Are you a nice guy? This may be part of what holds you back in dating. See, there’s a problem inherent with being nice (as opposed to being a Nice Guy): it’s unsexy.The “nice guy” is pleasant and safe… and bland.
Whenever someone is describing their partner and comes out with “he’s a nice guy and…” then the countdown clock to their break-up has started. When somebody describes their partner as “nice”, it’s a tacit admission that they’re with them because they think they should want them.
But they don’t. He doesn’t actually excite them. What they’ve chosen is someone “appropriate”. What they want is someone who’s sex on toast.
But being “nice” doesn’t mean that you have to kiss attraction good bye. It doesn’t mean you have to turn yourself into an asshole instead. Here’s the secret to overcoming being the “nice guy” and becoming the “hot guy”.
“You’re Not Good, You’re Not Bad, You’re Just Nice”
Being nice – as opposed to being Nice – is the kiss of death when it comes to attraction and dating. It’s also one of the most misunderstood – in no small part because the conflict between “nice” and “bad” is sitting on top of a pile of PUA bullshit. According to frustrated single dudes, “assholes” get all the women because women don’t actually want a nice guy. According to PUA/RedPill dogma, “nice” guys are betas who “put the pussy on a pedestal” and suck up to women in hopes of getting a whiff of sex. And of course, women will tell you that they like nice men, right before making out with the scoundrel.
Well… no. Not even close. See the problem isn’t whether someone is a decent guy or not. It’s not that women are looking for somebody to treat them like shit or to gaslight them and leave them worried that their boyfriend or husband could dump them at any minute. It’s that they want someone who excites them… and guys who are mostly “nice” don’t. Many times, people will date someone who’s nice because they want security and stability. The mistake they make is that there’s an inherent assumption that security or stability – or even just not being a raging dumpster fire – comes at the expense of passion.
And that’s where the problem with being nice comes in. The issue isn’t that being nice is a bad thing. The issue is that when someone’s primary description is that they’re “nice”, that’s usually all there is to them. They reach the heady heights of being as blandly inoffensive as a show on CBS. They’re pleasant enough, but they’re otherwise as arousing as unfinished dough. There’s just nothing there to stir somebody’s loins or imagination. Assholes, at least, are polarizing. They’re unpleasant to be around, but they provoke emotions that go past “huh, ok.”
If you are a decent enough guy but you aren’t getting the attraction you want from women, the problem isn’t that you’re nice. So what is the issue?
The Nice Guy Doesn’t Have That Oomph
The reason why nice guys do poorly with women isn’t because there’s something wrong with being nice. It’s that you don’t have your “it” factor. Your swagger. Your “oomph”. The thing that’s missing is that certain thing, that je ne sais quois that triggers the primal part of somebody’s brain and makes them go “phwoar”.
That lack of “oomph” is key to everything when it comes to attraction. The “oomph” factor is what can utterly transform a person from “nice enough” to “You. Pants. Off. Now.” in no time flat. Finding your oomph, your swagger, your thing is part of how you hit the cosmic reset button when you want to turn a friend to a lover. You can always tell when somebody’s found their particular “oomph” because there will be something different about them. Sometimes it will be obvious – they’ve had some profound personal transformation that changes how people see them. Other times it will be this nebulous factor that you can’t put your finger on, but you know it’s there.
Now, odds are good that you may be saying “great, so that leaves me out.” And just like that, you’re falling for one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is “never take a date to a concert headlined by Asia”.1 Only slightly less well known is this: we assume that – like chemistry or charisma or just old-fashioned sex appeal – this “oomph” is a binary state. You have it or you don’t and there’s nothing you can do about it.
You couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, some people have a natural charisma, but this doesn’t mean you have to be born with it. Swagger, oomph… whatever you want to call it is something you can develop.
As long as you understand it.
Understanding Your Swagger
The thing that people misunderstand about that “oomph” factor is the same thing we misunderstand about attraction. We tend to assume that it’s all based purely on looks, rather than on the personinvolved. And to be sure, looks can certainly be part of one’s oomph; just ask any group of women watching men’s gymnastics or rugby.
But that oomph or swagger isn’t about looks. It may not even be purely sexual. It’s simply that thing a person has that makes people sit up and say, “Yes. That guy right there!” The “oomph” factor can can come in many different forms. Personality, for example, is an important part of that “oomph”.
Take Chris Evans, for example. Chris is, to be sure, a good looking dude. He legitimately looks like a superhero when his job demands it. But part of his appeal – the thing that makes him stand out from being generically “good looking white boy” – is his personality. He’s a great big golden retriever of a man and that makes him so incredibly appealing. He’s cheerful and goofy and playful and makes people feel good. That sense of “this is a guy who thinks getting Belgian waffles and ice cream would be amazing” makes him incredibly appealing in ways that somebody beautiful but cold doesn’t.
But that doesn’t mean that being goofy and funny is the only appealing personality. Look at Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War. While Boseman is undeniably attractive, part of what makes T’Challa so compelling a character is his intense nobility and sense of responsibility.
He’s not a goof-ball; he’s calm and controlled and utterly dependable. In an uncertain and chaotic world, T’challa is a rock. He has a clarity of purpose and dignity that makes him absolutely magnetic. He’s inspiring in an understated way.
