“I wish I could find a nice guy like you.”
If you’re a nice guy, you’ve undoubtedly heard this maddening piece of bullshit at least once in your life. Probably more. In high school it was all I heard.
I went to a very small suburban high school in Massachusetts. There were 125 people in our graduating class, and I spent 12 years with the majority of my classmates throughout elementary, middle and high school. In a school that small, once you’re pigeonholed into a certain reputation it’s pretty much impossible to shake. And I was the Nice Guy.
I had no game whatsoever. If I liked a girl I’d write her a poem and fawn over her like she was Helen of Troy. I was a dork. Which means I had absolutely no value to women because I was completely non-threatening and wasn’t a challenge at all. Not only did they know they could get me, they knew they didn’t even have to try. All of this to say I landed in the “Friend Zone” more often than not, at which point I pathetically listened to them talk about the guys they did want to get with and gave them advice.
At the end of my junior year I wised up and started looking for a girlfriend at another high school where no one knew me. And I found “Christine” (name changed), who was attractive, athletic and (most importantly) said yes to going out with me. Unfortunately, the only thing worse than a Mr. Nice Guy who isn’t getting any is a Mr. Nice Guy who is.
I was whipped. Actually that severely understates it. I was broken in like a Grand Canyon pack mule. And although I eventually grew out of this in college when I learned that being an aloof, dismissive and disinterested dick was the best way to attract female attention, the proof of my whippedness (I’m making it a word!) recently surfaced.
MJ was cleaning out my old bedroom at my parent’s house. The first sign of my pathetic high school existence is on the ceiling, because Christine gave me those glow-in-the-dark stars and I promptly spelled her name out above my bed. The stars are long gone but the adhesive I used is still visible in the form of her name.
But all of that is nothing compared to The Shoebox.
My relationship with Christine lasted from the end of my junior year to the week I went away for college. In that time, I pledged my eternal love to her and then some. Even though I was only 17 years old, I promised her a yellow colonial house. With three children. I’m sure we had the names picked out but I can’t remember them. And in the 18 months we dated I bestowed upon her countless gifts, poems, cards, flowers, notes and other trinkets of cheesy affection.
Take my homemade card to the right, for example. First of all, who celebrates a six-month anniversary? Second, using the term “Darling Pumpkin” is never acceptable. But lastly, I wish I knew why I ever thought using a crudely animated kids cartoon character to express my sweet nothings was a good idea. Because nothing says romance like Bart Simpson, right?
I have the overwhelming urge to jump in Doc Brown’s Delorean, go back in time 15 years and kick the shit out of my pussy self.
But that’s not even the worst of it. If you’re looking for mind-numbingly terrible, that would be the poetry I wrote. It all rhymes, and it’s all bad. Just really, really bad. For instance:
Yeah. Told you. And there are about 50 more examples just like that one unfortunately.
The only thing that saved me from a lifetime of douchery was college. Even though I pledged my eternal love for Christine and earnestly vowed our love would survive against all odds, it didn’t quite work out that way. It took me five days to break up with her after heading off to college and realizing my four years of college were the opportunity of a lifetime. And immediately after that realization came an even more important one.
Women like assholes.
Protest all you want, but it’s true. In college I transformed myself into a dick. I became a well-known philanderer, dating several women at once even when I had a girlfriend. The only times I wrote poems or bought flowers were when I was in the dog house. I acted disinterested, aloof and I was thoroughly inconsiderate of women. It was all a marked departure from my Mr. Nice Guy former self.
And guess which personality got more girls?
Women like bad boy assholes. Even MJ, when we first started dating, admits she was attracted to me partially because I had a reputation. And when I fell in love with her and committed to her long-term, she told me she was excited because she “tamed me” and did something that—in her mind—no other woman could manage. And she’s not alone, I know a lot of women who think the same way.
Don’t get me wrong, eventually women do want a nice guy. After they’ve been run over by a few bad boys they finally want a little more stability. But not too much, or they’ll be bored and unhappy.
All this is to say I’m going to use my stint as Mr. Nice Guy to teach Will a lesson when he’s old enough to ask about girls. I’m going to teach him to be a gentleman, but I’m also going to tell him he can’t be a doormat. Writing poetry and being overly nice to girls gets you nowhere fast. Unfortunately, you ladies have made it so guys need to be dicks from puberty to your late 20s to get your attention (among other things).
While you constantly say you want a nice guy, you don’t really mean it. Because I was a nice guy and it sucked. My life was exponentially better as an asshole. Sure I came full circle when it was time to settle down, but my son will not be the pathetic pushover I was growing up. He’s not going to be the kind of jackass who saves his first condom receipt (picture at left) because he fancies it a romantic gesture. There will be no shoebox of humiliation for him.
If I sound a little angry you’re right. I hated high school with a passion and even thinking about the person I used to be makes me physically ill. While it’s unfortunate that I need to teach my son to be kind of an asshole with women, it’s also very necessary. I’m not going to tell him to be abusive or flat-out disrespectful to women, but I am going to tell him to hold back total affection and adoration until he’s absolutely sure he’s in love. Because women like a challenge, and if you make it clear you’ll do anything for them you’ll be screwed.
Because nice guys truly do finish last. Now excuse me while I burn this shoebox.