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Why (and What) Nice Guys Win

{The estrogen infusion continues with the latest in our series, Inside the Female Mind and a rebuttal to Nice Guys Finish Last.}

(Our guest blogger is Lydia Dukaric.  Lydia writes the travel blog Travelchick.)

During the past ten years, I dated some guys who fit right into the category we term “bad boys”.  They kept me guessing about how they felt, I was never quite sure I could trust them, and it always seemed that I was asking for more than they were willing to give.  I was continually either wildly ecstatic or psychotically depressed.  There was no in-between.  I constantly felt that I was trying to live up to some unknown standard in order to keep the relationship together, while simultaneously attempting to frantically shove the guys into a certain mold that would make them perfect for me.  I focused on a few seamless qualities they possessed while trying not to take notice of any number of serious flaws.  Exciting? Stressful?  Addicting?  Yes on all counts!  But was that really what I wanted?

Apparently not, because two months ago I married a nice guy.

Ooooh, there’s that dreaded phrase: Nice Guy…  It’s gotten such a bad rap as the two ominous words women use when referring to a man with whom they’d rather share a genetic code than a bed.  Even I cringe a little when I hear it.  In movies, when a woman has just met a rather bland man, she always tells her friends he’s a “nice guy” and then immediately focuses her attention on the most thoughtless, emotionally unavailable, and arrogant man around.  He’s always also very attractive.  This is unfortunate.  I believe that nice guys have been deceptively portrayed as spineless, boring, and even needy.  And what woman in her right mind wants a guy like that!  I sure don’t!

Women Want Confidence

What we REALLY want is a man who is confident, surprising, a little bit irreverent, and trusts himself enough to allow us to trust him too.  When a guy is into us, we want to feel a little (or a lot) like we’ve won some sort of coveted prize.  That is, unfortunately, the vibe that nice guys often fail to exude and what gives them such a horrible reputation.  Confidence is supremely attractive.  Bad boys aren’t necessarily any more confident than nice guys (Though some of them have actually been able to convince themselves that they are your every dream come true, which is even worse.  Confidence and arrogance are not the same thing.), but they’re always much better at pretending, which is why woman tend to get sucked in, and even think these guys are more attractive.  Pretending isn’t enough, though, because it requires that he keep her at arm’s length lest she discover his ruse and subsequently disavow his power over her.  A nice guy who is sincerely confident, however, will ultimately win.  You can’t pretend forever.  We could go into what real confidence looks like and how to have it, but that’s another topic altogether.

Women Want Trust

One of my favorite things about my husband is that I can trust him- not just to be faithful to me (though that’s a big part of it), but to take up the slack when I’m not around.   I know that I don’t always have to be in control of everything.  I know he has a sense of personal responsibility.  I know that he is interested in the well-being of, not just himself, but of us as a partnership.  I know that he’s there for me when I need him most.  It makes a big difference.  This is my favorite nice-guy quality because a man who has genuine confidence can stop thinking about himself long enough to think about someone else.  I know that when he does things he’s not merely thinking about what he can do to get ahead (i.e. What will this get me later on tonight), but what will benefit the two of us as a couple.  A bad boy, by definition, needs to make the woman feel that he is all that matters when the chips are down, and he isn’t really focused on finding someone he can trust either.  When the chips really are down, the woman who relies on the bad boy is on her own.

Women Want Authenticity

While it’s true that a “project” can be exciting and make a woman feel worthwhile and needed, what happens when she actually succeeds in breaking her man down into the little bits and pieces of what she wants him to be?  Isn’t the allure of the fixer-upper immediately broken?  I heartily agree that women want to feel needed and useful.  We are natural nurturers, so the idea of helping some poor hapless soul to find their way is understandably gratifying.  I’d like to propose, however, that bad boys incite the need for this behavior, while a good guy provides what we crave in a more constructive manner.  Bad boys by nature make women feel that they don’t really need them- and it’s the insecurity these guys create in her that makes her feel that she must tackle him as a project.  The nice guy, however, can validate the woman for her role in the relationship, admit that he needs her in ways that don’t involve changing him, and give her that opportunity to nurture without becoming neurotic.  It’s a wonderful feeling to find someone who’s already the man we want him to be and still know that he needs us.

