Disclaimer: over the course of this rant, I will be speaking in broad generalities. Yes, there are exceptions to everything I am about to talk about. But they are just that, exceptions, and typically rather rare. If this offends, and you feel compelled to argue take a moment to look inward and think to yourself ‘doth I protest too much?’
Story time: from 2009 to 2011(ish) I was a Nice Guy (I admit with the same amount of shame a reformed juggalo might). I was single and could not grasp the concept that women did not want to date me. I was a fedora and a neckbeard away from being a full blown meme. But I mean…I was nice! I had a couple of equally Nice Guy friends, and we would frequently sit around and bemoan our fate. “Man…Nice Guys always finish last” we would sob into our bottles of Boone’s Farm. “Girls, they only like assholes. How can they be so stupid?” was a common refrain.
If I could, I would go back and smother myself with a pillow in my sleep.
Being a Nice Guy is loathsome for a number of reasons. The insidious mindset that ‘they know what’s best for women’ being top of the list. To the mind of a Nice Guy, these women, they just need to be taught, then they will see the error of their ways and come flocking to the Nice Guys like pigeons in a park.
Nice Guys: this is not the case.
You are nice. Kudos! You just met the baseline minimum for entering a relationship. You are the equivalent of having your GED so you can get a job working fast food. They aren’t going to make you manager, but at least it’s a job. Want a better job? Get better attributes that qualify you for better jobs!
Let’s take Nice Guy Bob for example. Was he nice? Sure! An argument could be made that he was smart, and funny even (if you are fond of puns). Relationship wise that made me qualified to work at chick-fil-a. But probably in the back, not dealing with actual customers.
Because guess what? I was fat, unemployed, took little care as to my appearance, dressed in far too many pairs of pajama pants, and was a divorcee still caught up on my ex-wife.
Good job. I was nice. But I was not bringing anything else to the table.
See that guy over there? He’s nice too. But guess what, he has a great job, owns his own house, and can run to the end of the block without being winded. That guy over there is nice, funny, and is actively working his way through law school. That chap in the back is not as nice as you perhaps, but he looks like Brad Pitt, can dance, is hung like a mule, and can think beyond ‘dinner and a movie’ when it comes to date ideas. He also smells like the ocean at springtime, while you smell like hastily applied speed stick that is starting to wear through.
So what do you bring to the table? If you are the type to sit around and bemoan being a Nice Guy, then probably not much. You are nice. You can find you the female equivalent of being a fry cook at McDonalds, because that’s all you are qualified for. The problem with Nice Guys though is the expectation that you will snag the female equivalent of being a doctor, and the fry cook jobs go unfilled by them. Instead they sit around unemployed.
Love is a two way street however. And set alongside the Nice Guy is the Nice Girl, though that is a bit of a misnomer, it just was an easier name to use. The Nice Girl is slightly rarer than the Nice Guy, but equally frustrating.
Women (at face value) tend to be nicer than guys (read: less blunt). They also have the added benefit that if they have nipples placed somewhere in the vicinity of their chest, and the requisite number of other orifices, they can get a boyfriend (and all that is fairly negotiable). It may not be an ideal one (it rarely is) but a boyfriend can be acquired.
The Nice Girl however wants That Guy. The one with the great job, lots of security, good with kids, wants to start a family. The problem is the type of winner, A-list, family starter guy tends to look for more qualities than the Nice Girl has.
Maybe she is nice. Or smart. Or pretty. Or funny. Nice girls are not as rigidly defined as the Nice Guys. They, as a group, have a wider array of attributes on offer. But the core problem is the same: they have little to offer, but want the moon. Ladies, if you want the great guy, you are going to have to get on his level. Because guess what, there are women out there that are.
So you are pretty? Guess what, that girl there is younger, is a cup size bigger, and graduated cum laude with a degree in business. You’re smart? Congrats. That girl can talk about books other than twilight, just got a promotion, and takes fun trips frequently. You’re funny? Cool, but that girl doesn’t live at home with her parents, and though she works food service, she goes and does standup every chance she gets to try and make a career of that. You’re nice? Have you met my friend…
Here is the great thing about being a Nice Guy/Girl: it’s fixable.
But you are going to have to take a break from sitting around bitching about being single. And you will probably have to leave your room. Which for your average Nice Guy/Girl may as well be telling them to go to the moon. Because bitching and being a hermit is easy. Actually putting yourself out there and trying to improve yourself is not. So 90% will just keep doing what they do, and end up having to settle for what they deserve. One in a million will get lucky and inflict their existence on someone who deserves someone much better, but will not have the self-awareness to feel guilty.
Now I don’t want your take away from this to be that I am saying you have to be a success. Because success doesn’t really matter (and is so variable to what success actually means). What matters is that folks have to see you are trying. What that means will be different from person to person. For one it might be going back to school. Another it might mean starting to actually take care of your appearance and hygiene. Maybe for another it’s getting a job. Or a car. Or a place of their own. Likely it will be multiple things.
