“Nice guys finish last”
You’ve seen this old cliche pop up numerous times, and often times it’s used to justify bad behavior or used to explain why someone may have failed to accomplish something. It also lends itself to a rather sexist and frightening view some men have about women.
This came up in a rather misguided and awkward article, which you can read here if you want to damage your brain a little. The article is a response to women who, after dating “bad boys” come “crawling back” to the nice men in their lives. The article reeks of ego-stroking as the guy refers to himself as the “man of your dreams” and various other things like that. It also points to the dated belief that women don’t like nice men.
The initial problem here is the generalization. The belief that there is only one kind of way a woman can think in regards to who they’re attracted to. The “women only like bad boys” dismissal doesn’t work unless you assume all women are interested in the same things. Considering the complexity of humanity, and the sheer variety of personalities and interests, this is an obvious load of shit.
The next problem stems from the dismissal of the various “nice guys” who have wonderful women in their lives. There are plenty of relationships between two very pleasant individuals. Are these man secretly evil? Are these women only faking it? How do you explain away relationships between two very respectful, nice people? Aside from attempting to pretend they don’t exist at all.
Setting aside the nice men that do have good relationships with women, and setting aside the women who do want nice men, and do seek them out, let’s look at why the “girls are into bad boys” thing happens. Because it does happen. Be it abusive relationships or just men who don’t respect their girlfriends/spouses, or couples that come across as being bad for each other, we’ve all seen relationships that don’t quite make sense. Why is she with him? There are a few answers to this.
First, not every woman is instantly smart, nice, or pleasant. I’ve met some awful women in my life. Ones who are stupid, cruel, mean-spirited, abusive, and generally awful people. Women aren’t all precious flowers, same as all men aren’t upstanding gentlemen. That’s just human nature as it is today. Some of these women, being blunt, aren’t worth your time to begin with. Some of these women are just awful as the shitty men they’re with. So that removes some of them from this equation of “girl dating jerk”. Let’s dig deeper.
The second one comes from societies pressures on men AND women to have relationships in their life. We put a lot of importance on fucking each other. Virgin-shaming, slut-shaming, and unhealthy views of anything that isn’t a black-and-white one guy/one girl relationship shows that we put a lot of importance on love and relationships, marriage in particular. The problem stems from what we expect these relationships to be built upon. Being “nice” is not one of the things we put high on that list.
For one, we put a lot of emphasis on physical attractiveness. We want a big, muscular guy for our slim, busty girl. This forces a lot of men and women to be in a category of “undateable” because they don’t fit the gender roles our society still uses in media and advertisements that are implanted in us at a young age. Men are the provider, women are the caretakers. This is a dated concept that is still very familiar for some reason. And because of it, we see a lot of people take the first relationship they can get in order to fulfill the “need” to be in one. And when you stop being picky, you settle for things that are unhealthy and bad. It’s especially bad for women because society still puts a “you need to pump out a kid by this age or…” mindset. So women don’t want to become that “old spinster”. They don’t want to miss out ’cause their “biological clock is ticking”. Society forces them to get into relationships as a means to justify their existence. It leads to unhealthy relationships.
Speaking from personal experience, my grandmother was gay. And was in a committed, typical married relationship with my grandfather for a number of years. Even had kids. This was all too common, and I’d be more than willing to bet is still rather common today because of the societal pressures to “Settle down and have a family”.
This is, by the way, sexist towards women and men equally. If you’re a man and you don’t instantly seek to dominate women and have sex with as many as you can, you’re often branded as a loser. Or made fun of for being gay. Or mocked for being sensitive. Objectification is considered “manly” and men are attacked for not playing that game. In other words: men are breeding the “bad guy” that you hate so much because of the negative views of male/female relationships in our society.
