Dear Nice Guy™,
So, there you were, swiping along on Tinder, when you came across a pretty girl. Let’s call her Betty. You checked out her profile, and she seemed like a cool gal, so you gave her a right swipe. Lo and behold, a match!
After chatting some, you and Betty decided to meet up. Low-pressure; a casual dinner date. You talked, you laughed, you had a nice time. The date ended, I’m sure you felt, on a positive note. Betty came home and recounted the date – her first Tinder meet-up, in fact. She’d been quite nervous beforehand, considering “Don’t meet up with strangers from the Internet” is basically the first lesson you learn in Not Being Kidnapped 101. She said you were very nice and had enough in common to keep the conversation flowing, but that she didn’t really feel any sort of “spark”. Overall, though, a positive Tinder experience, considering she hadn’t been murdered.
You continued to chat a bit, and eventually secured a second date to the movies. Betty was already pretty disinterested by this point; she’d been playing the Tinder field and had found more suitable matches. But, figuring one date wasn’t really enough to completely accurately gauge the situation, she complied. It was the movies, so there wasn’t much time for talking, but she had already mostly made up her mind.
Hoping to avoid an awkward break-up, Betty began attempting to peter off contact with you. After all, you’d only gone on two dates; an official break-up hardly seemed necessary. But, you persevered, even when Betty cancelled on two subsequent plans. She is a genuinely busy person, but she was also uncomfortable with your repeated suggestions that she should come over to your house after the “out” portion of the date. We all know what “come over after” is code for in dating land, and Betty was most definitely not looking to take the relationship to the next level. You were apparently unable to take a hint, so Betty eventually felt obligated to actually see you again, if for no other reason than to get you off her back.
It was here, during dinner, that Betty learned that she was not only not interested, but that you actually disagreed on many of the things most important to her. This is DEFINITELY the end, she decided. She actively tried to be as uninteresting and uningaging as possible, which, if you know Betty, is absolutely unheard of (seriously, this girl ENJOYS job interviews and goes to them FOR FUN because she loves talking to people). As such, she attempted to make a swift exit after dinner, citing schoolwork as the reason. “I’m tired of these two or three hour hang-outs, I want more of your time!” you whined.
Over the following weeks, you continued to attempt to make plans. Every time, Betty declined. She stopped sugar-coating, providing short answers and flimsy reasons for her refusal. Look, dude. Here’s the thing. If someone really wants to spend time with you, no matter how busy they are, they will make time. If someone has bailed on your plans on multiple occasions and just outright refused any proposals multiple times, it’s time to take a hint.
Anyway, it became clear that you were not going to take said hint, so she felt that a firmer hand was necessary:
Betty felt good. She felt free. She felt ready to take on the world, the burden of your ego lifted from her shoulders.
Alas, it was too good to be true. Over the following weeks, you began to effectively stalk her. Every weekend, you would ask if she was busy. Every time she posted anything on Facebook, be it a picture, a link, what-have-you (heck, even when other people posted things on her wall), you would “like” it. If she clicked “attending” on a public event, even if it had literally nothing to do with you, you would “like” that too. Whenever she posted a picture of her out with friends or doing any sort of activity that implied she had free time, you would text her, saying things like, “Wow, you looked beautiful last night! I’m so glad you’re taking time out of your busy schedule for yourself, you deserve it!” Translation: “I see that you are not spending every second of your life doing the schoolwork and jobs you claimed to have. Therefore, you definitely have time to spend with me, you lying hoe.” (As an aside, I will again note that Betty is an exceptionally busy individual, so she wasn’t lying. She just has better ways to spend what little free time she has besides hanging out with pushy, self-important little dickweeds like you.)
Finally, after weeks of this harassment, Betty had really and truly had enough. She laid it down for you:
Exceedingly polite, if you ask me (I probably would have just told you to fuck off, because I’m mean like that), but 100% firm and non-negotiable. She then deleted you off Facebook, so as to prevent you from stalking her some more.
