I’ve been wanting to write about nice guys for a while. I recently received, because I am an important and influential person, an interview request on the topic of nice guys, and why they’re so hard to date. (Just how important and influential am I? The requesting magazine was based in Canada, and according to the Internet, ceased existing two years ago. Yippee!) The question that I was asked to discuss was this: “Why are nice guys the worst?” And when I heard it I thought, “Wait, they are?” Because truthfully, I’m a nice guy, and I was surprised to learn that all along I have secretly been the worst.
I mean, I’m the worst for plenty of other reasons. I horde plastic silverware and rarely pay my cable bill on time, but niceness never seemed like my problem. However, I did some googling, and it seems that many people agree––nice guys can be a real pain in the ass. Maybe we’re too cloying, or our niceness sets expectations of niceness in return, and that can be burdensome, especially if the nice guy is a fatty or has b.o. or wants to murder you or something. Honestly, I didn’t really understand the female argument on this one, so I needed more info. Because in my mind, you have to be pretty friggin’ entitled to complain about excessively kind suitors. And then more info arrived in my inbox, from a hilarious reader, Kristin Klauder. Here we go…
There are really some seriously nice and thoughtful guys out there and the girls who find their quirkiness cute and endearing will be very happy one day…unfortunately I’m not one of them. My latest gentleman caller was actually a blind date set up from a friend. As first dates go, it was pretty successful. Good conversation, some laughs yada yada yada. He even walked me to my car where I decided it was a good enough date to qualify for the straight on hug. However, he got a little greedy and went back in for another one so I settled on the one arm side hug which is no good because it leaves one arm just hanging there and I always feel it needs a place to land. That’s when I found myself patting his stomach. Ya know the way you do to grandfatherly type men. Awkward moment #1 goes to Me.
(I’m not sure what hurts more. That one has to earn a “straight-on hug,” which presumably is the thrilling moment of sexual embrace where two peoples’ genitals touch through at least four layers of clothing, or that going in for a second hug denotes greed. Really? When did hugs become such a prize? You can be greedy for kisses, or greedy for cash, or greedy for Baby Ruth candy bars, but greedy for hugs? I think that’s just a poor guy trying to fill some post-date awkwardness. But Kristin is self-effacing and made me laugh, so I remain on her side.)
It didn’t scare him away though, because after the standard three day wait period I get the second date phone call. As the phone call comes to an end, he says “I’ll pick you up at 7”. PICK ME UP!?!? I know what you’re thinking.. “Awww how sweet!” And I would typically agree with you because I’m an old fashioned gal, but now I have to handle the inevitable drop off. Will he walk me to the door so then I feel obligated to let him in? What if I don’t want to let him in, will he try his luck for a goodbye kiss??….Ahhhhh!! Then I hear myself say, “Sure, sounds good!” Ughhhh! Well it gets worse…I asked where we were going and I hear three fateful words that no man should ever say to a girl when you are planning the SECOND date…”It’s a surprise!!” Men: yes I’m talking to you…do you realize what simple words can do to a woman? We analyze everything, but when you say “surprise” we go into overdrive! “What do I wear, where are we going, do I need a getaway plan, is he kidnapping me and taking me across the border!?!?!?” In fact that last thought did come up in my freak out session the next morning with the girls at work…what can I say I have an active imagination, just ask my mother!
(I have only planned one surprise date in my life, and it was not on an internet date. Or blind date. Two words that should never be mixed are “internet” and “surprise.” Unless they are in the sentence, “Surprise! You’ve been elected King of Internet!” That would be worthwhile.)
After calming down and accepting the fact that I most likely wouldn’t be bound and gagged and end up in Mexico, I give this very brave guy my address. At 6:59 I get the knock on the door. I open it just enough to fit my body out sideways so he doesn’t get the impression he can walk in and give him my dazzling smile as I squeeze through and slam it shut. He very sweetly says how wonderful I look that night and I should tell you I just don’t take compliments well. I can’t just say “Thank you!” like a normal person, I feel I have to reciprocate. So I decide to say “Thanks, you’re looking pretty schnazzy yourself.” I said that…I really did. Awkward count: Me 2 Date 0.
