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February 10, 2005

"Nice Guys" and "Jerks"

There are interesting discussions up at Hugo's, Amanda's, and Kameron's about "nice guys" and "jerks." Hugo has up a second post on the subject here. Read the comments. They are enlightening.

What caught my attention was all the talk about "nice guys." Despite some men and women in Hugo's comments saying that "nice guys" are just nice and that they only want to be treated fairly about women, the impression I have always had about "nice guys" was that they were just as ego-centric and self-righteous as "jerks." They just go about it in a different way. The first time I heard of the concept of the "nice guy," he was called the "New Age Male." They've co-opted feminist language in saying that they are "sensitive" and "empathetic," yet they complain that women are not interested in them. Some of these guys have co-opted feminist language in the hope that it would be easier for them to get women in bed. These guys are the center of their own universes, and they think all the problems they have with women are the women's fault, not theirs. These guys think that since women don't want to date them, then the women must prefer to date "jerks." It's an either-or thing with them. The women are not the problem. When did these guys get the idea that if they are "nice" to a woman that she owes them attention, a date, or even sex?

I briefly dated a "nice guy" when I was in college. At first, the attention was nice (pun intended). He didn't bully me. He took me out to nice dinners and gave me flowers. However, he moved too fast. I didn't appreciate having flowers sent to me several times a week. I didn't like it when he pouted when I didn't want to spend an evening with him. I didn't like it when in the case both of us were invited separately to a party (we had mutual friends), that he tried to monopolize my entire time at the party when I just wanted to mingle and have a good time. He became very smothering, singing loudly in public and declaring his undying affection for me in public in front of strangers. I ended it quickly.

The "nice guy" doesn't understand that a woman is not obligated to devote all her undying time to him, date him, or have sex with him simply because he pays attention to her and because he's "nice" and doesn't treat her like a "jerk."

It seems these guys view men and women in dichotomous ways. There are "nice guys" and "jerks," nothing in between. No gray area. Likewise, for women, they are either put up on a pedestal or they are bitches - presumably the bitches are not interested in dating the "nice guys" who have gone out of their way to shower them with lots of unwanted attention. A commenter expressed in Hugo's comments the ridiculous notion that "[t]he nice guy is socially punished because he does not 'strike back' when aroused with violence by the modern female. No women want to date him. The nice guy's social circles are eliminated because he is not a 'beater' of women." Men and women beating each other has already been discussed in the comments on the other blogs, so I don't want to address it here and get off-topic. One of Hugo's commenters (Jeff) hit the nail on the head when he wrote that "[t]he nice guy is "socially punished" (note how the "nice guy" phrases this in terms of punishment/reward - it's all about how they behave toward him, and he's entitled to favorable treatment simply by virtue of his "niceness") because he shows no interest in the female as a human being rather than an object of validation."

I have found "nice guys" to be just as shallow and self-centered as "jerks." They are operating from their own sense of male entitlement, not from a position of real communication, courtesy, and respect between men and women. Their means of expressing their shallowness and self-centeredness is merely different from that of the "jerk." I agree with zuzu in Hugo's comments that nice guys are suffocating. The "nice guy" wants to be rewarded for his behavior, and he expects his female target to do the awarding because he's been so "nice." This kind of relationship isn't a relationship between equals. It's one of entitlement.

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Note: This post is also up at XX.

Posted on February 10, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink

Comments

I hate for someone to get confused and think we are attacking genuinely nice guys with Nice Guys (a/k/a new age guys, PC guys). I remember in college that there was a particularly obnoxious Nice Guy (not really a nice guy, small letters). He was famous for saying politically correct things about women and lefty politics in general when he was out in public. However, over time, it generally became clear that he said these things to get into the pants of progressive women. Genuinely nice guys I knew (who often had off-color humor and didn't necessarily spout the latest PC doctrine) would tell me what a phony this guy was, and how when he thought it was safe, would be very derogatory to women.

Basically, the Nice Guys are good cons. Playing up the charm in order to seduce, while basically being the same as the jerks, who aren't necessarily good cons.

I rather prefer my nice guy. No capitals. He isn't necessarily "correct" politically (he's more conservative than me, but then, nearly every one is!)but he is absolutely honest with rock-solid integrity. Just my little plug for my sweetheart with Valentine's Day coming up!

Posted by: silverside at Feb 10, 2005 4:08:54 PM

I'm definitely referring to "nice guys" as the predators who have also been known by the titles you gave them: New Age Guys and PC guys. That's why I put "nice guys" in quotes. They are not the same as genuinely nice guys who treat women as equals and don't expect to be compensated for the attention they give them.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Feb 10, 2005 5:16:39 PM

Wasn't that Obtestor who got all obsessed with the abuse? I had to stop commenting on Hugo's blog; I don't have enough hours in the day or enough mental real estate freed up to slog through the invasion of the MRA's there.

Anyhow, in addition to being suffocating, Nice Guys won't let you be yourself with them. The Nice Guy I last dated was a rescuer, and I was going through a bad time when I met him. Thing is, I started getting my head straightened out, but he wanted to keep me needing him, so he would sabotage my efforts. When I tried to let my sarcastic side out, he'd kind of act shocked and insist that I wasn't really like that. Of course, later on he would accuse me of insulting him in specific ways when I hadn't said anything at all about that particular thing. He was also hard to shake loose, even after we stopped dating and were trying to just be friends; I finally just stopped returning his calls and emails. By that time, he'd gone through a few more damsels in distress.

Posted by: zuzu at Feb 10, 2005 5:22:43 PM

You're right, zuzu, it was Obtestor. I don't see how Hugo puts up with the men's rights trolls on his blog. He's gotten hoards of them since he appeared on Glenn Sacks's radio show.

