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Author Topic: Meditations on "Nice Guys"
Destineer
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I’ve been thinking lately about the pop-feminist phenomenon of Nice Guys (if you’re not familiar, this comic provides a helpful introduction. It’s obvious to me that there’s something deeply problematic about being a Nice Guy in the fullest sense. But I’m also concerned that some important insights are being demonized along with the bad ideas Nice Guys are prone to.

Some issues with the Nice Guy persona that are rightly criticized:

1) The notion that a girl ever owes a guy sex or romantic partnership because the guy in question has treated her kindly. This is obviously contemptible.

2) A resistance to accepting gentle rejections as such and leaving things at that, rather than pushing and pushing until the woman is forced to say no in uncomfortably explicit terms.

3) The notion that friendship with women is only valuable insofar as it leads to romance.

But there are also some characteristic ideas of Nice Guys which have an important grain of truth to them:

1) Women often prefer assholes over kind men. I don’t mean to say this is universal, or anything like it. It’s also not really the fault of the women who have this preference, it’s a result of how they’re acculturated. Kind of like how too many men are raised to prefer vapid women. But it is not sexist to observe that many women have sexual preferences that end up doing them more harm than good. Indeed, being raised with such preferences is one way that our society oppresses women.

2) There is nothing wrong with being disappointed about being “friend zoned.” If you want a romantic relationship with someone and they don’t reciprocate, it’s reasonable to be disappointed.

3) Indeed, it’s sometimes said that anyone who uses the term “friend zone” is deplorable just for that. Of course not. We all categorize our friends and acquaintances into the ones we’d like to sleep with and the ones we’d rather not sleep with.

4) Just as women are not obligated to be romantically interested in men who want to be more than friends, men are not obligated to remain friends with women who’ve rejected them romantically.

This is one reason I read otherwise-entertaining blogs like Nice Guys of OKCupid with a grain of disappointment along with my enjoyment. Because I think there are some unreflective feminist women out there who use the Nice Guy meme to avoid some important self-examination and critique. I don’t know, what do you think about this stuff?

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BlackBlade
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There is a pretty good meme mentioned on Jezebel called "Stop trying to girlfriend zone me."

Sure it's disappointing to fall for somebody who isn't going to reciprocate. But you are self-limiting your relationships (and I would say to your detriment) if you categorize all opposite sex relationships as "those who I may get to sleep with, and those I will not".

Some of my best relationships are girls who were not interested in me romantically though I was towards them, and patiently waited while I got over myself and determined if I really wanted their friendship absent romantic intimacy. I eventually made my choice that I wanted to be friends absent anything else, and now I see just how stupid the friendzoning thing is for women.

And let's get something straight, if you are sexually interested in a girl you are probably the last person who can fairly judge another guy as being worthy or unworthy of her affections.

Ultimately you will look at everything they are that you are not and at best you will call those things "things that shouldn't matter" or at worst "things bad for her". It's never ever "things that are good that I don't have" or even "things she happens to like and doesn't have to justify to me."

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Aros
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If a girl isn't attracted, a man just needs to move on. Yes, showing her that you're a quality male is one thing . . . being pushy is just pathetic. There are (literally) billions of other fish in the sea.

If you have time for a friendship, sure, be a friend. But expectations are for chumps. A man is either pursuing or in neutral. It's unhealthy to pine for a "friend".

As for women? Yes, they're fickle creatures. Yes, they change their minds. And yes, they tend to make bad decisions. Everyone does. Most people don't often date with long-term goals in mind. If you're a nice guy and she doesn't want you:
- You're either not her type.
- She doesn't find you attractive.
- She honestly doesn't want to hurt the friendship.
- She doesn't consider you a prospect for some other reason (financial, career, short-term needs, etc).
- She's not ready or mature enough for a long-term relationship. Nice guys are long-term relationship material -- not short term.

Look, for a girl to select a nice guy means that you might be the one. It's a commitment. Don't be pushy. Don't be a dick. If you're not it right now, try to change one of the factors above. But don't get hung up or obsessive. You might think you're great -- but she might not.

She don't owe you nothing. . . .

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kmbboots
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Regarding women being attracted to jerks, sometimes "nice" end up being the same as "timid". "Jerks" are often mistaken for "confident". I tend to stay away from "nice guys" because I don't find it attractive to have to make all the decisions because he is afraid to make a mistake. It is a darn fine line to walk between being a jerk but still being able to pick a flippin' restaurant without guidance and that is not fair, but it is true.
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Dogbreath
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I've seen the "friend zone" come up a lot with a good deal of my friends (because honestly, your early 20s in when you're most susceptible to the kind of thinking that leads to it), though it's not something I've ever personally experienced. And I think the main cause is dishonesty.

So...

Obviously, there's nothing wrong with becoming attracted to a friend of yours, and there's nothing wrong with befriending attractive people. The big problem - and I've seen guys do this *all* the time - is befriending someone with the sole or main intention of dating them. I think this comes from a mixture of fear of rejection and a mistaken belief that relationships should simply grow smoothly from friendships.

If, when befriending a woman, you're interested in her romantically and want to persue that interest, you should *let her know*! Like, not a huge romantic gesture, but something like "hey, I think you're really cute. Do you want to hang out sometime? Here's my phone number." And then after a few weeks of hanging out, "would you like to go on a date with me this Friday?" Or, if you're not comfortable asking just then, still say "I like hanging out with you, but just so you know, I'm romantically interested in you." So your intentions are perfectly clear. And then, if she says "I'd rather just be friends with you." then you say "ok" and decide whether or not you want to be just friends with her.

If you do, then simply accept that there's no possibility of a relationship there and *start looking elsewhere*. Otherwise, politely say "I don't think we'd really work out as friends" and stop hanging out with her. (and again, *start looking elsewhere*!)

