that males and females have mating preferences that are most likely evolutionary adaptations, I disagree with the extent to which these preferences TODAY are used to vilify women, feminists and feminism when it comes to the romantic failures of some men.

    The truth is that the average guy has a much better chance at finding willing intimate partners in a democratic, less male-centric society today than in probably most other periods and places in our human history.

    Why the relatively good times? Well, historical record keeping suggests that uber powerful men have long been the primary cock blockers of less powerful men. Involuntary celibacy of the Nice Guy has been around for ages.

    From the Red Queen, by Matt Ridley:

    The sun-king Atahualpa of the Incas kept 1500 hundred women for himself throughout his kingdom. Each of his staff depending on rank were allowed anywhere from hundreds of women down to perhaps 3 or 5 for the lowest ranking memebers.

    “As a result they systematically dispossessed the less privileged men of their genetic share of posterity”

    This story is not unfamiliar to many other parts of the world.
    Let’s look at Central Asia:

    “An international group of geneticists studying Y-chromosome data have found that nearly 8 percent of the men living in the region of the former Mongol empire carry y-chromosomes that are nearly identical. That translates to 0.5 percent of the male population in the world, or roughly 16 million descendants living today”

    Genghis Khan? Is that you? Could very well be. So what about those awful female preferences for assholes? Do we really envision masses of horny teen virgins throwing themselves at Genghis—you know, after he and his henchmen razed her village and murdered her family. Of course not.

    These egregious examples of male reproductive competition are cultural adaptations and not evolutionary ones. We are not gorillas and thus harems of thousands of women are simply not possible without weaponry, armies, wealth, etc.

    So, it looks to me like when we humans formed societies the biggest jerks gave themselves more opportunities to choose the women (and deny other men) and not necessarily just the other way around. Yet that’s all we here: women love jerks, women love assholes.

    But regardless of the underlying interpretations one thing should be clear: democracy and egalitarianism make the sexual playing field more level. Why don’t nice guys see that?

  37. Cuz they’re not ‘really’ nice, they’re just bitter guys with a sense of entitlement? =P

  38. I just had another quick look at those studies reported in New Scientist. A couple of things leap out:

    * the increased sexual “success” is self-reported by these arrogant men with narcissistic tendencies. Am I the only one to see a potential problem with that?

    * the studies are using the term “reproductive success” when they are only measuring reported sexual relationships. Sex does not always lead to reproduction, and even when it does then unplanned pregnancies resulting from flings would surely be among the most likely pregnancies to be terminated.

    It hardly seems stunning news that selfish narcissistic men who are only interested in flings have in fact had more sexual partners than kinder, caring men who are more interested in finding someone to settle down with. This says much more about these different types of men and their different desires than it says about women and who women are fundamentally more attracted to.

  39. Hi everyone. First of all English is not my first language, so please forgive me if I make some mistakes.

    As a former “nice guy” I think that you are missing something.

    Most of the “nice guys” that I have known, including myself, were never upset because girls dated jerks. “Nice guys” were upset because some girls told them that they wanted a sensitive, kind and respectful parter (sometimes adding “like you”). And then they dated the biggest jerk on Earth, someone who disrespected them every other day. Then these girls came sobbing to the “nice guy” to tell him how bad his boyfriend is, but they never leave the boyfriend for somebody who actually treats them well.

    That kind of hypocrisy, I believe, it what upsets most “nice guys”, and makes them think that they are worthless.

    I am not trying to justify the misoginy or lack of self-confidence that “nice guys” have, I am just trying to explain why I think it happens.

    This kind of situation even penetrated popular culture, and there is an episode of the Simpsons in which Lisa dates Nelson (a bad guy), but said to the Milhouse (the “nice guy” who was in love with her) that she wanted “to find the Milhouse that is in Nelson” (meaning his kind and sensitive side).

    I hope this helps.

  40. That kind of hypocrisy, I believe, it what upsets most “nice guys”, and makes them think that they are worthless.

    Hypocrisy is a very harsh charge. It’s more likely that such a girl is merely confused about what she really wants from a relationship. I personally have only seen the behaviour you describe in high schools (when it’s the norm for most of us to be confused about relationships as we learn about navigating them). Of course, it’s also very natural for teens to judge each other harshly with respect to emotional matters.

