The problems with “nice guy” syndrome

Richard Dawkins giving a lecture based on his ...
"Freethinking" is not always equal to "understanding." #listenup

(While this could certainly apply to other groups of male-identifying persons and also non-straight persons, I’m going to focus this point on cis-gendered, heterosexual men.)

As somebody who played an instrument in the low brass and was even low brass section leader in marching band for two years, and also as somebody who is aspiring to work in male-dominated industries (web design, academia) I have been lucky enough to meet a variety of men and get to know many different male minds. I would never say that I have a full understanding of the way men think, but I would say that I know some general male traits and actions, and I know what men have said to me. Everything I say in this post is directed at the group of cis-gendered, heterosexual men who identify as “Nice Guys,” and believe me when I say that there are many, many of them.

The “Nice Guy” is not necessarily defined by his actions, which may include being a good listener to the females in his life, “always being there,” and other things that are supposed to set him apart as “better” than the other cis-gendered, heterosexual men that a woman may meet, though these are what a “Nice Guy” would use to define himself. All of these things may seem nice, and they will probably earn him many good, female friends. He just loves women so much, you see. However, once the female he has been “nice” to informs him that she’s not interested in him romantically or sexually, all of this love seems to fall away. Suddenly, she’s a bitch who is obviously going to go bang some asshole instead of you and that makes her stupid and ungrateful.

Why does this happen?

Because, under the surface, Nice Guys are “nice” because it’s their way of trying to attract women. They believe that if they treat a woman “better,” that she will sleep with them, perhaps go out with them, marry them, or any other reward they are seeking. When the woman doesn’t immediately realize how much “better” he is, the man becomes immediately enraged, suddenly assuming that she isn’t smart enough to see that she only likes assholes.

If you don’t see what’s wrong with being a Nice Guy, it’s this: despite your “nice” actions, you are still living under the assumption that how you treat a woman entitles you to some sort of appreciation, or some part of her body. If you haven’t noticed by now, this makes you an asshole, too.

I understand that, for many men, it’s difficult to imagine what makes a woman upset when she gets whistled at/yelled at when walking down the street. “It’s a compliment.” For many men, it’s also difficult to see why getting hit on feels degrading in some circumstances. “It must be so difficult to be wanted.”

Obviously, voicing an interest in another human being isn’t just understandable, it’s essential to our survival. At some point, a person must show interest in another person, and if the second person reciprocates interest then a lot of good can happen. But that doesn’t make all attention good; context is key here. If a person is at a place that signals their availability/desire for finding attraction (e.g.: Speed Dating, an online dating website, a singles mixer, a singles church group, etc.) and they are approached, and then if they voice reciprocal interest, then asking for a date/later meeting time/coffee/etc is perfectly acceptable. If you already know a person and have grown feelings for them, and then present your feelings and they reciprocate, then you probably have the go-ahead to ask for a date/later meeting time/coffee/etc.

From my perspective, there are very few other scenarios in which getting hit on doesn’t feel like an invasion, or inappropriate, or rude, or just downright uncalled for. Getting yelled at on the street isn’t fun; it’s frightening, especially if the car circles back to do it again (this has happened to be often), and it’s also giving a clear message of “I’m going to assert my dominance over you and make you out to be a purely sexual object because it’s culturally acceptable for me to do so.” Being listened to/treated “nicely” by a man who gets angry when you turn him down sends the message: “I’ll be nice to you as long as you reward me in the end.”

And, for the record, if a woman spends her time giving a panel about treating women well in the atheist community, then later makes it clear that she is going to bed, this isn’t an invitation for you to ask her to have coffee with you in your room whilst in an elevator. Whatever the intentions, this is still a power play, and it sends the message of: “I’m going to show my interest in you while you’re vulnerable and I have the ability to trap you in an enclosed space with me.” I’m not saying that Elevator Guy had intentions of hurting her, and I can perfectly imagine him thinking of himself as a nice guy, if not a Nice Guy (“I’m so much better because I like her for her brain and not just her body”).

I wish I could call him an Uninformed Guy, but the fact that he attended her panel says that he isn’t uninformed, he’s just clueless. As are many men. Because, for the record, what we need to be fighting for is eliminating all forms of oppression, not just the most extreme forms. Yes, Muslim women being mutilated and stripped of their rights is tragic, and we should be fighting against it. But we should also be fighting against all forms of sexual oppression, even the most clueless forms, the forms that Richard Dawkins himself is perpetuating. I personally don’t understand the paradox of any atheist man viewing himself as oppressed for his (lack of) religious views, and fighting for more awareness- and then having no compassion or understanding for sexually oppressed persons, some of whom live in a society that has a more active role in limiting women, and some of whom live in a society that has made some changes but still has a long way to go. That would be like somebody saying “hey, we have one atheist active congressperson, and also there have been books about atheism that were successful, so we’ve made it and we don’t have to fight anymore.”

My rambling thoughts are rambling, so I will end with: as a cis-gendered heterosexual man, please #listenup. If you want to go from being a Nice Guy to a nice guy, then look at your motivations for how you treat your the females in your life. If you find that your intentions are less than genuine, then congratulations: you’ve listened, and hopefully learned.

Hey, cis-gendered heterosexual males: comment and post any/all ways in which you have ever felt oppressed/objectified by other people in your life, male-identifying, female-identifying, genderqueer, etc. All sexual oppression needs to stop.

