Nice guys, the friendzone and sexual entitlement

In the wake of the NiceGuysOfOKC tumblr (currently down), the discussion about Nice Guys has flared up again. The Nice Guy is a category of human which can be–and often is–entirely mutually exclusive from “guy who is nice”: Nice Guys are men who consider their lack of dating success to be down to the fact that they’re “too nice”, often bemoaning the fact that they end up in the dreaded “friendzone”, wherein women want to be their friend but nothing more.

Every so often, the world will get together and argue about Nice Guys, with one side seeing Nice Guys as figures of pity, victims of shyness, while the other finds Nice Guys creepy as hell. The lovely @RopesToInfinity–an actual guy who is nice–wrote an excellent piece on the matter, addressing Nice Guys, and there’s a few points of his I’d like to expand upon some more, though you should really read the whole thing:

5) The Friendzone Is Not Really An Actual Thing
If a woman is just your friend and not someone you’re having sex with, that is what we in certain circles call a ‘friend’. Yes, what you have there is a friendship, one between you, a man, and a second person, a woman. This can sometimes happen. The chances are she’s not ‘put’ you there because women get off on torturing men, but because she simply wants to just be friends with you, like you might be with a dude. Sex is not the default interaction between men and women. Sex is a thing that happens between two (or more!) people that express a sexual interest in one another and then gratify it by mutual consent. It’s not something you’re supposed to expect, but which women then cruelly decide to deny you from their lofty position as the gatekeepers of the sexual realm. Friendships with women that feature no sex can be rewarding. Try viewing said woman as a person rather than a target for your dick, and see what happens.

6) You May Not Actually Be That Nice After All
Look, are you REALLY that nice? You’re complaining about women refusing to sleep with you, but you haven’t told them how you feel. Is that nice? You’re friends with a woman, but whenever you do something for her you note it down mentally as yet another thing you’ve done which inexplicably went unrewarded with blowjobs, as if it should have been. Is that nice? Think long and hard about your expectations of women, and whether they’re reasonable. And consider whether you’re maybe acting with an unearned sense of entitlement. Be aware that what you think of as ‘nice’ (reluctantly listening to a woman’s problems while wishing she’d shut the fuck up already and touch your penis), may not be what she defines ‘nice’ to mean. Perhaps she thinks of a ‘nice guy’ as someone who likes her with no ulterior motive and who isn’t concealing his true feelings for whatever reason.

These two points get to the crux of precisely what is creepy about the Nice Guy: male sexual entitlement. The complaints, bitterness, resentment about the friendzone all boil down to the fact that the Nice Guy believes that, having completed all of the appropriate rituals, he is owed sex and didn’t get it.

We’ve got to the point now where most of us have no sympathy for the man who believes he is entitled to sex because a woman wore a short skirt, yet seem to be lagging behind on men who believe they are entitled to sex because they’ve been really, really fucking nice. There might be a difference in consequences on the latter: rather than raping, he’s more likely to just write long screeds about how females want douchebags and he’s sick of those bitches wasting his time. However, there is the same root cause here, and it’s not something we should be tolerating or indulging.

Being nice isn’t the cheat code to a woman’s knickers, and it’s not OK to be resentful about this fact. Nobody is entitled to sex. Absolutely nobody. If you are a genuinely decent human being, you need to be prepared to hear the word “no”. And you need to be prepared to deal with that “no”, and accept that. If hearing a “no” is soul-crushing, or enraging, or likely to cause resentment, then you really need to work on your own issues before attempting to connect with other human beings in a non-coercive capacity. Rejections happen, and they’re a product of the other person expressing their autonomy. It’s nice not to resent another human’s articulation of non-consent.

However, there is more than just individual responsibility to these Nice Guys: society shares its fair bit of blame. The straight dating scene is mired in icky gender politics and is so patriarchal it hurts. With these patriarchal expectations in place, male sexual entitlement is ever-present, and so of course the Nice Guys have internalised this, too.

Furthermore, the straight dating scene denigrates the importance of friendship, demoting it to “just friends”. In fact, friendship is awesome: you get to hang out with cool people who you like and do interesting and amazing things even if you’re not having sex. Friendship is a deep, emotional connection, and it is a beautiful thing in and of itself.