Intensity can be just as compelling – and just as varied. Serge Gainsbourg has a deep and smouldering sensuality that more than makes up for his unique looks. Travis Fimmel’s2 Ragnar Lodbrok has a look and a smile that’s pure sex when he wants it to be.
On the other side of things, you have Matt Smith’s portrayal of The Doctor who’s the living definition of “adorkable”. He’s not smooth, he’s not sexy in the traditional sense but he has the manic energy of Tigger after four double espressos, and you can’t help but be carried along.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many, many ways to have that “oomph” factor, regardless of your age, weight, height, race, gender expression, etc. The trick is finding your particular swagger – the thing that’s uniquely yours.
Find Your Cool
So how do you find your oomph and leave being just “a nice guy” behind?
You start by questioning yourself. One of the reasons nice guys are just nice guys is because they rarely reach beyond who they are right now. They tend to define themselves by their limitations and never challenge those beliefs. It’s not terribly surprising, to be honest. There’s something perversely comforting in feeling like you know exactly what your limits are. You’re freed up from responsibility from challenging yourself and risking failure. There’s no worry that you’re going to try something and embarrass yourself by failing.
Of course, it also means that you won’t improve. There is no reward without risk. It comes part and parcel with the territory.
At the same time, trying to figure out who you are and how to find your cool can be intimidating in its vastness. In a world of seemingly endless potential, where in fuck do you even start? Sometimes the hardest part is not even knowing what questions you need to ask.
Well, you start with your archetype – the stereotype that most closely resembles who you are at your core. You find the avatars of your archetype who most resonate with you – either who you are or who you are trying to be – and you try some of them on for size. You consciously adopt some aspect of them that rings true to you. It might be somebody’s cocksureness, or the way they dress. You might try practicing Han Solo’s “hey, trust me” smirk in the mirror or try to embrace James Bond’s sang-froid. You may start working with weights or trying a sport. Your swagger might be found in picking up martial arts or trying parkour, just to see what it’s like being a ninja. You may start emulating your favorite comedians or storytellers to hone your wit.
Don’t be afraid of the trial and error process. You may run into a number of dead ends before you find the thing that clicks for you – the less said about, say, my Affliction-knock-off phase the better.
Sometimes you make major changes. Sometimes it may take something minor to trigger the difference. You might be surprised at what one thing flips your switch and turns you from “nice” to “niiiiiiice.” Something as simple as going from tennis shoes to Doc Martins might be what triggers your transformation. To return to Chris Evans: when he’s clean shaven, he’s almost shockingly generic. Stick a beard on him, however, and you can’t see for all the panties evaporating in his presence.
Similarly, Rami Malek, to many, is a kind-of bug-eyed weirdo… right up until he puts on the hoodie and his charisma score jumps four points.
Don’t get me wrong: this doesn’t mean there’s any one thing that’s going to be your personal “Shazam”; it’s just that sometimes making that one small change can unlock your potential and make you realize what you can do if you put your mind to it.
As you’re experimenting however, don’t aim for as wide a target as possible. Part of what makes nice guys unappealing is that they’re so broadly inoffensive that there’s nothing in particular about them to like. Trying to appeal to as many as possible is how you get bland pablum like Big Bang Theory or NCIS; something that may have been interesting at first but shambles on through sheer inertia, with as much depth as a puddle. It creates banalities that will disappear from the collective memory as soon as people look away.
Taking risks, on the other hand, and being willing to write off some to reach others is how you get shows like Mr. Robot. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but the people who enjoy it, live for it. Being polarizing will work far better for you. You will turn off more people, true, but they would never be into you in the first place.
No More Mr. Nice Guy
The most important part of giving up being being just a nice guy is to hold tight to your authentic self. Not the limited version of who you think you are, but the person you are at your core. The one you know you could be if you let go of your earthly tethers and fly. To give a personal example, it’s not an accident that my confidence and skill has increased with the number of tattoos I’ve gotten. It’s not that getting inked makes me more confident, it’s that it’s bringing me more in line with who I am. That feeling of “yes, this is me” is incredibly powerful. When you can harness that feeling, it will infuse every inch of your being. It will help propel you to new heights.
The other thing to keep in mind: you don’t need to be perfect, rich or otherwise have your shit completely together. Swagger and oomph isn’t about perfection or being an ideal. One of the greatest examples of cool and charisma in modern cinema is a perpetually broke loudmouth with a busted-ass ride who keeps writing checks his ass can’t cash. Embrace your imperfections. They’re part of who you are.
The thing to remember at all times when you’re trying to evolve past being a nice guy is that you’re not inventing a new persona, you’re refining you. You’re practicing being your best self, and that can take time. Don’t be afraid if some of those changes don’t feel earned at first. You’re trying new things and they’ll feel unusual and uncomfortable when you first start out. Carrying yourself as though you’ve always been like this goes a long way towards making it feel like a natural, organic part of who you are. Just remember that the more your oomph resonates with who you genuinely are, the more it will resonate with others.
This article originally appeared on Doctor Nerd Love
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