By Marie Frankson
Those of you who have been reading my articles for the past three years know that I’m not single and haven’t been in a long time. Naturally, when a man makes advances towards me such as asking for my number, asking if I’d like to go out with him some time, or even demanding to give him a chance because he’s “such a nice guy” and knows he can make me happy if I give him a chance, I tell him no…usually politely at first and my “no” gets more aggressive the more aggressive the guy becomes until I “lose” contact with him.
This doesn’t happen often…in fact, it’s only happened to me three times. The first guy called me a b—— after I told him I didn’t want to talk to him and to stop contacting me—his conversations went from friendly banter to describing, in detail, what he wanted to do to me sexually. The second guy was someone who I considered to be a really close friend. I tried to play this one differently because we were friends, so when he invited me over to his place on a day when he knew everyone would be out, I told him, “I don’t think my fiancé would approve”; he said that my fiancé was controlling and said I should make my own decisions based on what I want…my decision was still no. After some drama, this guy and I have only talked and seen each other once a year since this has happened. The third guy was someone I considered to be a close friend as well. For months he would tell me how amazing I am, how beautiful I am, how smart I am, how determined and hard-working I am, how he was in love with me, and how he’d wait for me no matter how long it took for me to “make the right decision” (read: to be with him as opposed to being with my fiancé). This went on for so long that I just couldn’t get through to this guy that I wasn’t interested. Eventually, actually this past Valentine’s Day, he said to me that a lot of men in long-distance relationships cheat and that he didn’t want me to get hurt by a guy who “thought with his little head” and then he declared his love for me and said he’d always be there for me. Basically, he tried to get me to question my fiancé’s faithfulness (and to top it off, this guy didn’t even know my fiancé). I told the guy that he really pissed me off, that I wasn’t interested in him and never would be, and I unfriended him.
What do these three men, and many like them, have in common? They were all Nice Guys and they all felt entitled to something I wasn’t willing to give them.
What is a Nice Guy? A Nice Guy is someone who pretends to be nice but has an ulterior motive. A genuine nice guy will be nice without expecting anything in return and, most importantly, a genuine nice guy doesn’t constantly have to say how nice he is. A Nice Guy will match his interests to yours in order to give a false impression that the two of you have a lot in common—he has no agenda. A Nice Guy will be nice to you in hopes that you will give in to their advances.
These men were probably told at a young age that if they were nice to (in this particular case) girls and women that the girls and women would want to date them and the men become frustrated when that doesn’t happen. They believe that because they were nice to the girls and women—telling them how nice/beautiful/smart/caring/etc. they are, doing things for them, being there for them at every beck and call, etc.—that the girls and women owe them something in return. They feel entitled. “I was nice to _______, she HAS to go out/have sex with me!” Nice Guys view dating as a game, but it’s not. Dating is a way to build a connection with someone. A one-sided attraction isn’t a connection. You can’t create an actual bond with someone if your way of doing that is to deceive them into being with you and thinking they are something to be won over.
Nice Guys say that every woman they’ve ever been with is a b—— or a whore because she’ll date guys he thinks aren’t good guys (with no proof that the men the women choose to date are, in fact, jerks), and women only want to date jerks and so the “Nice Guy” just ends up in the friendzone.
Nice Guys are the guys who complain about being “friendzoned,” as if being friends with a woman is a bad thing. For them, though, being friends with a woman is a bad thing because they don’t want to be friends at all. A Nice Guy complains that women friendzone him because he’s too nice, but really, it may be for a number of reasons. Incompatibility and lack of attraction are two reasons. Let’s face it, you’re not going to be compatible with everyone you encounter and you’re not going to be attractive/attracted to everyone you encounter. Everyone has a type, and you just may not be that person’s type, and that’s okay. You may also be friendzoned because the other person doesn’t know you want to be more than friends. People are not mind-readers, you have to tell the other person how you feel. You can’t not be forward with a person and resent the same person for putting you in the friendzone; if you can’t ask someone out and be forward about your intentions, that’s not the other person’s fault. Chances are that if you’re in the friendzone, you put yourself there—either by becoming attracted to someone who wasn’t available or because you became attracted to someone who wasn’t attracted to you.