As one might expect, you did not take it very well:
Look, pal. She tried to take the “less hurtful” route and tell you to leave her alone nicely. May I remind you that, in your original response, you stated that you would “let her tell you when she can hang out”, and then proceeded to harass her and attempt to guilt-trip her every weekend after that. That’s where you went wrong: not respecting Betty’s clearly stated wishes. Take your whiny butthurt bullshit elsewhere.
And so ends the tale of you, a Nice Guy™, and Betty, a pair of star-crossed lovers torn apart by a lack of mutual interests and conflicting ideologies. Oh, the humanity!
You’re probably wondering why Betty wasn’t upfront with you sooner. This whole ordeal spanned about two months; surely the opportunity to shake you off had arisen earlier.
Women are simply not inclined to reject men. This can be attributed to a couple of things.
First of all, we are socialized to believe that women need to be polite and friendly and “on” at all times, often leaving them afraid of being “rude”. Have you ever noticed the amount of girls who apologize constantly, even for things they have no control over? It seems to be a very female trait. Women who do not constantly behave like sparkly unicorns that fart marshmallow fluff are labelled as “bitches”, and men lacking these traits are merely “brooding” or “mysterious” or “actually a good guy once you get to know him”. How many times have you ever heard a dude being called a dick for politely rejecting a girl? Probably not very many. Yet, girls are consistently blamed for damaging the fragile male ego. (I touched briefly on this double standard back in my post about Mr. Rat Man.)
Second of all, men are inclined to turn hostile when rejected. The media constantly reinforces that men are entitled to women, thus leading them to sometimes get upset when this notion is challenged. A common tactic is the classic “insult her if rejected and pretend like you never wanted her anyway”. I have my own personal stories concerning this phenomenon, but I shall save that for another post. In the meantime, I invite you to peruse this blog full of examples. And, because I can hear the distant chant of “NOT ALL MEN!” approaching as I type this, I will reiterate what many before me have already stated: of course not all men behave this way, but enough do that every woman has experienced it at least once. The female population would really appreciate if instead of rushing to your own defence and declaring that “you’re not like that”, you would call out men who are. Anyway, please forgive us for treating these situations like games of Russian Roulette.
…Sometimes literally. Remember Elliot Rodger? In case you don’t, let me summarize: On May 23, 2014, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree, ending in the deaths of four men and two women, with fourteen other reported injuries. He stabbed his roommates to death and shot up a sorority house. Rodger then shot himself. During the spree, Rodger uploaded a video to YouTube entitled “Retribution”, as well as releasing a lengthy typed-out “manifesto”. These revealed the motivation behind the killings: punish women for rejecting him, and punish men for getting the women he felt he deserved.
Some dismissed claims of misogyny by pointing to Rodger’s recurring mental health issues; while he did receive psychiatric treatment for an undiagnosed mental illness, there is a much larger issue at hand. There are, of course, plenty of people who live with mental illnesses who manage to, you know, not go on killing sprees. Using mental illness as a scapegoat detracts from the real predicament, as well as further promoting ableism in our society. The fact is, had this overbearing voice of misogyny not been prominent, these ideas would have been rootless and almost certainly would not have formed in his head, mental health aside. Rodger was an active member of the Men’s Rights Activist community, and the general response from MRAs seems to be “Not all MRAs are like that, but we understand where he was coming from.” Indeed, one comment on Rodger’s video read, “I honestly think that every average looking really nice guy who’s watched the hottest girls hook up with cocky creatine loaded frat boys feels a little bit of what he’s talking about. He probably was a nice gentleman guy who just got rejected by women into insanity. Especially if he kept at trying to be a nice guy and it never worked.” I’ll let that speak for itself.
I understand why you might think bringing Elliot Rodger into this is a bit extreme. Even if you’re a whiny douchebag, I highly doubt you’re a murderer. I’m just hoping to impress upon you why Betty didn’t necessarily feel safe handling this sooner, especially since you were so butthurt by what I will again define as a perfectly polite but firm rejection. Was she supposed to bake you a cake and write an elaborately poetic letter about how great of a guy you were but it just wasn’t going to work out? I honestly don’t understand what you wanted her to say. You were making her vastly uncomfortable. She didn’t owe you any of the politeness she afforded you, let alone further niceties.
