Daniel Gingras

In the expression “nice guys finish last,” the word nice is a misnomer. The real truth in the saying is that “timid guys finish last.” Passive men who proclaim this credo are probably misconstruing as niceness the qualities in themselves that make them invisible to (or repulse) the women they desire. Guys afraid to act on their feelings or apprehensive to share their emotions are the ones who get left in the lurch. It’s saddening to sense that desperation in somebody’s tone, when their struggles have sunk them to complaining about finishing last though they’re not even racing. How can they expect to win a race while standing still? Men interested in women need to put their efforts into acting, not into whining.

Sure, being “nice” might exclude you from “bad-boy” women who like to suck face with motorcycle riders and ass-kickers, but using niceness as your excuse for the mild forms of cowardice that bore or disinterest women will keep you from all of them. Simply being “nice” is a big plus to most women. Ensure your definition doesn’t include “inhibition” or “fear-induced paralysis” and your stock will go up. By God, if you’re falling in love with the girl, if to you she’s beautiful, find the courage to tell her, take the chance and kiss her. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. She will not gravitate to you magically, no matter how strong your feelings burn inside your head. The sad fact is she’s more likely to end up with some womanizing asshole simply because he had the courage to kiss her passionately or say I love you (even if he’s lying! You wouldn’t be lying! Say it! Say it already!). Most bad-boy relationships are doomed to disintegrate, but you’ll never know what your chances are if you’re too busy writing nice letters to the nice editor about your nice problems.

The Web site lifetips.com gives a top ten list of qualities women look for in men, which sites both “confidence” and “showing love.” And, a surprise to pessimistic nice guys: the list also cites “kindness,” ranked higher than either of the first two. See, it’s a mix of all these ingredients in Aphrodite’s recipe that bakes the love cake.

For fear I’m being too mean, I need to declare that I sympathize with the nice guys. I really do. It’s the nice guys who’ll make trophy boyfriends and grade-A husbands when they learn to assert themselves. I’m a nice guy. My passion for this topic comes from my personal experience with the futility of expecting good women to happen to you, and the depressing feelings of being trapped in last place. But I also bring good news: I escaped from that dead end, and so can anyone else who can quit their bad habits. Start small and think big. Start a conversation with a strange girl you think is cute, and ask her for her number. Tell a girl something complimentary and true that you feel about her. Get her flowers. Write her a love letter. The big risk is that a girl might never know how you feel unless you gesture to her with words or acts. Who knows, maybe she secretly waits for you to do so, having giddy-hot dreams about you by night and penciling your name all over her class notes by day, dotting your I’s with hearts and crossing your t’s with cupid arrows. And what if, despite your hopes, it backfires? The worst you should expect is a “nice” no thanks.

For comments, questions, or to have Daniel shoot Cupid’s bow straight into your timid heart, write to dgingras@calpoly.edu.

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