Nice Guys Finish Last

(And They Don't Deserve Your Sympathy)

Written by Jester

I've known quite a number of men who go on about their "Nice Guy" problem.

You know the Nice Guy. He's kind, he's sensitive, he respects women. He doesn't think solely with his cock. He's madly in love with the Nice Girl, and is in state of limbo, waiting for the day when she realizes Nice Guy is the one for her. In the meanwhile, it means being alone on Saturday nights, trying to remember what sex feels like, and wondering why you try so hard to be nice yet never get rewarded for it. Will there come a day when you're more than just a “good friend?”

You know the Nice Girl too. She is the kind, attractive, intelligent and funny girl who is dating the Jerk Boyfriend. Repeat the Nice Guy's mantra: “He doesn't deserve you.” Jerk Boyfriend treats her like something scraped from the floor of a bus station washroom. He doesn't appreciate her. Hell, he might steal from her, cheat on her, give her a disease, get her in trouble with the law and a few credit bureaus. He might even be openly abusive. Nice Girl will not leave him even though there is no compelling reason to stay with him. When she's “fed up,” she leaves him for a few days but keeps coming back, agreeing to give the Jerk an infinite supply of one last chances. The one time she honest to goodness dumps the Jerk Boyfriend, the Nice Guy's hopes soar that this is finally it...but then she finds another Jerk Boyfriend like the last one instead.

Through all this, Nice Guy patiently listens on the phone while she cries away the night over Jerk Boyfriend's latest escapade, and maybe even contemplates suicide. The Nice Guy picks up the Nice Girl when Jerk Boyfriend abandons her 20 miles south of the Middle of Nowhere at four in the morning. The Nice Guy's shoulder is constantly soaked because of her crying there. The Nice Guy would cut off a finger if he could get the Nice Girl to go out with him, but she won't. She “considers you a friend” and “doesn't want to ruin what we have.” Instead, she continues to date Jerk Boyfriends even though the Nice Girl's Level-Headed Best Friend might be urging her to go with Nice Guy instead. The Nice Guy is slowly being driven insane by the Nice Girl as he asks the heavens why she just doesn't get it.

Recently, the Nice Guy phenomenon has caught the attention of pop culture. I've seen webpages dedicated to Nice Guys, and there's a lot of sympathy built up for them. I even used to be a Nice Guy. And yet, I have absolutely no sympathy for Nice Guys. Zero. You whiny bunch of losers deserve everything you get.

That was harsh, wasn't it?

Sorry, it's true, and you need to be told. Because like the Nice Girl, you just don't get it.

If you find yourself in the situations I described above, you are a Nice Guy, which, as we all know, is a synonym for “Doormat.” And as long as you are one, you will never, ever, get the Nice Girl, and you are severely compromising your ability to attract any woman. All of your efforts are wasted, and the real irony is that the Nice Girl isn't, and she's not really worth having to begin with anyway.

Explain to me exactly why the Nice Girl should get together with the Nice Guy. Because Nice Guy will treat her with respect? Ah, but you do that already, so there is no reason. The Jerk Boyfriend provides the fantastic sex and the thrill of being arrested with his stash when the cops kick in the door. The Nice Guy provides the sympathetic ear and bail money. She's got two men fulfilling different roles. The arrangement is perfect, it doesn't need fixing in her mind. Yeah, she kinda wishes that her boyfriend wouldn't share needles, making it necessary for frequent visits to a walk-in clinic for the HIV test, but what the hey? Nice Guy is always there to drive her and hold her hand, and maybe even buy dinner afterwards.

In the world of addiction counseling, they refer to something called a “facilitator.” This is a person who supports the addict, however unwittingly. A person who lets an alcoholic stay with them and drink the days away because “they'll die on the street otherwise” is a facilitator. The facilitator is well intentioned, but in fact they just make it easier for the addict to continue behaving the way they do, and ultimately contribute to the addict's vice. That's what a Nice Guy does. He makes it easier for a Nice Girl to be a Nice Girl. Nice Girl will never change as long as Nice Guy will wipe up the spills for her.

I know this, because I used to be a Nice Guy, and spent my time chasing Nice Girls. No, I never did land one. I finally learned my lesson when I was courting an extremely attractive young woman. She was intelligent, compassionate, sexually uninhibited too. Oh, I wanted this one. But she was also--to use the clinical psychiatric term--severely fucked in the head, more messed up then an Alabama trailer after tornado season. Her perception of herself and the world around was so off that she probably couldn't recognize the above description of her, even with my name attached to this.