Let me give you a slightly less extreme example. Something happy, something that brought joy to an entire generation of TV viewers. Let’s talk about Friends. Specifically, Ross Gellar.
I’ve enjoyed Friends for a long time. Not while it was originally airing, of course, since my impeccable sense of humour had shockingly yet to be developed at the age of 1. But, in general, I’ve always liked Friends. As I got older, though, I became increasingly annoyed with Ross and decreasingly enchanted with the whole Ross/Rachel hullabaloo. In fact, I’ve started referring to every episode of Friends as “The One Where Ross Doesn’t Die, Unfortunately” (which is a joke I stole from Tumblr. I must give credit where credit is due). Ross is the whiniest, most self-interested misogynistic man-baby I have ever had the displeasure of observing. Here is a (far from exhaustive) list of the shitty behaviours he has displayed:
- Extreme jealousy. For those who don’t have a Friends-encyclopaedia section of their brain, basically, Rachel began working in an office with a man named Mark during the first round of the Ross/Rachel relationship. Rachel and Mark were good friends, but despite Rachel’s constant reassurances and the fact that Mark had a girlfriend, Ross’s jealously resulted in constant hostility towards Mark and caused him to lash out at Rachel for even implying she had a friendly relationship with her immediate co-worker.
- Fragile masculinity. When his toddler son, Ben, took a liking to a Barbie doll, Ross went into panic mode and tried to switch Ben’s attentions to a GI Joe, despite the other characters including Ben’s mother not seeing any issues with it. It’s a fucking doll, Ross. Your penis won’t fall off because your son has a Barbie.
- He is the biggest martyr known to man and is thoroughly convinced the world is out to get him:
- He is extremely shallow and broke up with a girlfriend purely because she shaved her head. I mean, I would have been a little weirded out too, but they were happily in a relationship prior to the head-shaving.
- He dated his 19-year-old student during his time as a palaeontology professor (he was 31). While technically legal, he was still an authority figure and went against the university’s policy to do so. And then, in classic Ross fashion, he behaved possessively and insisted upon following her on a spring break trip with her friends, invitation be damned.
- He is controlling and unsupportive of his significant other. During his and Rachel’s initial relationship, he ignored her wishes to be left alone while at work and got all butthurt when she was angry at him for doing so. He told her that he wished she made more time for him and that it was “just a job”, and when she expressed how important her career and subsequent new-found independence meant to her, he asked if it was about Mark. Spoiler: It wasn’t about Mark.
Here’s the thing. Ross was genuinely confused as to why women weren’t constantly falling at his feet, despite being entirely average-looking and also a giant douche. He was so convinced of his Nice Guy™ status and his resultant eligibility as a bachelor that he was constantly convinced that Rachel wanted to get back together with him, even when that was only true some of the time.
And then, depressingly enough, Ross wound up with Rachel in the end, thus affirming his behaviour as well as the behaviour of guys like him. Therein lies the problem; Nice Guys™ like Ross are constantly shown to get the girl as a reward for their Niceness™, thus leaving real-life Nice Guys™ confused (and sometimes angry) when they don’t get the same results. The viewer is made to sympathize with the Nice Guy™, no matter how much of a simpering shithead he is. Therefore, it is always the girl’s fault. She’s a bitch, she could have handled it better. She only likes assholes, which you are clearly not. You were just so nice, only a horrible person would reject you!
So, in conclusion, my dear Nice Guy™, I ask you to consider something to yourself. Betty was not obligated to date you or even like you just because you both swiped right. She was not obligated to make time for you, especially after your aggressive behaviour led her to drop multiple hints that she wasn’t interested before straight-up telling you she didn’t have time. She wasn’t even obligated to be polite (especially after you continued to harass her), yet she was, and it still wasn’t enough for you. Instead of wallowing in how unfair it was that Betty rejected you, and how you feel you deserved more than what she gave you, think about your part in this situation. And, maybe, once you do, you can transform from a Nice Guy™ to an actual nice guy. Based on experience, I don’t really see that happening, but my philosophy has always been, “Expect the worst, and hope for the best”.
Sam Kim of the Nice Guy™ Police