Nice Guys vs. Bad Boys: We’ve Got to Talk About This Differently

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Veronica Grace has some thoughts to add to the ongoing discussion of Nice Guys vs. Bad Boys.

 

I recently did a blog about my 13 year old son’s thoughts on respect. It made one small (in my opinion) mention of my son’s perception that “the boys at school that are not respectful to girls are mostly the ones that have girlfriends.” I thought that was a very small part of his insights but that is what most of the comments centered on. Having been out of the dating pool for 6 years now I was surprised to find that the “Girls only date bad boys”/ “Women only like assholes”/ “nice guys always lose” discussion is still going on. And that it was stuck in the same place it had been when I was dating. Men talking about it as if it’s something women are doing *to* them. Women frustratedly explaining that being pissed that a woman isn’t having sex with you means you aren’t actually a “nice guy.” And around and around we go.

 

Here’s what this old married lady thinks about it. An old married lady who BTW is married to a man who rates so far away from bad boy/asshole or even being assertive that he could hardly speak in my presence for the first 15 years I knew him. And unlike Raj he doesn’t drink, so no help there.

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So here’s the thing. This isn’t about you. This isn’t about how women are doing this terrible thing that leaves you alone. This is about a terrible system that is leaving many people in bad situations. This isn’t about women thinking to themselves “Oh that’s a nice guy…but I’d really prefer an unhealthy relationship with that asshole over there!” This is about a system that brainwashes almost everyone to some extent.

 

One big problem I see in how people approach this is in the over emphasis of false dichotomies. First you have the women vs men dichotomy, as if they are opponents in this issue. Then you have the bad boy/asshole vs nice guy dichotomy as if all men fit into one box or the other. Then after creating this shallow dichotomy, you assign winners and losers as if both “sides” are in the same game. But they’re not.

 

The issue of women choosing men who are perceived to be anything from aggressive to abusive is created by the system. It’s not women’s evil secret plan to punish you for not being the jerk they have asked you not to be. It’s complicated, but here are a few things to consider.

 

Not all “bad boys” are jerks. Women live in the same media filled, culturally influenced world you do. If you are feeling the pressure to be hyper masculine, they are feeling the pressure to want someone who fits that stereotype. Some women feel in some part that their value is determined by the men they can get. That doesn’t mean that they want jerks, that means they want the man you may feel pressured to be. We are all taking in messages every day that tell us that aggressive/bold/daring equals masculine and that attracting masculine attention is the measure of femininity. Some women are caught in between society’s messages and what they truly need in a partner to be healthy and happy.

 

“But what about the guys who really are jerks?” you may ask. In a society that has as high a rate of domestic abuse as we do, we are going to have children who grow up to be drawn to abusive dynamics. People who are drawn to abusive partners may be playing out abusive dynamics they grew up with. Gender is not the point here, the point is what happens in your family as you grow up has a deep, often unconscious influence on you. This means you may be absolutely unwilling to be with someone who even raises their voice when they are angry. On the other hand it may mean that you keep coming back to people who treat you like crap, or it may mean that you become someone who treats people like crap. Or both.

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You may still be saying “But why do they always go for the jerks? They should have figured it out by now.” and my question for you is, if every woman you are interested in is interested in men who are nothing like you, what are you doing to examine why you are drawn to the same kinds of women all of the time? Because there are plenty of women who have no interest in jerks.

 

If you aren’t finding any of those women, then you have as much of an issue of being drawn to the wrong people as women who are only into jerks. I don’t say this from some high and mighty place above anyone. I say this from the perspective of someone who, until I got married, ALWAYS picked unavailable men. Never jerks, but always men who were not interested in me, or who lived thousands of miles away or who were gay…you get the picture. I even spent some time in the “why do guys always go for the girls who treat them like crap?!?” camp.

 

That’s right, there are plenty of men who always choose women who treat them badly. Having a bad partner picker is not gender specific. We all have our dynamics to play out. It’s not until we become aware of them that we can begin to change them.

 

I’m always surprised to hear men who in any other situation would demand that you not put men in such limited boxes…go straight into nice guy/bad boy dichotomy as if there are only two kinds of men. There is a continuum, and along that continuum there are infinitely varied and complicated men. Everyone has some mixture of light and shadow, some areas where they are good and some areas where they are screwed up. So while it would be great if you would stop judging women for not being interested in you, maybe it’s also time to consider not sentencing other men to a two box judgment. Yes, some people are assholes, some people are even abusive, but how does it help you to focus on that in this context? If you want to focus on assholes and abusive people, I suggest focusing that energy on the system and how we can change it so everyone has a better chance of growing up healthy. You can start by not putting someone in the asshole box and writing them off as a stereotype instead of a person. You can also take some time to think about what defines someone as a “jerk” and where do those characteristics come from?

 

The first guy I fell in love with was an “only likes girls who treat him like crap” guy at the time. I suffered over that for a long time, but one night he hurt my feelings intensely and I got bitchy with him. His whole attitude toward me changed. We’d been friends for 7 years. The first time I was anything but totally nice to him, he suddenly treated me like he was interested. I realized that night that I could have him. This guy who I wanted, who I thought I was in love with, I could have him. All I had to do was treat him like crap. It was suddenly clear to me that it wasn’t him that I wanted. What I wanted was a good relationship with him. I wanted a romantic relationship that was as healthy as I thought our friendship was, not a train wreck with him in a starring role. What I wanted was an impossibility based on how he was wired and where he was in his life journey. Eventually, he did end up with a really great woman who treats him well. The interesting thing is that very time I spend time with them I am so thankful that it’s her and not me. The dynamic that works for them wouldn’t work for me.

 

So I’m asking you to consider that maybe the “assholes” are not getting what you want. If what you want is a healthy relationship, then you have to find a healthy person who is a good fit for you. Even if the person you want (the one who is only interested in assholes) decided to be with you, it wouldn’t be the relationship you want because that person isn’t set up for a healthy relationship. When they are, they will be drawn to healthier people and dynamics. They still may not be drawn to you.

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Part of the problem with the “women only date assholes” complaint is that often women hear it from men they aren’t attracted to that they don’t think are nice. It seems that for many men it is much easier to feel like they were rejected because they are something good, instead of facing their fear that they are not good. This is part of the system we need to change, because someone not being attracted to you does not necessarily mean you suck. It means that you are not a fit for them. Once people can accept that they may not be a fit for someone they are attracted to, without feeling like it’s a failure, the need to keep screaming about “women only date assholes” will stop.

 

It’s not all on men of course, a lot of the ways women tell men they aren’t interested are meant to “let them down easy,” so instead of saying “I’m just not attracted to you.” They say “I’m sorry, I’m attracted to someone else.” That is part of the system. Women are trained to “be nice.” They are put in the position of not wanting to hurt a “nice guy’s” feelings. But that is only half the problem. The other issue is that a woman, who doesn’t take the blame onto herself for the “I’m not interested,” is risking abuse. That’s right, the women you think only date assholes are very possibly trying to avoid having men be assholes to them.

 

It happens all the time. The idea that ‘a man’s self worth is wrapped up in his ability to get women’ makes some men mean when a woman says no. Add on top of that this stupid idea that the media spreads that what women really want is someone who will chase them and you now have a situation where saying “I’m not interested.” doesn’t work. Saying “No, thank you” most often gets you either called a bitch (or a slut, which is interesting…why does saying no get me called a slut?) or a guy who doesn’t take the no seriously.

 

How many books are there out there that tell men that women really want them, they are just playing hard to get? How many movies are there showing that when men don’t take no for an answer that the women eventually give in? This is part of the system we have to stop. In the meantime women have learned that saying “No, thank you.” is not effective. They have learned that taking the blame and saying they are with someone else or attracted to someone else is their best bet to get out of an awkward situation with as little abuse and awkwardness as possible. Change that and more women will be willing to say “No, Thank you.” instead of “You’re a really great guy, but I’m still hung up on my ex.”

 

—Photo mlakner/Flickr

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About Veronica Grace

Veronica Grace is a pragmatic idealist mother to two sons, one who has rudely determined he will become a teenager without her permission and the other who wouldn't notice the world ending as long as he had a book in his hands. She holds equality, honesty and compassion among her highest ideals and has found herself currently obsessed with gender roles and practical minimalism. She is always obsessed with why people do the things they do. You can find her being sassy at http://wearinsassypants.wordpress.com/ and trying to transverse the twitterverse @vsassypants

Comments

  1. “Men talking about it as if it’s something women are doing *to* them.”

    OMG, I never really thought of that. The assumption that something is being done TO you. Disregard that, and you can look at things a little differently.