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29 thoughts on “The problems with “nice guy” syndrome

  1. Please clarify – you’ve constructed a straw man of a “nice guy” who is a good listener, etc., whose behavior “will probably earn him many good, female friends”. But wait, “nice guy” is not actually nice at all: he secretly just wants to have sex, and the moment a female indicates that she does not wish to have sex with him, he turns into a raging monster. So how is it that he maintains many good, female friends? Do they all have sex with him? In that case, it seems his mating strategy is successful. Or, have his female friends somehow not yet indicated that they do not want to have sex with him? How long does that arrangement go on?

    Your suggestions regarding scenarios as to when it is ok/not ok to be approached romantically are a waste of time at best. You should realize there is a wide gulf between “getting yelled at on the street”, which does not sound remotely like a romantic approach, and “Speed Dating, an online dating website, etc.”. The real world is a wide and many-colored place; if its living inhabitants make you uncomfortable, I recommend you stay indoors.

    1. I would love to clarify.

      First, it is important to know that the Nice Guy Syndrome that I described is not a unique idea that I came up with; many people have spoken about it before me, and many people will speak about it after me, and I am quite sure that I am not the person who has written about it the best. If you are truly interested in this, then I would suggest that you read this post.

      Now to respond to your comments, keeping in mind that your questions are asking for specifics about a hypothetical scenario that describes a general phenomenon, and as such I can only answer in generalizations:
      1. “…he turns into a raging monster. So how is it that he maintains many good, female friends?”
      There are a few factors at work here. First, a person who is a Nice Guy is pursuing (most female) persons in a passive way; it should be noted, then, that post-rejection his response is not outright aggressive, but passive-aggressive in nature. For example, they might leave a Facebook comment explaining the various ways that they were “nice” to you and how you never went out with them, thereby making you a bad person for not liking them purely based on the good things they did for you. But, for the most part, the Nice Guy will probably stay mum about the topic except with his friends, or to himself, or to post a Facebook status saying “why do nice guys always finish last?” or something along those lines.

      2. ” Do they all have sex with him? In that case, it seems his mating strategy is successful.”
      It appears to me that you have missed the point that I was trying to make- that treating a person “nicely” as a “mating strategy” is deceitful and manipulative, thereby cancelling out any degree of “niceness” a person might have.

      3. “Or, have his female friends somehow not yet indicated that they do not want to have sex with him? How long does that arrangement go on?”
      It seems that you are presupposing that one or both of the parties breaks communication. In my experience, this rarely happens, because: either the Nice Guy never had a relationship with the object of their pursuit; the Nice Guy doesn’t mention his disgruntled state to the object of their pursuit; the object of their pursuit, being motivated by different factors (perhaps their genuine interest in the Nice Guy’s friendship, perhaps their conditioning to be gentle and nice themselves in their refusal, etc.) does their best to keep the relationship going regardless. Of course there are relationships that get diffused after actions that follow in line with the Nice Guy Syndrome, but that isn’t the case every time.

      4. “You should realize there is a wide gulf between ‘getting yelled at on the street’, which does not sound remotely like a romantic approach, and ‘Speed Dating, an online dating website, etc.’. The real world is a wide and many-colored place; if its living inhabitants make you uncomfortable, I recommend you stay indoors.”
      Well, first, I think that I should note that nowhere did I assert that these are the only safe places where a person could pursue another person. I did put “etc,” after all, and, as you point out, they are merely “suggestions,” not constraints. But I am more interested in this: the very fact that you took the time to write this e-mail makes me think that you are not somebody who is inactive in their life, or inactive about things that are meaningful to you. Why then would you suggest that I myself not speak up about things that are meaningful to me? I would assume that when you see something that bothers you or makes you “uncomfortable,” such as a blog post about Nice Guys, you don’t just decide to let it go, but you speak up about it. Why should I hide from the world instead of trying to make a concerted effort to bring about the change that I think would help it? If nothing else, I’m just doing what it seems like you do yourself.

      I do want to thank you, however, for sparking this discussion. I started writing with the intention of sparking discussion, and I do love getting the chance to think and explain.

      1. Two of your points disagree with me. It seems like rank hypocrisy. You condemn as manipulative and bad men doing what the majority of women do- try to get the opposite sex to like them and complaining about sucky situations online.

        1.
        “But, for the most part, the Nice Guy will probably stay mum about the topic except with his friends, or to himself, or to post a Facebook status saying “why do nice guys always finish last?” or something along those lines.”

        Here’s one point. You said they turn into a raging monster, and yet you note that they mostly don’t act aggressively. This is to be expected. Nice guys tend to be the sorts of guys who exhibit low prenatal testosterone traits (low confidence, low aggression, low sexuality), testosterone being the hormone that masculinizes the brain and body.

        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301051104001048

        These nice guys are safe. They are less aggressive, and less horny. They will not turn into a raging monster because it’s simply not in their nature, and they will not rape a woman so easily. They will get frustrated that their nature is inherently ineffective at building attraction, and as you say will bemoan their lack of success on social networking sites. Women will do the same to boyfriends- if they’ve been very kind yet the boyfriend has cheated on them they will certainly complain on facebook. It’s hardly some shocking bad truth.

        2.
        “It appears to me that you have missed the point that I was trying to make- that treating a person “nicely” as a “mating strategy” is deceitful and manipulative, thereby cancelling out any degree of “niceness” a person might have. ”

        They are nice as a person, which is why they are using nice as a mating strategy. They’re simply doing what comes naturally. And I should note, women certainly use reproductive aids. They dress in sexualized manners to attract men, wear makeup to cover up flaws, wear special bras to enhance their bust size. I’ve experienced this a lot. I’ve been flat mate with a feminist, and she’d regularly ask me what I thought of her outfit, and if it would enhance her chances of getting some. If you seriously think it’s manipulative, well, 80% of women or so are manipulative with makeup. People simply do stuff to make people like them more because they like being liked.