Once upon a time, when I was a dorky 17-year-old with all sorts of queer thoughts which I didn’t yet understand, I developed a galloping crush on my BFF. She was hetero. I went all Nice Guy on her arse, having been socialised among straights and believing queer sexuality worked pretty much the same way as it does for straights. I was creepy as hell at the time, and I’m kind of ashamed at how I behaved at that time.

Now I’m a dorky 27-year-old, and I got over it. I am still very good friends with the lady in question, which I’m relieved about due to the aforementioned being creepy as hell. And you know what? Being friends is really, really awesome, because I get to hang out with that cool person and do interesting and amazing things, even though we’re not having sex.

Someone wanting to be your friend is not an insult, unless you feel entitled to sex. It should be a fucking honour.

How do we solve a problem like the Nice Guy? We must acknowledge context, but also that this behaviour is not OK. And if you are a Nice Guy, why not do the nice thing, and try to be better?


66 responses to “Nice guys, the friendzone and sexual entitlement

  • hubbit

    This is so spot-on it could be a Dalmatian. We are not entitled to anything else from anyone else – not sex, not friendship, not the correct time of day. (And yes, friendship IS a fucking honour. Humans are selective; none of us feel like befriending every person we encounter. That someone wants to be friends with us is awesome when one considers the odds.)

  • Phil Hartup (@Monglor)

    You’re right, but I think a tad unsympathetic. It’s important to consider just how much society lies to young men as they grow up. Our culture bombards us with mixed messages about what women want while at the same time continually telling us that they are this alien species that are not like us and don’t think like we do. We live in a culture that frowns on promiscuity and tells us that somebody out there will be perfect and that when they come along we’ll know it and we’ll be immediately and irrevocably joined. Few areas of life are this closely examined by our art and media yet at the same time few are so grossly misrepresented.

    Most guys realise this is not how it works right from the off. But a lot of guys don’t learn this right away, bad lessons get learned and before you know it you’re not only behind the curve when dealing with relationships but you’ve got a head full of wrongthink that you need to unlearn before you can even start to catch up. Of course instead of complaining to a best mate or a random bartender men now take their incoherent musing to the internet, where rather than being forgotten in the morning it remains like a pee stain on a wall.

    The funny thing is that this isn’t a new problem. Hell without whiny men getting upset because the women they fancy can’t see that they are brilliant about ninety percent of poetry would never have been written.

    • stavvers

      What you’re missing here is that no matter how much it sucks for those Nice Guys, it’s really sucky being on the receiving end of that behaviour.

      • Lee Griffin (@Niaccurshi)

        Sure, and that should never be undermined. But what should be made clear is that this isn’t always all about getting sex, and it’s not even always about the woman making the decision.

        Some guys just know that they don’t have the “right” things to offer from a socially conceived view of what makes the “right” partner. They may actually be wrong here, but they will in general lack the self confidence to act in the appropriately “alpha” manner that is necessary. Theirs is an active choice to take route B.

        The trouble is that there have been many Route B’ers, and just about any teenage romance film, from either gender side, feels like it’s come from one of those people…perhaps spurned and wanting to write about the positive outcome that they never got…winning the boy/girl despite being the “odd one”.

        Of course this causes it’s own problems with our increasingly exposed-to-holywood teen culture. People believe it *is* possible, in a way that reality probably rarely has been.

        While guys might externalise this frustration, a failure of route B, as a problem with the girl, they know full well inside that it’s their lack of other attributes that is the problem. They KNOW that if they were more outgoing, a bit funnier, more good looking that they would have the confidence to have sorted their feelings out earlier and got past them sooner.

        Acceptable to externalise it as a girl problem? No. A sign that he’s a patriarchal, misogynistic arsehole that can’t understand what’s really going on. No.

        Indeed where there is an ongoing resentment I don’t even understand how that can be described as a sexist practice rather than the practice of a spoiled and jealous dickhead. There are people all over the place that deal with rejection on all types of issues with hatred and belittlement. This is a reaction of nothing more than attempting to make one’s self feel better by convincing one’s self that they were always below you. The same person that does this to the girl they’ve been turned down by will apply the same logic to the job that rejected his application.