    But in the whole good v. bad guys debate, there is one dynamic that I think should be acknowledged.

    A lot of guys who aspire to be good have been raised on the idea that male sexuality is violent, disrespectful, akward, and annoying. We’re told of how it’s disrespectful to think a girl looks good, and to tell her she is good-looking. That wanting sex is already bordering perversion.

    As such – and this is the important bit – Men who want to be good AVOID expressing their feelings to women. We’ve been told such statements are disrespectful.

    After some things that have happened to me, I often even hold back on expressing my feelings when she actively shows feelings for me already.

    But when a guy doesn’t actually care about women as people, he isn’t worried about offending her, so he says how he feels, and does so however he wants. So the guys showing their sexual desires are the ones who don’t care about the woman’s perspective.

    And what that comes down to is women not being clear enough on this perspective. It’s like they lay out a framework of how they want to be treated, which excludes expressions of sexual desire, and so it actively filters out the men who respect them, and allows through only the men who disregard the boundaries she set forth. Then it would come as no surprise if these men disregard other boundaries as well.

    I think is what women need to do is start talking about ways that ARE okay to express feelings. There is a lot of talk about how to screw it up, and it inflates and expands.

    -”A guy told me he would love to do nasty things to me. It was terrible.” (Reasonable enough)
    -”Yeah, I know! I hate it when guy just sort of hit on me like that like I don’t have other stuff to do!” (Getting blurry)

    -”This one guy was giving me a creepy look at the store the other day.” (I can imagine some pretty creepy looks)
    -”Yeah, Ugh. Guys just shouldn’t look at girls, raping us with their eyes.” (So now guys can’t even look a women without it being misogyny and considered a form of rape intentions?)

    But then those same girls will wonder why guys don’t hit on them, or why guys don’t even look a them.

    You can’t just say “Here’s a whole range of stuff I consider disrespectful” without also saying “okay, we want to be desired, but here are some ways to show it.” Otherwise, the only people showing their desire are also the ones who don’t care about your boundaries.

    • Veronica Grace says:

      I think that is definitely an important discussion. I talked about the “what might be going on with women” part of that here http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/but-she-wants-it-gmp/

      But I feel like the discussion about male sexuality as violent and shameful is one that men need to be having. I am extremely interested but I’m just not qualified to write about that part of the situation. I hope there are more articles that address that and what we can all to to change that.

      • With all due respect, Veronica, it is one that women must take part in as well. Now, I believe in women’s rights, but at the same time, within the “mainstream media” (ie: Hollywood) and politics, there have been elements among the female ranks that have touted the idea that men are disgusting and mean, with only thoughts of violence, spitting, and sex (and getting it at all costs). Of course, this isn’t helped by the male end of things touting the same message, and guys like me, guys who just want to find a woman who’ll make them happy and they can make happy, seem to be left in the middle, adrift. Since the rise of Feminism, there has been the message put out there that women don’t need men, that the male is not necessary to the family unit. A sizable portion of men have responded to this as such, and have taken it as a pass to be complete jerks, which only reinforces the feminist perspective, which in turn shores up the men’s perspective.
        And again, guys like me, who want to have quiet lives with love in the mix, are caught in the crossfire.
        This perception of men and masculinity needs to be addressed by BOTH sexes (capitals for emphasis, not yelling), not by just one or the other.

    • A lot of guys who aspire to be good have been raised on the idea that male sexuality is violent, disrespectful, akward, and annoying. We’re told of how it’s disrespectful to think a girl looks good, and to tell her she is good-looking. That wanting sex is already bordering perversion.
      Good point. And when you intersect that with the idea that men are allowed to be sexual beings while women are sexually repressed (some would even pull out the word privilege) I think we are left with a bit of a contradiction.

      Somehow males are free to be sexual but being sexually free means being presumed to be violent, disrepectful, and annoying?

      As such – and this is the important bit – Men who want to be good AVOID expressing their feelings to women. We’ve been told such statements are disrespectful.
      Yes. If we express those feelings we are violent, disrespectful, and annoying but if we don’t then we aren’t being honest.

    • John Anderson says:

      @ Webz

      “A lot of guys who aspire to be good have been raised on the idea that male sexuality is violent, disrespectful, akward, and annoying. We’re told of how it’s disrespectful to think a girl looks good, and to tell her she is good-looking. That wanting sex is already bordering perversion.”

      Good point. Now define good. Calm, peaceful, caring, sharing, may come to mind. Now define masculine. Fierce, dominant, strong, may come to mind. The definition of good seems far away from the definition of masculine. You can’t live a contradiction.

    • “And what that comes down to is women not being clear enough on this perspective. It’s like they lay out a framework of how they want to be treated, which excludes expressions of sexual desire, and so it actively filters out the men who respect them, and allows through only the men who disregard the boundaries she set forth. Then it would come as no surprise if these men disregard other boundaries as well.”

      So, you’re claiming mixed messages. I can dig that. You hear all the pro-woman propaganda which paints very broad strokes about respectful vs. disrespectful behavior, and is guilty of going to extremes (like your example of “now we can’t even look at a woman?”). I can see how this makes a man feel like he can’t do anything right. Interestingly, women grow up with similar scary propaganda about not trusting men, complete with every horror story about the dark stranger lurking in the mall parking lot that you can think of, leaving many of us automatically suspicious of every man’s attention and intentions. Our own pro-woman propaganda is just as guilty of extremes, all under the premise of “better safe than sorry.”

      The next confusing message is seeing guys who are breaking the rules of respect, and still getting women. Here’s where I hope I can shed some light.

      The way The Rules are presented, to both genders, makes them seem universal, as if they are laws of nature vs. creations of mankind (and, honestly, feminists). BUT in reality, the Rules are not applied nor enforced equally for everybody. And there are plenty of people who never even GOT the message. Blame their schools, blame their parents, blame their socioeconomic status, but for whatever reason, the “correct” ways to behave either never made it through, or these people rejected the rules early on. Maybe because it’s hard to hear “respect women” out in public and then go home to scenes of domestic abuse, as one example. (And please note that I’m not saying which gender partner is abusing and which is the victim, that’s deliberate, because either combination could result in trouble understanding what it means to respect women.)

      So you get women who haven’t learned to respect themselves falling in with men who never learned to respect them either. You get women saying what they want is a nice guy, then turning around to start dating a jackass (who may still have nice guy qualities too, because few people are jackasses to the core) because something about him hooked her, or because he’s been sold to her by the system as Desirable. You get a lot of very different people with very different ideas of what the ideal relationship (or even hookup) looks like. And you get a whole lot of frustrated people who learned the Rules, and took them to heart, only to see them being broken left and right by those who didn’t learn/rejected the Rules. The messages are mixed simply because there IS no universal message, there is no one rulebook that we’ve all agreed to play by. Dating, despite all its rules, is kind of an anarchy.

      Am I making any sense?

      • I don’t know if you’re making sense, but I am relating to everything you’re saying.

        For some reason I have the results of the experiment with the superstitious pigeons in mind. I knew that sentence would whet your curiosity! Okay after all the experiments of reward and punishment involving all sorts of animals being given sugar pills or some similar reward for one sort of behaviour and electric shocks (I know, right; if you’re having a twinge of ethical disapproval there, I feel it too) as a form of punishment and how behaviour could be modelled; came a couple of experiments where the rewards (or punishments – but I’m not going to deal with that experiment now – that was the “learned helplessness” experiment and it’s actually quite heartbreaking – though possibly relevant, maybe I’ll come back to it) were randomly dished out – there was no law or sense to it. And they did this experiment with pigeons. What happened is the pigeons trying to work out what they “did right” would try to re-enact the things they were doing when they last were rewarded in the vain hope it would work again. There behaviour became increasingly exaggerated and eccentric as they thought that the fact it wasn’t working this time might be because they weren’t doing it enough. And that’s how we develop superstitions, and possibly the reasons men get it so badly wrong with women, because we’re trying to reiterate what went right in the past, and it isn’t right for someone else because they’re a different person with different tastes and have a different set of rules.

        And I suppose, since I’ve mentioned it, I should talk about the learned helplessness experiments, which I don’t endorse; please if you’re one of those people who go into psychotic rages about the mistreatment of animals probably best to read no further; if on the other hand you can at least accept that it happens, but still have empathy, expect to be a little distraught. In the learned helplessness experiment a dog is in a cage; all of which can be electrified. There’s no logic to it, the punishments are delivered randomly. At first of course the dog tries to desist from whatever behaviour he exhibited when he was last punished, but of course it won’t prevent another punishment. Eventually he lays down and takes it, unable to do anything and feeling very depressed.

