Thursday, August 09, 2007

Thursday 13: The Nice Guy

A couple of posts back, Kraig left me a link to a well-written blog post about the problems facing Nice Guys and what to do about it. (I know, Stuckey, I can practically see your ears perking up at this topic!) I really liked it, and would have left a comment, but I'm sure in the 150 or so comments left there already, someone else has probably already said what I would say.

Some of my male readers worry that the Southern Gentleman is dead. I worry that the Nice Guy is dead. Too often he is rumored to be a Nice Guy, when really, he is one of these:

The Doormat (definitely the most common!)
The Asshole who Just Has Nice Manners
The Mama's Boy
Issues Guy
The "All I Have to Offer You is Nice" Guy
The Still-In-the-Closet Guy
Nice for the First 6 Months Guy
Mr. Smoke & Mirrors

There are so many more. I can't even continue to go on and on about this, or else this post will end up being too long. Besides, my point here is not to describe what ISN'T Nice Guy, my goal is to describe what I think a Nice Guy embodies. I have based this list off of qualities I have admired in my father, my brothers, guy pals of mine, good friends of the family and boyfriends (mine and others').

Note: The following list is just my own, humble opinion. I have no idea if any other girl on Earth will agree with this post. If this list is absurd, then I guess we all know why I'm single, right? Ok, here goes.

1. He has a healthy relationship with his family, especially his mother. Note: He is NOT a Mama's Boy. There is a difference between calling her once a week and eating dinner at her house every night. The relationship with the mother is key, for that usually translates into all of his relationships with women. Nice Guys like women. They enjoy their company, their mannerisms and they find women very entertaining and nurturing beings to be near. They respect and enjoy women, even if it's not a woman they are romantically interested in. They are just happy that women exist. This plays a big role in why they are good husbands.

2. He is nice to strangers, animals, old people and children (not just women he is hoping to date, like the article seems to imply). He may even go out of his way to make their lives better: leaving a nice tip, helping them cross the street, getting the kitty down from the tree -- all without the hope of getting any sort of reward. Kind of like Superman. Just saving the day, one problem at a time. He has the ability to feel sympathy, empathy and concern for others. He is thoughtful and considerate. But he is not a Doormat or a Crier or overly emotional about it. He just realizes that we are all human (or living creatures) and deserve respect. He enjoys putting smiles on people's faces. He is a good father, neighbor, boss and citizen.

3. He has manners. Please and thank-you (and yes, door openings) don't happen as often as they should these days. Good manners are refreshing. Again, the manners are not done in order to get a reward. He would be behaving the same way if no one were watching. Total Assholes don't usually have manners.

4. He doesn't draw unnecessary attention to himself, instead preferring to remain low-key and un-flashy. The word "humble" comes to mind. He understands that it is possible to be confident and successful without shoving it in everyone's faces or bragging about it.

5. He is a hard worker with goals. He is not a moocher or a loafer. He doesn't live in his parents' basement. He hasn't been unemployed for a year straight. He makes the best out of bad situations, so if the economy goes in the shitter, and he finds himself frying french fries for a living, dammit, he's going to be the best fry fryer on the East Coast. Or whatever. He'd rather be making minimum wage and living in a shack than moving back in with Mom & Dad.

6. He doesn't think it's acceptable to break the law. Nice Guys are not into drugs, violence, shady business dealings, throwing bodies in the East River or "borrowing" things. Nothing in their house "fell off a truck". In fact, there's nothing sketchy about him at all. He's a regular, upstanding citizen. He's not even all that keen on strip clubs or porn. Too much of it makes him uncomfortable. This is because he respects women.

7. He is reliable and understands how to step up to the plate when the chips are down. Or whatever that phrase is. You know what I mean. The Nice Guy is the one who doesn't complain when the Boss asks him to stay late. He's the guy who volunteers to drive their neighbor to the airport. He does what he says he will do. You can count on him. He volunteers to go out of his way when he sees someone needs his help. (Again, he expects nothing in return!)

8. He is confident and knows who he is and what he stands for. He knows he's a good catch and a good person. He knows what he likes and what he wants. He doesn't need anyone's second opinion or reassurance. He seems to have an innate understanding of what is right/wrong and what he wants out of life. People have an easy time believing this, because it oozes from his pores. He's not boastful or full of himself. Just confident.

