When I first started to learn about boys and girls and kissing and relationships, I began to hear that infamous cliché: “Nice guys finish last.”
Over time, I learned it meant that guys who are nice to girls get dumped for the “bad boys”, which I imagine are the dudes who grease up their hair, wear leather jackets and piss off your dad as they whisk you away on a crotch rocket.
In terms us ’90s-influenced ladies will understand, the “bad boy” is Jordan Catalano and the “good guy” is Brian Krakow. Remember what happened to Brian? He wussed out on several different opportunities to woo Angela because he was too insecure to get at her the way Jordan did. He wouldn’t speak up until it was too late and whenever Angela wanted a favor, he did not deny her. I’ve heard plenty of nice guys share a similar story with me when they talk about what a hard time they’re having with girls they are trying to date. They give them the world and in the end, those girls drop them and choose someone completely different.
When Brian Krakow finally met a nice girl, what did he do? He blew it. He was still so obsessed with Angela that he overlooked how nice Delia Fisher was and how much she really liked him. The more you look at it, nice guys finish last because they let their desires and insecurities become so overpowering. So where does this leave the nice girls?
Like in the aforementioned example, nice girls get left behind by the nice guys just as much as the nice guys get left behind by the girls they want but can’t have. That’s a bit of a mouthful and I know I’m taking quite a risk in even opening up this sort of discussion because it can go on for days.
But I thought it would be important to bring attention to this because I thought it only happened to younger folks, yet I’m seeing it play out well past our mid-20s, almost governing our 30s. I’ve overheard women my age talk about how much they just want to meet a nice guy but I’ve also seen them turn nice guys down for dates due to superficial reasons.
I’m not innocent, either. I had a chance to date a nice guy but I never pursued it because I was so much more interested in dating another guy who was downright mean to me. In fact, I think I’ve done this at least twice.
Whether it’s a man or woman who feels like they are finishing last, what I see in both is a huge reluctance to break a pattern. Some of us stick to a formula that feels comfortable even though it doesn’t yield any of the results we most want. Nice guys get taken advantage of by women who have can get superficial needs fulfilled and that’s all fine for a while, except the relationship will not deepen and the guy will feel like he has “finished last”. All the while, a very good woman has been wanting that for herself – the gifts, the attention and the affection but loses out to the woman who is a little more aloof and flighty.
Perhaps I’m too much a dreamer for my own good but I tell myself that romance is pretty simple. You like someone, you tell them. If they like you back, Thundercats are go! If they don’t, you pack up your lunch box and sit at a different table and sulk until you’re over it.
I suppose I just wish that these nice guys would learn to walk away when they see that whatever relationships they are trying to nurture are taking too much effort on their part and only their part. The same goes for the nice women who feel a deep affection for a man even who doesn’t even call, email or text to say hello but will definitely rise to the occasion should he see an opportunity for a fleeting tryst. It may benefit the nice folks to stop leaving each other behind after each futile effort to find love and romance with the wrong people.
Featured Image via Jared-Leto.net