        I guess that’s kind of relevant too. At least the pigeon story was kind of funny. The dog one is just bleak! Fortunately people can communicate and explain what went wrong and what went right to each other; even better we could explain to each other what we want and what we don’t want. We can and could. Quite frequently though we don’t and assume it’s common knowledge and anyone not adhering to our script has obviously got it wrong.

        • I’m actually very familiar with the cruel-sounding learned helplessness experiment. I remember learning about it in Psych 105 in college and finding it a relevant example in other areas of my life, as I have been that dog who realized no matter what she did or where she stepped, pain was waiting, so best to just lie down and accept it. And you’re spot-on, “bleak” is the best way to describe that situation.
          Thank you for making that comparison, though, it does help me understand and feel a little more sympathetic to the men who have become so embittered by the dating scene that they just give up. It can be hard to speak to those men because their frustration bleeds out the sides of their mouths with every word. When my desire is to help these men, and I’m faced with a wall of defeat, I’m equally frustrated. “If only they could get past their own bad attitude, they might hear me.”

          But to think of them like the shocked dog in the experiment, then it makes a lot more sense. “It doesn’t matter what I do, I’m always doing it wrong and being punished for it. No matter where I turn, pain is waiting.” I can’t really empathize with dating stories because it’s far outside my own married-young life experience, but I can definitely empathize with helplessness.

          The question is, then, what helps the wounded dog? To turn off the electric floor and let him do whatever he wants? To keep telling him new ways to navigate without getting shocked (which are just as likely to fail as anything he has tried already)? To simply pet him and say “there there, it’s not so bad?” The learned helplessness experiment tells us how a sentient creature acts when faced with an insurmountable challenge, but not how to help him.

          It seems like more and more articles are being written about this every day, men lamenting their bad luck, men rallying against the system, men trying to coach each other on the system, women shaming men for crossing the lines, women trying to explain it just one more time so everyone understands, women arguing that they’re not to blame. The ensuing discussion is usually the same. Despite all that’s been said on the topic, we’re not really getting anywhere.

          The dog takes the path of least resistance, accepting that the world is rigged to hurt him. The pigeon puts up a fight, becoming more and more extreme in his desperation. Neither ends up happy, both get shocked for their efforts. Surely there must be a middle way.

          • I don’t know what can be done about the wounded dog.
            But I’ve learned that aging helps quite a bit, in that the drive or “urge” to interact with other people with the hope that someone some day will “get” you will diminish.

    • But here’s the issue. You talk about women “not being clear enough on this perspective. It’s like they lay out a framework of how they want to be treated, which excludes expressions of sexual desire, and so it actively filters out the men who respect them”

      SOME women are like that. Not all, and if that’s the only type of women you’re meeting then you’re picking the wrong type of women – as they’re clearly not right for you. It’s exactly like saying, ‘oh, all guys are into bitchy women.” No, the guys who are into that are the guys i’m meeting.

      I do think that you’re right in that the guys who are upfront about what they want are the ones that women want. And because they’re upfront about what they want, some women don’t care if they’re respectful of the woman’s desires and/or needs. However, I think a huge issue is that what guys consider NICE isn’t what women consider nice, and so while some guys think, “oh, girls aren’t into nice guys,” girls are more like, ‘I’m not into wimpy dudes.”

  2. John Anderson says:

    I had gone to a lawn party that a friend’s sister threw. I didn’t know anybody there except for my friend and his sister. I wasn’t familiar with her neighborhood and so I brought my balisong, butterfly knife, with me. The day was warm so even though I rarely wear shorts I decided to.

    There were a few other guys and several women there. I tried striking up a conversation with a few of the women, but I’m not particularly smooth with the ladies and they didn’t seem interested. I had resigned myself to contenting myself with the BBQ then the knife fell out of my pocket. I went to pick it up and a guy at the party recognized it so he had asked me if I knew how to use it. I started flicking it around. The next thing I know I’m the object of attention for the women at the party.

    I was the same guy I was 15 minutes before when no one would give me the time of day. Yeah, women like bad boys.

    • Veronica Grace says:

      That’s a really good example of the some women want bad boys but that doesn’t necessarily mean jerks part of the equation because even though you were appealing to the “bad boy” thing you were no more of a jerk than you were before you were perceived that way.

    • Um, I have a butterfly knife. A big one. Does that make me a “bad boy”? No. The items you possess do not define your character.
      Now as for why the women weren’t talking to you? You were probably just…boring? That is until you started whipping your knife around. It was something of interest, and honestly, I don’t think a lot of people have even seen a butterfly knife. That being said, I’m positive that you’ve seen how people flock to a person playing an instrument at a party. It’s the same thing.
      Also, did said women continue to talk to you once you had put the knife away? Did you get any of their phone numbers? Did you see any of these women after this party? Are you dating any of them? Or sleeping with any of them? If not….then your claim of women wanting “bad boys” is invalid.
      Lastly, the first person you attracted with your “bad boy” knife….what another man. So….what does that say?

      • John Anderson says:

        @ Atypical

        “Also, did said women continue to talk to you once you had put the knife away? Did you get any of their phone numbers? Did you see any of these women after this party? Are you dating any of them? Or sleeping with any of them? If not….then your claim of women wanting “bad boys” is invalid.”

        I was only flicking the knife for a minute or two. All the conversation occurred after the knife was put away and initially it was mostly about my martial arts experience. Then it went to how I knew their friend and her brother. As far as getting phone numbers, dating, or sleeping with them, no. I guess I would have had to ask in order to get them. Like I said I was the same guy I was 15 minutes before. If they didn’t like that guy, I wasn’t going to waste my time with them.

      • John Anderson says:

        @ Atypical

        There was an instance in a bar also. My friends invite me out. There were about 10 of us. For some reason I was just antsy. I didn’t feel like going out, but went because of social obligations. The guys were holding up a wall again. A friend who is a second degree black belt decided to aim a round house kick to my head. I blocked it and gave him a light side kick to the ribs.

        I didn’t feel like drinking with them so went over to the bar, picked up one of those long straws and started flicking it around like it was a knife. Some of the guys at the bar decided to buy me a drink. I’m not sure why, but I guess if a psycho was standing behind you flicking a straw around you buy him a drink. Next thing I know this guy built like a linebacker starts walking towards me and staring at me. So I start staring back like WTF you looking at. He stops. Then he’s joined by another guy just as big. He’s looking at me too so I’m staring at them both. Then I think hey, why are they the only black people I’ve seen here and I notice their shirts have the name of the bar on them. Oh crap, I’m staring down two bouncers so I casually look away like it’s inconsequential. I was trying to stay cool.

        Next thing I know a cute girl walks up to me and starts hitting on me. She said she had noticed what I was doing. I found out she turned 21 and her cousins were taking her out. I was in my early 30s. You don’t normally get attention from women 10 years younger and cute, but my friends noticed me too and started cock blocking so I walked her over to the bar on the other side of the club. As we’re passing another group of people they start talking to me. She’s asks if I know every body. I admitted that I never saw them before in my life. I asked her if she wanted to dance. She said she didn’t like to dance because she was too embarrassed. I told her she was with me and no one would dare make fun of her. She started to dance where she was. I enjoyed the show for awhile. Then started moving in. I had my arm around her waist before my boys pulled me away and said it was time to go. She was trying to give me her number. I’m trying to get it.

        When we get outside, I’m like WTF figuring someone must have done something and the bouncers were coming. My friend asks do you still have your wallet. I ask if he’s referring to the three guys that were following us. He’s like you saw them. Yes, she said they were her cousins. I’m ticked. Bro, there were only three. They killed my chance with a hot 21 year old because we were being followed by three guys, un-freaking real.

    • Hi John Anderson

      As a woman it is impossible to see that to carry and use an army knife turns you into a bad boy?
      You must have misunderstood .

      I often carry an army knife myself in my backpack, it comes in handy.

    • John, what gets me here is that this is absolutely not unique to women. Yet, the conversation is always about how women like “bad boys”. I can’t tell you how many football games I’ve been to, when I’ve been a regular season ticket holder (12 years about) and barely had any men talk to me. But when some girl came in all flirty and dancing and in some cute little sport themed tight outfit, looking for attention by using her sexuality, a lot of men in the section seats around me where chatting her up and flirting with her. Some with the attention to probably get to know her better and some not because some of the men that flirted with these types of girls were with OTHER women even.

      So yeah, maybe your knife sparked some intrigue. But men do the same exact thing when it comes to women! But that’s not something men ever rarely want to acknowledge within themselves. It’s largely about talking about how women are hampered by this phenomonon. But it’s not just women because I’ve seen men go for the sexually obvious “bad girl” type over and over again. While the girl who isn’t as obvious (me) doesn’t get nearly the same kind of attention.