    Moaning that they wish their crush displayed more of the kindnesses that shoulders-to-cry-upon exhibit in abundance may be hurtful, but that doesn’t mean that they are lying about really wanting a kind guy – just that they are holding out for a kind guy who also makes them weak at the knees just looking at them – and boys who are deferentially over-eager are just not hott. “Sensitive and kind” should not be read as “passive doormat”, but I know men who acted like a doormat to get female attention/sympathy while seething inside the whole time and then resented the girls for their act not getting results.

    Perhaps if the “nice guys” weren’t also holding out only for a girl who makes them weak at the knees just looking at them, they could find a match in one of the many overlooked more awkward yet sensitive girls instead (you know, the ones who are complaining that guys only want vapid bimbos)? Unfortunately most “nice guys” seem to believe that anything below their schools’ beauty queens are unworthy of them.

    Some people never grow out of high school, but thankfully most do. In particular, girls with any spark of sense, in my experience, become much more interested in kindness than in hottness as they mature and start to look at men in terms of future co-parents rather than just as boyfriends, and realise that qualities other than looks can make one weak at the knees. That doesn’t mean that having different preferences before was hypocritical.

  41. Most guys who call themselves “nice,” seem to think that the definition of “nice” is “passive and non-confrontational.” It sure as hell doesn’t seem to mean “caring, unselfish, sensitive, empathetic” to them.

    The whole phenomenon reminds me of when I was in high school and pretty much everyone (male or female) seemed to fit into one of two groups. The first was boring, passive, 100% obedient and unquestioning to adults, with no hobbies or interests outside of school and school activities. They would tend to call themselves “nice.”

    The other group was fun and adventurous, rebellious, and questioned authority. They would often do things just because they thought it would be taboo, which would get “nice” guys to label them as “jerks.”

    At least in the early stages of life, a lot of women find themselves with that choice. They can take the passive sexist guy with no personality who spends a lot of time whining about what he deserves for being “nice” or they can take the adventurous sexist guy who they can at least have some fun with. As you get older and you see your peers maturing (except for some who never grow up), the choices definitely get better.

  42. P.S. I don’t want to discount the possibility that there are indeed SOME women who use nice guys as their emotional dumpsters because they are drama llamas. I can guarantee that whenever that does happen there are several other women around who can’t see why the nice guy puts up with being used in that way by a manipulative jerk, and resent the fact that they are being overlooked as potential dates by the guys with a crush on the superficial bimbo (who probably then complain to them about how “I just want a girlfriend – why won’t girls go out with me?” – HELLO, RIGHT HERE, PATTING YOUR SHOULDER).

    The problem comes when the overlooked awkward people fail to see that it’s only SOME of the opposite sex that are saying one thing and pursuing another, and start thinking that ALL of them are hypocrites and liars deserving disdain. That’s what “Nice Guys™” do, and that’s why they’re a problem – their myths about women are presented as a general truth that bolsters the pernicious “women don’t know what they really want” myth that underlies so much patriarchal crap.

  43. I just want to add that the “nice guys” do not always blame feminism for their problems.

    When I was a “nice guy” I actually thought that the girl I liked could not leave her relationship with her abusive boyfriend because of lack of feminist values. Jerks tend to be openly sexist and her boyfriend was no exception. I always thought that a feminist-minded woman would never allow to be treated like this girl was.

  44. The Jerk says: Hey, I selfishly want my fantasies delivered immediately, and you have that power!

    Nice Guy(TM) does NOT admit: I am going to be gentle about it, but I want my idealised romance, with you, for ever.

    Both are self-interested, but perhaps sometimes it can be less burdensome being with a Jerk!

    Perhaps a more generous man would profit from trying to understand what Mr (or Ms) Right would be like, for a particular woman at her present stage of life.

  45. Sostenuto, I think that you are absolutely right about it oftentimes being less burdensome to cope with a Jerk for those women who don’t want to forgo a sex life entirely while they’re waiting to find that ideal truly kind and generous partner.

    Way too many “Nice Guys™” , apart from the classic not actually being nice but just pretending nice, also have very traditionally sexist ideas about how sex defiles women, and that being nice involves supplicating and compensating women for having nasty dirty desires about them. That’s a very tiresome attitude indeed, and if guys think that girls can’t smell it a mile off, they’re very mistaken.