Nice Guys Win… What Exactly?

We really need to talk now about this whole idea of winning.  What is “winning” exactly?  Guys, if your goal is to bed as many women as possible, then being a bad boy is where it’s at and you can disregard everything I’ve said up until now.  A woman who isn’t looking for anything more than a little fun (and even some who are) will flock to you like bees to honey.  The bad boy demeanor has instant gratification and the thrill of the moment written all over it.  But that’s all you’ll get:  the moment.  If you want the long-lasting love and support of a charming and faithful woman, however, you might want to think again.  If you want to know that she wants you for you and not because you’re playing a clever game with her, it’s time to change your ways.  When I married my husband (and I’m pretty sure that means he didn’t finish last!), I knew he was a nice guy- one who is both confident and humble, tender and cheeky, playful and trustworthy- and I married him because of this.  When they think about the father of their children, women don’t want the wayward bad boy and they don’t want the ingratiating “nice guy”.  They want a man who is genuine, confident, and trustworthy.  Guys like that really win.

Lydia Dukaric is a newlywed with a graduate degree in molecular biology who does behavioral therapy with autistic children and has a secret passion for writing.  Her favorite topics are travel, relationships, health, and personality type. She lives with her husband, cat, and two parakeets in a small suburb of Detroit, Michigan. She maintains a travel blog at http://1travelchick.wordpress.com

Related Reads:

Nice Guys Finished Last:  Why Women Are Attracted To Bad Boys

Top 5 Reasons Women Choose to Stay Single

The Jaded Sage and What Women Want

Brigitte Dale and Nice Guys

Bachelor Secrets Part 1: Why Are They Single?

Bachelor Secrets Part 2: Dating Habits

Intimidated By Smart Girls?

My Bucket List: 100 Things To Do Before I Die

Changing Your Relationship Status on a Social-Networking Site

Couples Vs Singles: Socialization

Dating Advice From The Family

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Nice Guys Finish Last: Why Women are Attracted to Bad Boys

{This is the 2nd in our series, Inside the Female Mind}

(Our guest blogger is Louise Baker.  Louise is a freelance writer whose articles have been featured by MSN, Publisher’s Weekly, About.com and the Consumerist.  She writes for ZenCollegeLife.com.)

Unfortunately for the sweet do-right guys out there, it seems that the undeserving bad boy typically gets the girl. Bad boys are rude, inattentive, unfaithful, cheap and an all-around burden for women, but women generally eat up their bad boy demeanor. Personally, I’ve been there and I’ve done that. So, I’m here to tell men just why the bad boy essence is so alluring to the ladies.

It’s all About the Chase

While I may not be riding on the back of a Harley Davidson or posting bail for my bad boy, the union is still rather exciting. He makes me chase him, work for his affection and wonder whether or not my efforts are making him swoon. Approximately 80% of the time the adventure is torturous to my emotions. But, the remaining 20% is filled with an exciting chase which makes all of my senses, emotions and beliefs defy everything I’ve ever known. To most girls, this rush is worth the trouble.

He’s Arm Candy

Let’s face it – looks do matter, and it just so happens that most bad boys tend to make rather scrumptious arm candy. The tailored-to-the-tee style, the nonchalant attitude and the natural good looks are enough to make most girls do a double take. And, if I’m strolling down the street, mall, restaurant or casino with a hunk of a man, it boosts my own ego. It may sound like trying to get a date with the Quarterback in High School, but girls are still competitive and thrive on social standings. My arm candy boosts my social status all the more.

It’s a Project

As a woman, I’m a natural born nurturer. I want to feel needed. I want my input to make a difference in someone’s behavior. And I want to be able to take a sick animal (in this case, my bad boyfriend), and turn him into a thriving, picture-perfect being (in this case, the perfect man). If the man is already close to perfection, as the sweet do-gooders already are, there’s nothing for me to do. There’s less gratification in being with a man that already meets my standards than there is when I have the possibility to turn my bad boy into my perfect Stepford husband.