I've noticed the rescue aspect of "nice guys," too. They seem to be on savior missions that appease their fragile egos. The "nice guy" I met in college didn't understand that I wanted to be friends and not date him, and he would get angry when I dated other guys. Come to think of it, I met him at about the same time I broke up with my first boyfriend, so I was hurting and needed a friend. He wanted more than that, and just wouldn't let up. I heard the "why not me" from him too often to count. He would slather me with more unwanted attention when I told him repeatedly to back down. He found a "damsel in distress" shortly after I ended it with him, so he was leeching off of her, albeit I'm sure not for long. That kind of smothering is very hard to take.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Feb 10, 2005 6:25:44 PM

"it was Obtestor. I don't see how Hugo puts up with the men's rights trolls on his blog. He's gotten hoards of them since he appeared on Glenn Sacks's radio show."

But yet he continues to try and appease them... even throwing me to the wolves to prove himself totally unbiased, fair and balanced...

It's not a big deal, I don't really care that much, I want to do more with my own blog anyway plus I was getting sick of all those MRAs' constant whining about the really serious issues in their lives like t-shirt slogans and registering for 'the lottery of death' which is basically going down to the post office and filling out a form when you turn 18...you stand in line for a while to pick it up...

Actually in my school to make it easier for students, we provide the forms and they fill it out and we'll send it for them...

It's ridiculous to carry on the way they do about these things; they're just looking for issues to complain about...

Anyway, the bottom line is you cannot please them, they are going to do not like certain people no matter what you do and actually trying to be nicer to them probably gets you worse treatment, faster, at their hands...

Hugo will see and probably in 6 months he'll rue the day he accepted Glenn Sacks invitation...

I don't even think the invitation was a serious attempt at dialogue by Glenn Sacks ANYWAY, I think it was more of an attempt to (well I hate to say this) flush Hugo out of the brush and make him a bigger target for those MRAs to poke fun at...

I find it very calculating on the part of Sacks to do this and he does it fairly regularly, invite someone on the show just to verbally spar with them for the delight of his audience... almost like Nero throwing a couple of Christians to the lions every now and then...you know part of the bread and circuses that kept the Roman mobs quiet (substitute MRAs for mobs and you'll see what I'm talking about)...

I've decided I'm ignoring all of them anyway as I think giving them too much attention brings out the worse in them...so I'm not going to their sites or responding to them on other sites anymore...

We're paying them FAR to much attention...and it's making them act out worse...

Posted by: NYMOM at Feb 10, 2005 6:57:23 PM

NYMOM: " I want to do more with my own blog anyway..."

Got a link? ;)

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Feb 10, 2005 7:00:58 PM

NYMOM: "I don't even think the invitation was a serious attempt at dialogue by Glenn Sacks ANYWAY, I think it was more of an attempt to (well I hate to say this) flush Hugo out of the brush and make him a bigger target for those MRAs to poke fun at..."

I agree with you. That's the big reason I won't go on those radio talk shows - I know they're a set-up. The last thing I want is to be fodder for men's rights activists to attack, and that's what those kinds of right-wing programs do. The men's rights right wing radio shows are about attacking women and gays/lesbians. The conservative right wing radio shows are about attacking liberals and progressives and gays/lesbians. I won't be a party to a set-up.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Feb 10, 2005 8:55:44 PM

I responded at XX.

Posted by: Ophelia Payne at Feb 10, 2005 9:29:09 PM

Well it all comes down (as most things do) to reproductive strategies. And the "Nice Guy" strategy is definitely on the list there.

But what about us girls? Don't we ever play that one? I think we do sometimes.

They say all's fair in love and war (and if you want my full take on that one I'm performing tonight at the Laughing Horse Oxford Circus, at the Blue Post pub on Kingly Street, Soho, London, 8pm £5 please come along & say hi afterwards...) and if I were you I'd stick the flowers in vases round the house, eat the choccies and tell him he's not really your sort.

Posted by: Cruella at Feb 14, 2005 7:38:15 AM

"NYMOM: " I want to do more with my own blog anyway..."

Got a link? ;)"

www.womenasmothers.info

That's the website...the blog is on one of the buttoms About Us...

I just wasn't sure which format I like, so I'm going with both for now...

Posted by: NYMOM at Feb 14, 2005 10:11:26 AM

"NYMOM: "I don't even think the invitation was a serious attempt at dialogue by Glenn Sacks ANYWAY, I think it was more of an attempt to (well I hate to say this) flush Hugo out of the brush and make him a bigger target for those MRAs to poke fun at..."

I agree with you. That's the big reason I won't go on those radio talk shows - I know they're a set-up. The last thing I want is to be fodder for men's rights activists to attack, and that's what those kinds of right-wing programs do. The men's rights right wing radio shows are about attacking women and gays/lesbians. The conservative right wing radio shows are about attacking liberals and progressives and gays/lesbians. I won't be a party to a set-up."

But I think Hannity and Colmes would have treated you okay...although I have seen Hannity act up a LOT with men, but with women he's not as bad...O'Reilly the same way btw, if you ever get an invite from him...treats women better then men...I just thought it would be good to get another viewpoint out there regarding this Joint Custody...

But, yes, you must always be careful accepting invites from people who aren't sincere...

Posted by: NYMOM at Feb 14, 2005 10:16:18 AM

"They say all's fair in love and war (and if you want my full take on that one I'm performing tonight at the Laughing Horse Oxford Circus, at the Blue Post pub on Kingly Street, Soho, London, 8pm £5 please come along & say hi afterwards...) and if I were you I'd stick the flowers in vases round the house, eat the choccies and tell him he's not really your sort."

I'd love to, but I'm across the pond...

LOL...

Posted by: NYMOM at Feb 14, 2005 10:18:04 AM