Honestly, as long as you're honest and explicit about your intentions from the get go, this really shouldn't be a problem. It's the guys who pretend they're not interested but secretly are at first that run into this problem. Because the whole reason their victims are befriending them in the first place is because they think there's no danger of hurting feelings or having to reject someone they care about. So when it turns out that said guy was just befriending them hoping to sleep with them eventually, it's a sort of betrayal. Because now they have to deal with a rejection, a guilt trip, and losing a friend instead of simply dealing with an awkward rejection in the beginning.

tl;dr: Just be honest. Seriously.

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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
4) Just as women are not obligated to be romantically interested in men who want to be more than friends, men are not obligated to remain friends with women who’ve rejected them romantically.

This one is especially thorny because it seems like one of the ways women are socialized to reject men romantically is to "let them down easy" by suggesting they remain friends, and also because it's not at all unusual for a woman to actually want to remain friends in those circumstances. So when a man responds to rejection by declining to remain in contact, it can be seen as a violation of a social norm.

I think it's still worth it, though. After a fairly painful lesson, I learned not to keep in touch after rejections or breakups.

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Tuukka
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Most men who are girl magnets, are also really nice people. The assholes who are girl magnets, are a minority. It's a no brainer: Men who are good-looking, confident, witty, funny and friendly are natural magnets for women. When you have those other characteristics, the ass-holism actually tends to drive a lot of women away. Because frankly, people - all people - don't really like assholes.

The whole term "nice guy" is very misleading. What it actually means is a "wuss". Women are not attracted to wussies.

Wussies have a great preference to use the term "nice guy", because they don't like to call themselves wussies. Everyone knows that being a wuss makes you less sexually desirable. So they use the misleading "nice guy" instead, because it takes the burden off from their shoulders. They can blame women, other men, society, everybody but themselves.

If we would be using the much accurate term "wuss" in these discussions, there wouldn't be any confusion about what the problem is.

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Aros
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Hmm. . . Tuukka might be on to something.

My dating life used to be miserable, when I was younger.

After I divorced, it was excellent. But I was in my mid-thirties, with a good job, and extremely confidant. Girls absolutely adore a nice guy, as long as there's not anything wrong with him. Unfortunately, I think, most nice guys come across as the dog who just want to be petted . . . needy and without better prospects.

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Aros
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My advice to nice guys who aren't having luck with woman:
- Don't focus or obsess on a single woman. Be a good friend, but never be pushy. She'll signal if / when she's ready.
- Make sure you're educated.
- Make sure you read reguarly. Stay current with book trends.
- Read Esquire. Follow the style and grooming advice.
- DON'T EVER BE SELF-CONSCIOUS.
- Be self-deprecating. Learn to take a joke, and make fun of your faults. Then correct them.
- Don't ever be scared to talk to anyone.
- Again, focus on your grooming.
- Start lifting weights and watch what you eat religiously.
- Don't smoke. Don't drink too much.
- Learn a lot of little things.
- Be interesting. Travel. Get a hobby.
- Be social.
- Learn to cook well. Even if it's only a few dishes.
- Try wetshaving. You know, with an old fashioned razor and brush. There are a lot of little manly details that women find attractive.
- Have a dream. Make a plan toward pursuing it.
- Did we talk about grooming?

Focus inward, not outward. If women aren't interested, it's probably not them. It's you.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Tuukka:
Most men who are girl magnets, are also really nice people.

This is very true, and honestly the biggest "girl magnets" I know are also kind, easy going, gentle, loving, confident men. The "douchebag players" seem to be a small minority, and only really cater to certain kind of woman. And honestly, the only reason they have any success at all is because they're physically attractive (ever see an ugly/fat/awkward guy try to act like a douchebag player? It's not a pretty sight) - if they were to start acting nice, they'd find themselves having quite a bit more luck.
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Destineer
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I think I intended this thread to be more of a discussion of social mores than a place to air dating advice. (That wouldn't be the topic of greatest interest to me right now, since I'm in a happy relationship.)

quote:

Some of my best relationships are girls who were not interested in me romantically though I was towards them, and patiently waited while I got over myself and determined if I really wanted their friendship absent romantic intimacy. I eventually made my choice that I wanted to be friends absent anything else, and now I see just how stupid the friendzoning thing is for women.

Yes, one of my most valuable friendships came about in roughly that way. But that's because the woman involved was a very special person with a lot to offer me as a friend, and it would have been a huge mistake to let her go from my life. Lots of times, I think it's entirely the right move to just cut off contact rather than risk weirdness, like twinky says.

quote:

The whole term "nice guy" is very misleading. What it actually means is a "wuss". Women are not attracted to wussies.

Maybe you can elaborate here. What are wussies, as you understand the term? Why are women not attracted to them? Is there some objective reason women ought to avoid them?

quote:
After I divorced, it was excellent. But I was in my mid-thirties, with a good job, and extremely confidant. Girls absolutely adore a nice guy, as long as there's not anything wrong with him.
I would be concerned that there might be some selection effects entering in here. For example, maybe women in their thirties are more inclined to seek out kind partners than younger women.
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Tuukka
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quote:
Maybe you can elaborate here. What are wussies, as you understand the term? Why are women not attracted to them? Is there some objective reason women ought to avoid them?
Wussies are timid, needy, weak-minded, fearful men. You can be a wuss to a greater or lesser degree. Some men are 90% wussies, some are only 10% wussies. Women are not attracted to them because of the aforementioned characteristics.

