An open letter to Nice Guys

(Originally posted at ToughxCookies.)

In my lived experience, there have been two categories of nice guys: the genuinely kind, sensitive, gentle men to whom I often find myself attracted (like my current boyfriend – shout out to your awesomeness), and the sort of creepy, obsessive ones who continually self-proclaim that they are genuinely kind, sensitive, gentle men.

This one goes out to the latter – to the ones who whine about the friend zone, to the ones who tweet about how girls always go for the assholes, to the ones who complain that nice guys finish last, to the ones who constantly wonder why their female friends don’t want to date them.

Because here’s the thing, nice guys: we don’t not date you because you’re nice.  We don’t not date you because you’re not enough of an asshole for us to feel challenged.  We don’t relegate you to “the friend zone” because we’re teases or because we’re bitches – and certainly not because we’re sluts.  It’s not that we don’t know what we’re missing or that we can’t see how great you are.  It’s not that you’re not an amazing person for us to have in our lives or because you have some gut-wrenching physical deformity.  Nope.

We don’t date you because we’re not attracted to you.

“But wait!” you, nice guy, say.  “I have everything that he has and more!  We hang out every single day, so obviously you think I’m some kind of awesome.  And I’ve asked you if you think I’m hideous, and you’ve said no.  So you think I’m cool, I think you’re cool, you think I’m not entirely grotesque, I think you’re hot as fuck, I… don’t understand the problem.  Let’s date?  Or at least bang?”

Okay.  Hold on.  Let me try this again.


We’re not attracted to you.

Call it pheromones, or call it having a “type.”  Call it coincidence, or call it luck.  We cannot force ourselves to be sexually or romantically attracted to you if we’re just not attracted to you.  No matter how awesome you are, no matter how funny you are, no matter how good you are to us.  From the moment we laid eyes on you, we thought, “This guy could be a cool friend.  Buuut I don’t wanna bone him.”

Are you attracted to every female friend that you have?  Do you want to fuck every girl that you know?  Don’t you, too, relegate people to “the friend zone” based on whether or not you’re attracted to them?  Aren’t there some women in your life at whom you look and think, “She’s attractive, but I’m not attracted to her?”

Why is this a sentiment that is a-okay for men, but not for women?  How come when we want to hang out as just friends, and then reject you when you make a move on us, we’re somehow “leading you on” because we weren’t interested – and made you aware of that fact in the first place?  Why are you allowed to pick and choose who you’d want to sleep with, but we’re supposed to fall all over you the second you hold a door open for us or pay for dinner?

“Ugh,” you, nice guy, say.  “But what am I doing wrong?  Every girl I’m ever interested in rejects me.  There must be something wrong with all of them, because I’m just so nice, and they must not want to date nice guys, or else they’d date me.

Um—wait a second, nice guy.  Every girl you’re ever interested in rejects you?  And you think it’s because you’re too nice?  So you’re assuming that we don’t date nice guys?  Because here’s a news flash for you: we date plenty of nice guys.  Real nice guys.  Genuine nice guys.  Guys who are so nice that they don’t feel the need to flaunt their niceness around all the time.  Ya know.  Because they’re nice.  Haven’t you noticed a trend, nice guy?  The only constant in these rejection situations is… you.  Have you ever stopped to think that maybe (gasp!) you, nice guy, are the problem?

Because here’s the thing.  In my experience, a lot of the “nice guys” who complain about finishing last are creepy as fuck.  They run around telling everyone about how nice they are, but in reality, they’re obsessive.  Yeah, you’re so nice when you stalk me, or when you repeatedly tell me that I’m beautiful, despite my explicitly expressing that it makes me uncomfortable. And it’s so nice when you tell me that you think about me when you masturbate or when you text me just to tell me you like what I’m wearing. And it’s so fucking nice when you threaten to cut yourself if I don’t date you or when you take me out to dinner, or to a dance, and then actually have the nerve to express your distaste that I didn’t kiss you afterward.

All things that have happened to me by men who claim to be “nice guys” who are sick of “the friend zone.”  Yeah.  Real nice.

Because (again, in my experience), part of what has come to be known as Nice Guy Syndrome includes an awkwardly (and sometimes frightening) obsessive approach to wooing, whereby these “nice guys” act like proverbial doormats. They are oftentimes rather desperate (if not completely and utterly pathetic), and they offer no challenge whatsoever – intellectually, spiritually, or otherwise.  This leaves strong, smart women like myself to wonder, “Why would I want a partner who bends at my every need and agrees to my every thought?”  Because a lot of these self-proclaimed “nice guys” are actually yes men.  And there is nothing attractive about being waited upon.  When you become someone’s #1 priority (and not just anyone’s #1 priority, but a man who you aren’t dating), it’s more scary than flattering.  If all you, nice guy, can talk about is how much you love someone (someone that you’re not even dating!), then maybe it’s time to check yourself and get a hobby.  Because that’s, uh, relatively socially unacceptable.  And creepy.

Now, don’t get me wrong: it sucks to be rejected.  We’ve all been there; we’ve all had our hearts broken by friends in whom we were interested who took no interest in us.  And that’s fine.  Be sad.  Feel heart ache.  But frustration?  Rage?  The single moment of thought when this comic actually makes sense to you?  That’s when your nice guy façade is shattered.

Because here’s the thing, my “nice guy” pals: by virtue of being your friend, I do not owe you romantic or sexual access to me. So please take your entitlement elsewhere — because getting pissed about being my friend means that you don’t deserve my friendship.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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