Relationships are an investment. And people want to be able to see some sort of return on the gamble they are taking on you. A person might be heavy, but you can see they are dieting and exercising. They may be working a shitty job that hardly pays the bills, but you can see they are trying to get a certification so they can get a raise. A person wants to know that they won’t be stuck with the you of this moment forever. Because they are looking down the path they want their life to take, and they see themselves growing. And if you aren’t going to grow with them, then you are just wasting their time. Which I would argue is one of the worst possible things you can do to a person. To go back to the example of Nice Guy Bob, I got tired of being a lonely piece of crap. I started working out. I got back into school. I got a job. I started writing. Most importantly I went to therapy.
And then wonder of wonders, I got into a relationship. It ended in flames of course, because this is me we are talking about. But I would never have gotten into it had I not focused on becoming a better me. Because the old me would never have been worthy of hooking up with a busty lass with musical talent for two years.
Which brings me to my final, jumbled point: the art of being single and not settling.
One of my brothers once gave me two pieces of advice, one I ignored, the other I listened to, both of which I now hold to be gospel truth.
- Never marry the first person you have sex with. I ignored it, and was divorced within the year pretty much.
- If you cannot see yourself marrying a person, then don’t date them, because otherwise you are just wasting time.
I have had four serious relationships as an adult. Two lasted two or more years, the other two lasted under two months. The reason being is thus: roughly around the one month point of seriously dating I sit down and imagine what life would be like in five years, if my paramour and I were married and sitting around the breakfast table one morning. If I like the scene, I stick with it. If not, I end things as soon as possible. Because otherwise I am wasting both of our times. If you can’t see yourself with someone in five years, move on and keep hunting until you find that person you can.
Never settle. Unless you’re Hindu, we only get one spin around this thing called life, so why spend it with someone not right for you. Someone you settled for. Unless you are taken suddenly by death, you will have some time to think about your life as you lay dying. You will loathe yourself if you realize you settled for someone not right for you, so the one who was got away.
If you are not happy in your relationship, get out. I get it, it may be easier, or more convenient to stay in the relationship. Maybe he watches your kid. Or she pays the cable/internet bill. Or he drives you to work. Or she is a mink in the sack. Doesn’t matter. Life is too short to live it unhappy. Get out. It will suck for a bit. It really will. You may have to go without cable, or ask someone else for a ride. But get the fuck out. It’s like ripping off a bandaid. If you are unhappy, the relationship is doomed to failure. Why not just get it over with?
The follow up to this, which is becoming more and more prevalent as I grow older it seems is this: ‘YRX4R’ or You Are Exs For A Reason. Quit going back to people you have already dated for fucks sake. You are ex’s for a reason. You had good reasons for breaking up. If you have been apart longer than a week, move the hell on. Yes, sure, sometimes people do get back together and it works out. But that’s a 1 in a million chance. Because YOU ARE EXS FOR A REASON!
You do not have to be in a relationship.
Let me repeat that.
You do not have to be in a relationship.
I know so many people who go into an utter frenzy once they single up. Or are obsessed with the idea of getting married. If all those people would take a few months, a year, and just focus on making themselves the best possible version of themselves, they would be so much better off. But so many people define themselves by their relationships. I know. I was one.
But stop that. You are grand. Or if you are not, you can be with some work. Become the best you possible, and I will not promise you that you get to score the relationship equivalent of a lawyer or doctor. But you chances will improve dramatically. And worst case scenario…you are a better person overall. So it’s a win/win.
Going back to me as an example: I got off my ass, and worked to make me better, driving a stake through Nice Guy Bob. And then scored a seemingly nifty female, followed by another. Because I was seemingly nifty. In retrospect now I have come to realize I need to make a better me still. Because I am not going to settle for something like that again.
But until I work on me some more (lose some weight, get back into therapy, make more headway on being successful as I define it), I don’t try to date. In the past couple months I have had to politely turn down two women trying to date me. I wouldn’t completely rule it out, but by and large, ladies, it’s a waste of time. Because I can be better, and I will. You shouldn’t have to settle for Bob the Lesser, when Bob the Better is coming. And I don’t want to settle for the girl that scores Bob the Lesser, when the one worthy of Bob the Greater is out there. Probably living in the Amazon where I will never find her. But still. I won’t settle.
I am not terribly good at being single (which with as much practice as I have had is a shame). I enjoy having a roaddog always down for adventure, with a slection of curves to curl up next too at night (other than Damon). But to hell with settling.
Because he fucking chooses to be.
In short this has been weighing on my mind of late, as folks keep bringing shit like this up to me. I guess they see me with a bunch of pickup lines, and assume I am the relationship expert (which should tell you everything you need to know about why these folks are single/in unhappy relationships).