        And then there’s the outcome…like being “just friends” is seen as a negative by those that are put in the “friendzone”, since when is this the norm!? It’s a “worse” outcome for the person who feels jilted, but this doesn’t translate to it being felt as a negative one, certainly not after the initial heartbreak.

        tl:dr; The problem with problematic “Nice Guys” is that they truly aren’t nice guys, agreed. But that doesn’t mean people that feel put in the “Friend Zone” aren’t nice either, they just have some issues, and as always understanding and help do much better than barreling all these people together and calling them jerks.

        • stavvers

          Thing you’re missing is that whatever their reasons, what they’re doing still isn’t OK.

          • Lee Griffin (@Niaccurshi)

            No, I think I accepted that what they’re doing isn’t ok. :)

            “Acceptable to externalise it as a girl problem? No.”

            I’m just disliking the reasons attributed to why they do it. It’s the “whatever the reasons” that is the point. Passing it off as “They’re just jerky mysoginistic men” doesn’t help anything. At all.

        • Spudman101

          I always had the problem that I wasn’t ‘alpha’ enough, I used to complain about it to Baloo all the time, but things are much better now I am in the human village.

        • gichidan

          “Some guys just know that they don’t have the “right” things to offer from a socially conceived view of what makes the “right” partner. They may actually be wrong here, but they will in general lack the self confidence to act in the appropriately “alpha” manner that is necessary. Theirs is an active choice to take route B.”

          That would mean that they are aware of themselves and all men as being diverse, but women as not being diverse. How can anyone self aware enough to see this about themselves, not see women as being as human as themselves. They must all be looking for one woman that doesn’t exist.

          • spudman101

            I made an active choice to take route C to the lady parts. It meant I had to buy a submarine, but I think it’s worth it in the long run.

      • Phil Hartup (@Monglor)

        Really? If we isolate -just- the frustrated Nice Guy behaviour, how is that really such a burden? Yes, if the guy is a creeper, or a stalker, or whatever then sure that’s a very bad thing. But that is not necessarily something that a ‘Nice Guy’ does. A ‘Nice Guy’ cut adrift from female contact is not inherently harming anybody. He’s just a bit sad.

        Sure if the behaviour changes such a man can become a nuisance, and I’m sure that the ‘Nice Guy’ is a gateway stage towards creeperhood and other types of douchebaggery, but unless a guy’s behaviour does degenerate further he’s not really hurting anybody.

        I know it’s good to point and laugh at clueless manchildren like these guys, but it’s worth considering these hapless swine probably make up the bulk of suicides for their age group. These are not swaggering predators, they are misfits. Now that’s not to say that every woman should go out and give a loser a handjob to lift him from the pit of despair and validate his maleness, rather we should acknowledge that if we’ve got guys falling through the social cracks like this then, as a society, we ought to be educating them.

        • stavvers

          They’re still perpetuating male entitlement to sex, that’s what they’re doing, and that isn’t OK.

          Just because they’re not actually raping anyone doesn’t make this belief in entitlement OK.

          • Phil Hartup (@Monglor)

            Ah now I see what you mean. The only argument to that I suppose is that nobody gets to choose the things they are told growing up. These men are are to gender relations what the dudes shooting arrows at passing planes in the Amazon are to avionic engineering.

            They need to learn, and most probably do as they get older.

            The point I was making is that you’re not wrong. There’s a problem here, but it’s not a personal failing among guys it’s a failing of the culture that is raising them. If these were bad guys who felt entitled to sex they’d be doing a lot more damage.

            • Lee Griffin (@Niaccurshi)

              The other argument is that they’re not actually doing it out of a feeling of entitlement. The action is a result of coming to a dead-end. Their feelings are not that they deserve to have sex with this woman/man but that they WANT it.

              They feel they don’t have the option of being the alpha, and the route of being a nice guy and playing to their more sensitive traits hasn’t played out for them. The reaction is somewhere along the balance of society having told them that one route or the other will definitely “win the girl” all the way to a very internal and self-facing negativity that still results in what essentially amounts to a last ditch emotional blackmail…as if the woman/man didn’t realise that their own views and desires for relationships were misaligned and needed only telling!

              In neither case is this about entitlement, in both cases it’s not actually specific to the object of their affections, it’s about personal despair and heartbreak. It’s about a sudden and crushing realisation that you don’t have a way of finding reciprocation with the one you want.