I can try to change his attitudes, his habits, his living arrangements, his style and his mannerisms. Yes, it sounds neurotic. But, I’m a fixer. And, this is a project which has my name written all over it. Of course, most women do outgrow this stage. But this transition typically only occurs after wasting valuable time on the wrong bad-natured boys.

In hindsight, dating a bad boy is a way for women to feel young, cool, needed and interested. Bad boys cause so much havoc that it’s nearly impossible to get bored, and they let women relive our crazy youth in heart-stopping style.

(Stay tuned for a rebuttal in defense of nice guys!)

Louise Baker writes about online degrees for Zen College Life. She has also recently written about the best schools online.

Related Posts:

Top 5 Reasons Women Choose to Stay Single (1st in the series: Inside the Female Mind)

The Jaded Sage and What Women Want

Brigitte Dale and Nice Guys

Bachelor Secrets Part 1: Why Are They Single?

Bachelor Secrets Part 2: Dating Habits

Intimidated By Smart Girls?

My Bucket List: 100 Things To Do Before I Die

Changing Your Relationship Status on a Social-Networking Site

Couples Vs Singles: Socialization

Dating Advice From The Family

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Top 5 Reasons Women Choose to Stay Single

{This is the 1st in our series, Inside the Female Mind}

(Our guest blogger is Louise Baker.  Louise is a freelance writer whose articles have been featured by MSN, Publisher’s Weekly, About.com and the Consumerist.  She writes for ZenCollegeLife.com.)

Reason Number Five: Religious

Incompatible religious beliefs are a big deal breaker even for new romances, and usually cause a stall in the relationship even where the couple is able to enjoy each other’s company in social settings. While tolerance is the watch word nowadays, many women feel their personal religious sentiments (or lack thereof) are ties to emotional wellbeing, and find that a mutual agreement in this area is a must for an intimate relationship. Not having that connection keeps a girl going solo.

Reason Number Four: Financial

In these tumultuous financial times, it’s tough enough to pay your own bills, and some women aren’t willing to require financial statements before making an emotional commitment. Being wary about the man in the equation and his math aptitude, rather than getting some ugly financial news (i.e. poor credit score, no savings, past due car payments) after the relationship has grown, Frugal Felicia turns down the applicant and stays single rather than spending years in a relationship paying down someone else’s past due child support.

Reason Number Three: Personal Goals

It’s much easier to keep your eye on the goal when it’s not being distracted by a glint in someone else’s. The need to pursue a college degree or the “perfect” career choice can be too demanding to find time to spend with someone else. Many women know that goals can be fleeting and feel that the prize belongs to the youngest prettiest, contestant. With those golden years passing by quickly, staying single to meet personal goals can be the quick ticket to get where you want to go without extra baggage.

Reason Number Two: High Expectations

Sometimes it’s expectations that have women choosing to stay single. After sitting down and making “must have”, “would like to have” and “can do without” lists, a lot of women find that no one guy can fit their high expectations. But who can blame them? After waiting for Prince Charming all their life and knowing they deserve only the best, staying single can be so much more attractive than settling for second best.

Top Reason Number One: Self Satisfaction

Being content with her own life (being gratified with her work, her art, her family and friends) is the number one reason why women choose to stay single. Not having to deal with someone else’s annoying habits, or being criticized for your own, can really bring peace to any mind. Not answering to anyone else, and being so comfortable in the single woman’s place in this world, is a really fabulous way to keep putting yourself first and foremost at all times.

Louise Baker is a freelance blogger and journalist who writes for Zen College Life, the directory of higher education, distance learning, and online schools. She most recently wrote about the top online accredited colleges.

Related Reading:

Nice Guys Finish Last:  Why Women Women are Attracted to Bad Boys (2nd in the series)

Bachelor Secrets Part 1: Why Are They Single?

