I like to think I’m a nice person. I mean, people tell me I’m nice. And I do things like charity runs and fundraising and I give food to the homeless, and I work with sick kids and knit hats for babies and old people and all sorts. I think this qualifies me as nice. But you know what? I don’t think I’ve ever thought this meant that I was owed anything in return. Cuz, yknow. I’m nice like that.
So it fascinates me when I see or hear a guy describe himself as nice, then lament at their lack of romantic success. I am of course speaking from a heterosexual female’s perspective, feel free to tell me if this occurs in other situations too.
About 1BB (one year Before Boyfriend) I distinctly remember talking to this guy. It was complicated in the way only millennial dating can be, but I won’t expand on that. Anyway we had this conversation about previous dating history and he said that he had been dumped for being too nice. This angered and confused him. I mean, who doesn’t want to sleep with someone who is nice? Guys like nice girls! Why are women so complicated? Y’all womenfolk don’t know what y’all want! Blahblahblah.
I interrupted him.
“So, are you dating me because I’m nice?”
A pause. “Well, yeah.”
“Only because I’m nice? Not because I’m funny, or clever or because I’ve got a big… ego?”
“Oh. Well yeah, of course.”
“If I had none of that, just niceness, would you be here right now?”
No reply was given. No reply was needed.
And there’s the crux. Niceness is not the only thing anyone is looking for in a partner. Why would it be? Niceness is the bare minimum anyone needs to be a functioning member of society, and even then you don’t need that much of it. You need enough niceness to be kind to the staff at restaurants, and to not cuss out the bus driver if he misses your stop. You don’t need to give to the homeless or run 10k for disabled kids, although it certainly helps. Niceness is not the price you pay to society to be seen as an attractive person to your chosen gender. In fact, it’s barely the price you pay for people to be nice back.
This is why Nice Guys™ amuse me. I’m sure they have a list of requirements for their potential partners, and did not gravitate towards their
victims targets potential mates solely because they saw how much money they have donated to the Red Cross. And yet they get really angsty because their chosen sucker person isn’t appreciative of their actions… or at the very least aren’t appreciative enough to go on a date with them. Double Standards are a helluva drug.
Look, I get the frustration. I was an awkward fat kid that became an awkward fat young lady, and dating is hard when you’re awkward and fat. Especially when your beautiful slender nonawkward friends are getting laid left, right and centre. It’s tiring sometimes, trying to be interesting and interested in other people for little to no return. But I have never expected someone to fall on top of me because I help old ladies across the street, and I certainly don’t see why anyone else should. For one’s own benefit, it’s worth learning how to be funny and how to do one’s eyebrows, and how to ask questions and what perfumes make you smell good versus what makes you smell like a locker room at peak time in a budget gym. It stops you from being a Nice Guy™ and helps you become more than just a nice guy.