      Do I blame men for being attracted to those obvious kind of girls? I don’t blame them. But it is frustrating. Because just like you, it makes me feel like if I want to get men to notice me, I got to be someone I’m not.

  3. As I said in the other article, regarding couples dynamics and “you wouldn’t want to be with that person who are having a bad relationship anyway”:

    Connection and communication are two-way streets. Just because persons A and B doesn’t have connection, doesn’t mean that A is inherently incapable of having connection and healthy relationship.

    • Veronica Grace says:

      “Connection and communication are two-way streets. Just because persons A and B doesn’t have connection, doesn’t mean that A is inherently incapable of having connection and healthy relationship.”

      Exactly, that’s one of the really important points I hope people get.

    • And. Thanks for the write-down.

      It is something that needs to be discussed.

      Just my 2 cents:
      I don’t have the habit of putting people in boxes that they haven’t squarely put themselves in, i.e. abusive, unfaithful, notorious “womanizer” that you thought you could “put straight”, and so on.
      I don’t know if my definition of niceguy/badboy is off the mark, but usually “Nice guys” are your friends that you summon to carry your boxes when you’re moving out, while yourself, maybe simultaniously, are out banging the “Bad boy”.
      (I’m not kidding. This have actually happened to me. Not that I or any of the other guys who were actually there had any real romantic feelings for this girl, that I know of. But it still a display of a certain style of class and priorities, don’t you think?

      Also, I Think you are circumnavigating the issue of “doing what we are told”.
      But I need to elaborate on that.

      • FlyingKal, I think that defining what a nice man is might be the problem. No one, male or female, appreciates anyone who does everything for them. That’s called being a doormat, not nice. Little gestures or helping a woman once that you don’t know is okay, but being there for her every time she needs something done around the house without asking for a handyman’s salary is selling yourself short, in my opinion. Likewise, I’ve seen a lot of men who get really tired of women who hang around and fill their every need… eventually they get neglected and treated poorly. Being a doormat is not being nice.
        In my opinion, being nice is being respectful when the situation warrants, not resorting to immature negative behavior when situations are difficult, understanding that women are people, too; taking social and personal responsibility for the things you can change or want to maintain, not judging a book by its cover… stuff like that. I guess it’s being a good man, really. There are a lot of women who are very attracted to good men… I’m one of them. It’s a huge turn-on, to be honest.
        Being able to defend and protect yourself and others does not make you a bad guy; it makes you a guy who is able to protect and defend himself.
        Take the example of Don Draper… ridiculously handsome, well-dressed, always ready to verbally defend his position… but he goes about life all wrong. Every time I look at Jon Hamm in that role, I think wow he’s hot, but a relationship would never happen in real life if his character were real because he’s a jerk. Every single one of his intimate female relationships always ends in heartbreak or pain and he’s never satisfied because he’s never figured out the secret to being a good husband, father or even a friend. He’s all about himself, and you can see he has that fear of dying alone on his face (as the seasons have progressed). He lived for the temporary glory and pleasure of using others to his own ends, and being deceitful as it served him… and he realizes all that he has isn’t worth crap without family, without real connection. It’s the perfect folly of the alpha male who isn’t satisfied with all that money can buy and attract. Good men figure out the secret to a happy life is healthy relationships.

        • Veronica Grace says:

          Tiff, I think that there is a continuum of “not wanting people who are nice” from the only wanting someone who treats you like complete crap and on down to people who have an idea that if you will “do anything for them” that it isn’t a challenge of whatever they think. But I don’t believe that everyone is on that continuum. I’m not someone who is comfortable with having someone do things for me but my husband tries to do everything he can for me. I try to do everything I can for him. Within healthy boundaries of course. But the fact that my husband would do anything for me does not in the least make me think he’s a doormat. He doesn’t allow people to treat him badly, he’s just a very generous person. Those are two very different things.

          Being a doormat is not being nice, I agree there. But being helpful is also not being a doormat. I wish more people would be more willing to help without expectation of anything besides gratitude and being treated well. I wrote about this in this article http://goodmenproject.com/sex-relationships/congratulations-youve-been-friend-zoned-gmp/

          • @Veronica Grace,

            I try to help out if there’s people I know, at least fairly well, who are in need and actually asks for help. If I feel like I’m baing taken advantage of (as has happened on numerous occassions) I don’t usually repeat the deed until I see some kind of “remorse” from the offending person (or is “blackmailed” into it by family).
            It’s really hard to process that this in any way makes me a bad person, as in a doormat or “Nice Guy”?

            • Veronica Grace says:

              Being kind or helpful never makes you a bad person or a doormat. Doormat IMO is a shaming term people use to make other people feel bad for being vulnerable, because for many doing nice things for people is being vulnerable.

              As for the nice guy thing. I hate that term. I have an aversion to the word “nice” I think that nice is something that can come from kindness or from manipulation, it describes behavior not intention. Who is more nice than the car salesman who is trying to sell you a car? Then the “nice guy” label has so much junk attached to it now, I prefer to think in terms of kind people. Does that make sense?

              My husband is extremely generous in doing things for people, it doesn’t make him a doormat. It certainly doesn’t make him a bad person, it is not a fault. He gets joy out of helping people, when they take advantage he doesn’t do drama, he simply withdraws and doesn’t interact with them any longer.

            • Hi Veronica, and thanks for your answer.

              I also think that the word “nice” has become a shaming term people use to make other people feel bad, much like what you say about “doormat”.

              But as it is, thanks for your distinction, and perspective, on “nice” vs. “kind”. I like that. :-)

        • Hi Tiff,
          No one, male or female, appreciates anyone who does everything for them.

          Where did I ever say I did “everything” for anyone…?

          This is basically what I meant about the real issue mostly being circumnavigated.
          How about not bringing up a hyperbole that is most easily dismissed in the discussion?

        • Take the example of Don Draper… ridiculously handsome, well-dressed, always ready to verbally defend his position… but he goes about life all wrong. Every time I look at Jon Hamm in that role, I think wow he’s hot, but a relationship would never happen in real life if his character were real because he’s a jerk. Every single one of his intimate female relationships always ends in heartbreak or pain and he’s never satisfied because he’s never figured out the secret to being a good husband, father or even a friend. He’s all about himself, and you can see he has that fear of dying alone on his face (as the seasons have progressed). He lived for the temporary glory and pleasure of using others to his own ends, and being deceitful as it served him… and he realizes all that he has isn’t worth crap without family, without real connection. It’s the perfect folly of the alpha male who isn’t satisfied with all that money can buy and attract. Good men figure out the secret to a happy life is healthy relationships.

          Comment on the Hamm/Draper analogy:
          I think most (all?) people have a fear of dying alone.
          But being a good, kind person who are alone through your 20′s, won’t automatically bring you a healthy relationship later in life either.

  4. The issue of women choosing men who are perceived to be anything from aggressive to abusive is created by the system. It’s not women’s evil secret plan to punish you for not being the jerk they have asked you not to be. It’s complicated, but here are a few things to consider.
    I think the reason guys think that it is some secret plot is because on the flip side (asking why guys go for terrible women) the conversation isn’t as forgiving. Not much room for “its the system at work”. Its usually “its the guy at work”. Maybe after thinking that they also believe that its women themselves doing the same on the other side.

    I’m always surprised to hear men who in any other situation would demand that you not put men in such limited boxes…go straight into nice guy/bad boy dichotomy as if there are only two kinds of men.
    I’d wager that happens after men are told by women they are interested in but are turned down by that “they don’t date nice guys” or “you’re such a p@ssy” or other comments that speak directly to that dichotomy.

    • Veronica Grace says:

      That is part of what I hope we’re working on here on GMP, that the discussion should always be about the system and the individual and how they interact. Too often we expect men to be all knowing and never make mistakes or have issues to deal with.

      If you have had women tell you that they don’t date nice guys or even more talk to you that way then I think they clearly fall into the group of women that you would not be able to have a healthy relationship with. Whatever is going on with them is not going to fit with your needs and values.

      • John Anderson says:

        @ Veronica Grace

        “If you have had women tell you that they don’t date nice guys or even more talk to you that way then I think they clearly fall into the group of women that you would not be able to have a healthy relationship with. Whatever is going on with them is not going to fit with your needs and values.”

        It could be a life stage. I knew a woman who has three children. She used to date “bad boys”. The father of her first child was abusive. He used to beat her. She left him and met a “nice guy” who she’s madly in love with. He’s the father of her other two kids. From talking to her, I got the impression that her priorities changed after the birth of her first child. She was looking for a good man to raise her child and fell in love with him. She probably wanted a “nice guy” all along and just didn’t know it.