Objectively, those characteristics can and often do lead to many things: Less fun, less adventure, less sexual tension, less good sex (because confidence is important in sex), less protection and feeling of safety, less *trust*. The last one is important, because wussies typically hide aspects of themselves. If someone is needy and tries to please you because he fears your rejection, he is essentially lying. It's a bad basis for a healthy relationship.

Wussies are also often closet-misogynists. They play "nice" when they are in the company of women, but don't have problems about going on misogynist rants on the internet. Fear often leads to anger.

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Tuukka
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quote:
I would be concerned that there might be some selection effects entering in here. For example, maybe women in their thirties are more inclined to seek out kind partners than younger women. [/QB]
I don't know how old women he dated, but men in their mid 30's don't have any problem dating women 10 years younger. I'm in my late 30's and I get women 10-15 years younger giving me the looks, a lot. Getting a date, or a relationship, with a much younger woman is easy.

But anyway, a question:

How many men do you know closely, who are babe-magnets? I mean the kind of men who date the *most* beautiful and attractive women out there, and do it often, and have been doing it for a long time?

I know quite a few men like that, and I've seen them all in action. Everyone thinks they are super nice people. Like, exceptionally nice. Much nicer, polite and friendly than just about any insecure wuss you have ever met (Wussies typically don't have strong social skills, one reason why they struggle with women).

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capaxinfiniti
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That is literally the worst comic I've ever read...
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Graeme
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+1 for Tukka's remarks.

It's not niceness but weaknesses that is off-putting.

(putting on my evo-bio just-so story hat) "Weak men will not protect you, will not protect your young. Strong men will, which is why you are attracted to them. Confidence is a sure indicator of this strength."

And the "niceness" in wussies isn't actually kindness -- it's simply the absence of provocation out of fear.

What does this weakness look like in practice? Utter agree-ability to anything the coveted woman proposes.

That's not niceness. It's an unwillingness to engage. And it's actually quite maddening for the female, unless she is so insecure that she can't take any kind of challenge. In which case she and the wuss are MFEO.

So you can have a strong point of view but still be nice.

Examplia:

WOMAN: "What do you feel like eating?"

WEAK MAN: "Whatever you want, Suzy Q."(afraid that his preference will alienate her)

DICK: "Anything other than Thai food. That crap tastes like garbage." (knowing full well that the woman likes Thai food ... and he's using this opportunity to take her down a notch ... you know,a kind of advanced tactic to put her in her place ... which is beneath him.)

STRONG: "Burgers, for sure. I've got a craving for a juicy slab of meat." (hmmm ... maybe this particular remark sends the wrong idea. But at least it shows a definite preference.)

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kmbboots
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EVEN STRONGER: Has a restaurant in mind that he thinks she will like and suggests it.
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Aros
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Some people don't really have a preference. Bad example.

And sometimes it IS niceness. I've known a lot of genuinely kind people who aren't only nice because of fear. Sheesh.

But, yeah, a lot of nice guys are wussies. Mainly because of a lack of confidence and charisma.

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Dogbreath
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I don't think he's saying said strong man isn't nice. There's the difference being nice and being "Nice". The former is being kind, considerate, well mannered, and treating other people well because you believe it's the right thing to do. The latter is feigning those qualities (usually by being as passive and submissive as possible) in order to get someone to sleep with you, while being a mysoginistic bastard the whole time and complaining about how "woman only like jerks!"... as if "women" were a homogeneous group with a single set of behaviors that they universally follow rather than just being, you know, people.
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theamazeeaz
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The point of "Nice guys" of OKC is that the people who complain that they are too nice for women are actually jerks. It has nothing to be with being a wuss and everything to do with irony.

These people are NOT nice people, which is why the "I'm such a nice guy" is put up right next to that same profile's homophobic rant, and some really sketchy comments about forcing sex on people. It's the guy who asks why women oinly date idiots and answers the IQ test question wrong.** More importantly, it is also really gauche to fill out your online dating profile (which is supposed to make you look good, btw) with complaints about exes, or exes the person wishes they had.


These people are like Newt Gingrich talking about the sanctity of marriage.

These people are like the girls on the school bus who say very loudly they are not into "drama", but they could start by shutting up.

If you aren't also noticing those things in the pictures of people's profiles, you are missing the entire point.

**Got an message from a guy on OKC once telling me I had the probability question wrong. I did not, and was working on a reply that explained the answer, before realizing that 1. I wasn't *his* TA, 2. why help him? 3. I didn't want to engage someone who was also the kind of person who corrects people without taking the time to confirm if they were even correct.

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ambyr
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
Some people don't really have a preference. Bad example.

Yes. Some people really don't. And they are incredibly frustrating to date.

We all have days when we don't care about choice X, but if someone literally never has any opinions to contribute--whether they're hiding their opinions to be "nice" or they genuinely don't have any--they are probably not great relationship material.

Jerkiness isn't attractive, but assertiveness is.

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Aros
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Eh, I have lots of opinions. But I generally feel like the other person has a stronger opinion:

Wife: What do you want to eat.
Me: Anything, dear. What would you like.
W: I don't care either. You pick.
M: Okay . . . Chinese.
W: I don't really feel like Chinese.
M: Okay . . . what do you want.
W: I said I don't care. Anything is fine.
M: Mexican?
W: Too heavy.
M: Italian?
W: Too greasy.
M: Barbecue
W: <dirty look>
M: So what do you want?
W: I honestly don't care. If you want to eat at one of THOSE place, I really don't mind. But soup sounds good.
M: So . . . Marie Calenders?
W: No. <pause> How about that place down by Home Depot?

If you suspect that the other person has a preference and you're easy going, you'd think that you could just let them pick. But the lady doesn't want to be bossy. So it turns into a guessing game.

It's always ladies who are themselves unable to compromise that complain about indecisive men. The men are just gunshy after too many of these experiences.