9. He expects to be treated in the same way he treats others: with honesty, dignity and respect. He is not a Doormat who puts up with abuse or neglect. He is not controlling, nor does he demand that people treat him a certain way. He does not shirk responsibility or try and pretend like no one's feelings were hurt. He wants to see problems resolved fairly, even if it means admitting his own faults.

10. He respects himself and holds himself to high standards. He's not going to be getting hammered every weekend like a frat boy. He's not going to turn into a fat slob. He doesn't think playing video games is the best way to spend a Saturday. He doesn't procrastinate or see what he can get away with in life. Nice Guys strive for self-improvement most of the time. (They aren't robots -- everyone needs ice cream and a nap now and then!) By having self-respect and maintaining his personal standards, as a result, he is both mature and interesting. Which makes people respect him even more.

11. He is wonderfully masculine. He is a guy's guy. He's not effeminate in any way, even though he loves being around women. In fact, he's very comfortable being manly. He is funny and laid-back and confident (gosh, I keep using that word!). He puts others at ease while still being a fun and energetic person. He usually has projects going on -- a new fun idea or hobby. He's never bored. He never expects others to entertain him. He enjoys manly things -- cars, explosives, sports, scotch, model airplanes, cigars, feats of engineering -- but is also cultured in some way. He reads. Or enjoys opera. Or likes art. Or can hold a discussion about philosophy. No one thinks he's gay or a wuss because he is cultured, because he also enjoys the stereotypically manly things. He oozes manliness from his pores. He's not afraid to pick up the reins and run the show if necessary or call people out when they have crossed the line. He's got balls.

12. He is living for something beyond himself. He possesses the ability to see the world as more than just HIM. He realizes how he can make an impact and leave the world a better place. He has a passion about it, actually. He has morals, ethics and believes in something, whether it's God or the kindness of strangers or just the perfection of Mother Nature. Whatever.

13. He is stable. And not just job-wise. He is the sort of guy you never have to worry about. He's not going to have a breakdown or suddenly change who he is. What you see is what you get.

I think the term "Nice Guy" needs to be changed. It implies he is nice, and nothing more. When women speak of wanting a Nice Guy, I think they really mean they are looking for a Good Man. So that is the term I will use. Because when women state they are looking for a "Nice Guy", they want so much more than just someone who isn't a jerk. They have dated jerks -- probably a variety of them. They want someone who is totally different.

So the next time a guy whines about how he IS nice, I think he should remember that there is so much more to it than just NOT being a jerk. Guys are looking for a "Nice Girl" -- but they don't mean she's ONLY nice. Right? There are plenty of nice sluts running around. Plenty of nice, ugly girls. Women are no different than men -- we are all looking for the total package.

Good Men are attractive, and I don't necessarily mean physically. They have this aura about them. Yes, they usually smell good or wear French cuff links. But sometimes they wear hard hats and smell like sweat. In any case, there is something about them that is incredibly desirable. And that makes them HOT.

Most "Nice Guys" complain about how women do not give them credit, or don't date them or treat them like crap. I think there are two reasons behind this feeling:

1. They are not dating Nice Girls. I think only Nice Girls recognize, appreciate and value Good Men. Girls who are too young, too inexperienced, too stupid, too selfish and too immature wouldn't be able to spot a Good Man if he slapped her in the face. You think a total bitch, a gold digger or a stupid slut would see a Good Man for who he is? And appreciate it? I seriously doubt it.

2. They only THINK they are a Good Man. In actuality, they do not possess (IMHO) all of the above characteristics. They are nice enough. They embody a lot of the qualities I've just listed. But something's.......missing. And Nice Girls know this. That's why it doesn't work out.

By the way, if anyone knows of a guy like this, and he's single, please send him my way. Thanks.

And I would LOVE it if a guy wrote a post describing a "Good Woman". What is the other side of the coin?

Have I missed any Good Man characteristics?

Alright, I'm sure I have ruffled enough feathers for one day. I am prepared to be ripped to pieces. Have at it.


Matilda Jane said...

You ask for my advice on what a 'nice guy' is, yet.. I don't see any evidence of my answers on here.... that's the last time I give you MY opinion!

Anonymous said...

When you find this guy, he will be hanging out with a yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, possibly a leprechaun and maybe skinny Elvis. Even if you found this guy, I think you would eventually grow tired of his "all things to everyone-ness." Yes, I made that term up. I also believe that no matter what women say to the contrary they all want a guy who is a little bit bad. It creates drama and interest in a relationship.