        Plus, for nice guys, girls regularly tell them stuff like ‘if only my current boyfriend was like you’ so they’re pretty frustrated that women tend to have longer, more sexual and more romantic relationships with cruel men than nice men.

        Anyway, I doubt atheists will take note of your views because if they did they’d never get laid ever. Men tend to have to approach women, and both men and women tend to prefer it that way. Women tend to feel incredibly uncomfortable approaching men, and men tend to view women who approach them with less respect. That’s the reality of our modern world and if men took your advice and viewed the majority of approaches as oppression then they would die cold and alone and be less respected by their friends as they were so terrible with women. And they’d probably still get called rapists, since feminists love to call men rapists.

      2. Thank you for replying to my post. I would like to address the points that you brought up, and try to further explain my point of view.

        Regarding #1: Nowhere in my original post did I say that they turn into “raging monsters.” I think that perhaps you are responding more to the comments than the post itself? I appreciate your comment about testosterone, and while I agree that testosterone levels can account for relative differences in personality across the board for people with either male sex organs who produce higher levels of testosterone, people who are taking testosterone or people who naturally have higher levels of testosterone, all sex-linked behaviors are not the pure work of brain chemistry.

        Regarding #2: It sounds to me like you are of the opinion that a human female-identifying person’s appearance is primarily constructed for the purpose of being more attractive to potential mates. I’m assuming that this is because you think that this is evolutionarily driven and “natural.” However, I would assert that, in general, it is the “male” of any species in nature who performs in attention-getting techniques for the purpose of attracting a mate, and that the “females” of any species are less likely to show attention-getting performances for the purpose of attracting a mate. Even if this weren’t true, this is also assuming that any “natural” instinct that we as a species have is never, ever overwritten; to this I say: please show me the 200,000 year old toilets.

        I am not arguing that there are no nice people, but only that Nice Guys are not, by the nature of their actions, acting in a way that could be described as “nice.” “Nice” implies selflessness and genuine concern for another person. I am also not saying that people should never approach another person whom they are interested in, but simply that context matters. (I think that this context would be very important to anybody who considers himself “nice,” as these “nice” people appreciate potential partners “more” and don’t “just want sex,” right?)

  2. And thank you for replying to mine.

    1. I’m talking about prenatal testosterone levels, not serum levels. There’s no evidence I know of that your testosterone level in your blood effects aggression, but there’s strong evidence that exposure in the womb does, as noted in the study. Testosterone only affects things which are growing (sadly for transsexuals) and presumably the aggression parts are fully developed. As such, if a unconfident guy makes an awkward flirt with you, he’s less likely to be thinking about sex and is less likely to have scary ambitions. You’re safer with him and he is less likely than another guy to have ulterior motives.

    2. I believe women wear make-up to look beautiful for men because that’s the reason they tell me they’re wearing it. Also to fit in socially to a lesser extent, but even that’s mostly for men. I have a friend who says that when she wears make-up she gets more compliments at work and feels better about herself. Anecdotal evidence. Do you have friends who wear make-up in a non manipulative way, without accenting their lips with lipstick, without using foundation to hide flaws?

    Women tend to win men through attractiveness and femininity. The man only performs attention getting things if he believes the woman is a suitable mate, and beauty is a common sign of fertility. Also, the natural instinct isn’t getting overridden Women could override it, but if they did they would get less male attention so it would be stupid to do so.

    http://www.spring.org.uk/2009/02/womens-makeup-draws-33-more-men.php

    In this you are confusing motive with cause. The cause of the guy’s niceness is that he is more agreeable and friendly. This may be due to upbringing or genetics or prenatal testosterone. As you yourself have noted he continues to be nice to women after they reject him and does not show signs of aggression or hate. He is selfless and will continue to be kind in all situations. He merely expresses frustration that his nature is terrible at getting him what he wants, just as women with small breasts express frustration that their nature isn’t getting them what they want.

    So it’s ok to pick your context but not ok to pick your actions. Got it.

    The hate comes later. The man is kind by nature, but repeated rejections and ljbf moments break him. The reality of the dating scene twists him into a sad wreck of a person. At this point, he no longer calls himself a nice guy as he sees women as wicked evil beings and would prefer to simply watch porn, play black ops, and get on with his career.

    1. “The hate comes later. The man is kind by nature, but repeated rejections and ljbf moments break him. The reality of the dating scene twists him into a sad wreck of a person. At this point, he no longer calls himself a nice guy as he sees women as wicked evil beings and would prefer to simply watch porn, play black ops, and get on with his career.”

      This.

    2. I think that I am confused about your overall point of view in this discussion. I will take a few guesses, and you can absolutely feel free to tell me that I am wrong, but this is what I am hearing from your comments:

      1. There are men who were exposed to less testosterone in the womb, making them less aggressive. I’m very interested in reading the study or studies that you are referring to. However, I am failing to see the connection between a person who is less aggressive by hormonal levels and a person who acts in the ways that I was describing. I am assuming that you are proposing that the Elevator Guy might have experienced less testosterone in the womb. This could be an educated guess, but since there is no verifiable evidence for this from this particular person, we are caught in speculation. Your speculation is that he was one of these persons, my speculation is that he hasn’t displayed any actions that characterize him as markedly different from the average cis-gendered, heterosexual male in western society. No, his advances were not aggressive, but I was never arguing that his advances were aggressive, and neither did Rebecca Watson. And so I fail to see the connection beyond speculation.

