When I was a little kid I never really thought about what kind of “man” I needed to be. I didn’t think about gender roles when I played house or whether I was being “too nice” on the playground. I didn’t brag to other kids about how many chicks I got into the sandbox, and I certainly didn’t think about how long I needed to wait to call someone or whether my heart was at risk by putting it all out there. I just did.
None of us begin our lives considering being anything other than ourselves. But as we age, we are slowly taught the constructs of what makes “a man” and “a woman” so, and we begin to guide our behaviour from the outside in. The influence of culture, religion, media, and indirectly agreed upon norms, determines who becomes “cool” and who gets beat up for their lunch money.
In my first relationship it can be safe to say that by every definition I was the “nice guy”. I was accommodating, kind, empathetic, and I generally put other people’s feelings ahead of my own. I made it a priority that the lady in my life felt loved and appreciated. I mean, this was how my father treated my mother, and that seemed to be working out pretty well for him.
It didn’t work out very well for me.
We have these constructs of what it means to be a man that are reinforced by both genders. And together, we can’t seem to find a balance that allows for us(men) to meet women emotionally, while still retaining our masculinity and what it means to still have our balls.
Our lack of evolutionary development is evident but our inability to do this without having to go bedazzle our jeans, drink lots of beer, and fight other men because they looked in the general direction of our lady. A lady who we have yet to meet.
So what do women need today? And based on that complex algorithm that no mathematician would ever dare attempt, how does a man still be a man and meet all of those needs, while meeting his own?
In order to attempt to solve this, let’s deconstruct the mystery of the stigma surrounding the “Nice Guy” no one likes but woman claim they want, and the “A**hole” that keeps getting these women even though he treats them like shit.
There’s a certain negativity with being associated as the “Nice guy” isn’t there? It’s kind of like calling a girl “Homely”.
I’m no expert but it usually has a very strong correlation to the friend zone.
And, ultimately, their hearts and beds are often lonely places.
A sexless and lonely life. This doesn’t sound too fun does it?
But there are elements of the “Nice guy” that are actually very sought after. Being kind and generous are two of the largest contributors to a happy marriage. Nice guys are empathetic, compassionate and put everyone else ahead of themselves. They most certainly make tremendous fathers and are equally as good sons, brothers and workplace colleagues.
So if that is true then why do “Nice Guys Finish Last”? Or so we’ve been told.
Nice guys put everyone else’s needs ahead of their own at the the cost of their own dignity. And that, my friends, is the least attractive and most powerful libido killer in the world.
If we look at it from an evolutionary perspective though, there must be some genetic benefit or why would these men exist?
Sure there was. Evolutionary psychologists posit that it’s because “Nice Guys” are generally great fathers and providers.
While these pushovers are out there providing for their families and not saying “no” to even the most ridiculous requests like “go get me some ice cream” in the middle of the night… here slides in the “a**hole” and delivers some other cream.
And the nice guy finishes last, well, because the “a**hole” finishes first. On all accounts.
This bastard, with his etched jawline, motorcycle jacket and dashingly dangerous good looks is oozing testosterone. And it’s no surprise women are engaging with this guy. Women are usually more attracted to men with power and who have other markers of genetic superiority.
You know them, the men who don’t bother to call or text too much. They almost seem to not care.
You know why?
Because sought after mates don’t need to chase you. They don’t have the time because they have so many options. The psychological principles that drive those behaviours are what underpin a lot of the interactions for the pick up artists industry and the controversial behaviour of Julian Blanc. That stuff obviously works or else douche bags like that would never get laid.
Research suggests that women tend to be attracted to men with more masculine features during ovulation and for this reason are more likely to have a one night stand with genetic superiority. Physically genetic superiority that lacks the chivalry to pay for her taxi in the morning.
It’s not the lack of taxi slips or next day phone calls that this guy is missing. It’s what this behaviour points to – his kids would never survive with this type of parenting!
But that’s where the nerdy nice guy comes in. He raises this degenerate’s child and ensures evolutionary survival.
So wouldn’t the perfect recipe be some sort of combination of this sexy mimbo with the compassion and kindness of the nice guy?