RWA said...

OK, I just need to go crawl under a rock and hide, I suppose.


Alison said...

This list describes to a T the "hero" in every Nora Roberts book I have ever read. And, those guys are always HOT. :) You should write a book, VB.

* meish * said...

hmm, i want to meet this Guy, too. but i don't any Guy--Nice, Good, or Bad--who isn't too keen on the porn. Unless he's gay, in which case it would just be gay porn.

Matilda Jane said...

First Date

Phantom Hater said...

I like this post. I do think your standards of a "nice guy" are a little on the high side, just like what most guys would consider a "good woman" would be, but no one is perfect.

I totally agree a lot of Doormats have the Nice Guy Persecution complex. Also, there is a lot to be said about basic chemistry and the natural instinct for women to be drawn to certain types of individuals. Women are attracted to, as lowtide said, a bit of a bad boy, for various reasons, even if he doesn't embody any Nice Guy characteristics. They just mistakenly hope he might acquire some.

There's also the ever-present, looming shadow of the father. A girl's father almost unilaterally determines what she looks for in a mate. There is also the First Boyfriend, of course, who has some influence.

Kraig said...

wow. I think every guy reading that is going to feel completely overwhelmed.

I'm going to have to read it again, but thats some pretty high hopes. I don't know if a guy thats like that exists.

but even being 80% of that would make you a great catch.

Virginia Belle said...

MJ -- your description of a nice guy was "doesn't get laid, listens to kenny g" -- that was the description of a loser!

lowtide -- yes, i might as well be saying that i hope i marry paul bunyan or a Keebler elf. *sigh* but i have met guys who come surprisingly close to this ideal. and while yes, "bad" guys sound appealing in theory, they usually end up being douchbags. my definition of "bad boy" has changed a lot over the years. it used to be "tattoos!!!" but now it's more likely to be "doesn't have a 401k!!" also, props to you for standing up when women enter rooms. i didn't realize men still did that. VERY impressive. that would score major points with me. please tell other men about this. thanks.

rwa-- ok, you don't have to go THAT far! a lot of guys come pretty close to this description. honestly, they do! i know no guy is going to have all of these qualities. it's just the ideal, that's all. but does this explain a little about why i'm still single??

alison -- thank you for the compliment, but i would be a horrible bodice-ripper writer. :)

meish -- yeah, i know. they are hard to find. but they exist. i have met about 3. to be honest, i don't even know if i would want to end up w/a guy who is 100% anti-porn. he doesn't sound like much fun....but if i had to choose between No Porn and 24/7 Porn, i'd go with the former.

MJ-- you liked to the same article PH did. aw. that's cute.

PH -- yeah, they are high. and i am not crazy enough to think i'll find a guy like that. but 80% of that would be plenty. and yes, i agree that certain women are going to value certain traits higher than others, and certain M/F combos are going to bring out certain aspects of one's personalities. some guys bring out my witty side, some guys bring out my inner Martha Stewart, etc. if a woman is with a "bad" guy who doesn't have ANY good man characteristics, i guarantee you she's about 15 years old. she's dumb enough to think she can change him and inexperienced enough to think there's nothing better out there. Also, i think when women are younger, we like "bad" but as we get older, we realize that what we really like are "balls". :) And you are right -- our dads play a big role in what we end up looking for. i really looked up to my dad, so it will be hard for most guys to measure up. as far as first boyfs go....yes, there are qualities he has which i still look for. i hadn't really thought about the same true for guys?

kraig -- neither do i! but yes, 80% would be great. know anyone???

LK said...

I agree that a guy with 80% would be spectacular. However, if the remaining 20% includes #5 and #6, could be a deal-breaker.

Stuck said...

Why did I get a mention in this post? Just because I'm not posting about the handfuls of women I'm picking up, banging, and not calling doesn't mean it's not happening!


It's possible.

All joking aside, I don't bemoan the Nice Guy stigma anymore. I don't think of myself as one anymore. I'm half asshole, and it seems to be working for me.


Matilda Jane said...

Gawd, it was Michael Bolton! Get it right!

Matilda Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
coffeesnob said...

1. when are you booking time in the lab to create this "mr wonderful" person?

2. can we expect "vb's guide to being a great guy" tucked inside the next issue of "esquire" or "gq"?

once again you win the "dessert of choice" for compiling the world's longest blog post. long. but. not. dull.

