Tuesday, 2 May 2017

How NOT To Be A "Nice Guy."

Hahahahahahaahahahahahaaaaaa.  No.

In the past, I've written in praise of "Nice Guys."  I've never been the kind of woman who wants a "Bad Boy" and I don't think there's anything wrong with a man being sensitive, thoughtful and kind.  

In fact, I've gone so far as to become really annoyed when people use "Nice Guy" as an insult, or when people suggest that niceness as a general trait, is somehow an unmanly thing.  The idea that "niceness" is a somehow feminine trait is one that needs to be scrunched up into a ball and tossed as far away as possible.  Because seriously.  We need to stop gendering personality traits and putting people in boxes.  If I want to drink beer and shout at the football, I can (and have and probably will again).  Yet, that's thought of as a quintessentially "masculine" trait.  Similarly, if a man is sensitive and dislikes stereotypical "manly" sports, it doesn't mean that he's been "feminised."  I say this, having just heard some utter knuckle-dragging ape text in to Jeremy Vine's radio show, talking in praise of boxing.  Now, I'm not really a boxing fan, but I don't dislike it based on any kind of "feminist principle."  But this guy's chief reason for texting in to the show was to say he was "sick of women and feminised men" disliking the sport.


First and foremost, you completely backwards-brained donkey: men are allowed to like or dislike whatever sport they choose.  Disliking boxing doesn't make a man "feminised" any more than my enjoyment of football makes me "masculinised."  We're human beings; capable of making choices based on what we enjoy, rather than what happens to be between our legs.  To suggest that a man somehow loses bloke points because he's not into boxing is so unimaginably stupid, that I can only suggest that you, oh Jeremy-Vine-show-text-sender, have an IQ in single figures.

Secondly, not all women are against boxing.  Some women love it.  Someone women participate in it.  Some women could kick your sorry little backside.

Juuuuuust gonna leave this here...


So, yeah.  The point of that mini-rant was to explain that "nice" doesn't have to mean in any way "unmanly" and that I'm very much in favour of genuinely nice men.  

The trouble is, some men decide that they are "Nice Guys" and that becomes their USP.  Whether it's because they're not into "manly" activities (be it football, boxing or anything else in between), or whether it's because they consider themselves to be "in touch with their feminine side" (another phrase I sort of wish would die, despite the fact that it's so culturally ingrained, I've been known to use it), there are some men who believe that that alone, is enough for them to be considered "nice."  It's almost as though they believe they're better than the rest of their gender, based on precious little else besides their self-labelled "niceness."

"I don't do X, Y or Z and other guys do.  That alone makes me a Nice Guy."

And that's just rubbish.

With these kinds of "Nice Guys," you will be told - possibly endlessly - about how great they are.  How different they are.  But, as the song says, it's only words.

Get to know a "Nice Guy," as opposed to a guy who just happens to be genuinely nice, and you'll soon realise the difference.

Let's put it this way:  Have you ever met someone funny?  Chances are, you probably have.  There's probably someone in your life who has a clever way with words, or great comic timing.  The thing is, I can almost guarantee that the funniest person you know is not someone who literally introduces themselves by saying: "I'm hilarious."

That's because most genuinely funny people are folk who just happen to have a knack for saying the right thing at the right time.  Most of the people we find funniest - besides professional comedians - are people who know us, and therefore know what will make us laugh.

I am willing to bet that if I met someone and their opening gambit was: "Hi, I'm really funny," I wouldn't be able to raise a smirk.  That's because genuinely funny people don't need to announce it; they just are.

It's the same with niceness.  If you're kind, thoughtful, sensitive and enjoyable to be around, people will think of you as being a nice person.  If you forcibly tell people how nice you are, they'll be looking for evidence of it.  And if you don't deliver, they're just going to think you're an idiot.

The fact of the matter is, however, I didn't know about this.  I didn't realise - maybe because I'm exceptionally naive - that there were guys out there, declaring their "niceness" to the world, without a shred of evidence to back up their claims.  And so, every time someone insulted "Nice Guys" online, I really thought they were genuinely having a pop at men who just happen to be nice.  And that infuriated me.

There are, as the utter anus-hair who texted into Jeremy Vine proved earlier, people (men and women) out there, insulting men for not fitting into their idea of masculinity.  There are people who honestly do think that niceness is a feminine trait, not for men to possess.

Those people are mind-blowingly stupid.

But it was only very recently, that I realised "Nice Guys" (men who sell themselves entirely on their "niceness," despite displaying very little that you'd instantly recognise as "nice" behaviour in reality) actually do exist.

I know, because I encountered one, last night.

For several months - and entirely against my better judgement - I've been on Tinder.  It is, as I've said many times, a fairly horrible place.  But last night, I matched with someone who seemed nice.  Or, at least, he said he was...

His profile referenced the fact that he was looking for a proper relationship, rather than a one night stand.  I won't lie, dear reader, that was the main reason I swiped right.  I'm 34, I have ovaries that explode every time I watch One Born Every Minute.  I'm not after a casual fling; I want to find someone I can build a life with.

Anyway, it turned out that we were a match and he quickly messaged me to say hi.  We'd only exchanged a couple of messages, when he first mentioned what a nice guy he was.  "I'm not like those other guys.  I treat women with respect," he insisted.  "And I'm not after just one thing.  I'm a decent guy."