        • Veronica Grace says:

          It was absolutely a life phase with my friend who I talked about. At some point he shifted and ended up married to a great women. He just wasn’t in that place when I was interested. I had to grow out of my issues that made me interested in only guys who weren’t interested. Which is an interesting point too. I wanted him because he was not interested, and he didn’t want me because I was interested. Not that I would have run away if he had eventually been interested but it certainly shows my partnership in the dynamic.

          • John Anderson says:

            There are some guys like me who run from sexually aggressive women even if I find them sexually attractive.

            • Veronica Grace says:

              I can’t really say for sure if I was sexually aggressive, I am sure that the answer to that would be very dependant on the person defining it, and how many points I got or lost based on having a vagina. But I can tell you that it appeared to me that sexually aggressive was exactly his type. What he wasn’t into was people who seemed to like him. I wondered if he thought that if you liked him you must be a loser, but if you didn’t like him that much you must be worth knowing.

  5. “People who are drawn to abusive partners may be playing out abusive dynamics they grew up with…”

    My BFF is trapped in a marriage with an abusive guy…but he had us all fooled in the beginning…he initially presented himself as the fun, hilarious guy who could party and cook up a storm and be the ultimate buddy….But now that he is married with children with a big mortgage hanging over his head and a high pressure job…he is bursting at the seams mentally and emotionally and sometimes physically…we have tried to intervene but my friend has chosen to stay in that house of horrors…she has no education and two kids and her family tells her to forgive him and to just stay and endure the abuse…

    I think some women want to believe that the next guy is going to be Prince Charming and that she will live in a castle and live a life of her dreams, full of fun activities and vacations and neat furniture…it is hard realizing that the man in front of you is far from that cartoon movie character…he does not exist…

    • Good point that a seemingly nice normal person can reveal their dark, not-nice side over time or under different circumstances. Just like a seemingly rough, surly person can be a real poet. I think most people, not just men or just women, have a good helping of both Nice and Bad. What side of them you see in any given moment is a little bit up to chance.

      Another point is that people have different meters for what constitutes a Bad person. We all know that some of the qualities attributed to Bad Boys are actually good personality traits but taken to an extreme – confidence, charisma, power are all attractive traits, but past a certain line, they make you an asshole. And that line is going to differ for everyone.

    • John Anderson says:

      @ Leia

      “she has no education and two kids and her family tells her to forgive him and to just stay and endure the abuse…”

      Maybe she’s afraid that he’s the best she going to get or that no other guy will want her because she has kids. She might be hoping that the great guy will come back. She probably needs to talk to a DV counselor so they can devise an exist strategy.

      • @John— yup, you are right…her husband is a very hard-working, intelligent guy who pulls in 6 figures ….and my family has met his family…and even some of my family members have remarked how devoted he seems (at least at that place in time) to his family….

        Yes, I do think she wishes that “great guy” will come back….I, unfortunately, see that he has shown her his ugly scarier side and he needs to keep them under his control….it was scary seeing her pick up the phone literally every 5 minutes the last time she was over with her family (he just kept calling her and asking what she was doing and when she was coming home….as if a 25 minute conversation with me over grilled ribs was going to turn her away from him forever…)…

        My husband and I keep shaking our heads…it is unbelievable that he is the same guy we first met almost 2 decades ago….I am puzzled at who this new guy is…I suspect it is some re-incarnation of his abusive father (the one who passed away when he was seven)…

  6. I’d like to put in my two cents as a woman. I really dislike mean men. I would not go out with one if I was paid for it. I did grow up in a household where my father was not abusive. He was neglectful, but also he did not overtly abuse me in any way. Maybe I already had this pattern ingrained from the time that I was small… who knows?

    I found someone who could be tender with me, sharing, funny, happy, and still be himself. He abhors violence unless it centers around family and home protection (as a necessary evil). He doesn’t think women, children or men should be abused. I love him with all my heart and he’s the best thing that ever happened to me.

    I want to address the knife story: wielding weapons is not a sign of a bad man in my opinion. Many women are programmed to find protection attractive, because prehistorically, men did the physical protection jobs, played those roles. (That’s not saying we can’t change that dynamic or that all men have to be physical protectors… it’s just a phenomenon.) I don’t think the women thought you were a “bad boy.” They probably thought you knew your way around a weapon, so you could protect them. I think that we have lost the plot on the honorable warrior archetype that is at this point, basically ingrained into the fabric of our humanity. I always think it’s great for men who feel they need to explore that side of themselves to pick up a martial art but learn how to use it effectively (i.e., not illegally).

    Male sexual expression is often handled irresponsibly in social contexts, and that’s why women often find it annoying or disrespectful. It takes a woman anywhere from 3 hours to 3 weeks to decide whether or not she wants to sleep with you. The reason is we are very vulnerable, we could catch diseases or we could get pregnant. That’s a huge role of responsibility for a woman to take. So when you see a woman in which you are interested in, you’re asking her to take a huge risk to herself to satisfy your desire. (And hopefully you’re interested in making her happy, too.)

    I don’t think every woman wants a monogamous, long-term relationship with every man she’s sexually interested in. However, men need to realize that they have to be honest about what they want out of a relationship (sex or more-than-sex). If men don’t like being lied to by women, being deceitful about your motives in a relationship hurts women and men, both. Men get rejected by women when they do this “pretend to be interested so she’ll sleep with me” deal which is quite disrespectful to both parties. However, the fast “wanna screw?” type come on is annoying for women, because we don’t make up our minds that fast about whether or not we are interested. If we did that, our gender and our children would not have survived.

    If we start seeing our sexual and romantic relationships as gardens to be tended, even if we only want a few hours or weeks of fun, then we are all better off for it. I’m not saying you can change women’s mental programming from a social standpoint overnight, but believe it or not there are women out there who are enlightened about relationships and gender norms. Those women will respect you for the honesty you’re displaying and you can let her know that you are not going to judge her as a “slut” for wanting a short-term relationship with you.

    My 2 cents.

    • But in places with access to abortion, wouldn’t it follow that it is actually men who are nearly as/just as vulnerable now since they too get STI’s, there are threats of rape, false accusations of rape, abusive women, no access to abortion or financial abortion so any pregnancy is out of his hands for the decision, etc? Or are you referring to instincts based off evolution?

      • I agree that the knife thing might not have had to do with the bad boy image at all. It was just something made you stand out. You might have gotten the same reaction had you pulled out a guitar, started telling jokes or stories that drew a crowd, did a backflip, or showed off your pictures from your trip to South Africa. Or instead of a group of girls, you had the opportunity to just talk to one and give some indication of who you are. Small talk at parties gets old and doesn’t show anything about you, and what you did was simply a spectacle that would get the attention of anyone. Something similar goes for girls. The same girl will get different amounts of attention based on what she’s wearing, if she shows off some skill (video games, dancing, singing), or part of her personality than if she just walks around in a sea of people making small talk.

  7. If “nice guys” want women who want “nice guys”, why do these “nice guys” care about women who want “bad boys”? I don’t understand why guys get so wrapped up in this nice guys vs. bad boys thing. If she wants a “bad boy” and you’re a “nice guy” why are you wasting your time? Move on. There are plenty of women in the world who want nice guys, but you’re not likely to find them at parties or bars. (Try the library maybe?)
    Essentially, what is the core issue here? Nice guys losing women to bad boys? Is a nice guy’s goal simply to get women? Because…that sounds like the bad boys’ goal as well. So…are bad boys really “bad”? Are nice guys really “nice’? Or do guys who don’t get the girl just calling themselves nice?
    This to me is the same thing as women getting called out for being “jealous” when pointing out the way another woman is dressed. Is this all about insecurity?
    I know A LOT of guys who pretend to be nice because maybe they’re not as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as some other men, or as smart, or funny, etc. But really, they are just as mean and violent, if not more so, than these so called “bad boys”. It’s also EXTREMELY frustrating that these nice guys think that just because they’re “nice” that women owe them something. Try being yourself instead of being a kiss-ass and then getting pissed off when you get rejected.
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/hnigatu/13-reasons-why-nice-guys-are-the-worst
    Further, there are more “types’ of men than “nice” and “bad”, just like there are more “types” of women than…”prude” and “slut”.

    • “If “nice guys” want women who want “nice guys”, why do these “nice guys” care about women who want “bad boys”? I don’t understand why guys get so wrapped up in this nice guys vs. bad boys thing. If she wants a “bad boy” and you’re a “nice guy” why are you wasting your time? Move on. There are plenty of women in the world who want nice guys, but you’re not likely to find them at parties or bars. (Try the library maybe?)”