Here is something that will blow your mind: no one, regardless of gender, is required to date or sleep with someone they don’t want to even though the person was nice (or “nice”) to them. Dates and sex are not a commodity that women give out to guys who are nice. The truth is that some people you’re nice to will be attracted to you and others may not be attracted to you…and you’re still not entitled to anything — the person who is the object of your desire doesn’t owe you anything.
There is a larger context for this type of behavior, and that is rape culture, misogyny, and sexism.
We live in a culture where too many men feel they have a right to women’s bodies. We live in a culture where too many men feel that by giving women unwanted attention and gifts that they can buy her time and affection and that she is obligated to reciprocate regardless of how she really feels. We live in a culture where too many men feel that women are for sale at the price of some carefully chosen words that he doesn’t necessarily mean anyway. We live in a culture where a woman who turns down a guy she’s not interested in is called mean names by the guy. We live in a culture where there is an alarming tendency for men to convince themselves that giving a woman unwanted attention and ignoring her rejections makes him nice…but it doesn’t, really. It makes him persistent and shows that he can’t take “no” as an answer. We live in a culture where too many men feel as though women’s purpose is to cater to them, and when the women don’t, then the men go on tirades about how “women just want to date jerks” because the man’s hurt feelings are more important than the woman’s “no.”
A man who can’t take “no” for an answer when it comes to romantic gestures is definitely not a turn-on. If you keep pursuing a woman who isn’t interested in the hopes that she will magically become interested isn’t a turn-on. If you can’t take “no” for an answer in those instances, where else will you not take “no” for an answer? While following this line of thought, it’s important to note that a lot of Nice Guys think of themselves as being nice for not raping a woman; or they don’t see themselves as being guilty of sexual assault because they were gentle with their unwanted, non-consensual groping and only view sexual assault as a violent act. A man who believes that a woman owes him a relationship or sex for being nice is a sexist construct because it follows the generalization that women want closeness and emotional support and men want sex…and that a friendship instead of a romantic relationship is a failure. Many Nice Guys believe that women who express sexual interest, toward men other than themselves, are sluts and whores because of the generalization that women are not supposed to express their sexuality or any interest in sex.
We live in a society where genuine nice guys see the behavior of the Nice Guys, are disgusted by it, but don’t stand up to it nearly enough. However, thankfully, we also live in a society where plenty of people, male and female, do stand up to the Nice Guys and point out things to the Nice Guys, such as no one is owed love and sex, and that loneliness and unfulfilled desires are painful but consent is important. Requiring mutual consent for relationships and for sex will mean that some people won’t get their romantic and/or sexual desires fulfilled at any given time, or maybe even not at all, and that it’s okay because everyone feels the same pain from that at some point in their lives. It’s okay to feel hurt in a situation where you’re experiencing unrequited love, but you don’t have to lash out at the person who is the object of your desire for not liking you back.
This may be news to some people but, Nice Guys, you are not the only people on the planet. In fact, there are billions of us. All of us have been rejected, have been used, and have had our hearts broken at some point in our lives. It does hurt, but most of us realize that we’re not owed a romantic partner and that we can’t force others to like us.
A word of advice: if you find yourself in failed relationship after failed relationship after failed relationship and you can’t figure out why, maybe you should look inward to yourself; maybe it’s not the other person’s fault, maybe it’s your own fault and you don’t even realize it. Examining yourself and your personality and mistakes you may have made can help you out a lot in any relationship, whether you’ve been with someone for a while or whether you’ve endured several break-ups. Throughout life, the most important relationship you will have is the one you have with yourself, so make sure to work on that one and like who you are before you try to figure out the ups and downs of romance. And there will be ups and downs. If you don’t like yourself, or if you’re really a jerk and think you’re a nice guy, others aren’t going to like you either, and they will be able to tell your true personality in time.