Let me know if you’ve ever heard a lament that sounds like this one: “I’m a nice guy. I really am. I’m nice to women all the time. I listen to them, I give them my time, I’m even a shoulder to cry on when they need one. But none of them will sleep with meâ€”they just want to be friends, and they’d rather be with guys who aren’t as nice as me. Why is that? I put in all this time listening to them, I deserve it, dammit! And if women don’t appreciate how nice I am, and give me what I want, then they’re all a bunch of selfish whores.”
This is a long-established social phenomenon: the “nice guy” who, due to his attitude that he deserves sex in exchange for being so nice, isn’t such a nice guy after all. The journalist Amanda Marcotte has been writing about this for years, and the best quote I’ve ever heard on the subject comes from @hexjackal on Twitter: “girls are not machines that you put Kindness Coins into until sex falls out.” That’s some advice I really could have used when I was, say, 16.
But now the “[Not So] Nice Guy” archetype has been shoved directly into the mainstream thanks to a widely-read Tumblr blog called “‘Nice Guys’ of OK Cupid.” The Tumblr features pictures of men with profiles from the popular dating site OK Cupid, all of whom have described themselves as “nice guys,” but who have other things in their profile that indicate they’re anything but. The site has drawn widespread media attention in recent weeks.
On Nice Guys of OK Cupid, we get men advertising themselves as nice guys, before revealing a laundry list of complaints about all the terrible things women do. We also get men complaining about women’s shaving habits, when they themselves often sport rather unfortunate facial hair. This combination of hypocrisy and lack of self-awarenessâ€”as well as the likely feeling of recognition on the part of female readersâ€”are among the site’s biggest draws.
Indeed, the Nice Guys of OK Cupid site is hilarious, and once again, it represents a phenomenon that is very much a real thing, which is a big part of why it’s spread so quickly.
But, like most aggregated things on the Internet, it cherry-picks the examples that most support its thesis. The fact is, there certainly are guys out there who are genuinely nice, who are frustrated that doing what they’re doing isn’t leading to any sort of romantic or sexual success, but who don’t then turn around and respond to the situation with hostility, by claiming entitlement, or by taking their anger out on women.
There are a whole lot of men out thereâ€”some young, and some olderâ€”who are completely clueless and inept when it comes to dealing with women, who are either rejected continuously or lack the confidence to even try. Is it the women’s fault that they won’t have sex with these guys? Of course not. But provided they’re not channeling that frustration into blanket hatred of the female gender, such men aren’t undeserving of sympathy.
I come at this with some distance, as someone who’s been married for several years, and who dramatically swore off online dating not a long time before meeting my eventual wife. OK Cupid didn’t even exist yet when I was single, although my onetime dating site of choice, JDate, has always been a source of its own brand of prolific online mockery.
But in some ways I can relate, because on more than one occasion back in my single daysâ€”especially in high school and collegeâ€”I found myself the frustrated nice guy. My advice to such men is to get some confidence, become more comfortable in your skin, andâ€”perhaps most importantlyâ€”don’t make an online dating profile blaming those ungrateful women who won’t have sex with you, while also including your picture.
[Screenshot from Nice Guys of OK Cupid]