    Far easier sometimes to be with a sexist Jerk who at least thinks that sex can be fun, even if he’s not particularly kind. At least he doesn’t demand all that extra emotional energy on top of the hooking up.

  46. “Perhaps a more generous man would profit from trying to understand what Mr (or Ms) Right would be like, for a particular woman at her present stage of life.”

    If Nice Guy(TM)s are bad because they want their idealized romance with you, wouldn’t you wanting them to become Mr./Mrs. Right for yourself be just as bad? They’re bad for wanting other people to give them their idealized romance, so the solution is, have them give you your idealized romance?

    Everyone wants their idealized romance with their partner! Everyone! To say this is something misogynistic is silly. The problem is not wanting the idealized romance, it’s trying to get it completely on one’s own terms.

    That’s why I don’t think Nice Guys ply and supplicate women as compensation for their sexual desires. Nice Guys can be superficially nice, do things that are in the abstract recognized as nice but without any regard to what the woman thinks or wants, because they view it as a contract. Nice deeds are currency, by which they purchase sex. The Jerk wants sex without ‘paying’, and the Nice Guy views a woman as a sex vending machine.

    If they put in enough Nice Dollars they’re goddamn entitled to a blowjob, and if that blowjob gets stuck because the ring doesn’t go all the way around to let it drop off, they get angry and start pounding on the Plexiglas, shaking the machine, or sticking their arms in the slot at the bottom even though that never works because putting your hand in there shuts the other gate at the bottom of the machine. Or they get angry, pissy, self-entitled, resentful, and creepily possessive, as the case may be. “Why does it matter if I’m pretending? If you act like this, you’re supposed to get sex! Why aren’t the women flocking to me, and instead going to all these other jerks — my shoulder-cries and study sessions spend just as well as anyone else’s!”

    (I was going to say “like some kind of sexual rain dance” but I like the shaking-the-vending-machine analogy better)

  47. Nice Guys can be superficially nice, do things that are in the abstract recognized as nice but without any regard to what the woman thinks or wants, because they view it as a contract. Nice deeds are currency, by which they purchase sex. The Jerk wants sex without ‘paying’, and the Nice Guy views a woman as a sex vending machine.

    Yes. Kind guys do nice things for women they like because they actually care about the feelings of other people. “Nice Guys ™” do nice things for women they fancy on the lay-by plan, with sex as the intended purchase.

  48. It’s not as if that’s an either/or proposition, we either care about people’s feelings, or we want/expect something from them. Maybe I should have gone with the rain dance analogy, instead. We want and expect things from the people we care about, and when we show them kindness and it is snubbed, we feel hurt or angry or put out. (This doesn’t mean we have the right to get what we think would be an appropriate response out of them.) There’s no CURRENCY for it, like the Nice Guy would believe, but there’s sure as hell trade. Every relationship, romantic or not, is about give and take.

    The Jerk hasn’t figured out the “give” part, and the Nice Guy knows only superficially. I said the Nice Guy thought of a woman as a vending machine he could buy sex from, as opposed to an actual human being that can barter, cut a deal, accept a payment plan, or reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. An actual considerate guy does something FOR someone, even if he wants something in return. He does things that person finds helpful or pleasing and makes sure they have the desired effect. A Nice Guy just DOES things, letting them fly off into the aether, because he has not grasped that interaction is more like a barter than a vending machine. He doesn’t see that what he does has to match to what the other person wants, he can just see “people do this and get girlfriends! If I do this, I get a girlfriend, since that’s all there is to it — these actions are what you use to buy girlfriends!”

    The idea that she wants things, and he should be doing things that fit with what she wants and expects, just does not occur to the guy. His money spends just as good as the next guy’s, after all! It may even be something beyond simple misogyny and into an autism-spectrum issue of not being able to empathize or understand how others think — you certainly see this attitude a lot more among the kinds of crowds that get diagnosed with Asperger’s.

  49. I note your caveats, Huitzil. It seems to be difficult to discuss the “Nice Guy ™” Syndrome without getting bogged down in exactly the sort of simplistic analysis of people which is at the core of the “Nice Guy ™” erroneous paradigm.

  50. So feminists, here’s a practical example of the problem. There’s this girl who is rather sexually active. She’s had sex with three of my friends. She constantly tells me that I am so important to her. Recently, we went to a club and she made out with two guys with me standing next to her, asking me “to take care of her.” When I asked her if she had made out with the other guys so I would have made a move she looked at me like I had shot Bambi’s mother.