              There is nothing wrong with wanting someone, there is nothing wrong with being depressed (in the short term) when you’re heartbroken over that desire being irrevocably blocked. Nothing about either of those things links in any certain way to it being about his attitude towards how women/men should act, in fact it likely comes from the very opposite… they know what they are entitled to, and that is nothing.

              That fact doesn’t stop the maelstrom of emotions that can get out of hand, though.

              Caveat as usual, just because you want something makes it at no point acceptable to be a dick about not getting it.

            • stavvers

              And, as I pointed out, if one can’t handle rejection, one needs to work on those issues, as if you’re a decent human being, you need to be able to accept rejection.

            • Lee Griffin (@Niaccurshi)

              Of course, Stavvers. The fact that not being able to handle rejection is a terrible character flaw, and one that has negative impacts on those involved in your inability to control those emotions, isn’t something I’m disputing here :)

        • gichidan

          But they aren’t actually “manchildren”. They’re adults who have brains, the fact that people actually think of adults as incapable of seeing women as equal to themselves is reason enough to mock. Children aren’t as sexist as the “nice guys” are. How do you know if they’re misfits? The only thing that they don’t fit in with is seeing women as equal. If there was a
          tumblr about people complaining about being fired from their jobs because they coudn’t be bothered to actually do what their job required of them, you’d think they were completely stupid. You woudn’t defend someone who didn’t realise they actually had to do their job to keep it.

          • Lee Griffin (@Niaccurshi)

            A better metaphor would be people that do their job in a different but absolutely as required way to a colleague, but don’t get the promotion.

            • stavvers

              Except there’s no “absolutely required” for sex, no magic ritual, no number of hours clocked being “nice” in order to create consent. Come on.

            • Lee Griffin (@Niaccurshi)

              Of course not, but then not doing a job as absolutely required would be the same as *not trying* to start a relationship with someone you like. ;)

            • gichidan

              The point of my metaphor was that it’s complete common sense that you have to do a job to keep it. And it’s also complete common sense that people don’t owe sex, relationships or friendship to anyone. I don’t see how the latter needs to be complicated or excused, because the former is universally accepted, and would rightly be mocked if there was a tumblr about it.

            • Cpt. Justice

              & that’s the *entire problem* with Nice Guy Syndrome. “I put in my time, I deserve sex.” No, you don’t *deserve* sex. That’s something people agree to share with each other according to whatever boundaries they have set for each other. You don’t get to determine someone else’s level of “sex dispensing”.

      • Conor McVarnock

        Do you know what else isn’t nice? when a woman blurs the line between sexualised banter among friends and actual flirting, string people from their peer group along that they know like them on the shadow of a promise of sex so they can use them to fulfil emotional needs that the people they are fucking or would like to fuck can’t, or even just to get them to do stuff for them and give them things they wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. Usually this sort of behaviour is carried out by women who are a wee bit insecure in themselves, to some extent ‘need’ the feeling of being in control or having that sort of power over other people as much as whatever they are materially gaining by the situation and have deeply set emotional issues causing them to act this way that they probably ought to be addressing directly with the help of a good therapist. If you’ve been around queer and LGTB circles for any length of time I’m sure you’e come across this sort of thing yourself.

        Now I’m not saying that all “Nice Guys” are just genuinely nice guys trying to get by against the heartless bitches and evil manipulative cunts of the world who prey on them, but you know what it is? Any social relationship between two people is a DYNAMIC, a product of a dialectic process between the two individuals involved, and to say that it is always or generally the male party in that particular relationship who is in the wrong or to say that its just about male entitlement is imo as sexist as to presume that its always the women who are in the wrong.

    • Angel Villagomez

      That’s why sites such as NGOKC are so great: They give these men a much-needed reality check.

  • narrativeeschatology

    This is exactly it. And I really wish it were totally socially acceptable to say things like “I like you, but you’re being a bit of a creeper”. It would make so many things so much better.

    • roguebelle

      Ugh, every time I see some apologist say, “Well, if she wasn’t interested, why didn’t she just say so?”, I want to freaking scream. Girls are conditioned from birth to be accommodating, not to cause offense, to be tender with men’s feelings — conditioned not to reject. And in a lot of situations, they have to be worried that outright rejecting a guy might lead to social retribution at best, physical assault at worst. So we learn to hedge. We learn to “let them down easy” — which just perpetuates the problem, since they don’t get the freaking message and don’t accept that anything other than a “yes” is a “no”, but when you’re a girl or a woman in that situation, it is so freaking difficult to see a way out that isn’t going to make things worse.