Bachelor Secrets Part 2:  Dating Habits

Intimidated By Smart Girls?

My Bucket List:  100 Things To Do Before I Die

Changing Your Relationship Status on a Social-Networking Site

Couples Vs Singles:  Socialization

Dating Advice From The Family

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Secrets Of The Modern Bachelor:
Part 2. Dating Habits

by Jonathan Bogart Perry

Dating-knocked upIn my last post, Secrets Of The Modern Bachelor: Part 1. Why Are They Single?, we met the members of our esteemed bachelor panel who told us they’re single for reasons other than that they‘re mutants and lazy.  Their answers ranged from being too busy for relationships, to taking time off from them, to fear, to just not being ready to settle down.  One bachelor has the fake name Raoul, which I very much like for a fake name (I came up with it, cuz it‘s my study).

In the following paragraphs, we find out about their dating habits, as if they’re rats to be studied.  We also tackle the pros and cons of singleness and the bachelors’ interactions with couples.

Types and Frequency of Dating

When asked about dating frequency, our bachelors had a large range.  One dated regularly, perhaps once every ten days to two weeks on average.  Another dated a few times a year, dating one woman for several months at a time.  The last two guys had only been on a few dates ever in their lives.  Some of the guys who didn’t really like the stress of dating, only dated when they were seriously interested in a woman.  They considered themselves to be super-picky.

One lucky bachelor had actually been set up on a blind date and was about to go on a rare follow-up date, but didn’t really expect much from it because the first date hadn’t gone so hot.  I’m not quite sure how they wrangled that second date.  The other guys hadn’t been set up on blind dates, with one thinking he wouldn’t take it very seriously, while another had so far refused the set-up date, only allowing for it under the strictest conditions that it’s a well-trusted friend who’s a very good salesperson that arranges this uncomfortable, though well-vetted, set-up.

The questions I was interested in the most were about online dating:  had the bachelors dated online and what were their experiences?  Online dating is something I’ve  considered (Sort of.  Not really.), but I definitely wanted some good feedback first from the poor guinea pig saps who‘ve already tried it.  James H thought online dating was ok, but preferred personal introductions from friends.  He pointed out how easy it is to lie on a profile or use fake or old pictures.  Nathan hadn’t tried online dating, but had the same concerns.  Josh had tried it, wasn’t impressed by it, and said he’d never do it again.  Raoul didn’t think he’d ever use it, citing the differences between online and real life.

James S was more positive.  He’d dated online and didn’t think it was bad.  He thought it was useful for eliminating people with whom he had nothing in common without blowing 50 bucks on a doomed date.  He thinks more people should try it because he’s found good platonic friends that way, but questioned whether one could find a soul mate through online dating.

Advantages and Disadvantages to Singleness

I next asked the dudes about the advantages and disadvantages of being a bachelor, knowing that freedom has a price.  The gentlemen agreed.  For advantages, they liked not having to edit themselves for someone else and not being concerned about how something they do affects their mate.  They cited having more free time and being able to do whatever, whenever, and wherever they pleased.  Keeping their own schedule was popular concept.  James S noted with particular relish that singleness exempted one from Valentine’s Day purchases and rituals.

Of course, there were some noted minor drawbacks to not being in a relationship.  Among the guys, general loneliness and lack of physical contact were big negatives (Sex, smooching, and heavy petting were mentioned.  And actually in those words.).  The gentlemen missed not being able to tell their problems to a romantic partner, though other platonic friends could fill in as confidants in a pinch.  Josh generally liked to be able to talk to a significant other and also wanted to have someone he could admire and be concerned about and who would reciprocate those things.  Among the guys, other disadvantages were having to start over with a new relationship, worrying about what other people thought of them and their pathetic states, and not having children.  All of the guys hoped to have relationships in the future and had no intention to join holy orders.

Interactions With Couples

As for strange interactions with couples, James H noted how he disliked it when his friends had to check with their spouses or girlfriends before they did anything.  He actually felt bad for his coupled friends with the ball-and-chains.  One bachelor noted the pity he received from couples and how their efforts to assuage his feelings by saying “Aaawww.  It’s ok.  You’ll find someone, too.” only made him feel worse.