You’ve got it.
We need the “a**hole” and the “nice guy” to breed and make a hybrid. (I know biologically this wouldn’t work but you get the analogy).
What’s the secret? Boundaries.
Look, as you already know, I have been the nice guy. I have chased women for love. I’ve bought them gifts, driven them wherever they wanted to go, and taken them for dinner without even a peck goodnight. And the shit was like drugs. I couldn’t escape.
I chose to be a doormat.
And you know what happened?
Once my limits got tested and my patience wore thin I lost my shit. I didn’t know how to communicate my frustrations nor how to express to the women in my life that I didn’t like the way I was being treated.
I chose this. And I hated myself for it.
I thought, by expressing my disappointment with their behaviour and that they weren’t respecting my needs, I wouldn’t get their love.
So I stayed quiet and the pain turned to anger. Instead of expressing this anger I would just withdraw. I would put up a wall and run.
Unwilling to express how I felt and ask for what I needed meant what? I never received both the kind of love I wanted nor what I needed.
And the worst part, I resented myself for making other people more important than me.
So then came the opposite. I became the a**hole. I figured that if women wouldn’t respect my feelings then I would no longer share my heart with them and I began to chase affirmation through horizontal love. I disconnected my heart from sex because I would give them my body but never again would I give them my heart. (“You can take our lives but you’ll never take our FREEEEEDOM”).
This didn’t work out very well.
I floated from connection to connection. I never fully shared my heart but I was more than happy to throw on a movie and do a massage exchange. We know where that led. Boom Boom.
Outside of the pleasurable orgasms, sexual variety, and connecting with truly amazing women, I can see in hindsight that I was not being authentic. I wasn’t honouring what they needed and I wasn’t showing up for myself either.
I, now on the other end of the spectrum, still wasn’t asking for and getting what I needed. Sure, my boundaries were being respected but my relationships lacked vulnerability and any real emotional substance.
Truthfully, I had gone so far the other way that I had built walls around my heart and confused them with boundaries.
We are all put here to love. Deep down everyone is capable of compassion and empathy. Often though, after painful heartbreak we build walls and forget to love and honour ourselves and what we need. We are born with an understanding of what love is and the innate ability to love freely. But I, like so many others, feared if I gave it away freely, heartbreak would ensue.
I didn’t know how to satisfy the human need to love and connect and also be assertive and ask for what I wanted and needed to feel safe and loved myself.
In a lot of ways I didn’t feel worthy of asking.
I just didn’t know how to live vulnerably and honour my boundaries.
Fack, I had lost sight of what love really was.
I didn’t realize that love IS sharing all of the things that make you an amazingly giving partner.
It’s putting other people first when they need you and loving them for who they truly are.
It’s being vulnerable and opening your heart.
It’s not pretending to be anyone else but yourself.
I didn’t know how to do all of that AND ask for a partner to show up just as fully for me.
The problem with the a**holes’ life is it’s based on boundaries.
But like I had, the a**hole confuses boundaries with walls. He knows what he wants but he doesn’t know how to ask for it without feeling open to pain and hurt. He thinks that love is aggression, fleeting connections, and being the pimp that bangs the most chicks. He thinks that if he tags enough chicks he’ll never have to love one fully.
He thinks being “the man” is the same thing as being “a man”.
I know, because I’ve been him.
I was afraid to be nice because I didn’t understand how to love while maintaining what it meant for me to be a man.
And truth be told neither the nice guy nor the a**hole are far off.
They’re both scared of the same thing. Love.
And although they think they’re doing it right, they’re both going about getting it the wrong way.
If they combined forces and learnt from one another they would be the perfect man.
The nice guy finishes first when he realizes that being nice isn’t about being a doormat. It’s about being empathetic and kind when it’s needed, and also calling your partner to show up for you and letting them know when they’re not. We don’t need to be a**holes to get and keep the girl. We need to know our worth, love ourselves fully, and honour our needs and boundaries.
And that is what an amazing partnership and relationship is founded on.
The nice guy, as it turns out, is just a regular guy. And we’re all capable of being him, we just have to choose to be.