    So what’s a guy supposed to do? I mean, I don’t really want a relationship that goes beyond friendship. But I also don’t want to be “the shoulder” to cry on, that she can rely on when she’s done making out with some other guy whom she happens to run into after having had a drink too much. This is about respect for each other, don’t you think? So what’s the feminist recommendation?

    • Actually, if you’re not interested in a sexual/romantic relationship with this girl, then this is not a practical example of the problem at all. But some of your language indicates that you might actually be interested, otherwise why did you ask the question that made her look at you like you shot Bambi’s mother? Perhaps you need to examine yourself a bit more closely regarding where that question came from.

      Now, assuming that your claim of no sexual interest is accurate: what you have is a friend who is using you as a chauffeur/bodyguard when she goes out clubbing. If there is no reciprocity in the friendship regarding her “taking care” of you when you go out to get drunk and have fun, then you are justified in resenting the imbalance in who looks after who in this friendship. If you were another girl being used in the same way, this would be an uneven friendship needing some work in just the same way.

      But, if you are in fact interested in this girl sexually, while all the time you’ve been claiming that you aren’t, so that previously she’s felt that you are someone that it’s safe to be vulnerable around but now has discovered that you are in fact interested “in that way”, then she’s justified to look at you as if you’ve suddenly taken off a mask and revealed yourself as just another NiceGuy(TM), because that’s exactly what you’ve done.

      • P.S. to clarify – there’s nothing at all wrong in being friends with someone and suddenly realising that one has now become attracted to them – this happens all the time. Just be honest about it, make sure that this becomes an acknowledged aspect of your interactions together. Maybe the friend will reciprocate if you are honest – honesty is very appealing, because honesty is what generates trust.

        However, if the friend can’t cope with saying “thanks but no thanks” and still being a friend, then let the friendship go, maybe feel sad, but not resentful as long as the friend is being honest and respectful – you changed the status between you, the friend responded to that changed status. If you can’t cope with the friend saying “thanks but no thanks” and still being a friend, then let the friendship go, and learn something about yourself – you can’t cope with rejection.

        But if you are suddenly a person keeping a secret, and that secret involves your deepest emotional responses to your friend, and they discover that you’ve kept this secret and then feel emotionally betrayed? THAT IS A RATIONAL RESPONSE TO DECEPTION. That is the problem with NiceGuys(TM) – the deception, not the attraction.

  51. Thanks, tigtog, “the feminist recommendation” was more helpful than I thought it would be :).

    “Perhaps you need to examine yourself a bit more closely regarding where that question came from.”

    Follow-up examination: This is a recent incident, not something completely rationalized. There were times when I was in danger of becoming a nice guy, but now I’m usually *very* good at making women attracted to me (and honesty is an important part thereof), and she knows that – that’s how we met. So part of my reaction here is some semi-conscious fear of relapsing. Apart from that, it’s not like I have ever told her that I wasn’t interested sexually. I just decided for myself that I am not looking for a long-term relationship right now. But despite being good at making women interested in me, I’m not as “playful” with my sexuality as she is and as most of the people around us are and I actually told her why.

    Maybe that’s the problem – she may assume that she can’t fool around with me like she can with others without causing emotional baggage of some sort or another. And she is probably right about that. And maybe – following further introspection – I really resent the fact that I’m not able to do that myself and not her surprise about my asking.

    You’re absolutely right about honesty and deception, although in matters involving humans and sexuality that’s much more difficult to enact than to write about. I thought my question was completely honest, more about what *she* wanted from me than about what I wanted from her. And yes, there’s probably also an ego/rejection element involved. “You know that wouldn’t be good and you/we can’t deal with that” would have been perfectly ok, but that look actually made me feel a little deceived given her previous statements of appreciation.

    Again, you’re absolutely right about honesty and deception being the key to avoiding nice-guyism. I’ll talk this over with her.

    • Maybe that’s the problem – she may assume that she can’t fool around with me like she can with others without causing emotional baggage of some sort or another. And she is probably right about that.

      This may actually be an essential aspect of the idea that “women say they want nice guys but they always go for jerks” – there’s a confusion between how people want to play and how people want to live (as well as the idea that all women should have exactly the same motivations in their personal relationships, and that if one woman (or some women) doesn’t do the “supposed-to” thing, then that means all women are lying about “what they really want”).

