One of the best live discussions on-line is Carolyn Hax’s noontime advice session at the Washington Post. Carolyn herself is pretty awesome, and every now and then the noon discussion resembles good group therapy. Or a highly entertaining free-for-all. Or sometimes, people Get Told in truly delightful fashion. For example:
How come if a woman has dated both “nice” guys and abusive guys, you’ll find out that in just about every case, her longest relationships have been with the abusive guys? Why do so many women require some form of drama to remain entertained in a relationship, and do you find this to be childish behavior?
Not as childish as attributing this to women as opposed to people in general, and lumping all women as opposed to addressing some of them who have a similar set of circumstances, and blaming the victims instead of the abusers. But other than that, I’m right there with you.
If you are a guy, and if you are angry that women aren’t receptive to you when you see yourself as a “nice” guy, and you believe these women are instead receptive to abusive guys, then maybe it would be productive to consider that you’re harboring attitudes about women (and men, for that matter) that aren’t really “nice” at all.
Brava, Carolyn. The whole “women don’t like nice guys” generalization is one that I’m heartily sick of. But then a reader did Carolyn one better, coming into the thread with perhaps the Greatest Comment of All Time. Behold:
I believe Mr. DC suffers from what I like to term: Nice Guy Syndrome (TM). Since he’s busy making generalizations about women as a monolithic unit I feel comfortable making generalizations about people like him who suffer from Nice Guy Syndrome (TM). Guys who label themselves as “Nice Guys” and then complain about women are just as manipulative as any abuser. Guys who label themselves as “Nice Guys” aren’t actually nice at all. They are especially un-nice to women whom they somehow think owe the Nice Guy something (attention, friendship, sex) for simply being “nice.”
Sorry Mr. DC, no woman owes you anything for being a Nice Guy. If you were an actual nice guy, as opposed to a Nice Guy, you would not be making your generalizations about women, you would not be bitter, you would have more self-confidence and, perhaps most of all, you would see women as fellow human beings instead of some subspecies. Women are in fact human beings and respond quite well to being treated as such.
Hell. Yeah. This lady–and I’m 99% sure she’s a lady, even though this is the internet–espouses one of our governing Harpy principles: you don’t get a cookie for not being an asshole. Don’t abuse women? You’re not supposed to abuse women, asshole. Men who go fishing for praise—or dates—simply because they’re not OJ Simpson have a shamefully low opinion of women and an irrationally high opinion of themselves.
Here’s the honest truth about nice guys vs. Nice Guys:
Genuinely nice guys have nothing to worry about. Genuinely nice guys already have plenty of female friends, both platonic and romantic, because treating women (or men) kindly and respectfully pretty much guarantees companionship. But genuinely nice guys are not the ones complaining. The ones being all concerned about why women make these choices—and how they can change their silly womanish ways—are the Nice Guys. Nice Guys can’t understand why their anger, criticism and sense of entitlement fail to attract women, or only attract women they deem “beneath them.” They also don’t see that their need to dictate women’s behavior so that we can better attract them is belittling, douche-y, and classic abuser mode.
Frankly, the fact that this guy is so peevish about “childish” women and their “drama” that he’s writing to an advice columnist in a live thread makes me hopeful—his obvious frustration means the women around him must all have properly high standards and a fully-functioning bullshit detector.