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
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.