Pretty much everyone has seen the term between quotes, or nowadays even without quotes. In the recent couple of years it has positively become a swear word - proclaiming yourself a nice guy has become similar to strapping swastika on your arm, or yelling "Make me a sandwich!". But in my opinion, people interested in smearing men as a whole - a group of people starting with an F, and endign with an -inists, have managed to twist the meaning of this rather innocuous term into something rather sinister, without bothering to understand the underlying phenomenon.
So after reading another great take on this subject - great as in it is a textbook example of how nice guys are midrepresented -, I decided to write a myTake, and sort of address the issues touched on in the take. The link below leads to it:
DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a nice guy. I would have called myself that a while ago, but since then I have accepted certain world views that are not "nice" or "good" according to my own moral framework; I did this in order to retain my sanity. So please don't even bother looking through my questions and poisoning the well, telling me I am not a nice guy - I know that. I used to be one though.
So without further ado:
Nice guys - and what women and feminists get wrong about them!
1. We give you gifts, and we expect something in return
Actually this is not at all a unique behaviour for "nice guys" - it is a direct combination of biological instinct, and social conditioning.
For one, women are by their nature attracted to men who care about them. Who are willing to make sacrifices for them. A man who is willing to make sacrifices shows his loyalty. The larger the sacrifice, the more the man is doveted to her. The idea is that the more rare your gift, or the more valuable your sacrifice, the larger your deed is, the more unique it is, the less people can replicate it. This is why women want diamond rings, despite there is no discernable difference between fake diamond and diamond.
Secondly, humans are social creatures - and the division of tasks and socialising required a level of trust. The most basic norm of trust was reciprocity - I scratch your back, you stratch mine. Society was BUILT UPON the concept of reciprocity.
You work, and you get paid.
You follow the law, and the authorities will protect you.
You pay for something, and you get something back.
It follows from this that when an action is not reciprocated, the person loses trust; trust towards the person, and trust in the concept of fair play in general.
And before you think this is a purely social construct, look at this dog:
The dog was possibly hurt in the past either by the owner, or another vet - so naturally the dog isn't trusting of the vet. He isn't willing to risk giving the vet an opportunity to hurt him. Now, in this case, the dog got a happy ending - but how many people would risk putting their hands in a vicious dog's mouth to help said dog?
So let's put two and two together - nice guys, and guys in general, want to give presents to women to signal how much they care about them. Men compete with their gifts for the woman's attraction. But this automatically turns on the reciprocity effect - you want something in return.
This behaviour is often compared to men expecting women to work like slot machines - which is actually a perfect analogy. Ladies, how do slot machines work? You put in money, and you pull, and you repeat, until you win. But you win. And slot machines are set up in a way that they always give you enough back that you will feel like playing on.
Well, let me ask you something, ladies! If you never let the poor guys win - why do you expect them to keep playing? They will quickly come to hate the game. And that's how you create misogynists.
2. We feel the need to brag about being nice
So, is this any different when women brag about having a job, and being independant - when men are expected to do this by default?
As for "my teachers are nice. My co-workers are nice. The lady that cleans my share-house is nice" - how do you know that? Your teacher could be fucking a student, cheating on his/her taxes, your co-worker could be a pathological liar or an alcoholic, and the lady that cleans your house could have been a prostitute back in the day, or she could be stealing cinnamon rolls from the supermarket. I have seen crazier shit, it's hard to surprise me.
When I say I am a nice guy, I MEAN that I am a nuce guy. Because believe it or not, I could be not nice too. I could have become a lot worse person, if at any point I would have given into the temptation. But I fight my demons, and I win. That makes me nice. And yes, I am proud that despite the stuff that goes through my head, I have managed to stay true to certain values. And if you can be proud of having a shitty 5 to 9 job, or getting a degree in a 5th rate college, or just getting your makeup right every morning, I can be proud of being a decent person.
3. We live in a false reality where there are only nice guys and bad boys
Not really. However, it is pretty hard to ignore all the negative stereotypes we hear of men from women, shaming men and calling us names for things we personally never do - and after the umpteenth woman telling us of her abusive boyfriend, or cheating boyfriend, or otherwise scumbag boyfriend, despite us never even being inclined to do that, it's easy to notice a pattern where these women FOR SOME REASON always seem to find themselves dating a scumbag.
There are two possible explanations here.
1. These women are lying as a collective, or are collectively biased in their own favour, against men in general.
2. There really ARE men who are shittier, and men who are better, and for some reason, many women seem to be attracted to these shitty people, despite their horrible personalities, or in fact exactly because of that.
Of course I am open to suggestions - what leads to this polarized perception of men in your minds?
