Sunday, June 27, 2010

Nice Guy Paradox

It’s a paradox, made of two clichés with their backs to each other. They each complain about the other, yet make no attempts to change or move forward. Does anyone remember the Dr. Seuss story The Zax? Two of the titular species, a Zax heading North and a Zax heading south, meet at a crossroads and refuse to step out of the other’s way, and they’re locked in a standstill until, of all things, a highway is built. That’s what this reminds me of.
What are these two clichés coming together to form the elephant in the room?

Two philosophies in dating, one held by men and one held by women. You’ve heard them both a million times: “Nice guys finish last” and “The good men have all gone.”

Sounds a bit contradictory, does it not? It’s like one group of people advocating a fox hunt, while another frantically claims they love foxes yet can never find one. Of course, that analogy is flawed and I very well know it, but I wanted to illustrate how ridiculous these two ideas are, because in fact, both of the two are self fulfilling prophecies, claimed to be hated by those who hold them and yet perpetuated by the same people.

Now, before I continue, I’ll make a bit of a disclaimer: I’m not writing this to bash women, nor to hate on my own gender. I’m saying we’re both wrong. It’s not discrimination when everyone is bashed on, so keep that in mind.

To start with the guys, the aforementioned statement about the good fellows finishing in last place is a very, very self-defeating thought to have. To a degree, the girls are right, nice guys are not particularly common. But we are by no means Shiny Pidgeys, we’re simply uncommon. I know plenty of decent, generous guys. However, there are also a good number of wolves in sheep’s clothing among them.

There are two varieties of these ‘wolves’. First, there is the less dangerous average frustrated guy, who hides behind the nice guy banner when he loses, yet isn’t a particularly decent fellow himself. They fail with their attempted conquests, and look for something to blame. ‘I’m just a nice guy’ is an easy scapegoat, and at the same time vilifies their rivals. Really they are not real nice guys, only men with bad qualities who have trouble attracting women.

Then there is the more dangerous variation: the benevolent wolf, the deceiver. He is a man who pretends to be nice and caring yet at the same time holding some of the charm and appeal of the bad boy. He’s nice at first, drawing women in with his charm, yet soon he reveals his fangs. The nice guy she met at the party slowly morphs into a man who only cares for sex, or becomes angry and lashes out at her for no reason. These men contribute to the thought that there are no decent men left, but it must be remembered that these are impostors, and not the real thing.

Perhaps ‘nice guy’ isn’t what should be aspired for. I think a more apt goal is ‘good man’ There is more to being a good man than many realize. One does not deserve the title for holding doors or giving a girl a complement. Actions are hollow without the proper mindset behind them. First of all, if you expect to open a few doors and bed a woman by the end of the night, you’re already in the wrong mindset. Men who sit around talking about ‘bitches’ and which ones they’d want to have sex with are objectifying women. A good man does no such thing. A good man respects women, and treats them as fellow human beings instead of sex objects, treats a girl as his equal. Yet also at the same time, a good man is not a pushover. He does not throw himself to the ground as a carpet for her to walk on. A good man respects himself as well, and a good woman would not expect that of him in the first place.

And now for the other side of this coin: the women. As I’ve said before, many women claim there are no nice guys or good men left, or that they are few and far between. But just as I questioned the men who claim to be nice guys, I must also question the women who claim to look for them.

This criticism I have to specifically level at the girls my own age. Girls will meet guys at parties, and then be disappointed when they turn out to be terrible boyfriends or not want relationships at all. Why does this perplex girls when this happens? First of all consider the environment: alcohol in everyone’s systems, music blaring, and drunken idiots hitting on random women hoping to score and then cheering over a win in beer pong. Where is the sentimentality in any of that? To me it sounds akin to finding diamonds in a coal mine, possible, but rare. Try looking in other places, such as libraries, movie theaters, or clubs you may be involved in.
Quick disclaimer: If you met your significant other at a party and they turned out to be wonderful, then I’m happy for you but I’m simply talking about things in general, please don’t take it as a stab at your own relationship.

This may sound sharp-tongued, but I also have to say this: you cannot change the bad boys. They are the way they are, and people never fundamentally change. A person’s base personality is established by age 7, and if they’ve turned into a narcissistic egotist by the time they have seven candles on the birthday cake, it will never change, and there’s little that can be done about it by you. You are only setting yourselves up for a fall by believing otherwise. This further perpetuates the ‘nice guys finish last’ stereotype when women waste their effort on these fellows, making them believe they have to become like these rogues to succeed, and then in turn, the ‘no good men’ stereotype gets furthered as well.

Then there are the games. First I’ll state guys are just as guilty about this as well and this could easily have been put into the above section as well. Everyone’s heard of playing ‘hard to get’ or other mindgames that are played with someone who you may have an interest in, then the justification is that “It’s more satisfying when you’ve worked hard to get them”. Why must there be this bullshit in-between? If you like someone, the both of you should be honest about it. I can wager you won’t care about them any less than if you had to banter back and forth for weeks with mindgames.

So I end this saying one thing: to search for the good and the pure. Search for people who are good, and recognize the good in you as well. Do not worry about those who would expect you to be something you’re not if they are to ‘love’ you, for if you have to change who you are, the love would never be true.

I think I’ll close with a quote that I like to remember about this subject, by Oivd: “If you want to be loved, be lovable.” Don’t act like a egotistical jerk or a flighty temptress, those are not lovable. Be the match for the person that you dream of, make that your aspiration.


  1. Nice article. I wholeheartedly agree.

    People need to be looking from the outset for what they need first, then what they want. Not looking for what they want and then hoping it just happens to be what they need. Zig Zigler said: "The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now."

    Also the trite statement about birds of a feather is largely true. I think people need to become what they are seeking, not just try to match it.

  2. I found my girlfriend at a party, and she stayed over for four days the next week. ^^

    It's a good article, but people should remember that who you are at a party and who you are everywhere else can be different things. Just like how someone is at work, or college or whatever.

    I'm liking your writing, you've got a good mind on you xD