      It sounds like maybe you have “emotional baggage” written all over you. That’s not necessarily bad – you want mutual emotional engagement and respect, and don’t want to settle for superficial physical attraction with no deeper connection. There is nothing wrong with that.

      But there’s nothing wrong with her not wanting all that at this particular stage of her life, either. Deep emotional relationships take up a lot of time and energy, and maybe she’s got other things she wants to spend that time and energy on right now. Her not wanting that with you right now doesn’t mean that she’ll never want a relationship full of “emotional baggage” either (although when she does want that it won’t necessarily be with you). Just that right now uncomplicated sexual attention from blokes without that emotional baggage is physically gratifying without involving emotional work, and that’s where she’s at.

      This sort of thinking about sex and relationships can also often be very hard to articulate, for both men and women. We’re acculturated to romantic myths and expectations, and this more pragmatic view is considered deeply unromantic. Feminists generally aren’t great fans of the romantic view – love and affection are great, and most humans have a deep need for both – but romantic twaddle screws both men and women up by distorting expectations.

  52. tigtog,

    This may actually be an essential aspect of the idea that “women say they want nice guys but they always go for jerks” – there’s a confusion between how people want to play and how people want to live

    Possibly, part of it.

    It sounds like maybe you have “emotional baggage” written all over you.

    No, it’s not written anywhere (well, I don’t think it is, but I guess that’s for other people do decide). But as I said, I told her about my baggage (and she told me about hers, too)- and that may well have been the point where she decided to not risk playing with me sexually while I interpreted her recent fooling around/drunk making out with random guys and then coming back to tell me “how much I mean to her” as her way to ask me to make a move – which is why I felt deceived (and somehow “nice-guyed” ;)) by the dismissive look she gave me when I asked whether that was the case. But maybe the look was punishment for asking something that was possibly obvious to her? Well, I guess I have to ask her.

    This sort of thinking about sex and relationships can also often be very hard to articulate, for both men and women. We’re acculturated to romantic myths and expectations, and this more pragmatic view is considered deeply unromantic. Feminists generally aren’t great fans of the romantic view – love and affection are great, and most humans have a deep need for both – but romantic twaddle screws both men and women up by distorting expectations.

    Very difficult, indeed. And I abstractly share your sceptic view of romantic dilusions. That said, romance is about being part of a story that is bigger than life, it’s about deep rooted human desires, about fate, doom, and redemption, it’s about earthly transcendence. No sexual pragmatism will ever be able to kill that, whether we like that or not, whether it makes our lives more difficult or not.

    • That said, romance is about being part of a story that is bigger than life, it’s about deep rooted human desires, about fate, doom, and redemption, it’s about earthly transcendence. No sexual pragmatism will ever be able to kill that, whether we like that or not, whether it makes our lives more difficult or not.

      Oh, you’ve got it bad :)

      Of course, I do see that appeal in the romantic view of politics, work, sport and so many other aspects of life (not just love), it’s just that as a middle-aged cynic I’m not quite so swept away by it all. I don’t think it’s helpful to just shrug one’s soldiers and say that people are naturally romantic and prefer romance above pragmatism. There’s a lot of self-interested cultural institutions that know that their privileges are reinforced by encouraging the masses in the escapism and folly of romantic worldviews rather than encouraging a rationalist worldview of analysis and questioning.

      Transcendence is a particularly tricky term, I think. By definition it must be lonely, because if lots of people share that sensibility then it can’t be transcending the human condition, it’s just another part of it. What is the attraction in seeking something that aloof from all others around one?

  53. tigtog,

    “What is the attraction in seeking something that aloof from all others around one?”

    *very* good question! Alas, I don’t have time to reflect on that right now. But I will, and I will reply here (probably tomorrow).

  54. tigtog,

    sorry still no time for an elaborate philosophy of romance, but sorted out the nice-guy-issue in a long talk. It was this –

    “she may assume that she can’t fool around with me like she can with others without causing emotional baggage of some sort or another.”

    – and the reason is that we’ve already become too close to each other to pretend it wouldn’t mean anything if we just fooled around. Which sucks for both of us, I think, but it may be true – as long as we don’t want something exclusive. So maybe that’s another kind of “nice guy” problem… providing too much emotional value and thereby creating a situation in which women who may not want a relationship at that moment still would not want to risk that connection or create assumed complications even if that means they have to make out with someone they have no connection with. Does that make sense?