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MattP
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I can totally related to that conversation.

Step 1: Don't say you don't care IF YOU ACTUALLY CARE!
(there is no step 2)

I'm usually down for anything so it can be frustrating having the onus of making a choice when so many of the choices are not actually acceptable.

I make no assertion about the specific male/female dynamics. I'm sure this works in both directions for different couples.

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Destineer
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quote:
Wussies are timid, needy, weak-minded, fearful men. You can be a wuss to a greater or lesser degree. Some men are 90% wussies, some are only 10% wussies. Women are not attracted to them because of the aforementioned characteristics.
Do you think of these characteristics as the kind of thing people either have or don't have, independent of context? If so, that seems simplistic. People who know me in the context of work, for example, think of me as self-assured. I don't think that's how I come across at parties where I don't know anyone, though. (This might be why I often date other academics.)

As far as neediness goes, in my experience it's pretty hard to tell how needy someone is until you've been dating them for a few weeks or months.

quote:

How many men do you know closely, who are babe-magnets? I mean the kind of men who date the *most* beautiful and attractive women out there, and do it often, and have been doing it for a long time?

I know quite a few men like that, and I've seen them all in action. Everyone thinks they are super nice people. Like, exceptionally nice. Much nicer, polite and friendly than just about any insecure wuss you have ever met (Wussies typically don't have strong social skills, one reason why they struggle with women).

I certainly know some men who fit the mold you describe, but I also know some (about equally many) who get a lot of attention from women by using "pick-up-artist" type douchey behavior, whether consciously or not.

quote:
The point of "Nice guys" of OKC is that the people who complain that they are too nice for women are actually jerks. It has nothing to be with being a wuss and everything to do with irony.
Exactly--this is the sort of "Nice Guy" that I'm interested in talking about. I feel like Tuukka might have something else in mind.

quote:
while being a mysoginistic bastard the whole time and complaining about how "woman only like jerks!"... as if "women" were a homogeneous group with a single set of behaviors that they universally follow rather than just being, you know, people.
I mean, we're all individuals, and no pattern in human behavior is universal. But there is a recognizable pattern of women dating men who treat them unkindly, out of a desire to change them, or because the bad treatment they receive fits with their own insecurities, or for a million other reasons. Just like there is a recognizable pattern of men avoiding intelligent women out of a feeling of intimidation. These are some of the ways that our diseased culture teaches people to act.

Saying "women only like jerks" is ridiculous. Saying "too many women like jerks" seems, to me, regrettably accurate.

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Aros
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I also think the converse is true. A lot of guys are legitimate nice guys, but girls misinterpret their motives. I think that this could entirely be an accurate description of the comic -- that the girl is just making invalid assumptions about the man's character.
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Aros
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It's a bit like the date - marry - kill game.
- A lot of girls are attracted to the "dating" type of male (exciting, opinionated) when they would marry a DIFFERENT type of guy. They just aren't ready for a long-term relationship.
- These women often lead "marry" type guys along or friend-zone them because they aren't ready to focus on a long-term gig.
- Sometimes, women go through a string of bad relationships because they've allowed guys who are bad for them ("date" type excitement) become their focus, and they no longer desire more stable guys.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:

quote:
while being a mysoginistic bastard the whole time and complaining about how "woman only like jerks!"... as if "women" were a homogeneous group with a single set of behaviors that they universally follow rather than just being, you know, people.
I mean, we're all individuals, and no pattern in human behavior is universal. But there is a recognizable pattern of women dating men who treat them unkindly, out of a desire to change them, or because the bad treatment they receive fits with their own insecurities, or for a million other reasons. Just like there is a recognizable pattern of men avoiding intelligent women out of a feeling of intimidation. These are some of the ways that our diseased culture teaches people to act.

Saying "women only like jerks" is ridiculous. Saying "too many women like jerks" seems, to me, regrettably accurate.

It was just this sort of realization that led me to ask my wife on our first date. We had only been acquainted a short time (we sat next to each other in language classes).

I think for some guys -certainly for me- it takes a lot of growing and experience to be comfortable asking for what you want. And it is about self-esteem. If you don't value yourself enough to see when others value you, then you can miss a lot of cues. I suddenly realized that this woman who I'd met only about a month before was a wonderful person, and that when she smiled at my jokes and expressed interest, she was not being false. And while it seems so obvious now that I had to ask her out on a date (because I did, and now she's my wife, so it was going to work), I had been of the frame of mind that led me to believe that this wasn't the kind of thing I deserved.

And while I can't pinpoint a cause as to what suddenly altered my perceptions, it happened quickly- and it happened, perhaps unsurprisingly, at a moment in which quite a lot of other things started to go well for me.

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Lyrhawn
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I think the problem with the OP is that all three of those things described as problematic Nice Guys are actually just douchebags.

So it's not a Nice Guy Problem. It's a Douchebag problem. It doesn't matter if they self-identify as nice guys because they think so, they're still douches.

I think of myself as a genuine nice guy, but in my life I've never had a problem with any of those three things. In fact, I much prefer it when a girl gives me a gentle turn down rather than leaving me wondering what's happening or using me for free meals and nights out.

Real, actual nice guys usually do pretty well...once they get just a little bit older. I guess I sort of agree with the women making bad choices schtick, not as a universal rule, but as an extremely strong strain. But I think that attenuates as they get older and really figure out what's valuable and what's not in a partner.

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Tuukka
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
Do you think of these characteristics as the kind of thing people either have or don't have, independent of context? If so, that seems simplistic. People who know me in the context of work, for example, think of me as self-assured. I don't think that's how I come across at parties where I don't know anyone, though. (This might be why I often date other academics.)