      2. You are asserting that women primarily use makeup to appear attractive. Cosmetics are a complicated issue that I don’t think can be pinned down to one reason, especially if all of the evidence you can offer is anecdotal (you seem to be a person of scientific interest, which makes me assume that you already know: anecdotal evidence, or any data collected outside of a carefully controlled laboratory of field experiment is very weak). Off of the top of my head, I can think of a variety of factors that lead to women using cosmetics in our western society: it is the cultural norm; women are taught that it is part of their gender role; influence from peers; it is a behavior that has been passed down through generations; they enjoy the way it makes them look; they enjoy the positive reinforcement from their peers, society or the objects of their affection, conditioning them towards this behavior; they believe that it will give them better attention from the objects of their affection. I think that cosmetic usage is more linked to individual societies than anything else, even biological or evolutionary reasons. If one wants to argue that it’s part of a mating ritual, then one has to acknowledge that for hundreds of thousands of years, mating occurred without cosmetics and based purely on the physiological signs females go through when ovulation is occurring (such as pheromones, voice pitch, gait, etc).

      3. I think that I am finally beginning to see where your frustration is with my argument and perhaps the actions of some females. To recap, this is what you have said about women:
      “Women tend to win men through attractiveness and femininity.”
      “Also, the natural instinct isn’t getting overridden Women could override it, but if they did they would get less male attention so it would be stupid to do so.”
      “just as women with small breasts express frustration that their nature isn’t getting them what they want.”
      I am inferring from these assertions that you believe that women’s primary focus is on gaining a mate, and that their primary focus in life is on meeting this end. If this is truly what you believe, then I can absolutely see why you would be frustrated when you see women who don’t accept the advances of a man- after all, if their focus is on getting a mate, then why would they turn down an offer? It would appear from this point of view that the woman technically made the first move by altering her appearance, thereby signaling that she wants attention, and so when she rejects the attention (especially from a less aggressive man) it would appear that she is sending mixed signals. However, I don’t think that this explanation is sufficient enough to explain all of the behaviors at work here.

      This might seem like a crazy idea, but- not every woman is looking for a mate at all times. Also, a woman enhancing her appearance does not necessarily signal a desire for a mate any more than a man growing his beard signals that he is abject to the idea of performing cunnilingus itch-free for his (potential or not) partner. There are people of all genders and sexual identities that consider their careers, hobbies, interests, or any other thing in their life to be more important at any given time than finding a mate, including women. After all, would it not stand to reason that, were a woman constantly looking for a mate, and if she chose to give visual reasons rather than verbal cues, that she would ride on an electric wheelchair, naked from the waist down with her legs wide open?

      I will agree that there are certainly times in which any person is motivated by their biological imperative to reproduce. However, in modern western society, the importance is not so much “reproduction” as it is “providing a stable support system for progeny for many years and giving them the best possible tools to ensure their survival and their eventual reproduction/other means of child-rearing.” Also, if it were true that all humans never act in the face of their biological imperative, then why would couples whose sexual gametes/organs are incompatible couple up? Or, why would a person with functional reproductive organs couple up with a person who is barren or otherwise unable to reproduce? How would you explain homosexuality in any animal, or other sexual acts that don’t produce offspring such as masturbation, oral sex, anal sex, etc?

      There are more factors at play here than biological imperatives, even more than societal conditioning. Humans of all sexes and genders override their “natural instinct” constantly, even when it comes to sex, because our society allows us to.

      As for my own experience: I obviously buck the trends, because I rarely wear makeup, I recently stopped shaving, I am in an exclusive relationship with a man whom I pursued (not by looks, but with my words), and I am extremely content. Yes, I experienced bad relationships, but think about things statistically- out of the billions of people on this Earth, out of the thousands of people you meet in a lifetime, you probably have only developed feelings for less than thirty people in your lifetime, even if you pursued perhaps around fifty to sixty of these people. I would assert that, out of these numbers, there are perhaps ~5-10 people with whom you could meet and be compatible enough to begin raising children with, if this is your intent. Of course you will experience rejection, and of course you will experience bad relationships, and of course you go through this- but eventually, most people find somebody with whom they are compatible in significant enough ways to spend a significant amount of time together as a couple. Does that mean that the girl who never gave you a chance five years ago is a bitch? Does that mean that you should write off women as being unfair and only wanting what is best for them?

      Let me put it this way: if you were unemployed and you sought after ten employers and didn’t hear from any of them, would you decide that the working force was not for you and that you should just stay at home all day and give up? Of course not, you would continue to seek after employment. But you wouldn’t march into any office that had a position that you would like and expect them to offer it to you if you walked in and said “don’t take this the wrong way, but I think this position is interesting and I would like to be shown to my cubicle now.”

      Food for thought, I suppose.

      1. TLDR version. No, men aren’t all the same. Just as a transsexual has a socially awkward mix of biological gender attributes a lot of men are less sexual, less confident, and less aggressive- they have feminine traits. The man in the elevator obviously had this too.

        Women do have pursuits other than sex, but when they enhance their sexiness they’re normally pursuing male attention. They frequently ‘manipulate’ men to get what they want.

        Homosexuality can enhance your breeding success, just as oral and anal sex can.

        Emotion>>>reason. Reason evolved to win arguments irrationally, emotion evolved to solve problems empirically.

        You’re a woman. It’s easy for you to find a partner. Most men don’t. A lot of men lose the game of life. That obviously leads to frustration in them.

        Because of the sexism of feminism, as displayed in your post, atheists find feminism repugnant a lot of the time. Your goal, of using this scenario to convince atheist men to be more feminist, is weakened by the phrase ‘the average cis-gendered, heterosexual male in western society’ which is nakedly sexist.

