I was talking to a gent a couple weeks ago who was expressing his general frustration with the dating game and for a while I just let him vent. Partly because venting is healthy and sometimes you need to do it before you can start problem solving and partly because often half-way through a vent you blurt out the answer to your own problem.
Yeah... you see the cut of my jib so far, I imagine. However, let me make this clear: I am not about to spend an entire blog ragging on "nice guys", but I would like to share this exchange as best I can with you (pulled from memory so bear with me). Actually, screw it, just consider the following as a 'dramatic re-enactment'.
So he'd been exasperatedly talking about his plight and I noticed he kept using variations of the phrase, "And it's ridiculous because I'm such a nice guy."
So I finally blurted out, "Well, yeah, but what else?"
And he stopped and just stared at me like I had suggested that narwhals were in fact the unicorns that mutated in order to survive the flood because they weren't allowed the ark. ...which would be a totally legitimate theory if I believed Noah was more than allegory.
Not the point.
So he responds with, "What do you mean what else?"
"Nice is great. It really is, don't get me wrong--I'm very appreciative of nice people, but it's not a perk, it's a prerequisite. If you're going to be a reoccurring character that I've voluntarily cast in my life, I expect you to be nice. It's not something I'm dreaming to find in another person, basic human decency is something I'm going to demand regardless if you're someone I met on the street for five minutes or my dearest and oldest friend."
"But all of these women are dating jerks."
"Maybe. Or they are dating perfectly decent people who make mistakes. Or even if they are dating legitimate jerks, they unlikely appeared that way when they first started dating. No sane person I know goes, "Hmm, this person seems cruel and mentally unstable, I think I'll be in an unhealthy relationship with them for the next year or so.
That isn't what's going on, give these ladies some credit."
(Side note, I have also had this conversation with a few lady friends, but disturbingly a lot of the complaints I hear from my own gender tends to be, "I don't get it, I'm way hotter than her" which causes a lot more head-desking on my part. But we'll chat about that tomorrow.)
"No. No buts. You've been in a bad relationship before. Did you think to yourself, 'Hey, this girl seems like she could build me up and smash me into a million pieces once she fully has my trust', of course you didn't. That's how relationships work. So you're nice, that's great, so is at least 75% (totally made up statistic) of the world population. What else you got? Are you passionate about movies, do you volunteer with homeless kids, can you cook rare and exotic dishes--what else are you bringing to the table? Everyone expects that you'll at least be nice whether they're right or wrong about that fact, so you can't just bank on that being a virtue that should make you irresistible to women."
"So I have nothing."
Cue grumpy Kiri. "That's not what I'm saying."
"Well would you date me?"
"Dude, shut up. I wouldn't date you because it would make no sense for me to date you. You ultimately want a big family that you can take care of, I'm ridiculously career driven. Our personalities are not compatible. You want to take care of someone, I want a partner. I'm very much 'let's confront this issue now' and you're a bit passive aggressive which while you're my friend, it kinda makes me want to strangle you sometimes. And if these issues weren't enough, I'm not physically attracted to you."
"Wow, you don't have to be cruel."
"Dear god, man, I'm about to freaking punch you. Me not being attracted to you does not make you unattractive. My taste, regardless how large my ego inflates, is not ultimate. My opinion is just an opinion. So stop having this pity party for yourself because that really isn't helping this whole attractive thing, and realize as cliche as it is, there are a ton of fish in the sea. Those women are dating whoever they're dating for a myriad of reasons. You're smart, you have a stable job and you're good at what you do. You have hobbies, interests, there is more to you than just 'nice'. Please, freaking remember that you have more to offer than 'I'm nice'. Almost everyone at least thinks they're nice. If that's all you're looking for in common, of course you won't find someone. You're not going to be compatible with everyone. Narrow the search, you're more likely to find someone with similar key words, if you get my drift."
...and that was really the gist of this conversation. Really I've had similar conversations with girlfriends of mine, so the fact that this particular friend was male is irrelevant. And I'm not sure what that says to you, dear reader, but it felt like something that needed to be shared...