  55. Nice guy files contd. – so said girl had more sex and apparently fell in love with a “bad boy” friend of mine who’s emotionally freezing her out, and she actually digs that. But as even desired pain still hurts when it hits, it’s great when there is a shoulder to cry on. Mine was available again…. I briefly considered leaving her on her own after bad boy left her standing in the rain but I just couldn’t do it – I actually like her too much to not care.

    I still don’t want a relationship with her, and I certainly won’t fool around with her given where we are now. So a) I’m so not trying to get into her pants and b) particularly not *by being that shoulder she can cry on”. But at the same time I hate that I’m apparently not being perceived as a sexual being by her – and by now I really think that is because I provided too much emotional value for her too quickly – luckily, there are enough women around who do perceive me as a sexual being for me to be able to not blame this on my general self.

    So I came to think that maybe that’s another root aspect of the core of the “nice guy” problem: Sexual confidence and male need to be respected as a sexual being. Female friends not appreciating their “nice guy” male friends as men – not by doing anything sexual with them, but by simply by respecting them as sexual personae. When it comes down to it, while I want to be there for her as a friend, I also want to be seen and respected as a MALE friend, not as an asexual being.

  56. Unless you are someone who views women that you don’t want to have sex with as “asexual beings”, then why assume that this is how your friend views you?

    How on earth is a woman supposed to “respect a male friend’s sexual personae” while interacting as a friend? Other than by using male pronouns rather than referring to you as “it”? Although I doubt that’s what you mean.

    Serious question, because I’m bewildered as to your meaning, and my immediate reaction is that it is a bizarre concept. ETA: Not being sexually interested in you is not at all the same thing as viewing you as an asexual being, but you seem to be conflating the two.

  57. tigtog,

    “Serious question, because I’m bewildered as to your meaning, and my immediate reaction is that it is a bizarre concept. ETA: Not being sexually interested in you is not at all the same thing as viewing you as an asexual being, but you seem to be conflating the two.

    yeah, I can see why it’s not entirely clear what I mean, it’s something I sense and hard to put in writing. I’ll try, though.

    Example. I have no interest whatsoever of having sex with my best female friend, a married woman, and she doesn’t have any interest in having sex with me – but when you’re so close to someone that you’re sharing stories about your sexual fantasies and problems (I’m rather certain I know more about her sexuality than her husband) there must be an implicit understanding and respect for each other’s sexuality, because we know our brains well enough to understand what’s going on inside them when we’re talking to each other about these kinds of things. With the girl in this story that’s different, even though the content of the stuff we’re talking about, that she’s crying about on my shoulder, isn’t very much.

    In a way it feels like I’m being “objectified.” Women often complain about men not relating to them as complete human beings but rather as a collection of body parts. Here it’s different, but also similar – I feel like I’m being regarded as the shoulder, but the rest of myself, especially my being *male* and sexual, is not being respected. I don’t resent her for doing that, after all, I’m the one offering my support, but there’s still a nagging feeling deep inside that I felt may be at the core of this whole problem.

    Does that make more sense?

  58. It sounds like you are expecting your two friends to offer exactly the same behaviour to you, even though they are different people. You also appear to be universalising aspects of this one friend’s behaviour as if she is representative of all other women.

    What if your friend finds the whole idea of sharing her sexual fantasies/problems with ANYONE, not just you, horrendously uncomfortable? That it has nothing at all to do with whether or not she respects your sexuality and everything to do with her own personal boundaries?

    I personally would find a “friend” EXPECTING to discuss their and my sexual fantasies/problems as a matter of course to be as creepy as fuck.

  59. tigtog,

    we seem to talk past each other…

    “It sounds like you are expecting your two friends to offer exactly the same behaviour to you, even though they are different people.”

    I’m not a complete idiot, thank you very much. I was using a different situation as an example of what I think is the difference between the two things I mentioned but you said you weren’t quite sure how to distinguish – (a) being respected as a sexual being, b) not being sexually interested in someone).

    This has nothing to do with expecting anyone to share anything, but with the expectation that *if* something (in this vein) is shared, there needs to be – full – mutual personal acceptance and respect between the people sharing it. That’s what’s missing, in my opinion.

