Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Of Nice and Men

I've been running off and having assignations lately; if you can call staring at a coffee cup for an hour and having tense conversation with a stranger before you feel it's been long enough to make an excuse to leave, hoping he won't try to touch you, an "assignation." This casual dating thing is teaching me a lot about human misery.

One thing that's eating my patience is the myth that "nice guys finish last." This came up on one of my dates week before last, when I was studiously not updating this blog, as is our custom in these parts. I had seen this guy, we'll call him Lennie, once. He teased me about my crazy art car, called me a dirty hippie, and generally dipped my pigtails in the inkwell a bit. I got a bottle of chocolate milk at Publix, he got a sub sandwich, and we went back to the place where he was couch surfing until he found an apartment. We sat on the futon that served as his bed, I had my milk. He ate his sandwich. He and I made out a bit. Lennie was big and rough and simple, strong enough to pick me up and carry me back to the futon after I got up to leave. That was kind of fun, but after smacking him on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper, I left.

Date the second: Take-out from Mr. Roboto (there was no room at the restaurant.) We eat on the bed in his friend's bedroom. He watches television, I watch him watch television. He puts a frog down the back of my dress and carves my name into his desk. More making out. At this point it's like making out with a St. Bernard. I feel nothing inside. I pull away and try to talk. I want to know what he's like. He is confused.

"People are fathomless," I say. "There's always something new to know about them."
"I'm not. I'm very simple. I like to be affectionate," he says.
"But isn't it weird sharing this kind of physical stuff with someone you don't know?"
"No."
"It is to me."

This goes on for a while. I try to get him to tell me about himself. He gets frustrated.

"I guess we're not really romantically compatible," he says.
"No," I say. "We're not. Well, I guess that was fun while it lasted. I hope you find a nice girl."
"Yeah," he says bitterly. "Well, look where being a nice guy got me?"

That pissed me off. I gave him some shit about that and left. Forgot my sweater. Went back to get it. Went out and went on more shitty dates with "nice" guys. I think about every genuinely nice guy I know, and all of them, without exception, are swarming in offers of pussy and/or dick, depending (sometimes) on their preference. Honestly. The really sweet men--and women-- I know, almost without exception, have pretty successful love lives. They also never seem to describe themselves as "nice". Just like the smartest people I know don't seem to have the need to emphasize this all the time.

I think I've isolated this thing about "nice guys".

Even the most vicious bastard thinks he's "nice".

The worst man I ever met in my life thought he was "nice."

Even guys who are "nice" if "nice" means "not, technically speaking, a rapist," or even when "nice" means "a genuinely nice guy,"-- even they occasionally strike out. What seems to be the trouble here is that guys who are "nice" or even guys who are "nice" will ascribe the failure of the relationship or attempt at a relationship to their "niceness". So, if a guy is:

-Boring
-Passive aggressive
-Needy as hell
-Horrendously stupid.
-None of the above but just not your type

and he is also, or considers himself to be:

-"nice"

...and things do not work out, then:

Clearly the "niceness" is what turned you off. It couldn't be his poor hygiene or the dogged manner in which he shoehorns the same six anecdotes into every conversation. It can't be that he's benignly self-centered or that he's casually arrogant. He doesn't yell and he doesn't hit. He's not a rapist and he doesn't actively practice psychological torture. He probably even takes out the trash. If you don't like him, it has to be because you are a masochist who would rather subject yourself to abuse than bring yourself to recognize how "nice" he is.

To these men, I say, fuck you and have a "nice" day.