      And isn’t just a high school thing. I’m a grown-ass woman, and I did finally flat-out say “You’re weirding me out and acting like a creeper” to a guy who was Nice Guying the hell out of me. He exploded in pissiness, and I ended up losing not only him but two other “friends” who took his side. But being sexually harassed on a daily basis was just not freaking worth it.

      • Barbara Saunders

        Well, OK. But isn’t that reluctance to put on the big girl pants just as big of a social flaw as Nice Guying? It seems to me, that perpetuates the cycle. Part of the narrative the Nice Guy relies on the notion that “women are secretive and mysterious and you have to figure out what they really want.”

        I say this as a person who’s guilty of it: when I was 20, a Nice Guy with a crush spent several months teaching me how to drive, took me to the DMV for the test, and then took me out to dinner to celebrate. I fully knew he was interested. At the dinner, he said, “Now that you’ve passed your test, we won’t have any reason to spend time together.” I don’t think I even responded!

        • southsidesocialist

          Yes, of course, but you only have to spend five minutes on the Everyday Sexism site to see that any woman who gives a polite but unambigious “no thank you” risks verbal abuse and harassment for it.

        • roguebelle

          It’s definitely a flaw in our social system, but not one that women should be taking any blame or snide judgment for. It’s part of the patriarchal culture that insists women be both passive and sexually available. Not to mention that those actions are defensive for women — things we do to avoid harm to our persons. Nice Guying is not defensive. There is no threat to a man who doesn’t Nice Guy women; he is not socially punished for failing to Nice Guy; he does not lose anything for failing to Nice Guy. So, no. I don’t see it as as big a problem, and I think dismissing it as “reluctance to put on the big girl pants” is way, way belittling the actual danger that many women are deflecting when they resort to less-than-direct measures to try and put a guy off his pursuit.

        • narrativeeschatology

          No no no no no. It shouldn’t have to be women’s responsibility to tell a guy he’s being a creeper when everyone knows it is. Men should tell other men they’re being jerks.

      • narrativeeschatology

        Well, precisely. And guys should stop other guys being creepers, too. They should shoulder all or most of the work.

    • Cpt. Justice

      And hen get called a bitch for doing so. Are you serious??

  • walnutbus

    Great piece (building on another great piece, of course! :) ) It’s interesting that this is such a gendered issue, too. You never hear of women being “friendzoned”; even in your final paragraphs you speak of “going all ‘Nice Guy’” as being due to being “socialised among straights”. Maybe it’s not a gendered issue, then, so much as a gender *roles* issue. Curious. Thoughts?

    • stavvers

      I suspect, like everything else gendered, it is technically down to roles rather than any essential characteristics. However, ultimately you don’t get girl Nice Guys, and it’s because of the state of this system!

      • Soylent Dave

        Oh, you do get girl nice guys. I’ve experienced it, I’ve seen it happen to male friends.

        It’s a nerd behaviour subtype, so it’s much more prevalent amongst men, but there are nerdy women who exhibit this sort of behaviour well into adulthood, too.

        What I haven’t experienced or heard evidence of is gay men doing it – and I know a fair few gay nerds.

        • Aeva

          It’s definitely less common with women though. Maybe as a gay girl who has almost exclusively straight male friends (all of whom are genuinely nice, nerdy guys), I don’t have the best sample group, but the few women I DO know don’t react the same way as men when somebody they’re interested in chooses friendship over a relationship.

          This is my personal experience: I worked with a girl for 8 years (12-20). Over time, I realized that I was deeply in love with her, and the fact that she was in a relationship with a guy that repeatedly beat, raped and attempted to kill her tortured me for 2 years. She’d call me in the middle of the night, crying, scared for her life. She’d constantly ask for my advice and never take it. Every fiber of my being wanted to save her, to hold her while she cried, wipe her tears away and treat her like the princess she deserved. But she was straight. And that’s not her fault in the slightest. I was frustrated with her for staying with the horribly abusive guy, for not turning him into the police, for making excuses, for saying she still loved him and financially supporting his drug habit… because that WAS her choice. But not loving me? How could I be angry at her for that? How were her feelings any more “right” or “wrong” than mine? They weren’t. I was sad that I could not be with her, it tore me apart, but I couldn’t be mad at her, because she didn’t DO anything to me. I’ve been on the receiving end of quite a few confessions of love (all straight guys). And I feel like an absolutely despicable person for not being able to return those feelings, even though I know it’s not my fault and I have no more control over it than they do.