        “There are men who were exposed to less testosterone in the womb, making them less aggressive. I’m very interested in reading the study or studies that you are referring to.”

        I cited the study in my first post. Digit ratio is a recognised proxy for testosterone exposure in the womb, and can be correlated to lots of traits, diseases, and personality types. If your fourth finger (next to the pinky) is longer than your second finger then that indicates you were exposed to higher levels of testosterone in the womb. You can also use breast or testicle sizes but it’s a lot easier to measure digit ratios. Wikipedia has a nice set of links to scientific studies on the matter if you so wish to explore it.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digit_ratio

        1. “Whatever the intentions, this is still a power play, and it sends the message of: “I’m going to show my interest in you while you’re vulnerable and I have the ability to trap you in an enclosed space with me.” ”

        “my speculation is that he hasn’t displayed any actions that characterize him as markedly different from the average cis-gendered, heterosexual male in western society. No, his advances were not aggressive, but I was never arguing that his advances were aggressive, and neither did Rebecca Watson. And so I fail to see the connection beyond speculation.”

        You earlier indicated that you did think he was aggressive, that he was trying to get her vulnerable and trap her in an enclosed space, apparently as he is a ‘average cis-gendered heterosexual male in western society’. Given his low confidence, that’s unlikely. Far more likely is that he was trying to ask her out in an environment where she was less likely to humiliate him socially if she said no to his request.

        You are stereotyping the majority of males as the same. That’s not an accurate stereotype, and it’s certainly not true with nice guys. They tend to display low testosterone traits, and are very different from the feminist stereotype of men. The value of this speculation is in pointing out that your stereotypes are inaccurate.

        Makeup “You are asserting that women primarily use make-up to appear attractive. Cosmetics are a complicated issue that I don’t think can be pinned down to one reason, especially if all of the evidence you can offer is anecdotal (you seem to be a person of scientific interest, which makes me assume that you already know: anecdotal evidence, or any data collected outside of a carefully controlled laboratory of field experiment is very weak).”

        You’re offering no evidence whatsoever. You are assuming you are psychic as to the man’s motivations with zero reference points. Anyway, I found a study.

        http://smib.vuw.ac.nz:8081/WWW/ANZMAC2001/anzmac/AUTHORS/pdfs/Ogilvie.pdf

        “On a
        five-point scale 84% of women answered that lipstick made them feel ‘very confident’ and a
        further 8% as ‘confident’. In addition 82% of the sample perceived that lipstick made them
        fell ‘really good about themselves’. In contrast only 28% of the sample strongly agreed that
        wearing lipstick made them feel attractive to the opposite sex.”

        So would you say that the 28% of women who wear makeup who agree strongly that wearing makeup makes them feel attractive to the opposite sex are manipulative, and if you are a woman like that you should

        “look at your motivations for how you treat your the females [males] in your life.”

        As you said. The study is too ideological to easily draw conclusions (they don’t give data tables just selected factoids to support their point) but it’s clear a lot of women do wear makeup to make men more attracted to them.

        Baby making “I think that cosmetic usage is more linked to individual societies than anything else, even biological or evolutionary reasons. If one wants to argue that it’s part of a mating ritual, then one has to acknowledge that for hundreds of thousands of years, mating occurred without cosmetics and based purely on the physiological signs females go through when ovulation is occurring (such as pheromones, voice pitch, gait, etc).”

        Humans flirt outside ovulation. Ovulation is concealed in human females. Most can’t even tell when they’re going through it. They have a lot of different flirting strategies aimed at convincing others to be with them, such as accenting your breast size by pushing them together. There are a lot of ways to play the game, but they’re all focused at improving your femininity.

        Sex sex and sex.”I am inferring from these assertions that you believe that women’s primary focus is on gaining a mate, and that their primary focus in life is on meeting this end.”

        No, I’m saying that a woman’s primary focus when accenting her sexuality is increasing positive male attention. Lots of women have other priorities like careers and hobbies and so don’t seek to accent their sexuality, but those who do are aiming to get the results that appearing more feminine brings.

        Plus, looking more beautiful means people see you as a better person.

        The wheelchair of lust. “After all, would it not stand to reason that, were a woman constantly looking for a mate, and if she chose to give visual reasons rather than verbal cues, that she would ride on an electric wheelchair, naked from the waist down with her legs wide open? ”

        No, because then she’d look promiscuous and so would get less relationship offers as men value promiscuous women less highly due to the risk of infidelity. Women can only get pregnant once and need trustworthy males to stick by them to raise children, and need to pick high genetic quality men to impregnate them.

        Biology, homosexuals, and anal sex. “Also, if it were true that all humans never act in the face of their biological imperative, then why would couples whose sexual gametes/organs are incompatible couple up? Or, why would a person with functional reproductive organs couple up with a person who is barren or otherwise unable to reproduce? How would you explain homosexuality in any animal, or other sexual acts that don’t produce offspring such as masturbation, oral sex, anal sex, etc?”

        Everything we do is biological as we are biological creatures, but biology is complex and confusing.

        Homosexual behaviour provides you with experience with sex and personalities that can enhance your reproductive success with the opposite sex. It’s also associated with hormonal variances and other biological thingies. It’s not very common, so whatever causes it has are probably under strong evolutionary pressure since a lot of lines die out.

        Barren people. Well, you don’t know for sure that a person is barren (ignoring science, which our brains can’t comprehend well). Also people also have a desire for friendship for social protection. And a lot of people do break up with people after they find out they’re barren.