People are different in different situations. You are different with your parents, your children, your wife, your friends, your co-workers. For example, you have sex with your wife, but not with the rest, typically. This means you have different behavioral patterns with your wife.

So yes, obviously context matters.

But everyone also has some core characteristics that more or less come out in most social interactions.

quote:

As far as neediness goes, in my experience it's pretty hard to tell how needy someone is until you've been dating them for a few weeks or months.

A lot of women can tell if a man is needy in just a few minutes, or a few hours max, when the context is romantic/sexual.

quote:

I certainly know some men who fit the mold you describe, but I also know some (about equally many) who get a lot of attention from women by using "pick-up-artist" type douchey behavior, whether consciously or not.

What would you define as pick-up-artists type douchey behaviour?

Because *seduction* is fun. Flirting is fun. Expressing sexual interest openly can be fun. Women tend to enjoy those things - women like fun. But some people - particularly wussies - often confuse those with douchey behaviour. They're not, unless you do them in a douchey, impolite manner.

Douchey behaviour means being rude and impolite. It's a rather ineffective way of seducing women, so I doubt you know many men who use that tactic successfully.

quote:
quote:
The point of "Nice guys" of OKC is that the people who complain that they are too nice for women are actually jerks. It has nothing to be with being a wuss and everything to do with irony.
Exactly--this is the sort of "Nice Guy" that I'm interested in talking about. I feel like Tuukka might have something else in mind.
No, I agree with OKC. It's a satiric site, the writer thinks that most "nice guys" A.KA wussies (He also laughs at the "nice guy" term) are in fact timid misogynists. Which is why he makes fun of them, and their prejudices.

I'm talking about *exactly* people like that.

quote:
I mean, we're all individuals, and no pattern in human behavior is universal. But there is a recognizable pattern of women dating men who treat them unkindly, out of a desire to change them, or because the bad treatment they receive fits with their own insecurities, or for a million other reasons. Just like there is a recognizable pattern of men avoiding intelligent women out of a feeling of intimidation. These are some of the ways that our diseased culture teaches people to act.

Saying "women only like jerks" is ridiculous. Saying "too many women like jerks" seems, to me, regrettably accurate. [/QB]

So, out of the pool of women you know personally, how many repeatedly seek to be abused by men, and repeatedly end up in such relationships? And I'm not talking about women who might complain to you that their boyfriend has done something bad - EVERY relationship has both participants doing "bad" things every one in a while.

I'm talking about *abuse*. Either mental or physical.

Out of the women I know, maybe 5% would fit that category, max. I've also read some larger scale statistics on the issue, and abusive relationships are a small minority in modern society. They're not the kind of statistical problem, that would damage the possibility of healthy male-female relationships in general.

Sure, a much a larger percentage of people end up in a bad relationship once in their life. But we are looking for repeated patterns here. Everyone makes a mistake or two in their lives, when it comes to relationships.

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Tuukka
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
I think there are some unreflective feminist women out there who use the Nice Guy meme to avoid some important self-examination and critique. I don’t know, what do you think about this stuff?

Just to make sure, you do realize that the "Nice Guy" meme was not invented by feminists? I assumed you know this, but now I'm not sure.

The whole thing was invented by men who identify themselves as "nice guys", and lack success with women. It's an old thing - decades old - but it became a movement with the birth of the internet, and over the last 10 years it has exploded into a fairly notable cultural phenomenon, which has a strong presence particularly at internet. "Nice Guy Meme" is sub-genre of the "Mens' Movement", not part of some feminist agenda.

"Nice guy", "friend zone", sexual "market value", etc, are all terms coined by bitter men who have trouble attracting women.

The "feminist" counter-arguments like the blogs at OKC or the comic at Imgur are simply a very, very small counter-move by a very small amount of people, who think that the much, much bigger internet "Nice Guy" movement has many logical fallacies.

[ January 30, 2014, 03:14 AM: Message edited by: Tuukka ]

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Lyrhawn
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I know plenty of women who date guys that are just plain damaged. They can't hold a job, they always need to "borrow" money, they cheat on them, they verbally abuse them, they're insanely jealous, and all around just terrible partners.

But women still flock to them. Sometimes it's because they're attractive, but most of the time it seems to be a combination of attractiveness and that some/many women like a fixer upper. And once they get invested, they fall prey to a sort of Relationship Sunk Cost Fallacy.

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Tuukka
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I know plenty of women who date guys that are just plain damaged. They can't hold a job, they always need to "borrow" money, they cheat on them, they verbally abuse them, they're insanely jealous, and all around just terrible partners.

But women still flock to them. Sometimes it's because they're attractive, but most of the time it seems to be a combination of attractiveness and that some/many women like a fixer upper. And once they get invested, they fall prey to a sort of Relationship Sunk Cost Fallacy.

Didn't you work, or do charity work, with abused women? I recall something like that.

I also know women like that, but they are a fleetingly small minority. Someone's personal perspective might be different if they live/work in an area with a lot of social problems: Unemployment, alcoholism, drug abuse, high crime rates, etc.

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Shanna
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quote:
Sure, a much a larger percentage of people end up in a bad relationship once in their life. But we are looking for repeated patterns here. Everyone makes a mistake or two in their lives, when it comes to relationships.
I definitely agree with this and I think part of the "Nice Guy" issue may stem from romantically unsuccessful men seeing these "jerks" as flawed and themselves perfect replacements, hence why they choose a name for themselves like "Nice Guys."

I kind of just want to scream it from the rooftops that most people have personal flaws that make them not great at dating.

That "fix-upper guy" could be funny and confident and adventurous. I've fallen in love with that guy. No, it doesn't work out and there were alot of fights and break-ups, but when things were good they were really good. Exciting, playful, full of laughs, etc.