      A few issues. There are plenty of guys who are told by a particular woman that she wants a “nice guy”, she also says HE is a “nice guy” but hasn’t told him that she wants more than just “nice”. It’s like hearing you are stupidly sexy but not sexy to her, it’s confusing especially if they say stuff like how you’re the perfect guy but they aren’t interested in you. Because it starts to sound like they are full of shit when they describe you as perfect but aren’t interested, their words do not match their desires because if you really are perfect then surely they’d want you.

      The other issue is that there are women who KNOW he likes her, know that he will do more for her, and will use him for attention, favours, gifts, etc. They lead them on with hints at more so there’s no clear rejection until he finally gets sick of being treated like dirt by her and moves on.

      “This to me is the same thing as women getting called out for being “jealous” when pointing out the way another woman is dressed. Is this all about insecurity?”
      It’s about the confusing way some women describe their dream guys, women are just as fault as men here. The only way for quite a lot these nice guys to get so led on and hurt is probably that a lot of women are unknowingly or knowingly leading them on and the guys also are at fault for not being clear with their feelings enough. It’s a very complex issue and varies person to person.

      “I know A LOT of guys who pretend to be nice because maybe they’re not as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as some other men, or as smart, or funny, etc. But really, they are just as mean and violent, if not more so, than these so called “bad boys”. It’s also EXTREMELY frustrating that these nice guys think that just because they’re “nice” that women owe them something. Try being yourself instead of being a kiss-ass and then getting pissed off when you get rejected.””

      Sometimes that happens yeah, There isn’t one TYPE of “nice guy”. There are fake nice guys as you describe, there are bitter ones, there are guys who are regularly told they’re nice but have no luck with women – some of them get bitter, some of them just get frustrated, some confused. I was often told I was a great guy, nice, sweet, etc but had no luck with women because I didn’t hit on them and was waiting for them to make a move, I know differently now.

      Most “nice guy” don’t think women owe them anything, they’re frustrated that they’re being told how great they are when they’re remaining single. Plenty of women also get frustrated with that too, being told they’re so great when they are single.

      • Maybe it’s not useful to pay too much attention to what people say about WHY they are not interested in you. Whatever they say is likely not true or not the whole truth. Or they nay not even know why, they just aren’t feeling it.

        Imagine a woman likes you but you find her unattractive. She asks “why don’t you want to date me?” Do you say, “you are a 3 on a scale of 10″? Do you say, “you are too fat for me?” Do you say, “your breasts are too small and your butt is too big”? No, you probably mumble something about how she is a great person but you don’t want a relationship right now blah blah blah. That’s what people say.

        Don’t pressure someone to give you honest feedback with the idea that (a) it will help you improve or (b) you can argue with the other person and convince them they are wrong. That is unfair to the other person. They aren’t obligated to tell you the unvarnished truth about why they find you unattractive, if they even know why.

        Just accept that this person right now is not interested. Don’t fret about what it means in the larger scheme of things. Don’t take this one woman (or man) as representative of all Women (or Men).

        • Trouble is if you think they aren’t interested now, do you later try again thinking that they’re just busy or what not, or do you realize she isn’t ever going to be attracted? I’d rather them say I don’t feel that way about you, I’m sorry. Saves more pain in the long run!

  8. The line that spoke out to me:

    “…because someone not being attracted to you does not necessarily mean you suck. It means that you are not a fit for them.”

    I had a problem with this in high school (and still do somewhat). I would feel that I was never good enough for any girl because I would always strike out on the girl that I did find attractive. Only until after I graduated high school did I begin (but never fully) realize that it wasn’t me or her, but that we were not compatible with each other. I may have felt that I was compatible with her and her with me, but it was never truly the case.

    I think that leaving high school behind was the best thing that could have happened to me in terms of understanding that just because a girl doesn’t find you attractive doesn’t mean she dislikes you at all.

    • Veronica Grace says:

      Totally! I struggled with that one a lot, I was close friends with each of the guys I wanted so I thought for sure that we must be compatible. But looking back that was not the case. Or maybe we were compatible for me since I was looking for someone who was not available and they were enjoying the attention, but not compatible in the way I thought.

      • As usual,you present a well-reasoned article,raising points that are not often considered. I am not one to give all of my power away by surrendering so completely to the system.Besides,after all,we are THE system.As such,the system reflects our mores and values. Which explains the persistence and longevity of our dysfunctions.That and our denial of the darker side of human nature.I suspect that men feel victimized by this behavior in women because of the role of pursuer they still must assume to have a chance at a relationship.So men try hard to understand the rules and mixed messages seem part and parcel to the game.When one has the leverage to set the rules,those rules will be favorable to them. Examples of this abound in society. that.Personaly,I have been dumped for the badboy and so have others I have known. I have six sisters and a some life experience under my hat. Giving mix messages on any number of issues,aware or not, in a variety of circumstances is commonplace among women.My mother used to say,”It’s a woman’s perogative to change her mind.”

  9. Nice guys eh….Of all the guys I know, there are plenty of nice guys who are dating, and plenty who are not. Of the assholes I know, far more of them are dating. Guys that treat women like shit, guys I know who are abusive, misogynists, etc, are dating. Thing is they probably had the confidence to ask them out, quite often the nice guys who are single have no backbone and women walk over them.

    When I was too nice I got fuck all female attention, but these days I am a bit of a cocky asshole and get more attention than I use to. There’s this fine line of flirting and joking around to learn, to be mean but nice, to make fun but not hurt people with it. It’s strange, very hard to learn but it usually gets a lot of laughs from the ladies, it’s also what many bad boys have seemed to learn good. It also helps that when you’re more confident, when you stand up for yourself then you are respected more, I have little trouble these days telling a woman when she’s crossed the line and acting like a bitch to me. I have no time for leeches and bad people because I am respecting myself far more than before.

    The other issue is there are pllennntyyy of sweethearts out there, women who are great but also shy and because they’re shy they are probably going out less, less likely to be seen and may not play up their sexuality, look a lil “frumpy” in their clothing, do not do the EXTREMELY IMPORTANT first contact that women do of looking to get the guys interest. The “nice guys” often do not do the EXTREMELY IMPORTANT indications of interest either, they are not putting forth their sexuality enough for many women to understand they are interested vs just want to be friends (which I suspect is why so many women talk about not knowing he was interested). If you haven’t got the confidence to ask her out, then you won’t get far especially as men are still expected to ask them out. Of my romantic interests, it’s been ONLY ME who has had to do the asking out, initiation of flirting, etc.

    I know why I am single, I don’t ask anyone out because I am insecure and don’t have a job due to illness (yet), and I also meet a lot of taken women. Where I live is a rural town and generally women leave after 18 in far greater numbers as female occupations generally require more university degree’s which are in the cities, whereas guys tend to stay more local as they are more likely to get into trades of the people at my school. So already there are more guys than girls in my age bracket, now couple that with a shitty nightlife and the major public events are more family orientated, then you really do have a hard time finding a date. I’ve tried online dating but there is literally 3 female profiles, and about 20 male ones in my age group of 18-40 (40+ intimidates me as I am 28, it’s quite a gap!). I also don’t have a whole lot of friends so I am not meeting their single friends like many seem to do, of the single women I do meet they’re nearly always going to be “home from uni” which means they’re living at least a few hours away, making it far more difficult to date or they’re “backpackers” who may be here for 2 months before going back to europe where they live. The kicker is I am not 100%, no job so it takes a heavy hit to my confidence but also means I cannot move yet so I focus on getting better, even though a partner would probably help skyrocket my ability to overcome my issues as they are largely mental and confidence based.

    Reason I said that is because it’s important to know why you are single so you don’t feel like a victim about it. I most likely have missed many opportunities because that initial look of interest that women give (generally it’s women who actually hit on someone first, with that look) is one that makes me uncomfy because of past history of bullying and I sit there wondering “Do I look ugly, or funny to them?”. It does pay however to learn body language, things like is their body turned towards you? are they mirroring your behaviour? Are they dangling their shoe, are her feet pointing towards you? Is she playing with her hair and focusing her eyes on you a lot, is she laughing at all your silly jokes? (I seem to make married women laugh a lot for some reason….), is she touching your arm, etc. She may be sitting there thinking “OMG, how obvious do I need to make it!” but finds it difficult to just ask you out as their is social expectation that men do the asking and some guys are turned off by women who ask them out.