Kraig said...

In an attempt to understand your post, I decided to try and list the attributes you mentioned in your posts. Sum things up if you will.

1: Caring, Independant, respectful
2. Caring, a gentleman
3. Kind, Thoughful
4. Mature
5. Independance, Self Sufficieny
6. Straight Laced, Honest
7. Reliable,
8. Confident, but not cocky
9. Open, Honest, Trustworthy
10. Mature, Respectful
11. Manly, confident, secure, Cultured
12. Moral, Ethical, Caring, Not self-absorbed, Passionate
13. Stable

Removing duplicates, heres what we need to be guys: Caring, Independant, A gentlemant, Kind, Thoughtful, Mature, Self-sufficient, Straight laced, Honest, Reliable, Confident, Open, Honest, Trustworthy, Respectful, Manly, Secure, Cultured, Stable, Moral, Ethical, Passionate, Not self-absorbed.

the 23 things the perfect man would be?

and whats wrong with video games. I resent that you seem to place video games opposed to being mature. Being obsessed with video games sure. But its a form of entertainment, same as watching a movie or TV IMO

I also want to point out something. you don't like using "nice guy" but you use Nice girl. I don't think that works, because sometimes the girl doesn't fit the definition of "nice", but she's still a good woman who values what she sees in a good man.

Wow. this was long. Sorry

Phantom Hater said...

Let's see if I can list some of the qualities I think a "nice woman" should possess...

1. When a beer or other alcoholic beverage is requested, the beverage arrives promptly and ice-cold. Oral sex may accompany it.

2. After a hard day of work, the woman instantly senses the man's needs. A night of crazy passion ensues, leaving man spent and delirious with post-coital ecstasy. Breakfast in bed may follow.

3. After reflection upon a recent argument, realizes that the man is right, and apologizes. Oral sex may follow.

umm...let's see, that's about it.

OK, maybe I'll see if I can scrum up a more serious post on this subject.

Maybe you should post your requirements on Craigslist, VB, and see if you get some hits.

KingBob said...

More often than not the girl won't have anything to do with the nice guy. They want bad boys and hope to turn them into nice guys.

Snooch said...

Wrong! ;) I definetely do NOT want a bad guy!! Have met enough, and sick of them already. It's impossible to turn them into nice guys, and am already sick of trying.
I want a nice guy, who is a nice guy by nature, and noone else, I'll leave all the bad guys for those who have the nervs dealing with them. I don't. I want a partner I can rely and count on, a secure partner for a secure, mature life. Don't need any of those stupid bad boy behaviours.

Virginia Belle said...

LK-- yes, 5 & 6 are pretty much mandatory for most women.

stuckey -- you're not an asshole. in fact, i don't think you could be an asshole if you tried. and stop saying penis. actually.

MJ-- whatever. same difference.

coffeesnob -- oh, how i wish i could create this person....and no, i doubt they would want my long-ass posts in their magazines. but thanks for the semi-compliment.

kraig -- hmmm. straight laced sounds....weird. i don't like that. it's not what i meant. it sounds like he isn't fun. he is. i don't know what term would be better. anyway, there's nothing wrong with video games. but if that is ALL he does and he spends HOURS and HOURS sitting on the couch like a zombie, i don't think that's a healthy, admirable quality. i could say the same thing for watching movies, surfing the web or *gasp* shopping. and ok, we can use the phrase "good woman" instead of nice girl. that's fine.

PH-- if anyone wonders why dancers flock to you, only to run away and repeat the process, all they would have to do is read the comments you leave on blogs. *rolls eyes* the craigslist comment made me laugh out loud. :)

kingbob -- dude, read my comment above. i explain the whole Bad Boy thing.

snooch -- i second that! amen!

Stuck said...

Women want the bad boys when they're young. During this time period, the nice guys develop that Nice Guy Persecution (Inferiority) Complex, which ruins them by the time women come around looking for the nice guy they remembered.

Virginia Belle said...

yes, stuck. that's pretty close to how it works. actually.

FRIGGA said...

Phew, that was kind of a long one. But it seems you must've met my ex, he's Mr. Nice for the First 6 Months Guy. But what happens at that point in time that causes them to turn? It's so frustrating to fall for a guy who doesn't actually exist even though you thought you'd been dating him! Arg.

Oh. Um.... Sorry for the long comment, my main beef is that a man has to do what he says, follow through.

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