But the self-confessed "Nice Guys" are rarely nice. Even if a guy is genuinely a nice fellow and missing the misogyny that is so rampant in "nice guy" culture, he probably has flaws that make him romantically uninteresting. He may be shy, unadventurous, non-ambitious, dispassionate in his personal life or insecure in sharing those opinions with others for fear of judgment. I've been the girl version of that guy. You don't get alot of dates that way and if you do score a date, they likely don't go well. The "jerk" may be a loser down the road, but they can atleast get in a few enjoyable dates to make the investment seem worthwhile for the other party.

Personally, my biggest criticism with the "Nice Guy" culture is that it seeks to applaud men for achieving the bare minimum. Congrats...you're NICE. Wow. What an achievement!

There's a reason they didn't name themselves "The Funny Guy" or "The Accomplished Guy" or "The Confident Guy." They AREN'T those things and THAT'S why are they aren't successful with women.

They think simply be decent to woman earns them romantic and/or sexual interest. And women can read that condescension and its NOT attractive.

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Shanna
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quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:
quote:
Sure, a much a larger percentage of people end up in a bad relationship once in their life. But we are looking for repeated patterns here. Everyone makes a mistake or two in their lives, when it comes to relationships.
I definitely agree with this and I think part of the "Nice Guy" issue may stem from romantically unsuccessful men seeing these "jerks" as flawed and themselves perfect replacements, hence why they choose a name for themselves like "Nice Guys."

I kind of just want to scream it from the rooftops that most people have personal flaws that make them not great at dating, atleast for some part of theirs lives until they figure out what works and attract a suitable partner.

That "fix-upper guy" could be funny and confident and adventurous. I've fallen in love with that guy. No, it doesn't work out and there were alot of fights and break-ups, but when things were good they were really good. Exciting, playful, full of laughs, etc.

But the self-confessed "Nice Guys" are rarely nice. Even if a guy is genuinely a nice fellow and missing the misogyny that is so rampant in "nice guy" culture, he probably has flaws that make him romantically uninteresting. He may be shy, unadventurous, non-ambitious, dispassionate in his personal life or insecure in sharing those opinions with others for fear of judgment. I've been the girl version of that guy. You don't get alot of dates that way and if you do score a date, they likely don't go well. The "jerk" may be a loser down the road, but they can atleast get in a few enjoyable dates to make the investment seem worthwhile for the other party.

Personally, my biggest criticism with the "Nice Guy" culture is that it seeks to applaud men for achieving the bare minimum. Congrats...you're NICE. Wow. What an achievement!

There's a reason they didn't name themselves "The Funny Guy" or "The Accomplished Guy" or "The Confident Guy." They AREN'T those things and THAT'S why are they aren't successful with women.

They think simply be decent to woman earns them romantic and/or sexual interest. And women can read that condescension and its NOT attractive.


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Betwixt
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quote:
Originally posted by Graeme:

What does this weakness look like in practice? Utter agree-ability to anything the coveted woman proposes.

Backtracking a bit, but nail on head there.

My perspective is a little odd, since I am functionally asexual and have never pursued or wanted to pursue a romantic relationship of any kind. This is not something obvious from the outside with the effort I put into being generally cheerful and easy-going to encourage smooth social encounters. Apparently I'm an attractive enough woman to be approached regularly with more than friendship in mind. Everyone is only ever going to be a friend or acquaintance by default, which has forced a kind of caution and objectivity when noticing any interest beyond friendship.

It appears that being a quiet geeky type myself has made me seem accessible to this general category of 'wussies' as we've been calling them. Their primary method of approach is to agree with everything I say at all times, never having their own original thoughts, and trying to impress me by giving examples of how nice or talented or special they are... specifically relevant to what they think I want. Of course, this fails, because I won't know they're nice by them telling me that they are nice. I'll know it by observing their kindness when interacting with other people they aren't romantically interested in. They're oblivious to this, only concerned that I always see them in a perfectly positive light, which gives me no insight into their character--aside from being clearly disingenuous.

When I let these guys know I have no interest whatsoever (straightforward and politely) they're always the ones most personally offended and obstinate. I assume it's because their soul concern is their own status and not that I have personal autonomy. Massive red flags there.

...

I think it's worth mentioning that many 'friend zone' proclaimers I've come across online try to define it the same way as unrequited love, but these are different things, are they not? Unrequited love is a totally understandable frustration where the parties involved aren't on the same page, aren't ever going to be, and what a bummer that is, but there is an absence of guilt. The person being pined after is not blamed for not returning the feelings of affection. The 'friend zone' goes this extra icky step where the person being pined after is somehow at fault for the relationship not becoming romantic, as if that should be some guaranteed development achieved via friendship.

The way I see it, unrequited love is the potential realm of actual nice guys.
The friend zone is the realm of 'nice guys', aka. jerks.

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Tuukka
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I love the fact that there are so many smart and insightful women posting on this thread.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
Some people don't really have a preference. Bad example.

It isn't about having a preference; it is about having a plan. It is about taking some responsibility instead of being passive and making your partner do all the work of planning a date or deciding what to eat or nagging you to do X around the house. Bring something to the table other than a willingness to follow orders. If you don't have a preference, maybe put together what you know about her and make a plan that you think she will like. Which is not at all the same as making her come up with a plan.

[ January 30, 2014, 10:24 AM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Tuukka:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I know plenty of women who date guys that are just plain damaged. They can't hold a job, they always need to "borrow" money, they cheat on them, they verbally abuse them, they're insanely jealous, and all around just terrible partners.

But women still flock to them. Sometimes it's because they're attractive, but most of the time it seems to be a combination of attractiveness and that some/many women like a fixer upper. And once they get invested, they fall prey to a sort of Relationship Sunk Cost Fallacy.