    Dating is an extremely complex issue, one that requires knowledge that isn’t given in the textbooks at school which is…a huge failure of education I think because knowledge on how to make friends, how to ask people out respectfully should be part of a lifestyle course at school because it’s EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. Imagine teaching people this stuff in school, they’d save years of social embarassment and a lot of pain. Teach people how to handle rejection as it IS painful – ht tp://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/rejection.aspx – Teach them how to interact, be confident but polite, teach them how to reject people also in a polite manner, teach them that not every person wants the same thing and that will help crush this bad boy nice guy bullshit.

  10. And now for the politically incorrect advice……Generally, do not listen much to advice women give you for dating women because they are not a man who dates women. If you want advice, ask the successful men, ask the ones who are married and have been for a long time, ask the pickup artists if you’re interested in casual relationships. Women can give you some ideas but it will be largely based on what they think they want, it may work, it may not. And quite frankly some women say one thing and do another (just as some men do) so the advice may not be great. Listen but don’t take it as the ONLY fact, I personally place more emphasis on what men who date would say simply because they will understand the cis-hetero-male perspective better so they may have additional tips that many women don’t realize (and the reverse is true for dating men probably). You can however ask them as a judge of another woman’s character as they probably understand the cis-hetero-female behaviours better, just as guys generally can spot the bad boys better than women (especially if they act differently around the same sex). Adjust the genders and sexual orientations to suit your relationship, so I would guess ask gay men what gay men are like, and gay women what gay women like.

    DO however listen to them when they talk about comfort, respecting them and their boundaries, when they feel unsafe, etc. Whilst the advice on dating may not work out well, ALL of them can give correct advice for themselves on how to avoid making her feel creeped out, etc as they all will have some understanding of their own safety n comfort levels as guys do.

    Only a guide, don’t take as fact. Don’t hate me too much! It’s just generally the advice from my gender I find as better for dating for my hetero lifestyle.

  11. Great article. I felt tortured for 13 years living with the father of my children out of the sense of duty to the kids having both parents. He was utterly disrespectful of my continual denial of his advances. I would outright tell him, “no, don’t touch me, I don’t want you to touch me, have sex, kiss, etc. of course it was his habit to press harder and harder for me to be intimate with him. It came to the point of screaming, “don’t touch me! You smell horrible, leave me alone, I can’t stand being pressured by you!” The pressure increased until I acquiesced in order to gain respite from his relentless pursuit.

    Having been single for another 13 years now, my dating experiences are often wrought with a similar tone of the men I date being more interested when I show disinterest. That feels like very very dangerous ground to me. I could not tolerate a repeat episode of playing hard to get with someone I truly like, love and want to be with. It would be kind of like a PTSD experience. I just can’t go there, but in my real world dating, all too many men lose interest after I have shown them mine. I hate that unhealthy dynamic. I appreciate your article addressing the gender-role expectations that are askew and thinking about the issue anew. Thanks.

  12. Veronica,

    A good effort. However, I think your logic and conclusions are flawed. Let’s take it from the top.

    1. “This is about a terrible system that is leaving many people in bad situations.”

    No. The behavior of many women have very little to do the “system.” It’s just their individual beliefs, conduct, and behavior(s).

    2. “The issue of women choosing men who are perceived to be anything from aggressive to abusive is created by the system.”

    Again, you are simply wrong. Women freely choose to consort with men whom they find attractive. Unfortunately, many women, especially when young, opt for men for sexual relations that are players,…..Yet the message those same women send out is they are looking for a “nice guy.” The reality is that most women just are not interested in fucking a nice guy. They (nice guys) are not viewed as sexually attractive. That has zippy to do with this non-existent “system you write about.

    3. “Not all “bad boys” are jerks.”

    Correct! However, most women do not view this as suitable long-term partners or husbands. Therefore, these bad boys have some large negatives applied to them. Else women would chose them for LTR.

    4. “People who are drawn to abusive partners may be playing out abusive dynamics they grew up with.”

    Yes. But “may” is the operative word here. I would argue that in most cases this is NOT the dynamic being played out by most women who are dating bad boys. They are doing so because these men are viewed as attractive. Just that simple.

    5. “So while it would be great if you would stop judging women for not being interested in you, maybe it’s also time to consider not sentencing other men to a two box judgment.”

    OK. That’s fair. If a woman is not interested in me, I just move on to the next woman. The issue for most men is when a woman SAY she wants man type X, but seems to always be with man type Y. People are what they do, not whom they SAY.

    6. “So I’m asking you to consider that maybe the “assholes” are not getting what you want. If what you want is a healthy relationship, then you have to find a healthy person who is a good fit for you.”

    This is just laughable! Seriously. The bad boy is not interested in a relationship. He is primarily interested in getting laid. What makes you think the nice guy is not interested in the same? The relationship thingy might be secondary to both types of men.

    7. “Part of the problem with the “women only date assholes” complaint is that often women hear it from men they aren’t attracted to that they don’t think are nice. It seems that for many men it is much easier to feel like they were rejected because they are something good, instead of facing their fear that they are not good.”

    Precisely! Women only find a few men attractive. So, it is not that the men are not genuinely nice. Usually they are good men. It’s just that the women do not find them attractive! Why? Again, American women have a very narrow view of what is “attractive” in a man. Is this system related? Possibly. I remain skeptical of this “system” excuse you are touting.

    Consider this: the very man type that was rejected by a woman at age 25, she now wants at age 30. So, it begs the question: what does the “system have to do with it? Nothing! It is simple personal preference.

    8. “It’s not all on men of course, a lot of the ways women tell men they aren’t interested are meant to “let them down easy,” so instead of saying “I’m just not attracted to you.” They say “I’m sorry, I’m attracted to someone else.” That is part of the system.”

    I scoff at the notion. Just because she “let them easy” does not mean she does not find him attractive and the other person attractive. The fact is she IS finding him unattractive. How she says it is immaterial. The larger issue is the matter of narrow views of attraction held by so many American women. Even you think John Hamm is handsome and hot even though he is…..This would not deter most American women. They would still fuck him.

    9. “It happens all the time. The idea that ‘a man’s self worth is wrapped up in his ability to get women’ makes some men mean when a woman says no.”

    FALSE. Most men who are good and decent are the last ones to get mean with the woman. He is more likely to be depressed or just go home and drink or be sad. It is the bad boys who are ones who flip out on women and become disrespectful.

    10. ” In the meantime women have learned that saying “No, thank you.” is not effective. They have learned that taking the blame and saying they are with someone else or attracted to someone else is their best bet to get out of an awkward situation with as little abuse and awkwardness as possible. Change that and more women will be willing to say “No, Thank you.” instead of “You’re a really great guy, but I’m still hung up on my ex.”

    Look rejection is difficult for both men and women. I had a woman who was a good friend stop talking to men because I would not have sex with her. I had a 19 year old hang up on me because I would not date her…..

    The big picture in America is that too many women are stuck on this unrealistic man type (John Hamm but not dysfunctional) and not settling (read no compromise). It is immature at best.

    What really irritates me the most is just how dishonest so many women are today. All most men want is honesty. But, for some weird reason many women have anointed themselves as the only one who determine what is good and proper in dealing with men (i.e., “let them down low”).

    The good men or nice guys or whatever are told to be patience “your day will come…” When the woman is interested in a nice man, and marries the poor sap, she will never treat him as well as she treated her past lovers. If the nice guy was unattractive then he is unattractive now! This is why sex is shitty….None of this has to do with the “system.”

    Answer this question, please: If the bad boys are good for fucking, then why don’t women just stick to marrying them? After all many women are fucking them, so to me they should marry THEM. All that’s happening from a big pic perspective is many of these women are just ruining the lives of perfectly good and decent men.

    • “Women freely choose to consort with men whom they find attractive. Unfortunately, many women, especially when young, opt for men for sexual relations that are players,…..Yet the message those same women send out is they are looking for a “nice guy.” The reality is that most women just are not interested in fucking a nice guy. They (nice guys) are not viewed as sexually attractive… The issue for most men is when a woman SAY she wants man type X, but seems to always be with man type Y. People are what they do, not whom they SAY.”

      Yes. I think you made some very important counter-points there Jules.  

      For me, the way I’ve come to see it is that it’s very difficult (or well-nigh impossible) for a person to be honest with another about their own aesthetics, preferences, and expectations in a mate/relationship if they are not honest with themselves. 

      We all like to think that we’re more complex and sophisticated than we are. Superficial people with enough self-awareness to acknowledge & take ownership of their superficialities are few and far between. I once heard someone say that what we love (and, I suppose, WHO we love, as well) shows us what we really value. Our values are a reflection of ourselves- our best, our highest, and our most sophisticated ideals. So it’s almost inevitable that vanity demands a more flattering reflection, whether that tweaked reflection is fully honest or not.