4. We don't know how to handle rejection
I don't think there is much to discuss here. Rejections are hard for everyone. In fact there were myriads of questions on G@G about girls not asking guys out - the consensus seems to be that women, just like men, fear rejection. The difference is that men have no choice - they have to accept the reality that they will have their hopes and dreams, and more importantly, their confidence shattered again. And again. And again. And again.
So until I see girls hitting up guys, and getting rejected ten, twenty, thirty times in a row, and not growing sad and depressed, I don't think women have any authority to speak in this regard. In fact I have seen plenty of women act incredibly shitty after being rejected. This is not a phenomenon exclusive to guys, or nice guys. Maybe if dating became more effective, and the sexual market place operated more smoothly, rejection would become less of an issue. But that is a problem for another time.
And now, a few things that this author, and probably many women, and feminists especially think is a "Real Nice Guy", but is in fact just female privilege:
1. We compliment women and give them presents because we are just nice
When was the last time you gave a man a present for no apparent reason? Oh, never? Here's economics 101 for you:
If a guy (or anyone in fact) gives you presents without asking anything - he wants something in return. A "nice guy" isn't an altruistic guy. Altruism doesn't exist, or is insanely rare. In fact, an altruistic person would also be an irrational, nihilistic person, and you should be VERY careful with said person.
Reality is that again, if someone gives you gifts for no apparent reason, most likely that person is trying to form a social bond with him. And since now you know this, you have no reason not to reject their gifts in this situation - because if you accept it, and you don't reciprocate their feelings, you are in fact using them for material gains, and you are just as toxic as he is.
2. We don't say it, we show it
This is simply shaming tactics on the part of feminists. "If you are nice, be nice and shut up about it". Obviously being nice is not easy. It requires effort. And in exchange, we want the world to validate out efforts. A pat on the back, a hug, acknowledging words. Taking this away from them is actually disincentivising them from BEING nice.
But replace "nice" with anything!
> "I work hard"
"Then work, and shut up about it!"
> "I care about people!"
"Then why aren't you in Nigeria helping starving children!"
This is a means to silence people who have legitimate grievances over society not validating their efforts.
So ladies, listen up again! If it annoys you that a man values himself as a nice guy, and you want him to just shut up, and go back to the plantations, holding open cab doors, buying free drinks, and being your personal footstool - don't be surprised if guys will become assholes!
3. We are confident in ourselves, and make effort to improve
This is another form of shaming, as well as rationalising certain women's(and some men's) mindset about "nice guys", and men in general.
We have all seen and heard men being called weak, virgin, living-in-his-moms-basement, ugly, loser, etc, as a means to discredit their lived experiences. "You will get your dream girl as soon as you make an effort, and move out of your mom's basement! Fucking loser!"
The reality is that there is a large amount of young men who do everything by the book - they have careers, well paying jobs, they dress on point, they socialise, they are nice with the ladies, they aren't creeps, etc - but either because of some kind of shortcoming, or because of bad luck, they are lonely, they are longing for love, and eventually they become what disillusioned.
They say "well, I did everything right, the system must be rigged!" - and then they get the shaming tactics above. "You must be a fat, ugly loser. You probably have some character flaw, and that's why women don't want you."
^^In debating this is called gaslighting.
In fact the reason why people like to gaslight "nice guys" is rooted in my first point - the norm of reciprocity. People like to think the world operates on reason and virtue, and that their achievements are the direct result of their work. By telling them that someone, somewhere did the same thing as they did, and is still unsuccessful is tantamount to telling them they are privileged, and they just have it better. And most people don't like to feel privileged, they don't want to live in a world that is unfair, even if that favours them.
Ladies (and gentlemen), when you say stuff like this, remember - confidence doesn't grow on trees, confidence comes from positive feedback and determination. It's insanely hard to be confident when all your life you had been told you are inadequate or less than others. That you will never make it. Some can do it. Most can't. Support people instead of dragging them down!
4. We can take rejections
Ah, rejections again. I have been rejected a couple of times. Many times. Sometimes it hurt. Sometimes I brushed it off. Personally, I have never lashed out at someone for a rejection (I have lashed out over a breakup though, and I am not proud of that, but that was all that made sense at the time).
But this is not about me.
Another thing you ladies don't know about men - MOST men have a first time being rejected. And generally, the first, second, or maybe third time is when you get those nasty comments and texts. As I mentioned - men have to live with the reality that they will be rejected dozens if not hundreds or thousands of times throughout their live. But getting used to rowing your boat against the current is not easy - and sometimes men slip up.
All I can say is this - when women will en masse get rejected by men, and they will handle it better tan men, I will address this issue in detail. Until then, expecting one gender to have a level head, even though the other has little sense of responsibility, is extremely unfair.
I hope you have read through this take, and enjoyed it. Please if you have something to add, add it in the opinions section below, I would appreciate it!