    As I can’t seem to communicate what I mean, and as apparently, not even the “objectification” comparison seemed to get my point across, I’ll try this – don’t you think there’s a conceptual difference between “not being interested in someone sexually” and “not contemplating the possibility of being sexually interested”? Personally, I find the former to be respectful of another person’s sexuality, but not the latter. In the former case, a person is considered fully in an interaction, in the latter, a whole part of that person is disregarded.

    • I ignored your objectification comparison because I think it misrepresented the concept of objectification totally.

      don’t you think there’s a conceptual difference between “not being interested in someone sexually” and “not contemplating the possibility of being sexually interested”? Personally, I find the former to be respectful of another person’s sexuality, but not the latter. In the former case, a person is considered fully in an interaction, in the latter, a whole part of that person is disregarded

      I glimpse the nuance you are attempting to create, but I don’t really see it. As a het woman, I have lesbian friends whom I am not interested in sexually and whom I do not contemplate the possibility of becoming sexually interested. I’m just not sexually attracted to them. I have exactly the same lack of sexual interest in my friendships with several het male friends – just because they are male and I am a het female doesn’t mean that there is an undercurrent of sexual attraction (although with some male friends there is that undercurrent). However, in none of the cases of friends to whom I feel no sexual attraction do I feel that I am negating their sexual personae by this fact about our friendships – that aspect of their lives is essentially irrelevant to our friendship apart from interactions with their dates/partners, whom I freely acknowledge and who have often also become friends. If the undercurrent of sexual attraction is just not there, it can’t be manufactured just by thinking that it should be there.

      As to your situation: in any friendship where one person is not feeling fully respected, there needs to be an examination of the basis for the friendship IMO. I’m just not sure that the convolutions of one particular friendship are an especially useful way to make broad generalisations about relationships between the genders as a whole (and especially when even looking at a purely personal level we’ve only heard one side of the story). Your personal troubles with this friendship do not actually provide any particularly useful insight into the NiceGuy(TM) phenomenon that I can see – you just seem to be shoehorning your personal dramas into a larger societal narrative that does not appear to be a particularly good fit, except for the fact that just like any old NiceGuy(TM) you are attempting to universalise your problems with this one girl into a dissertation on women in general.

  60. tigtog,

    “I ignored your objectification comparison because I think it misrepresented the concept of objectification totally.”

    I think it fits pretty well.

    “except for the fact that just like any old NiceGuy(TM) you are attempting to universalise your problems with this one girl into a dissertation on women in general.”

    Well, occasionally, “the personal is political”… I didn’t say so first.

    • Pouring one’s emotions all over another person is the essence of a Subjectifed interaction, and is the total opposite of an Objectification. It may well be exploitative, but the nature of the exploitation is not one of objectification.

      “The personal is political” refers to the difference between public policy and the culture of domestic privacy. It doesn’t mean that every personal conflict necessarily has a political dimension, although many do. I’m not seeing it in this one – you’ve already indicated that this young woman is not typical of your interactions with the opposite sex – that you have no particular trouble finding other dates, and that you have at least one other woman just-a-friend who doesn’t spark this sense of resentment at a lack of reciprocity and mutual consideration. So why the attempt to generalise the dysfunctional dynamics of this one friendship into a general thing about “what women do”?

  61. tigtog,

    “So why the attempt to generalise the dysfunctional dynamics of this one friendship into a general thing about “what women do”?”

    No, I was actually thinking not of “what women do” but what men perceive and what I think may be a core misunderstanding or misperception with respect to the nice guy thing. Why in this case? Because well, it just feels like it fits here – think of an extended social circle that she seems to want to check out sexually, and the person with the shoulder is apparently the only only one she’s not even considering sexually. Now I’m luckily in an emotional state that allows me to rationalize this and abstractly analyse whatever little nagging feeling is left, but I imagine not just a couple of other men would have trouble doing that.

    I actually believe her when she says that I mean more to her than those guys – so not considering me sexually may even be compliment from her in some sense. But that’s where I figured this may be part of a general communication/ perception problem that may contribute to the problems of relationships with nice guys (and “nice girls”). And I think this has to do with what I – probably not very eloquently – called “respect for one’s sexual persona.”