      I’ve known individuals who proclaim the desire & practice of dating ‘nice guys’ but in reality make relationship choices with people who are anything but; and deep down they know it. BUT, when the relationship fails (as it usually does) they can still feel ok with that because the ‘fault’ wasn’t theirs, it was his: They can say that they weren’t self-deceptive: He just didn’t turn out to be a ‘nice guy’ like they ‘truly’ wanted (of course not- because he never was a ‘nice guy’ to begin with). The most frustrating type of deceptive person to deal with is the person who is genuinely, sincerely, and contentedly self-deceptive. Do what you will, of course; but at what point does one stop proclaiming an unqualified love for vegetarian cuisine when the only thing they ever want to dine on is steaks & chili-cheeseburgers?

      As difficult as it is to be honest with oneself, it’s often more difficult NOT to be judgmental when confronted with another person who’s actions are contradictory or hypocritical (whether they are aware of it or not). As adults and consumers we are expected & obligated to articulate what we want & how we feel to others. But affairs of the heart are a trickier matter. Again, I can’t remember where I heard it, but I recall someone once talking about the failure of their first marriage at an early age and trying understand why: ‘At that point in our lives, we just didn’t have the emotional vocabulary.’ I have learned much to my chagrin that it can take a long, long time to build that vocabulary, and even so, peoples’ vocabularies aren’t always compatible. Having a big vocabulary (emotional or otherwise) doesn’t always ensure that communication is going to go smoothly, even when both people want similar things from each other, or for each other.     

  13. Not buying it says:

    Power is sexy in men anyway you look at it, violence or the threat of inflicting it is an aphrodisiac to a fair number of females, a bad boy is a small caricature of that reality in a male, a lot of solid evolutionary studies proved it denying it in a temporary politically correct atmosphere amounts to wishful thinking.

  14. Tom Brechlin says:

    My son “looks” like the proverbial bad guy, dreads down to the middle of his back, rough and tough big guy and has women approaching him all the time. He’s had a few relationships that were going well UNTIL they got to the point where SHE wanted to have sex and HE believes in waiting until marriage. So long Charlie! Literally because his name is Charlie. All is well until these womwn find out he’s not a player …, pretty sad

    • Not wanting to be with your son because he isn’t a player is a very different thing from leaving a relationship because you are sexually incompatible.

      There are both many men and women that would not remain with a partner that wanted to wait until marriage. There are probably also men and women that WILL remain with a partner to marriage. That is more of a sexually incompatibility then it is a reflection that these women left him becaues of what you hypothsized.

  15. Usually,absent from this kind of discussion are the exceptions to the presumptive narrative that all women behave in good faith.The denial about the influence of nature on how behave in mate selection reflects this point. We like to believe that the rational minds are always in perfect control.But self-deception and denial are persistent characteristics of identity.We willfully decieve ourselves and others about who we are with alarming frequency.There is not in existence enough Pc language to cover up the not so pleasant complexities of the human character.I don’t suspect that the bad boy goodboy contradiction itself troubles men.It is the wholesale denial of its influence.

  16. One important factor most people usually forget when we talk about nice guys and bad guys is, most of the time, bad guys are more physically attractive and confident than the nice guys, which usually looks nerdy, don’t know style/fashion, and shy/awkward. Just remember your high school days. So its not weird at all that many women prefer the former. Not because they bad, but because they are more attractive, hot, and confident ( attractive people usually are more confident because of their looks ). I’m not saying all bad guys are attractive ( or all attractive guys are bad boys ) , but usually they are, and even if they are not conventionally attractive, usually they care more about their looks and have sense of style and fashion ( even if its awful trend clothes ) that makes them look more attractive.

  17. Veroncia, great piece!

    I loved how you talked about how women really aren’t trying to punish men. How women live in the same media filled, culturally influenced world as men do. I see a lot of men who grabble with the messages about masculinity they had forced on them from society. Women, unfortunately, have had those same messages delivered to them. It would be great to ask women to challenge their own ideas of masculinity and if their lived lives reflect what they believe. And if they don’t, what steps they can take to have their real lives reflect what they believe.

    Growing up, my Dad was always working. He defined his worth through his ability work and provide. Which meant we didn’t see him too much. My older brother was pretty angry about it. But at the time, I doubt he understood that’s what he was angry about. As an angry young boy, he took a lot of that out on me. Verbally and physically. So I had two stories at work in my life. A) Dad was living life the way he learned to identify himself and he wasn’t around enough to be emotionally supportive to a little girl. B) My older brother became a pretty strong male figure I tried to identify with who wasn’t too nice to me. To make a long story short, we have a good relationship now. He apologized for everything he put me through and we’ve re-builded a relationship. But I still have those experience internalized inside me. Good things came from those experiences (a pretty incredible back bone and the desire to stick up for others) and bad things came from those experiences too (still believing that on some level I deserved that treatment and often a lack of confidence in general, especially with my ability to interact with men in a way where they would honestly value me.)

    I only share this because my story is NOT unique. Boys and girls turn into men and women that grew up with their own trials and tribulations and how they learned to perceive love and what they are willing to do to get love. I have never been with men that were either verbally or physically abusive but I have picked partners in my younger years that were insensitive to my feelings and desires and lacked tenderness emotionally. Infact, I was so sensitive to the obvious kinds of disrespect, like name calling and physical abuse (except ironically when it came to sex, and that might be a whole other entire discussion) that I forgot to pay attention to those more sneaky signals of disrespect. There were ways I did allow myself to be treated disrespectfully sexually that I thought were just things that sex was about. At the time, I didn’t understand why they made me feel bad because alot of message about sex is that you should be doing x,y and z because they are “sexy”. It’s so normalized in our culture and I didn’t want to be “uptight” or “prude” and I wanted to live up to expectations.

    Bad boys and the women that pick them are probably the way they are because of things they learned at very early ages. Even “bad boys” deserve the saving grace of understanding that the way they deal with women was a learned process for them, just like all of us. Instead of focusing on blaming each other for the roles we believe we fit into, it might be more beneficial to ask why this is going on and to talk about the entire round table of characteristics from all participants. We seem to exclusively focus on “nice guys” and “all women”. When the truth is that it’s an entirely more complex equation at work.

    And honestly? This dyconmy is not unique to just “nice guys” and “women”. Sometimes “nice girls” get passed over too for the more provocative ladies. I really think we need to stop looking at this in one pattern, “nice guys” and “women”. We need to start to see the entire rainbow. The “bad boys”, the “nice guys”, the “nice women” and the “bad girls”…and then we need to admit to ourselves that no one is entirely any one characteristic.

    Does anyone ever ask these “bad boys” why they approach women the way they do? Does anyone ever ask these women why they do the same? I think if you dig into people’s back stories you unlock a much deeper conversation and you see the emotional map that leads people to the choices they make. And if you know why they are making these choices, then you can see their own humanity and it’s less about blaming them for their choices and more about, “Aww, I see why you do that but it’s not healthy. How do we fix that?”

    Finally, I will only say that there is a lot in media that does infact portray men’s sexuality as something brutish, boarderline abusive if not out right abusive, all consuming and harsh. And I think that’s something else that needs to be addressed in teh conversation where women feel hyper-sensitive to that and have responded in probably equally unhelpful respone. But I don’t think you can blame women for that. In a lot of media, male sexuality is portrayed as this all-consuming energy. Women don’t want to be consumed. We want to be partners and allies.

    Veronica…by the way, would love to hear your story and your husbands since you gave us a little tidbit about his inability to talk to you for the first 15 years in your presence. Maybe you can do an article on that.

  18. One important thing to note is that just because someone rejects you, doesn’t mean everyone will.

    Another issue is that society teachs that being nice for a male is like being a drop-dead sexy person, that being nice will WIN her heart but they don’t tell you often enough that you need SOME attraction to build up in other ways. You don’t really win a persons heart, they just grow fond of you and that may happen in the first moments of meeting, it may happen after years, but it may never happen. It’s annoying, I do have friends who I am always there for, my best friends who would be great to date as I think love requires a very strong friendship between you both to work well and falling for your best friend is quite a romantic idea but not all best friends are like that.

    Being nice alone is not enough, you do need chemistry, sexual attraction, and to act as a sexual being. If you act like a brother, you’ll be treated like one.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Veronica Grace has some thoughts to add to the ongoing discussion of Nice Guys vs. Bad Boys.  […]

  2. […] women use to send interest instead of asking a guy out. Many of them get labeled as nice guys and compared to bad boys. As a result, these guys can easily end up in the […]

  3. […] use to send interest instead of asking a guy out. Many of them get labeled as nice guys and compared to bad boys. As a result, these guys can easily end up in the […]

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