In Conclusion

So what do these bachelor insights tell us about the single male?  First, besides being mutants, they‘re probably shy or super-laid back (read ‘lazy or busy playing World of Warcraft‘).  Second, I’m probably not the first person to go to if you want to collect solid scientific or psychological data.  Third, I don’t have nearly as many single male friends as I thought I had.  And that’s probably ok because that means there’s less competition for the ladies (I really don‘t envy all those extra bachelors in China.  Seriously?  A woman shortage?  That was really bad planning unless it‘s part of a deeper intermarriage plot to take over the world, in which case that was amazing foresight.).  It’s possible that more extensive personality testing could tell us whether more bachelors are phlegmatic and less motivated in general, but it is good to see that some of the bachelors are single by choice and still look forward to a future full of lovin‘, if only in a passive sort of way.  I’m also thinking that if women want to find guys, they should start playing World of Warcraft.

The secret word is mutants.

Read These:

Bachelor Secrets 1- Why Are They Single?

Couples vs Singles: Socialization

World Of Warcraft…Dating?

Dating Advice From The Family

Family Advice: A Reversal (Sort Of)

Dating Satisfaction Survey

Google-Stalking the Ex

Changing Your Relationship Status On A Social-Networking Site

Secrets Of Robot Women

Bachelors in History

Which is Your Type? A Pseudo-Cosmo Quiz

Celebrity Crushes: The Girl Next Door

Celebrity Crushes: Is Elegance Elitist?

Valentine’s Day Shame

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COUPLES vs SINGLES: SOCIALIZATION

game-night-no-gameby Jonathan B. Perry

A while back I spent a whirlwind three day weekend with my brother Jay and his delightful wife and was completely amazed at their full social calendars.  In the few days I stayed in their home, we ate at other peoples’ homes on three different occasions and went out to eat with other people twice.  That’s five meals away from their home in a three day period.  I suspect that perhaps they didn’t want to be left alone with me (or didn‘t want to clean up after me.  You know, because of the food fights.).  I don’t blame them.  They even turned down other social invitations because, frankly, they do not have clones.

I find this whole socialization thing insane and unnatural and suspect it to be part of a secret pact they take as hipsters.  On my own, I might go several weeks, possibly months, without socially cavorting with anyone outside of work, let alone being invited over for a happy dinner of veggie tacos to be followed by a vigorous game of Scrabble or Cranium.  For my brother and his wife, their most social friends are, of course, other non-mutant, though slightly hipster, couples except for the occasional odd duck single person (me) to remind them how very nice it is to be coupled.  Also, I live a long 6.5 hours from them, so they have a pleasant buffer zone.couples-dinner_party-400wl

I see this sort of thing happening with my other friends as the single folk are gradually sucked into the vortex of institutions (marital and mental).  Some just drop off the face of the earth completely.  Because couples befriend and find safety in the company of other couples (after which couples with children find other couples with children), I’ve come to appreciate those rare occasions where I am invited to join in their reindeer games.  I even consider myself to be a valuable token single male friend useful for pity, as a fifth wheel, or, under duress, as a spare to even up a double or triple date.  I can understand, though, the reluctance of normal couples to socialize with single people as many of these folk are single longer for good reasons, exhibited by a healthy variety of mutational factors such as strange body growths, retarded social skills, and psychopathic personalities.  Not that you, my dear single reader, have any of these problems.

Studies have shown that single males have an easier time of being invited over socially to couples’ homes than do single females.  Part of this mad theory (I have no footnotes for this encouraging study and don‘t really believe it) is that the husband or boyfriend is potentially jealous of a single male while conversely a wife or girlfriend is jealous of a single female, but because the wife/girlfriend deals with the hospitality and does the inviting, fewer single females are invited over for happy social time, much to the sadness of the single women of the world.  Frankly, I notice no difference in my favor, but I‘m a guy.  What do I know?

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