        Masturbation in males removes old sperm and puts new faster stronger sperm at the top, in females it strengthens the uterine defences which allows for reproductive control, oral sex allows prolonging of sex and allows you to test for diseases and genetic matches, anal sex allows reproductive control to allow you to time your baby for a good time. People do these things because they’re fun, but something being fun is just a sign that your body is prodding you with pleasure to do it. Just as a nice guy is being nice because his ancestors were nice and it worked so your brain injects happy chemicals into you when you’re nice.

        Humans are special “There are more factors at play here than biological imperatives, even more than societal conditioning. Humans of all sexes and genders override their “natural instinct” constantly, even when it comes to sex, because our society allows us to. ”

        Rarely. Mostly we allow different biological imperatives to take control. We are all natural so we do don’t have many other ways of acting.

        You’re probably talking about reason. That’s a natural imperative. And I find, a much more flawed one in most situations than emotions. It evolved to win battles for us, not determine the logical truth. I try to rely on emotions more than reason since they’re less prone to logical errors, paradoxically, as they evolved to solve practical problems in our environment.

        Game of life “of course you will experience rejection, and of course you will experience bad relationships, and of course you go through this- but eventually, most people find somebody with whom they are compatible in significant enough ways to spend a significant amount of time together as a couple. ”

        http://www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/goodaboutmen.htm

        ” Recent research using DNA analysis answered this question about two years ago. Today’s human population is descended from twice as many women as men.

        I think this difference is the single most underappreciated fact about gender. To get that kind of difference, you had to have something like, throughout the entire history of the human race, maybe 80% of women but only 40% of men reproduced. ”

        You’re a woman. That only applies for women. Being a man is a high risk, high reward occupation. 60% of us will lose the game of life, 40% will win big. That’s obviously a cause for frustration. The men women pick tend to be the rapey types a lot of the time too, which contributes to the feeling that women are bad. Bad boys who’d rape a woman even if the woman offered it for free. That’s the biggest thing that twists a guy. That someone who is his complete opposite, a cruel guy, is wildly successful with women.

        Unemployment. “Let me put it this way: if you were unemployed and you sought after ten employers and didn’t hear from any of them, would you decide that the working force was not for you and that you should just stay at home all day and give up? Of course not, you would continue to seek after employment. But you wouldn’t march into any office that had a position that you would like and expect them to offer it to you if you walked in and said “don’t take this the wrong way, but I think this position is interesting and I would like to be shown to my cubicle now.”

        I have done that, actually. It worked. I turned up and asked to help them. They were short staffed. I earned money. One of the best decisions of my life. I gained extremely valuable work experience that helped me a lot.

        Suppose they’d been a feminist business. Then I’m sure they’d have said I was committing an oppression almost at the level of female circumcision by walking in there and asking to solve a problem. That would encourage me to avoid feminist businesses in the future. Just as atheists do. I know a lot of atheists who are deeply offended at the obvious and frequent sexism of the feminist movement and want nothing to do with it.

    3. How the heck is wanting to look nice and presentable manipulative? I wear make up, I dress up, I like looking good. It makes me feel good, I LIKE it. It’s fun to paint my face and do up my eyes and paint my lips. I put on perfume because I like the smell.

      I am married and do not need to attract the attention of any man except mine, which he gives me with or without make up and fancy dresses.

      Everyone -EVERYONE- likes praise and positive attention and kind words. Everyone loves feeling good about themselves. If a man or women were to be complimented nicely in some way, they would most always be pleased.

      So…if I said you had a nice shirt or that I liked your hair, that makes you manipulative? Trying to gain my favor or would you just be making yourself look good and presentable….like normal human beings do in society?

      Anyways, most of these responses people are making sound like they are the ‘nice guys’ gone wrong who hold things against women. Watch what you say because it sounds like you’re making excuses for women being paid negative attention…people use that as an excuse for rape too. And that is a horrible and disgusting way to think. Please don’t dehumanize us just because you’ve had bad luck with our gender.

      Honestly it’s funny that you keep arguing with such exact statistics, thinking statistics and science will help your cause, then come out with statements about how women only like ‘rapey’ guys. I’m serious, read what you wrote again:

      “The men women pick tend to be the rapey types a lot of the time too, which contributes to the feeling that women are bad. Bad boys who’d rape a woman even if the woman offered it for free. That’s the biggest thing that twists a guy. That someone who is his complete opposite, a cruel guy, is wildly successful with women.”

      Are you…freaking…kidding me. That is the grossest attempt at point proving I have seen in a while. It astounds me you would even think that. Well here are some ‘statistics’ for you. My husband is a great NICE guy, his friends are great and nice, their wives are sweet. I have never met one of these women or men you speak of.

      I really have no idea why the OP of the article is even trying to engage you in discussion, you leap from ‘science proves it’ to wild totally baseless claims.

      It is abundantly clear, you do not understand women at all. You have no desire to understand them, you have constructed your views exactly how you wish, found statistics to back it up, and you don’t want a dialogue. You want to slap your opinion in this woman’s face because you resent us.

      It’s extremely clear to me, and probably everyone here, why you can’t get a date.

      I encourage you to seek counseling.