    I’m not sure it’s helpful to limit the definition of “objectification” to the physical appearance, just because that’s the way it is commonly used in feminism. In my opinion, occasionally this kind of “objectification” of body parts can even mean the opposite – a woman or man who’s not usually interacting sexually with other people may consider an “objectifying” compliment about their appearance as very subjectifying as the perceived range of their being has been enlarged.

    • the person with the shoulder is apparently the only only one she’s not even considering sexually

      You seem to have decided that there is some choice here about who she is sexually attracted to. Why? People feel how they feel.

      a general communication/ perception problem

      From what you’ve said, she is very clear about not being interested in you sexually, and also clear about having affection for you non-sexually. Lack of clear communication from her end doesn’t appear to be a problem. Your perception appears to be that non-sexual affection from a woman to a man is somehow wrong. So is it the inability to separate affection from sex that is the NiceGuy(TM)’s problem?

      I’m not sure it’s helpful to limit the definition of “objectification” to the physical appearance, just because that’s the way it is commonly used in feminism.

      The concept of objectification has a much longer history than just feminist theorising. The OED first cites the term in a publication on metaphysics from 1859 in a discussion of selfhood. While you are right that objectification is not just physical ogling, to me your ideas of what might be “subjectifying” don’t ring true.

  62. I think the main problem with the nice guy type that is being described here( which I personally know all too well) is that as someone put it, these kinds of guys and possibly others too, seem to view sex from a woman as a form of charity or love at least on some weird level, when really it is just that-sex …period. I went through more than a year of this kind of dilemma with one guy in particular whom I actually did give into, on sort of a feeling of well, maybe just maybe there is a point to the beleif that a woman can be charitable or affectionate through sex, mind you I was considerably younger and less expierienced at the time, but what I came to find was that when you do give in to this idea, it actually turns out that nothing is enough for this type of guy. Its not enough that you already gave in and against your better judgement or preferances gave him a little bit, so to speak, because then he decides that if he cant have it whenever he wants it then you are wrong for that too, so it becomes a real issue of damn near unofficial prostitution ( I help you out somehow or other whether its monetary or not and claim that its out of the goodness of my heart and you are supposed to give sex in return) on the guys part and ( maybe I do owe him something or just plain fine let the baby have his bottle for the dont care types) on the womans part. The really odd thing about this though is that these same guys have a passionate hatred towards real prostitutes, ironically enough, who are exactly the type of women that from a logical point of view should be their “dream girls”. but on a second note I also know that these types will and often have/do solicit prostitutes, however their attitude seems to be that if the woman feels the same way they do about the whole tit for tat view of sex and is honest about it, plus wants to be in charge of the transaction (the nerve right?) then she’s a peice of garbage. Go figure.

  63. tigtog,

    “You seem to have decided that there is some choice here about who she is sexually attracted to. Why? People feel how they feel.”

    Sure, people feel how they feel. But they usually have reasons for feeling one way or another, and not rarely it’s possible to identify those reaons, or at least attribute meaning to their temporal occurrence. The thing here is that her attitude towards me changed when I offered the shoulder.

    I have to add at this point, though, that something in our dynamics has changed again, in that, when we met again (at a club) she apologized for monopolizing my shoulder and told me to go and have fun with other girls – which I think falls into both the balancing and the “respect the sexual persona” category.

    “So is it the inability to separate affection from sex that is the NiceGuy(TM)’s problem?”

    I think there’s a lot to this theory. And I think it’s absolutely compatible with my “sexual respect” hypothesis – someone (woman or man) with low sexual confidence (who doesn’t feel their sexuality is respected) will likely have a much harder time separating affection and sexuality than someone with a lot of sexual confidence. I mean, at best, those two come together. So they’re not entirely unrelated languages in human interactions.

    I find it quite understandable that someone who’s not fluent in both languages would try to substitute one for the other – and for nice guys that means occasionally being “nice” where they would rather like to be sexual, and unsurprisingly, mistankingly interpreting affection (niceness) from a woman as a sexual signal. That lack of communication skills, of course, doesn’t justify bad behaviour when the misunderstanding is becoming apparent. But it would explain it. I once read a great quote from somone living next to an indigenous tribe in colonial times who thought for three years that what he thought meant “yes” (in his dealings with that tribe) actually meant “no”…

    I’ll leave the objectification theorizing at that.

Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,018 other followers