With hindsight, maybe I should have had my guard up a bit, but hey; I'm 34, my nose is massive, my teeth are crooked and I can rarely control my own hair.  I can't afford to be too picky.  So, I told him that nice guys were definitely my type.

He responded, yet again telling me how nice he was.  To be honest, I was finding this conversation rather boring (who wants to talk to someone who hasn't asked anything about you, but has just gone on about how nice they are?!), so I referenced the fact that his profile said he was really into music, and I asked what kind of stuff he liked to listen to.

In his reply, he told me all about his love of a certain band.  In detail.  Seeing as they're a band I also like, we backed and forthed about them for a while.  Then, still aware that he hadn't asked a single question about me, I dropped my own favourite band into the conversation, to see if he'd ask me about that.

Nope.  Just ignored it completely and went right on, chatting about his interests.

I even tried asking him what he did for a job, thinking that when he replied, he might ask what I do, but... Nope.  Still talked about himself.

By this point, it was getting harder to see this self-proclaimed "Nice Guy" as being that nice.  I mean, when you're having a conversation with someone and they don't ask a single thing about you, but talk a lot about themselves and their interests, it's hard to feel like you're talking to a really nice, considerate person.

But, once he'd finished talking about himself, he asked if I was looking for a serious relationship.  When I said I was, he went back to telling me how "different" he was to other guys.  He knew how to treat a lady properly.  He was nice.

And then - seemingly completely out of the blue - he randomly said: "I hate men who abuse women.  I would never hit or hurt a lady.  I really hate abuse."


Now, if you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that my last relationship was with a man who was abusive.  Emotionally, psychologically, sexually and with threats of violence thrown in.  Lucky me.

So, this was a weird one, for me.  On the one hand, my biggest fear is meeting anyone like my ex, so I was rather pleased at this completely unprompted confession.  On the other, why would someone randomly come out with that?!

He went on to say that his ex had apparently broken up with him, because he told her that he hates men who hurt women (I didn't believe that, but hey).  And then, right in the middle of all this righteous anti-abuse talk, came a classic piece of victim-blaming:

"I just don't understand why a woman would stay with a man who abuses her.  A lady should want to be treated with respect."

I literally can't even begin to tell you how infuriating it is, for all abuse survivors, to have this crap thrown at us time and time again.  

And so, it was like a red rag to a bull.  I listed several reasons why a woman might not feel she can leave her abusive partner (reasons that fit for men who are being abused, too, such as fear, manipulation, love, financial reasons etc).  And, because by this point, I felt like I needed to hammer my point home, at the end of my list, I added: "Trust me on this one.  I know from experience."

Now, anyone with a reading comprehension above the age of six would realise I might be potentially hinting that I had experienced abuse in a relationship, right?  And this "Nice Guy" who hated abuse so much, would surely take that into account, right?!

Not so much.

He literally went "yeah, but..." and reminded me that he had been talking about his views and his last relationship.  Or to put it another way: "we're not talking about you."

I didn't reply.

This morning, he messaged me as though nothing had happened.  And I don't know why, but that annoyed me almost as much as the message the night before.

So, I decided to respond.

I told him that in future, if someone lists several reasons why a woman might not feel able to leave an abusive partner, then says they're talking from experience, it might be a wise idea to validate what they're saying by actually responding to it, rather than steering the conversation back to himself.  I suggested that maybe, saying you really hate abuse, only to completely ignore someone quietly confirming that they've been abused, undermines your whole "anti-abuse, Nice Guy" ethos.

I kid you not, he replied, casually confessing that he wasn't taking much notice of what I was saying the night before, because he was working on something else  AND THEN HE STARTED TALKING ABOUT HIMSELF AGAIN AND ADDED A SMILEY EMOJI.

At this point, it was no more Mrs Nice Gal, so I repeated everything I had said before, only more firmly, and told him whilst I wished him luck in finding someone, it wouldn't be me, and perhaps he should worry less about telling women how "nice" he is and more about honing his personal skills in order to be the "Nice Guy" he sells himself as.

He unmatched from me, after that.

I consider myself to have had a slightly unpleasant education into the whole "Nice Guy" thing.  It turns out that there's one heck of a difference between saying you're a nice guy and actually being one.

If you're a man who doesn't consider himself to be particularly "blokey" and for that reason, thinks of himself as a "Nice Guy," then just remember this:  if your actions don't match your words, you're going to be quickly found out.  

For example:  A "Nice Guy" will talk about respecting women, wanting to treat his partner well and being baffled by men who show no care for the women in their lives.  But it's just that.  Talk.

An actual nice guy will show his respect for women.  He'll listen to his partner (or potential partner).  He'll want to get to know her better, rather than focusing solely on himself.  He'll treat her the way he would like to be treated; giving comfort and support when necessary and offering her space when she needs it.  

It doesn't matter who you are, or what your gender is:  we have to learn that words are nothing if we don't have the actions to back them up.

For the record, I am still into nice guys.

I'm just definitely not into "Nice Guys."


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  2. I remember the very short version of this story from your Top 5 Worst Things About Tinder video. What a jerk. :( And he brought it up after all. Why would he bring up a topic as loaded as abuse without expecting an conversation?! Oh wait, because he wanted to make himself look good. Fail.

    Also I almost spat drink on my computer over the gif of He Who Must Not Be Named at the top. No indeed!

    1. Honestly, i sometimes genuinely believe I could write a whole book on the rubbish I've encountered on Tinder!!


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