  3. While I don’t doubt that there are men with ulterior motives, this post kind of makes it seem like any man who does a kind deed to a woman wants to get into her pants. Well, I have to ask you this, and it’s a serious question, so don’t mistake it for mockery. Ever since I was a kid (and other men, I’m sure too), women have told me several things they want in a man. One of the most common things among the list of several dozen characteristics, was kind, nice, or some variation of it. Why do you and other women hate Nice Guys if so many say that’s what they want? I’d understand that you can’t be with someone you aren’t attracted to for whatever reason, but it still stands that either women do not know what they want, or use the term “Nice Guy” to simply explain why they aren’t attracted to a guy when the real reason might be something more sinister, that wouldn’t be accepted as easily.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I understand your confusion over my post, so let me see if I can put things in a different perspective:

      Let’s say that you have a co-worker in another division of your office who befriended you, brought you your coffee every day, listened to your thoughts on work-related (or even non-work related) topics, and in general did very nice things for you. However, one day you find out that their reasons for this were to get more information about your job and to help themselves advance their career. Every nice thing that they did for you is suddenly painted in a different light, and doesn’t appear to be nice at all.

      I have nothing against nice guys. I have been dating a nice guy for two years. What drew me to him (I was actually the one who pursued him) was when I saw that he was doing very nice things for me, but that it was only because he was a good person and not because he wanted anything from me. I saw that he was the same way universally with every person (unless another person hurt somebody whom he loved, and then he would not be as nice to them anymore, but still he would not be outright mean). I developed feelings for him because of the genuineness of his character, and he said that he felt the same way about me, that he knew me to be a good person and so we decided to give dating each other a shot. (It has been quite successful.)

      My point in this post was to point out this behavior and its downfall: that, when a guy does nice things for a person he in interested in simply because he feels that his niceness entitles him to something from them, that this negates anything “nice” about his actions and thus be becomes a “Nice Guy” (not a “nice guy”).

      Thank you so much for replying, though. I was hoping that this would spark conversation and questions, because I do feel that education, questioning, and the sharing of opinion is at the heart of progress.

      1. Well, thanks for replying and not doing so in a cunty way, like most feminists are doing so these days.

        While I believe you when you say that you don’t have anything against nice guys, you should probably have emphasized it in your post.

        However, I’ve seen the repeated labeling of “Nice Guys” as manipulative a few times over the internet in past years, and it seems to be growing and growing. Quite frankly, I don’t think this is the way to approach it. I do agree with you that nobody should be manipulative, man or woman, but Believe it or not, many, many of these Nice Guys that get called manipulative actually are genuinely kind. While some, like me, gave it up (without being bitter) to find better methods, other guys are absolutely destroyed by this when they actually realize it. Some try to change but become bitter, and others completely give up. I’ve never been one for completely sugarcoating the truth, but I’m also not one to try and pull on someone’s leash, or want others to do so. Many women will also complain about how all guys are assholes or something or how they want a guy to give them roses or whatever, or (insert cliche here). I don’t know every guy on the planet, so I can’t agree or disagree with them. However, you have to understand that men become very confused when there are women that complain about Nice Guys, yet also women who complain that there aren’t enough! Not only that, but many times these women are the same person.

      2. Thank you for responding without malice or disrespect. I honestly started this blog to organize my thoughts with the intention of it being read by myself and perhaps the passing friend that I have in real life who saw the link that I posted on Facebook. It being referenced in a blog that is, as far as I could see, anti-feminist was surprising and also exciting, because it has given me the opportunity to interact with people who I would otherwise probably not interact with. I honestly (unfairly, I admit) expected much more extreme and angry language, but so far I haven’t gotten that at all, just (from what I can see) some men who have been genuinely hurt in their lives and want to share their anger, their resentment, their feelings in general.

        I can’t apologize on behalf of the women that you have seen who have hurt you, your friends, your colleagues, and men in general. Your feelings are still and always will be very real and I would never want to take away from that. The truth of the general state of relationships in the western world is one of confusion, disarray and pain. People tend to get hurt no matter what their gender or sexual identity. I can completely empathize with the pain that comes from feeling as though the person who you have feelings for is making the “wrong” choice by not choosing you, as this has happened to me many times in my life. Honestly (and I didn’t realize it until after I had written this post) I WAS the “Nice Guy” in the past. I felt that, because I was sweet and kind of a man, that he should recognize how awesome I am and that he should want to date me, and I didn’t realize until later that every person, no matter what gender/sexual identity, has the right to choose who they would like to pursue romantically, and that person will oftentimes not be the hypothetical you.

        It also sounds to me like you have had bad experiences with feminists in the past. I’m deeply sorry to hear that, and while I can’t vouch for every feminist I can tell you that at the heart of my feminism is the deep desire for equality, not the “women are better than men!” or “why do we need men?” or “men are terrible rapists!” because those are all clear fallacies in the same way that not all men are overly-aggressive, inconsiderate jerks who only want sex.

        I think I began to ramble, but I do want to close by saying: thank you so much for sharing your story and your thoughts with me. I hope that you might stop by my blog from time to time because I do value your opinion.

      3. Actually, I am a regular reader of that blog. The man who writes it is anti-feminist, but only in the sense of feminists that keep trying to “fight the system” against men and actually gain more power than men. I don’t think he has a problem with gender equality, but it seems most feminists these days want women to be all-powerful. Anyway, you should read his blog. If anything, women who dislike nice guys should link there. It played a very important part of ridding me of my “Nice Guy” status. It’s harsh, but it truly helps.

      4. AJ, thank you again for sharing your opinion. Our conversation has definitely helped me to remember the importance of listening and trying to empathize with the other speaker. I promise you that I will look into his blog today and read more of his own opinions. 🙂

  4. Amusingly, actual manipulative men are very successful with women. If you want to seduce a woman the best way is to take her on an emotional rollercoaster. Emotions are perceived as more intense if you vary them a lot. Give her a lick of your ice cream, then take it away and eat it all yourself while she watches, then buy her an ice cream. Up and down.

