I used to be a Nice Guy. I am fortunately too old to have experienced the joys of Being Enlightened, wearing a fedora, or watching six hours of Julien Blanc videos until five in the morning while intermittently mainlining Mountain Dew, licking Cheeto dust off my fingers, and masturbating while crying. But I was definitely one of those chaps on the fringes of the social and dating worlds. The guy who suddenly found the most engrossing topics to chat with other males about once Think Twice by Celine Dion came lilting out of the DJ box at the monthly underage, no booze disco he had reluctantly attended; despite holding the belief that dancing was lame, and chart music was only listened to by imbeciles. I had perfected the art of pretending to laugh at someone’s jokes, while surreptitiously eyeing the passing girls in their fuck-me boots and micro minis. I was unique, and one day someone was going to realise it.
I was a Nice Guy back in ancient times, the nineties, to be more precise. The internet was still young, streaming video was a mere dream, and there was no tumblr to tell us how to feel (in Helvetica). But we Nice Guys existed anyway. We were old skool. We did our bitching, whining, and preposterous generalising about women via word of mouth, rotary phones, and the letters we wrote to that buck-tooth girl in Luxembourg. You know, the one who refused to fancy us back, even though we were kind to her, never hit her, and never masturbated to the pictures she sent of herself in a bikini on that family holiday. Ok, fine. We did masturbate to them, but we didn’t tell her about it afterwards. Because we were gentlemen.
As we went through our troublesome teens, we were utterly frustrated by the male friends around us who seemed to score quite easily with chicks, despite having Channing Tatum levels of conversational skills, and practically no knowledge whatsoever of the original Star Wars trilogy. Worse still, these utter bastards would boast about their conquests, going into horrible detail about where they had stuck their fingers and tongues, all of it unknown to these beautiful, magical princesses, whom we ourselves would have given anything to be with.
And if we had been given that chance, boy would we have been different. Not for us such tawdry pursuits as ‘fingering’ or ‘getting half a blowie’. These were not pieces of meat. They were ladies, and a gentleman knows exactly how to treat a lady. We knew that well. We had read all of our sister’s Judy Blume novels. If one day one of these perfect goddesses would relent and give us a chance at making them happy, we would take it by both horns. We knew what girls wanted, much more than our troglodyte jock friends did. Women wanted to be loved, to be cherished and adored. To have doors opened for them, and coats thrown over puddles. They didn’t want some physically attractive lump French kissing them for hours, while grinding his still-jeaned crotch against theirs. They were better than that, and if they’d ever give a Nice Guy a chance, we’d show them what Paradise felt like.
So we set out with our plan. We would never be the sporty guy, the rich guy, the charming guy. Sure, we were blessed with a rapier wit, but for some reason it never came out when there were females around. It remained the privilege of our other Nice Guy friends, or our sweaty, 2am internal monologue. So we would take a different approach. We would be that one guy women could talk to. To share things with. That one Nice Fella, among all the scum who just wanted to make out with them and finger their vaginas and other such stuff. That would be our virtue, our quality, our way in. It was foolproof. Of course, although not the primary aim, we knew that all that close proximity and trust would eventually lead to the girl in question falling for us. It was bound to happen. If a woman was stupid enough to be fooled into seedy heavy petting by a guy who gets Ds in English Comprehension, a guy like us would be able to conjure up romance in no time at all. We just needed an in, and some time.
Of course, it never actually went to plan, as we soon found out that women prefer bastards. All of our hard work, all of our staring at the girl, telepathically informing her that she was our One True Love, pulling chairs out, noticing when she had her hair cut, keeping up with the plots of soap operas, agreeing with her that her friends were sometimes bitches, walking her home (WITHOUT EXPECTING ANYTHING), crying with her during sad movies, and adoring her without pause – for some reason, the girl was always too stupid to realise that these were the qualities of the man she was meant to be with. On the contrary, she continued to date boys who were completely wrong for her – these were the ones she ‘found attractive’, she said. We just sat there and wondered how this gorgeous, stupid goddess could be so shallow, when we adored everything about her. She had love right in front of her face, and she didn’t even know it.
One day, when we were old enough to drink illicit alcohol to the point where things were no longer scary to say out loud, we would get tanked up and tell her exactly how wrong she was about everything. How she was a fool for letting guys treat her like a whore and a slut, and how we would never do that. We would look after her forever, and keep her safe from harm. We wouldn’t cheat on her, or brag about her behind her back. We would be that perfect boyfriend she’d always dreamed about. And we’d cry while telling her, just so she understood the depth of our love, and felt just enough guilt to agree that she should be with us. After all, it was the right decision, and since she wasn’t capable of making those for herself, we would take the initiative and give her the happiness she always deserved.
Of course, that was then, and this is now. We’re lucky to live in a world today where men understand that women can make their own choices about whom they date. And that their sexuality is their own, and not a token to be achieved by skill or deception. We see girls like Taylor Swift, acquiring all the hot men they desire instead of settling for some Happy Ever After, and we applaud them, rather than slut-shaming them or questioning their judgement. We see women as human beings, rather than prizes that we are entitled to just because we happen to find them attractive. Gone are the days of men being ‘Pick Up Artists’ who see women as objects or notches on their belts. And gone too is the concept of the Nice Guy, who spends his time alone and raging about completely made-up scenarios where the hot girl just sees him as a shoulder to cry on, or puts him in the Friend Zone, when all he wanted was a chance to show her that he was the one for her. Nowhere on the internet are there message boards and subreddits filled with bitter men, lamenting the shallowness and unfairness of women they’ve never actually had the balls to speak to. It is a great time to be alive, and I only wish that I had got to spend my formative teenage years as a part of it.