          I think my reaction is pretty much the same as that of most women I’ve known. While we may be upset they do not return our affections, I think we’re either better at understanding that it’s nobody’s “fault”, that others don’t owe us reciprocated attraction…or we’re more likely to interpret it as something being wrong with us (we’re more likely to go “It’s because I’m not pretty/tall/skinny/blonde/whatever enough” than “he’s an asshole for friendzoning me”). Women also don’t seem to invest as much in the idea of a sexual relationship before it happens as men do either. That’s not to say that when we’re attracted to somebody there’s no sexual component, but I think the emotional connection is MUCH more important to us, and it’s therefore not as much of a let down if we find out that there will never be a sexual component.

          I take care very good care of those around. I’m often called “too nice”, because I do let myself myself get used, I am incapable of refusing a favor, regardless of who is asking me (and I’m talking “I need $200″ or “can you pick me up from 2 counties away even though it’s 3am” sort of favors). I’m very proud of being able to take care of myself, and get pleasure out of doing the same for others…but it’s my fault that I allow myself to get used. My friends don’t abuse this feature, but acquaintances often do. But even if I pay for a friend’s meal 99 times out of a hundred, when he pays for me once, I still feel like I owe him something sexually. I’m a freakin’ lesbian and the idea that men are entitled to sex has still been so engrained in me by society that I feel guilty for not sleeping with a guy if he does something for me.

          I don’t mean to generalize, this is just my experience. I’m just sort of thinking aloud here. Is it still aloud if it’s in print?? I don’t know what else to call it….

  • allicient

    Is there a tacit assumption in the OP that there’s not a similar and equally prevalent “Nice Gal” behaviour? It would seem unlikely that there’d be a massive gender bias in the described scenario.

    • stavvers

      There is no such thing as “Nice Gal” behaviour. I learned exactly what I did off of straights. Straight men, to be precise.

      • allicient

        That’s odd. I’m a straight heterosexual man and have experienced ostensibly similar behaviour from women.

        Granted there may be small traits that are more obvious in each gender but the overarching concept of one party in a friendship trying to bargain sexual entitlements is hardly gender biased.

  • Dave Pickering

    I think you can consider “Nice Guys” as both people to feel sad for, who are often shy and disturbed and frustrated (just as you were, and as I probably was myself at moments of my teenage) and as creepy and misogenistic.

    But I think you get at that in this post which I broadly agree with.

    I don’t like the behaviour of “Nice Guys” but I do try and feel empathy with them. Same way as I try to have empathy with everyone. To feel sympathy and try and understand people isn’t the same as approving of them or siding with them. As you say in one of the comments being on the recieving end of a nice guy (or girl) is horrible.

    But none of these legitimate problems with nice guys makes the tumblr okay. It involves putting peoples personal details online for laughs and entertainment. That is never okay. And is generally the sort of approach taken by creepy misogynists. “Nice guys” create sites designed to shame and humiliate women.

    This is my take on the site: http://www.girlonthenet.com/2013/01/05/friend-zone-nice-guys-of-ok/

    Thanks for this thoughtful and thought provoking blog post.

  • Y

    I have come across men who think that just because I am friendly towards them and am happy to talk to them about sex in a similar way to the way I would discuss it with female friends, that means that I am likely to have sex with them. And then when I make it clear that I am not interested in sex with them, but was just being friendly, they disappear off the face of the earth. That is creepy. I was not sending “mixed signals”, i was just behaving in a frank and friendly manner.

    The possibility of having sex with a woman should not be the first thing on your mind in any social interaction. Get to know us first.