Didn't you work, or do charity work, with abused women? I recall something like that.

I also know women like that, but they are a fleetingly small minority. Someone's personal perspective might be different if they live/work in an area with a lot of social problems: Unemployment, alcoholism, drug abuse, high crime rates, etc.

I worked with at-risk youths.

But the women I'm talking about weren't the products of bad geography or the problems listed above. They're college-educated and middle class.

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Aros
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This topic seems to slant on a particular online subculture.

Some people (like myself) are talking about actual nice guys -- kind, polite, well mannered, empathetic, and considerate.

I don't understand this subculture you're referencing. It seems that you're inferring that men are trying to emulate a lot of the qualities of an actual nice guy in order to attract a partner but are (in fact) seeking sexual favor?

I'm bothered by this. I'm an engineer, and I've known MANY genuinely nice people who aren't the most socially astute. I think that women who are following your line of reasoning might easily mistake the former definition for the latter.

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NobleHunter
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quote:
I don't understand this subculture you're referencing. It seems that you're inferring that men are trying to emulate a lot of the qualities of an actual nice guy in order to attract a partner but are (in fact) seeking sexual favor?
Most of the people who go online and complain about being "Nice Guys" and still getting friendzoned do seem to be engaged in that kind of behavior.
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Aros
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I don't think that real nice guys would go online and complain about this sort of thing.
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Dan_Frank
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Destineer, you've got a dangling open paren in the OP that's been bugging me. First paragraph. Just FYI.

I think this is an interesting topic. Like many feminist positions I think it is recognizing a real phenomenon, but suffering from a lack of critical self evaluation and a generally sexist default attitude focused on finding an external outlet for blame.

For example, the resistance to rejection (#2) issue is so heavily reinforced as desirable by most mainstream women that it's sort of silly to put the blame for it solely on some stupid insecure kid who's been brought up in this culture. Of course he will be persistent and assume she is playing some game. Because that's what our culture encourages, so she very easily could be.

Relatively few people, women or men, actually value blunt honesty. It's generally treated as unromantic. Probably because it is, in many ways. So many aspects of romance essentially require a lot of lying to yourself and others about what you actually want/prefer in order to make the romance work.

I think there's a level of dissonance in the way feminists talk about Nice Guys, where they accurately call out bad behavior in men and fail to recognize how the behavior of women typically reinforces/advocates/encourages this. Or even mirrors it, in cases like Taylor Swift's wildly popular song that somehow managed to win some award despite being up against the best music video of all time (of all time!). So there's a lot of hypocrisy there. Or at less willful blindness.

Overall I don't have any specific objections with your list of defendable Nice Guy traits. Or at least I haven't thought of any yet. At work though, so I may return to this later.

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
Eh, I have lots of opinions. But I generally feel like the other person has a stronger opinion:

Wife: What do you want to eat.
Me: Anything, dear. What would you like.
W: I don't care either. You pick.
M: Okay . . . Chinese.
W: I don't really feel like Chinese.
M: Okay . . . what do you want.
W: I said I don't care. Anything is fine.
M: Mexican?
W: Too heavy.
M: Italian?
W: Too greasy.
M: Barbecue
W: <dirty look>
M: So what do you want?
W: I honestly don't care. If you want to eat at one of THOSE place, I really don't mind. But soup sounds good.
M: So . . . Marie Calenders?
W: No. <pause> How about that place down by Home Depot?

If you suspect that the other person has a preference and you're easy going, you'd think that you could just let them pick. But the lady doesn't want to be bossy. So it turns into a guessing game.

It's always ladies who are themselves unable to compromise that complain about indecisive men. The men are just gunshy after too many of these experiences.

quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
I can totally related to that conversation.

Step 1: Don't say you don't care IF YOU ACTUALLY CARE!
(there is no step 2)

I'm usually down for anything so it can be frustrating having the onus of making a choice when so many of the choices are not actually acceptable.

I make no assertion about the specific male/female dynamics. I'm sure this works in both directions for different couples.

I think most people have been on both sides of that. So often, "I don't care" is an unwillingness to have a suggestion shot down, because it's frustrating. It's a vicious cycle, man.
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scifibum
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I think there are like two or three simple things to keep in mind:

1. Be yourself / be honest. If that doesn't work, try changing (not pretending).

2. Don't try to be with people who don't want to be with you. You can frame this in a dozen ways from crass ranking systems to detailed personality analysis, but you can keep it pretty simple, too - respect what the other person wants.

Assholish "Nice Guys" are breaking one or both of those rules. You can still break one or both of those rules to some extent without being an asshole, but you still shouldn't.

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Aros
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Oh . . . okay. . . .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nice_guy

This also includes the "friend" who is just a hanger-on, hoping that their love will someday be requited. Yeah. These guys are pathetic and often a little creepy.

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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:

I think there's a level of dissonance in the way feminists talk about Nice Guys, where they accurately call out bad behavior in men and fail to recognize how the behavior of women typically reinforces/advocates/encourages this. Or even mirrors it, in cases like Taylor Swift's wildly popular song that somehow managed to win some award despite being up against the best music video of all time (of all time!). So there's a lot of hypocrisy there. Or at less willful blindness.

Do you read any feminist blogs? Are you assuming the VMA awards were voted on exclusively by "feminists"? Do you know what feminists care about?

Let's get this clear, then:
Feminists are well aware of Taylor Swift and do call her out for the problematic attitudes that she perpetuates.