    An actual manipulative guy, who fakes kindness to get into a woman’s pants, is often very successful because they will inevitably let their cruelty leak through the facade and put the woman in emotional lows that will strengthen the highs they give with kindness. Also, the woman will feel she’s special because this asshole who is mean to everyone else chose her to be kind to. A nice guy can’t fake cruelty so they’re less successful with woman.

    Seduction is bittersweet.

  5. I think the biggest problem is NOT in your writing but that the responders all think they are the Nice Guys you are talking about.

    There are true nice guys out there, a lot of them! And then there are the ones you are talking about. The ones with Nice Guy Syndrome.

    I loved the article, thank you so much for posting it. I hadn’t thought of it like that but I’ve had guys get irritated at me before and try to make ME feel guilty for not being attracted to them!

    It’s so upsetting because sometimes, the sexual attraction is not there. And as a sexual woman I need that in order to form a relationship with someone. I should not be made to feel guilty for not being attracted to someone. It’s hurtful and upsetting that there are some guys who are only nice to you because they think they can get somewhere. To me, that is a lower form of manipulation that the obvious pick ups.

    And there are nice guys who fall for you, ask you out and you turn them down. They are down about it but who wouldn’t be? But they are nice guys, they don’t get mad at you or resent you.

    Thankfully, I met a fantastic guy who was NICE and sincerely so. We’ve been married almost 9 years. So go away, all you ‘Nice Guys’ I don’t need you in my life. I have real nice guy friends and a husband I love.

    Again, great article, thank you for addressing this!

      1. Please, please, please do not feel insane. It’s a fantastic article and I love it. It was shared on tumblr and has caused quite a similar stir, with the men being upset and the women saying they totally understand. I think most of the guys backed off as soon as they realized what you were talking about.

        You have been so patient and thoughtful in all your responses, it really impresses me. I hope you write more articles like this.

        The other day I was tying to explain to my husband what it’s like being a woman and being surrounded by men who are often taller & more physically imposing. It was a really interesting discussion.

        Thank you for writing this!

  6. I just wanted to say how impressed I am with the civility of the comments. This feels like a discussion, not an argument or even a war, like the comments on my favorite feminist blogs, and on tumblr, often are.

    Hats off to the author and to the men commenting on the article.

  7. Women do not want nice guys? We can all just laugh out loud when those wonderful game-playing “alpha males” knock their teeth out and the women get SO upset. You have to love this!

  8. Seriously? I think what we can take from this post is that you have been burned by a ‘nice guy’ in the past and are now trying to take it out on them with this post. Why? Who knows. But the way you are laying into it is that all guys that act nice, and want to just be a ‘nice guy’ are in it to get in the pants of the women they befriend.

    To you, they are just some waiting in the shadows guys waiting to take advantage while you are down. Now while that may be true at some point for some so called ‘nice guys’ that isn’t the truth. It is your version of the truth.

    Lady, remember there is a thing called being Respectful to Women. There are guys out there that understand this with no ulterior motives.

    Sorry you feel otherwise. But at the least understand that your generalization of ‘nice guys’ is so skewed it makes you look like a fox news corespondent.

  9. I got no such generalization from her post. To me she clearly differentiated genuinely nice guys (nice guys) from nice guys w/ulterior motives (Nice Guys). Many ppl of each sex use nice as a guise, but it’s quite easily detected. Just my 2 cents.

  10. The answer to all your questions is very simple: Biology. Women evolved to seek a caretaker – the Nice Guy – at certain phases of their lives, when they needed a predictable, responsible, provider to care for children and provide food. Before and after this person is secured, the woman is naturally attracted to strongly virile men, especially men that are a sex symbol within the woman’s society. Women are naturally attracted to men in leadership positions, as these men are most likely to be physically fit and fierce competitors, and therefore have the best genes to pass on to their offspring.

  11. I think some of the comments here are from “Nice Guys” who are in denial. I used to be one of them myself and it can hurt to look at yourself and realize that maybe you aren’t as nice as you think you are. For me it came from a place of having very low self-esteem and a conflicted view on sexuality because of the abuse I had to suffer as a kid and my lack of male role models. The men that I grew up with were sexist assholes and I never wanted to like them. Therefore it was very difficult for me to show any sexual interest in a woman so I always became friends with the woman I was interested in. So to always be available and to nice things (like listening to her vent about her f-ing ex who treated her badly) but when told her about my feelings she was like “oh but I like you as a friend”. And then I was hurt and rejected. This is pattern that would repeat itself over and over with different women. Until I had an extremely dysfunctional relationship with a woman who I was actually intimate with. But it became on the expense of my own dignity as I was one of all the men in her life. She would also tease me for being too nice. Feminism is not about being a doormat. It’s about equality. Now I’m bisexual and this is where I could see my own hypocricy. I’ve had a lot one night stands with men and never ever tried to be “nice” to get laid with these men. I wasn’t an asshole either but never listened to a guy go on and on about his ex or wathever. This manipulative behaviour that I made myself guilty of wasn’t concious. It was based on very low self esteem and a strange and fear of rejection. What I have learned now is that you can show romantic/sexual interest in a woman without being an asshole. I also learned to value my time and realize that some woman find me attractive because I am a kind, intelligent, creative, talented, sensitive person with a great sense of humor. I don’t think “Nice Guys” in general are monsters. But you have to see it from a womans perspective. Nobody wants to be fooled. Show your interested without being creepy (like asking a woman out in a confined space as an elevator) and take the rejection as an adult. I am still a nice person. I’m just being nice to get laid or to get into a relationship. It was hard to admit it. But this is the truth. Now I use mainly tinder to hook up with women. It’s a good way to start I think.

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