  • seja75

    I agree that this “Nice Guy” behaviour is deeply disturbing. If you read some of what was on the OK Cupid site (not all and I wasn’t comfortable with everything that was on there) there were examples of men with huge amounts of rage towards women. Their frustration at missing out on the sex that they felt entitled to had lead to a level of misogyny that I found deeply concerning. Often the “Nice Guy” piece is coupled with a very patriarchal view regarding the role of men/women in a relationship. A lot of the young men quoted believed that men are head of the household, women shouldn’t work and if they do they shouldn’t earn more than a man and that there are times when one is obligated to have sex. All this links together to create this fantasy world in which just by being “nice” (whatever that means) you get this amazing relationship in which sex is on tap and you (as alpha male) are completely fulfilled. Once that fantasy world starts to fall apart, it’s no wonder that the “Nice Buy” becomes enraged.

    Where does the rage go? How does it express itself and who is it directed at?

    Genuinely, that’s what I worry about. I worry for the woman who is the final straw of rejection in the “Nice Guy” world; I worry for her physical and emotional safety.

  • cyrano de burlap

    yeah some good points there, but I’ll be interested to see what you think further down the track. I suspect you’ll be a bit more sympathetic to the idea of some people that there is a degree of paradox, contradiction and sheer hypocrisy in the filed of desire – straight or queer. The short answer as to why there are people who are ‘Nice Guys’ is that the field of sex, love and relationships has taken on all the hyperindividualistic, market-driven, nihilistic features of the neoliberal world in which it sits. Very few people benefit – and 27 y-o women, dorky or otherwise have a better time of it than they imagine – and men who don’t fit the alpha mode rather less of one. So, it’s a little naive to compare a same-sex friendship to a different-sex one. Come back to us in 20 years, when no-one’s really interested in you anymore, and let’s see how the ‘friendship is as good as sexual love’ thing sounds – or whether you do not have a better understanding of bitterness and frustration, and what it produces.

    • stavvers

      “Wait till you’re old and ugly, then you’ll see! You’ll SEE.”

      Yeah, you’re a knob.

    • Martin Robbins (@mjrobbins)

      “The short answer as to why there are people who are ‘Nice Guys’ is that the field of sex, love and relationships has taken on all the hyperindividualistic, market-driven, nihilistic features of the neoliberal world in which it sits.”

      No, the short answer is that some people are dicks.

      Also, thinking that the world is shitty doesn’t give you magic entitlement to shit all over other people.

      Also, spraying verbose intellectual ejaculate over a comment section just makes you look like a dick.

  • Cumulo J. Nimbus (@mxjsph)

    People who are affected so tremendously when their desire to have sex isn’t reciprocated have pretty deep emotional problems. “If I do this, this will happen”, the preoccupation with ritual– both are typically infantile concepts/tendencies early on to make sense of essentially a magical realm they are struggling with understanding– intimacy. I find it disingenuous to even reflect on any sense of entitlement before or after the fact, mainly because I’m assertive about whatever I want at the time, and if its simply not happening, its not happening. The behaviour of nice guys, while appearing measured, mature etc, is deceivingly childlike. What follows is similarly childlike. Its like a kid being really nice to his mum in a toy shop then throwing a tantrum afterwards when his efforts are in vain.

    Simply put: sex can never be owed to anyone.

  • grampmk

    “Nobody is entitled to sex. Absolutely nobody.”

    Amen. That is where the term “getting lucky” came into being. But of course a man can make his own luck and choke the chicken. Every man is entitled to jerk off.

    • stavvers

      “The Ethical Slut” has a short section about how we should start using “getting lucky” again on this basis! A very good book that I’d recommend reading in general.

  • queeriodical

    There is no ‘nice girl’ phenomenon because girls are not taught that they are entitled to sex or relationships, certainly not with any particular person. Most young girls, in the face of rejection, are more likely to go to the other extreme think it because there is something deeply wrong with them, that they are worthless and undesirable. And if they do succumb to allowing their personal hurt to become externalised resentment, it’s not the guy that is judged, but solely the other girls, for being to ‘easy’.

  • Republic Of Zen

    This posts raises valid such as it is the Nice Guys problem to solve. However the author lacks the compassion that the Nice Guy Syndrome has other side effects which reduces their survival rating such as they attract abusive females, and inhibits thier success in the business world.

    Nice Guys tend to have been raised in female dominant social groups which teaches the wrong values which they need a s a man to survive. Men need to, in this order, take care of themselves, succeed in business and have sex as much as possible.

    Your right that sex isnt an entitlement, but it is a need.

    • stavvers

      Oh dear. Do get a clue, love.