The breaking point came one night we were talking about a very emotionally charged subject. She got me talking about my something very important to me, kept pushing me for details, which I gave her, and got me so emotional about it, that I started to cry. She gave me a deep, sympathetic hug. And as I started bawling, I suddenly realized that there was no way in hell I was ever going to be with this woman.

Why? Because she was uncertain who I was until I started crying. Earlier I showed sensitivity that hinted I was a potential Nice Guy. But I also let her know that her body was certainly a source of fascination for me, so that showed signs of Jerk Boyfriend. The mixed signals confused her. She had to get me into one category or the other, and she did. When the tears started rolling, now she didn't have to respect me anymore. She had the two parts of the equation, and I fell on the side of the clean-up man while the other guy got to run around and have all the amoral fun.

At least until I wised up. See, the problem with Nice Guys is that they're the same as Nice Girls. There's a pattern of abuse going on. Nice Girls never recognize the pattern of abuse they go through, even though Nice Guy is always pointing it out to them. “You know, many women live healthy, rich lives and don't need to make up stories about walking into walls to explain away their bruises.” Nice Guys also never learn that when Nice Girls sob “You were right, you were right about everything” doesn't mean “and I'm going to change things now that I know this.” She's using you for a specific reason, and like a chump you keep on giving it to her.

Now, Nice Guys reading this, because they really aren't too bright, are probably assuming that I'm advocating being the Jerk Boyfriend instead. Not at all. Jerk Boyfriends are indeed scum. It's fun to be one when you're young, but as you get older, the women get smarter. Think a woman in her late 30s who is the CFO of an insurance company is gonna put up with that shit? No, the women at that age who will tolerate Jerk Boyfriends are truly bleak, and Jerks know it, but they can't get anything better. There is a price to be paid for the cowboy antics of your 20s.

There are also those who will interpret what I'm saying is that what women want is to be treated like dirt. I am not saying that either. What I am saying is that people who cannot love and respect themselves cannot truly love and respect others. The failure of the Nice Girl and Guy is the failure to love and respect themselves, and that's very serious, it's something people should seek help for. But if that help is not accepted after 10 tries, as far I'm concerned the Helper has done plenty and now it's up to the Recipient to get off their ass while the Helper moves on to someone smart enough to listen. By the same token, if the Helper keeps helping after 100 tries and a large financial investment, they're a lost cause too.

They say love should be unconditional. That's...stupid. Love is too precious to be unconditional. For example, love should be formed under the basis that the other person doesn't beat you, steal from you until you're destitute, and most importantly, does not abuse the love you give them. This is what a Nice Girl does. To tell you the truth, I don't really see any reason to land a Nice Girl. If she can't figure out that she deserves respect and is worthy of a real man (or real woman, if that's what's going on), who needs her?

If I were to treat my current girlfriend badly, well, I live 18 floors up, but I could die 18 floors down. I totally respect that about her. Not that I'm afraid of her, but I respect the fact that she loves herself enough to not tolerate lots of shit. I hate women who are pushovers. All of my girlfriends have been tough. A lot tougher than me, now that I think about it. And I feel that a woman who can and will put you through a plate glass window for messing with her, especially if you're her boyfriend, is a real woman.

If you want to break the Nice Guy/Nice Girl cycle, you can't be a pushover. Nobody, man or woman respects a doormat. When I worked in a restaurant, you know who made the most tip money? The servers who were borderline hostile. Know who made the least? The asskissers. If you don't love and respect yourself, nobody else will. Nice Girls do not truly respect Nice Guys, and I believe that even Nice Guys, for all their supposed patience and understanding, don't respect Nice Girls either. You think you can play psychiatrist to this basket case, and be the one to change her, don't you? For all her faults she's not a puzzle to unravel, Freud boy. She's a person too.

If you really must land the Nice Girl, the only way to do it is to put a price tag on your time. She calls you at four in the morning because she knows you're there and will always get her out of any jam. This time, tell her you're asleep but will be there in the morning, or at least around noon. Make it clear that you're no longer the Get Out of Jail Free Card. If she really needs help--but more importantly wants help--by all means give it to her. But if she doesn't take it, shrug your shoulders and walk away. Make it clear that your patience is not infinite, and if she wants your help, she has to start helping herself. It probably won't work, but hey, a real woman will notice you're a man who doesn't give out your love so foolishly, which means your love is worth something. Get the picture? And Nice Girls, the same goes for you. All you have to do to get respect and love is to decide to be worthy of it.

We are taught to be giving and forgiving. These things are good things to be. But we should also be taught emotional triage. Give your love abundantly to those who appreciate and respect it, and the rest will just have to be ignored if there isn't any left over. We can't save a person determined to drown. So there comes a time when we have to stop rescuing them, and tell them to swim instead.