October 23, 2003
Women love bad boys. Nice guys finish last.
Welcome to the most damaging and far-flung myth ever to hit the dating world.
I'm sure you've heard it in its many forms; if you want a girl to fall for you, don't let on that you like her, treat her badly, be aloof. Never work too hard or call too soon. Keep her waiting.
With only 800 words at my disposal, I don't know if I can fully emphasize how misguided this notion is, but with the help of some Chocodiles, I'm going to try.
First, let's look at the genesis of this myth. Who perpetrated such a simplistic and apocryphal set of ideas? Was there one guy -- we'll call him Guy Zero -- who met some horribly wounded female soul, treated her poorly and found that she was powerless to resist him? Perhaps he played racquetball with a guy (I don't know why I'm setting this in the '80s) who sat next to another guy at work who told his cousin who spread it throughout some fraternity in Ohio before it festered at a convention of insurance adjusters in Reno. How did this happen? This is an airborne dating Ebola and it must be contained. As a thought virus, it's replicating and mutating and deadly to the entire species.
That may have been melodramatic. Still, I had to make a point. Based on my own experiences, and the countless hours I've logged talking to girlfriends, I can tell you plainly, there's nothing sexier than nice. Yeah, I said it. Nice works.
Let me give you an example. If a woman mentions she used to love Chocodiles and you bring her one on your first date, that's the story she's going to tell her friends about you. That Chocodile is why she's going to go out with you again. With that little bit of over-processed and waxy snack food, you are buying yourself a padding of good will. When you arrive late for a date or show up to her parents' for dinner without bringing wine she'll think to herself, "Yeah, but he brought me Chocodiles. He's a nice guy."
Gentlemen, I'm letting you behind the curtain here. I'm your Willy Wonka to the Chocodile Factory that is a woman's heart. This is how it is.
Every door you open, every time you tell her you like her shoes, every time you get her a second drink before she's finished with her first, she's falling in love with you. She's filing your little notes and thoughtful gifts under "reasons not to leave him" should that file ever need to be examined. You want loyalty and gratitude and even passion? Fix her toaster, offer to take down her trash on the way out, drive her and her friends around one night, let her sit down at the movies while you buy her any candy she wants. While these may seem like meaningless chores to a man, to a woman, they are foreplay.
Why isn't this obvious? Why is the myth that nice guys finish last so pervasive? Why has it been allowed to thrive? How can it possibly span all ages and social classes and races? I think I know why.
Here's a scenario that is probably happening all over the world right now as you read this: A man meets a woman, he treats her well, she goes out with him a few times but decides she's just not interested. Why? Maybe she's not physically attracted to him, which is the most likely reason. Maybe she doesn't like the way he snapped at the waiter. Maybe she senses he's not ready for a commitment or too ready for one. There's always the chance her ex-boyfriend called and wants to reunite for one last bout of passive-aggressive sparring and make-up sex. The possible reasons are endless.
The man will feel rejected, and rightfully so. He will never really know why he was dumped, but he will carry the lingering humiliation of having really tried his best, maybe buying her dinner, maybe some Chocodile equivalent. He'll feel the way guys can't stand to feel: vulnerable, used, emasculated, cuckolded, stupid. His only relief is in the bottle of snake oil he and his friends pass around. The one marked, "I was too nice. Women only like jerks."
No. She stayed for the nice. She left for the real reason, because she wasn't interested in you. I know it hurts, I've been left, too, but creating some fantastical theory isn't going to make it better in the end.
I have never known a woman to drop a man because he was "too nice." I guarantee you, do something nice tonight, not necessarily expensive or difficult, just kind, and she will be bragging about you tomorrow. How many times in life can you be a hero for the price of a Chocodile?
I hope I've made a difference. If you still think "nice guys finish last" ask yourself what sort of race you're running. Maybe it's time to forfeit and ask if that shivering girl on the sidelines would like to borrow your jacket.
Visit Teresa Strasser on the Web at www.teresastrasser.com.