    • Spudman101

      Ah, of course! It’s so obvious now! What we will do is move all of the ‘nice guys’ (or Homo bonum to use their latin name) in to warehouses, hand out suits and declare them all CEOs, then inform them that they have successfully passed their genetic material on to many future generations and they will all curl up and pass away, happy in the knowledge that they have achieved all of their inbuilt goals and there is nothing else here for them. Problem solved.

    • James Brough (@thasceles)

      You say raised in female dominant social groups, I say passive-aggressive dicks with massive entitlement issues. Let’s call the whole thing off.

      And sex is a need? Is it going to be available on the NHS? “Take two shags daily and come back in a fortnight if you’re still a total arsehole”?

      Mind you, I guess this could go a long way to explaining Donald Trump and Alan Sugar…

    • narrativeeschatology

      Captain, I am detecting a strong smell of evopsych in this sector.

      Please elaborate, we all really want to know why men need to rape women because women look like berries, or whatever the latest evopsych rape-culturey bullcrap is.

  • cartouchetonerimprimante

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  • oddbodd13

    An over-simplistic analysis, I think. A man might genuinely feel that lack of a relationship is down to being “too nice”. He will probably be wrong, but he might think that, for whatever reason. And at the same time, he might also be a guy-who-is-nice. These are not mutually exlcusive. Having a misguided idea as to why you can’t find a relationship doesn’t make you not nice – just misguided.

    And I think it’s unfair to suggest that people under such misguidance are only after sex, and think they’re entitled to it. This won’t always be the case and only helps to perpetrate the myth that all men are only after sex.

    My point is that to cast people as stock Nice Guy or guy-who-is-nice characters is to ignore them as individuals – ignoring why they might think a certain way (even if it’s the wrong way), and attributing to them certain traits that might well not apply.

    • narrativeeschatology

      You are so right! We should never generalise about any population or ever try to draw any conclusions whatsoever, in case we make just one nice guy sad.

      Goodbye science. Goodbye antibiotics. Goodbye sanitation. I’m going to miss you all.

      On a more serious note, the post never questions that “too nice” might be a genuine belief, just that it’s wrong and harmful.

      • allicient

        The OP is not a scientific article though, it’s not peer reviewed and isn’t statistically based. Generalisation of people on that basis would be no better than sexism, racism, bigotry, etc. *However* that’s not what the OP described; what was described was a behaviour/trait, which is quite different.

  • nyebaron

    Whilst I do agree with much of what you’ve written I think it’s unfair to conflate people who have a bit of a moan that a woman doesn’t want to fuck them and those who expect her to fuck them.

    If you want to fuck a girl and she doesn’t want to fuck you that’s her choice, she doesn’t find you very sexually attractive. But people will have a bit of a moan about it. I have lots of female friends, sometimes they want a guy to fuck them but he won’t, they have a bit of a moan about it themselves.

    What is perhaps interesting is that when women are repeatedly turned down by men they do not become misandrist but rather start to loathe themselves, whereas men seem to adopt misogyny as a coping method (better to think all woman are evil than that you’re just a bit fat/boring/etc.)

    I would be interested to hear why people think that there are these two diametrically opposing reactions to the same thing.

  • makeupandmirtazapine

    I find that Nice Guys don’t just hold this attitude of entitlement when it comes to women they want to sleep with. It seems to be part of a wider pattern of treating other human beings as malfunctioning machines who need to be fixed to behave in the way the Nice Guy wants, be they male or female.

  • Dudeguysir

    I was going to agree with this, then I read through some comments and decided I was going to disagree, and then I finished the comments. It reminded me of William Blake:

    ‘To generalise is to be an idiot.’

    Yes, there are Mrs Nice Guys. Some Nice Guys are actually nice, some are not even basically good. Some learn their lesson, others don’t. Some have a false sense of entitlement, some don’t. Some only put on their nice guy mask around people they fancy, others NEVER take it off, whether you’re a friend, family member or potential partner.

    It’s a redundant argument – it’s racist against other problems, like being a dick at all. That’s the problem here – you just want people to stop being dicks.

  • Simon

    If you claim to be a “Nice Guy”TM then turn around and call a woman a “bitch/slut/whore” for rejecting you then guess what bucko?

    You ain’t a nice guy!

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