not so nice

A short while ago there was quite a bit of controversy over a Tumblr blog called “Nice Guys of OK Cupid” that shamed the so-called “nice guys” of the popular online dating web site for being clueless trolls. Many loved it. Others derided it as unfair because it targeted the emotionally clueless, already handicapped from getting proper dates, now up for public ridicule. The site has since gone defunct, but part of the reason why it struck such a chord with one group and a nerve with the other was the reality that there are some men – shy, painfully clueless, unfortunate types – who struggle to grasp signals and signs and believe sex and/or a girlfriend are luxuries and privileges, not Constitutional rights.

It’s about the pursuit of happiness. Nowhere are you promised the actual thing. Yet the frustration is real and comes from a place of tragic, misplaced entitlement.

Like, the other day a man said “hello” to me on Twitter. I didn’t immediately say hi back, so he wrote some diatribe about the “rudeness” of black women and how he had tried to be “nice.” So I blocked him because … why?  Nice people don’t flip out on strangers over shouting things on Twitter and not getting immediate responses.

But people having trouble adjusting to everything not being about them, of women not owing anyone attention just because you said “hello,” is very real.

Some still haven’t learned nothing is owed when you can’t buy it in the first place.

Society often treats women as if we are part of the marketplace, none too dissimilar from the latest model car or an expensive pair of designer sneakers. That we’re something or someone who can be had for a price – whether that price is actual currency or “niceness” treated like currency. It’s not that women don’t lament how the “hot” guy or the “rich” guy or whoever the “ideal” guy is is more fixated on looks and you’re too short/fat/plain/unsophisticated/whatever and he doesn’t see you. But the response is different. Men are supposed to have clear opinions on what they do and don’t want. Women are supposed to be passive actors who can be bought with stuffed animals and on-time child support payments.

But if you’ve ever interacted romantically with a woman, you know this is not true.

This idea that if you are “nice” to a woman – say hello, open a door, call her pretty – a man is entitled to time, attention, a phone number, a date, sex, whatever is woefully ridiculous as it presupposes women aren’t human beings, but products. That if you put in enough money or niceness tokens in them you can have the date you desire, but in no other part of your life this technique works. You don’t get the raise just for showing up at work every day. You don’t (or shouldn’t) try to buy friends. And friendship with someone of the opposite gender isn’t supposed to be a way station leading to friends-with-benefits-sex … unless that’s something you both want and agree upon.

It’s not guaranteed.

There are simply too many factors that come into play when talking about things like attraction, desire and romantic interest. There is no mathematical formula or method of give and take that will promise you a woman’s love. If she’s not interested she’s just not and interest is not “owed” out of kindness. Dating is not a marketplace even if we call it the “Meet market.”

There is no legal tender promising true love. And if you want a promise of sex in exchange for good, cash or services, there’s an entire sex industry for that.

I get why some men are reluctant to embrace this idea. It’s an excuse. Rather than deal with what’s going on inside, with what their issue is, they’ve projected it on the women around them. It’s easier to say “all women are crazy” or “all women want thugs or bad boys” or say “all men are cheaters” or “all men are assholes” than deal with the reality that love is hard to find, keep and come by. We feel powerless when we can’t get the love we want.

And some of us take that powerlessness and take it out on strangers they’re trying to screw on OK Cupid.

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  • Youwishyoucouldbeme

    It’s always funny to me when guys say this. It’s not that your comment can’t be true. It’s just that the guys that actually say this are often the ones who chase the “dime” piece women and then get surprised when they didn’t choose you. What’s wrong with most people is that they choose people who don’t want them, because most people value what they can’t have.

  • http://gravatar.com/pocketsizednegro Courtney**

    Get the fuck out of here.

    “When the boy goes out and realizes that most women don’t return his kind behavior and even disrespect him for behaving in that manner, and that the boys who are most successful with the girls are disrespectful, selfish, and abusive, he grows resentful, angry, and frustrated. That is the basis for overt misogyny among young black men in our culture.”

    Are you SERIOUSLY trying to say that the BASIS for young black mens’ misogyny isn’t a lack of a good father or father figure to model respecting women… it isn’t the music, movies. and other cultural artifacts that glamorize treating women as things… it isn’t a general misogyny that runs amongst all races of men, magnified in black men due to their relative lack of power in other areas… it’s that BLACK WOMEN RAISED THEM TO RESPECT GIRLS TOO MUCH AND BE TOO NICE TO THEM?

    What fucking planet are you from, because I’d like to visit there someday. Hell, all single black women would like to take a trip there. This magical land where most black men grew up to be kind and nice and respectful to black women, not run to Beckies and blame black women for it, not encourage colorism, etc. etc. etc. This magical land where black women didn’t suffer the highest rate of domestic violence deaths and where women like to “accuse” men of being sociopaths for shits and giggles, like the rate of stalking/rapes/violence against women isn’t prima facie proof that this isn’t stuff we like to say because we think it’s cute. This land where men really don’t hate women, and if they do, it’s all because they originally were super duper nice but you know how much we women are averse to not being beaten/stalked/harrassed/killed, so they just had no choice but to turn into one of those guys.

    Have several seats, sir. I will accept no such “responsibility” for men who hate me. In fact, those “sociopaths” you think we like to make up OFTEN DO START OUT as those charming, polite-to-a-fault, respectful men. If you had any idea what the hell you were talking about, you’d know that’s their goddamn M.O. So, what… these women are initially attracted to these men who hold open doors for them, send them flowers, listen to them, support them, only to later isolate them and insult/abuse them…and they just kind of realize that the abuse is more attractive?

  • http://effortless-attraction.com/ Why women don’t like nice guys

    When the boy goes out and realizes that most women don’t return his kind behavior and even disrespect him for behaving in that manner, and that the boys who are most successful with the girls are disrespectful, selfish, and abusive, he grows resentful, angry, and frustrated.So, what… these women are initially attracted to these men who hold open doors for them, send them flowers, listen to them, support them, only to later isolate them and insult/abuse them…and they just kind of realize that the abuse is more attractive? Thanks a lot.

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