Friday, October 05, 2007

On being Nice™

Okay, so it seems to be Nice Guy™ week; everybody's got something to say about it, and a lot of them have good things to say.

And for the record, a Nice Guy™ isn't the same thing as a nice guy. A nice guy is one who takes you to a movie you'll both like, pays (or goes Dutch) as you feel comfortable, dresses like he thinks your date is something more important than the average trip to the gym, holds up his end of the conversation with minimal profanity (unless you're into that), and probably goes in for the kiss at the end but definitely doesn't pressure you if you're not really feeling it.

If you've ever found yourself saying, "I'm a nice guy! Why can't I get a girl? Why can all the jerks and assholes get girlfriends and I can't? I'm just not going to bother anymore. Women, if I don't open any more doors for you, you've brought it on yourself!" you're not a nice guy. You're a Nice Guy™.

Josh is a Nice Guy™.

Josh is a Nice Guy™ because he is frustrated that his unceasing campaign to open every door, pull out every chair, and pay for every meal has not resulted, formulaicly, in women giving up the poontang every time. He warns the women of USC that if they don't start rewarding him for his efforts with sex, he's going to stop doing it. And if they don't get any more doors opened for them, they've brought it on themselves, etc., etc.

Who has analyzed this phenomenon in a way I find insanely accurate? Believe it or not, Doug over at Hey Jenny Slater, an admitted recovering Nice Guy™ and thus a pretty decent source of insight.
Josh, apparently, wants to hold doors for women. He wants to buy them dinner and pay for their movies. And I'm guessing he wants to have a committed, monogamous relationship with one of them. Which is fine; some women out there want that too. A male who wants those things is a traditionalist but not automatically an asshole.

Josh, however, thinks that every woman out there wants that, or should. His views on male-female relationships are like the gender-role remix of every shitty, derivative comic you've ever seen on "Def Comedy Jam": Men are like this, women are like this. Josh wants to hold doors and pay for dinner and treat his women like princesses, therefore that means all women should want to have doors held and dinner paid for and be treated like princesses. And anyone who doesn't is a Feminazi or a harlot. (Yes, he actually uses those words.)

Boy, howdy.

And that's the thing: The difference between a nice guy and a Nice Guy™ is that nice guys genuinely like women. They see them as human beings with personalities that are fun to explore and interests that are fun to share. They don't see them as computers that are fun to decode to gain access to the aforementioned poontang.

So many problems in life come down to an issue of pattern recognition. If you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again with different women and never getting the hoped-for reaction, look for the constant in that equation - hint, it's not the women - and figure out what needs to be changed. And that's really where the n/ice guy and the Nice Guy™ part ways. The nice guy wants to do what'll make his partner happy, so he's going to be looking to that. The Nice Guy™ want his partner to respond positively to what he's doing, and he's going to be pissed off and combative if she doesn't.

In his post, Doug recounts (with my permission) the story of my engagement to a Nice Guy™. I didn't know he was a Nice Guy™ then and didn't, actually, even recognize him as such until I read Doug's post. All I knew was that I really couldn't complain about the things he was doing, since they were, by definition, Nice™, but they weren't the things that I wanted. That's a lot of pressure on a woman for a lot of reasons, and there's not a lot of sympathy out there for a woman who complains when her fiance buys her a TV and a great big diamond ring and visits and rubs her feet and takes her out to fancy dinners.

I'll let Doug wrap it up for me.
If you don't have anything deeper than door-holding or check-picking-up to offer, it's time to go back into the locker room and draw up some new plays. Sack up, Josh Bass, and ask a girl out instead of waiting for her to notice and appreciate your chivalrous awesomeness and then writing whiny, bitter columns when she doesn't. If you do go out with her, listen to what she says and find something more than just blond hair and a pair of tits to appreciate about her; don't just go into it thinking HOLD DOORS BUY PRESENTS ROBBLE ROBBLE as if that's all any woman has ever wanted since the beginning of time. And, as Kenneth the page said on "30 Rock," work that vajayjay.

That last one, of course, is key.

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