The next reason a woman may be in a terrible relationship is a control problem. A lot of these relationships feed on insecurity. The men are manipulative, or at least good at hiding how awful they are until they’ve reeled you in. Women are still fighting off things pushed on them by society. Such as body-image issues or self-worth issues. A girl may feel fat or stupid or useless and it’s easy for a manipulative man to take that insecurity and play with it to their own advantage. A few “hey baby, you’re hot!” comments can easily ease insecurity in all the wrong ways. It’s dangerous, and not all women fall for it, but it is something to consider.
The same can easily be said the opposite direction. There are a lot of insecure men that can be manipulated by society, by both women and other men. The kind of gang mentality that forces men to act in a way they don’t feel comfortable with. In order to not be shamed, men may act a certain way in order to be accepted by their peers. We’ve seen this a lot in the homosexual community by men and women who are afraid to come out and instead attempt to cover up their true nature by over-playing into expected gender roles. It’s easy to play with an insecure person, and manipulation is all-too-common in abusive or unhealthy relationships.
There is also one other reason we see some unhealthy relationships, though I feel it’s less common than it’s made out to be. And that’s the “Rebelling against the father figure” concept. An over-protective father disapproves of how a daughter acts, and she decides to rebel against that by dating people she knows he’ll disapprove of.
This is bad for two reasons: one, it shows the rather unsettling way some men treat their daughters. It also puts young, impressionable girls in the position of using their sex and their affection in an unhealthy way, which can leave a lasting impression on themselves. It becomes a “sex as a weapon” concept, which is an entire other problem we face still.
There are probably other reasons that unhealthy or abusive relationships exist that I could cover, but I think you get a general idea that not every “good girl/bad guy” relationship is 100% the fault of the woman involved. And that it’s not always some “anti-good guy” mentality that leads to them.
But let’s discuss that term. The “nice guy” concept.
First and foremost, most people that genuinely think they’re really amazing probably aren’t. Humility goes a long way. And if you can’t show a little self-awareness and be humble, you’re probably not as appealing as you think you are.
The next problem is that these guys assume that just because they’re nice, it means a woman is automatically meant to be attracted to them. You hear terms like “friend zone” tossed around in these cases, and it’s cringe-worthy. Men believe that because they’re supportive and nice, a woman should instantly be in love with them. This simplified human relationships down to almost nothing. There are many reasons she may not be in to you, regardless of your being really nice. You may not be sexually compatible. She may not be romantically interested in you. She may find you boring! There are many things to look for in an ideal mate, and just meeting one of those requirements doesn’t make you someone she must have. Hell, she may have found one appealing trait in those bad guys you loathe so much. You’re trivializing relationships as being built around one thing and one thing only, and that’s the exact way the unhealthy relationships with the “bad guys” happen too.
The assumption is that any man that is nice to a woman should be boosted to the high standard of sex. The only thing that really separates friendship for relationships in the modern eye is physical affection. The “friend zone” concept is that a man isn’t getting to sleep with a woman that he is friends with. She could love you with all her heart, find you to be a wonderful friend, but because she doesn’t let you put your penis in her, she’s “Friend zoning” you. And that’s a BAD thing, apparently. Having a healthy friendship with someone of the opposite sex is viewed negatively. I understand what it’s like wanting more from someone, but if they don’t want it too, shaming them is not befitting of a “nice guy”. Nor is it in any way, shape, or form how a friend should act. If you actually cared about the person on a level that means anything, you’d never use a term like “friend zone” or blame her for not liking the “perfect guy” right in front of her. It’s disrespectful and makes you very unappealing to be in a committed relationships with.
This “nice guy” fallacy and the whole “friend zone” thing just shows a very male-dominated view of relationships. That a man is owed a woman’s affection by fulfilling very basic needs. Expecting a woman to love you simply because you open a door for her or listen to her when she’s sad is not a “nice guy”. It’s selfish and disrespectful. They don’t owe you anything. Women can have their own tastes and expectations in their partners, same as you can.
They shouldn’t settle just because you think you’re perfect for them. Because odds are: you’re not.