Some examples:

http://jezebel.com/5466685/taylor-swift-is-a-feminists-nightmare

http://jezebel.com/taylor-swift-is-an-awesomely-polarizing-feminist-non-fe-513585359

http://jezebel.com/5953879/dont-go-calling-taylor-swift-a-feminist-says-taylor-swift

http://jezebel.com/5838994/a-field-guide-to-nice-guys

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Dan_Frank
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I think you missed my point.

I don't care about Taylor Swift specifically. She's just an example of something that is wildly popular among girls in our culture. "Calling out" people is also missing the point.

Our culture has deep problems. The fact that those problems sometimes manifest in a way that is harder on women than on men is pretty irrelevant in the scheme of things. Feminists don't tend to understand or care about the actual problems.

I can come back to this again later.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
The fact that those problems sometimes manifest in a way that is harder on women than on men is pretty irrelevant in the scheme of things. Feminists don't tend to understand or care about the actual problems.
Is it possible that you, as someone who either benefits or is unaffected by the problems which specifically afflict women, are not the most unbiased person to be telling feminists how they should prioritize the problems facing our culture? Is it not also possible that someone might care about "feminist" problems while also caring about problems that you would agree are important?
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Dan_Frank
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That would be fine if they were approaching those problems in a productive, rational way. In a way that actually was likely to, you know, significantly change things?

Nobody benefits from the problems in our culture. Not really. Using other people's bad values to help you to live a bad life is not, ultimately, in your best interests.

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Tuukka
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
Oh . . . okay. . . .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nice_guy

This also includes the "friend" who is just a hanger-on, hoping that their love will someday be requited. Yeah. These guys are pathetic and often a little creepy.

Yup.

There might be confusion about this topic. What most people here are talking about are the self-confessed "nice guys", who regularly use that exact term when talking about themselves, and blame that characteristic on not having success with women.

The name has it's origins in the "nice guys finish last" aphorism. Which actually was originally about baseball, but has been about dating and girls for the last 50 years or so.

There is an actual "nice guy" subculture, which is partially organized on internet. There are "nice guys" public spokespeople, a lot of blogs, discussions forums, etc. Here in Finland, in last elections one guy actually tried to run to parliament with a "nice guy" meme. He got a lot of publicity, thought thankfully much of it was negative. Many "nice guys" also tie the whole thing closely to Men's Movement, and anti-feminism.

I get that some people might be completely unaware of all of this. It's a subculture, not yet really mainstream. But it's a phenomenon which is getting more and more traction every year. This isn't going to be the last time you will be hearing about it.

The comic and the blog linked in the OP were both satiric criticism of the "nice guy" subculture. The comic is actually frighteningly accurate. If you go to some of the "nice guy" discussion forums, you will hear a lot of men talking about women exactly like that, completely oblivious to the fact how misogynist and condescending towards woman they are. Instead, they think that they are being really nice and respectful towards women, unlike "most" men.

All of this is why I said that a "wuss" would be a much better word than "nice guy". When you meet anyone who is a self-confessed "nice guy" and uses that term regularly, he is almost without an exception a wuss. And the reason why he doesn't get women is that he is a wuss. The characteristics that "nice guys" attribute to themselves are typically characteristics of a wuss, just with nicer, more positive wording.

But try telling that to the men in any of the "nice guy" discussion forums, and you will be battered to death. It's uncomfortable to admit that you're a wuss, so they like the more miseleading "nice guy" better. And it allows them to passive-aggressively blame women, other men, and society for all their oproblems with women.

AND THIS IS IMPORTANT: *Those men genuinely believe that they are the good guys*, and that the other men are the bad guys. This is a fundamental part of their worldview. Yes, they often have to ignore a lot of logical fallacies that their world view has. But as we all know, humans tend to be very good at self-deception.

It might seem to you like some of the women in this thread are giving out too definite examples of how a man should behave - But you have to remember that they are venting out their frustration towards the self-confessed "nice guys" who have a certain ideology. Not towards actual nice, kind men. The context of this thread skews things a little bit, as the behavioral examples are about certain kind of men in certain situations, and of course there is random overlap with other kind of men, who occasionally behave the same way in similar situations.

The dinner example works better if you think about it more as repeated patterns. If someone *never* tells what he wants, and always wants you to lead, it becomes frustrating at some point, doesn't it? It becomes kind of frustrating even in a male-to-male relationship. We don't want our friends to be weak-willed and submissive. We want them to be equal. Moreover, if our friend is like that all the time, it means he has some kind of a problem with us. There is a lack of trust. He is afraid.

It seems obvious to me that you are a genuinely nice guy. Not a "nice guy".

[ January 31, 2014, 01:23 AM: Message edited by: Tuukka ]

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Rakeesh
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To be blunt, it's difficult to take you seriously when you flat-out say things like 'feminists don't tend to care about actual problems'. I...what? Someone who can say this, in such a sweeping way, I'm a little shocked you would make such a brazen statement. I suppose domestic and sexual violence, health care inequality, wage gap, massive political and economic underrepresentation...since these are obviously very real frigging problems, I can only assume they're vastly outnumbered by a bunch of fake problems to make your position sustainable. Right?

As for no one benefitting from our country's problems...Dan. For pity's sake, don't be so obtuse. You know perfectly well that hardly anyone ever means 'benefit' to mean some uktimate, overall, cosmic improvement or something. We don't say 'well actually a man who beats his wife doesn't really benefit if the cops just ask a few questions and then leave, because it's not in his best interests to be an abuser.' Just as an example of one of those non-actual problems feminists care about and have striven for generations to force into public debate. We don't say 'men don't benefit from having an overwhelming majority of the political offices in this country, because it's not actually in their best interest to continue a disproportionate representation'.

Honestly it feels like this ties into your broader serious beef with a range of ideas and policies associated with liberals. 'Feminists don't tend to care about actual problems' is, like, news story comments section material, man. You're better than that.

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