(Isn’t Kristin growing on you, guys? She’s really growing on me.)
Well, as it turns out this very sweet guy listened to me on the first date and took me to the local minor league hockey game! See I told you he was nice! Now I’ll preface this next part by saying I pretty much knew I wasn’t interested in much more than friendship with this guy, but we did have fun the first time so I didn’t see how a second date could hurt. Well, my little friend didn’t exactly feel the same way. He kept trying to chat me up while I was trying to watch the fights and the ramming up against the walls and let’s be honest checking out the really cute hockey players. So as I’m leaning forward intensely scoping out these hot men…uhh watching the game…I feel a hand touch my back. Hmm that’s odd. Then that hand starts going up and down, up and down. I cringe and move further to my left to try and get out of the back rubbing zone. It stops. Alright! Five minutes later, that darn hand finds its landing area again. Now most women will understand my conundrum…if I move backwards to prevent my back from being an open target I’ve invited him to put his arm around my shoulder and I can’t move further away because those darn tight stadium seats are so tight the fat sweaty guy next to me will think it’s an invitation!
So I go for the enthusiastic fan move and jump to my feet to cheer!! GO TEAM! Well that was a temporary fix because eventually I had to sit back down and of course when I do that hand finds its home again. I then turn to mentally chanting “Please stop touching me, please stop touching me!” When that didn’t work, I caught a lucky break and was saved by predictable man behavior…he reaches for his beer. I shoot back so fast and ram my back right up against that chair I think I pulled a muscle. But that hand is so persistent that it finds my knee! The rubbing continues, up and down up and down. I move to the left, I move to the right it’s like we’re having our own hockey game but I’m the goaly and can’t stop that stupid puck from finding the inside of the net! Nothing I do throws this guy off, by the end of the game my whole back is to him and he’s still trying to find a way to touch me. If that isn’t a turned off sign I don’t know what is!
I had already agreed to getting a bite to eat after, so I couldn’t escape just yet. The game of cat and mouse starts again as we’re walking to the restaurant and I find myself running into bushes and lamp posts to avoid him trying to hold my hand! However, as we go into the restaurant I hear someone yell my name! There sits my two bosses from work and a colleague. I’VE BEEN SAVED! But wait, I still have to get through dinner and, oh yeah, I have to find an alternative ride home because I got chivalrously picked up remember! Once dinner ends I say to him that I feel the need to put in some face time with the boss and will find another way home, but thank you for a wonderful evening. While I was expecting to see him depart, he just stood there silently. If I don’t like compliments, I really don’t like awkward silence. It has to be filled!! So I open my big fat mouth and say “You’re welcome to join us”. And sure enough, he accepts! So there we are my coworkers, bosses, my awkward date and me…one big happy family.
No need to go into the details of the rest of the evening as my behavior was not my finest. I simply remember diverting my attention to others in the group until my poor clueless date decides to leave on his own. I did hear from him again asking me out on a THIRD date, but I finally had to break it to the guy that while he has redeeming qualities they are just not for me and we should remain friends. He replies “Great, I feel the same way.” Huh????
So fellow single male friends out there, take this one piece of womanly advice from this experience. When a woman turns her back to you, she’s not asking for a massage in the middle of 7,000 other people…SHE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU!
(And that’s all I need to know about the nice guy argument. Kristin didn’t dislike this guy for being nice, she disliked him for being, well, him. She just wasn’t into him. So when he did the things that every man would do on a second date, that you really SHOULD do on a second date to express your interest, they creeped her out. Because she didn’t like him–which is totally fine and totally within her rights to do. But then why does she, and many other women, rope nice guys into it? Well, because nice guys implicitly make you feel guilty. They treat you well, then you feel like a jerk for not liking them, and then translate that into feeling annoyed at the nice guy for putting all his expectations of niceness on her. Well, that, and his sweaty hands. So really, it’s not about nice guys at all, it’s just about regular ol’ dating. And now I feel marginally better about humanity. Thanks, Kristin!)
Got your own feelings about nice guys, or stories of dating horror? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!