Chick LiteralStop Trying To Be Legendary and Just Be a Good PersonAndrea Greb

I’ve noticed a troubling trend on TV lately where male characters who are, for lack of a better term, douchebags are given a backstory in which they used to be incredibly nice people, but then learned that being a jerk with money would make women more interested in them.  For instance, on New Girl this week, we learned that Schmidt used to volunteer as a candy striper, but was told by some guy in a suit that the way to date hot girls was to be rich.  It was established a while back on How I Met Your Mother that Barney Stinson was once an idealist who wanted to join the Peace Corps until a womanizer in a suit stole his girlfriend, thus beginning Barney’s transformation into a somewhat terrible person.  I really dislike this as a plot device, because it’s attempting to justify a male character’s bad behavior based on a stereotype that women are just a bunch of shallow gold diggers.

This trend of nice guys turning into jerks is disturbing enough on television, but it’s infinitely worse when I notice it creeping into real life.  I’m noticing more and more that the guys I know who used to be funny, nice and genuine are bro-ing it up.  Gone are the sweet stories about what they got their mom for Mother’s Day, or the normal conversation about how they really want a puppy but don’t have the time for it.  Now it’s all, “Well, then I called the conference organizer and I was like, ‘Do you have any idea who I am?  I’m a big deal!’ And then of course he apologized and fixed everything, because I’m super important.  Have you seen my expensive watch I’m wearing?  I bought it with the huge bonus I got from work, and the girl who sold it to me was totally into me.  But I don’t really have time for dating right now, or for family or pets, or anything, because I am so important.”

Interspersed with the bragging will be a patronizing question or two about my life, and then it’s right back into the story of their own awesomeness.  I was at a bar recently and a guy spent a good 20 minutes trying to explain to me what management consulting was, how important it made him and why this meant I should definitely give him my phone number.  I find all the bravado extremely unattractive.  If you’re a guy in your twenties, unless you are Mark Zuckerberg, you’re probably not actually that important.  (Plus, Facebook is not what it once was, so even he might not be that important.)

Of course the arrogance, while grating, is tolerable.  It’s when you throw the insults and the misogyny into the mix that I get really frustrated.  A guy actually attempted to have the “Are Women Funny?” conversation with me recently, and made the argument that as long as a woman is sufficiently hot, she doesn’t need to have a sense of humor.  Couple that with telling me I probably only got a position at work because of my gender, and you have me ready to head home by way of the animal shelter so I can adopt the dozen cats that will be my new companions, because surely I am done with men.  (I’m kidding, of course.  My building only allows two cats per apartment.)  I don’t know if guys started reading The Game again, or if Barney’s legendary Playbook is now in stores, but the conversational tactics being utilized by guys I used to think were decent people have definitely taken a turn for the worse.

All of this behavior is terrible, and also terribly unattractive, but there must be a reason I’m seeing it happen more and more.  There’s a saying that nice guys finish last, and a general belief that women like bad boys, and I think too many men are taking this to heart.  I can’t speak for all women, but I personally think that nice guys are great.  Actual nice guys, guys who are kind and caring and considerate, are the best.  The problem isn’t being a nice guy, the problem is that ‘nice’ has too often become a synonym for ‘boring.’  Here’s the thing: being an arrogant jerk is not equivalent to being interesting.  There are pretty much infinite ways to be interesting – have a hobby you’re passionate about, be well read, have a really cute pet, speak fluent Elvish – the list goes on, but “being mean” isn’t on it.  Negging isn’t a substitute for having a personality, and neither is bragging.

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  1. AND if you go to a volunteering thing, you’ll meet someone with the same interests and passions and find you have an awful lot in common. Plus, the fact that they are giving up free time for volunteering shows they are also generous, plus many other things. In the causes I volunteer for I always assumed it was something that the younger generation of today wasn’t interested in and I was the only one but a lot of young (and cute) guys do the same thing. Although saying that – you do get the odd bunch who just come along for a ride just for something extra to write on their resume and don’t put the effort in. You can generally spot them from a mile off though.

  2. Thank you for this article! Guys might argue with it, but they themselves know it’s true – in order to succeed in the daring world, they think that image is what will get them the girl. New is : the girl who goes after image, is the one who will leave as soon as the image fades. You won’t be on top of your game ALL the time, believe me….you will get tired of impressing and trying to be ” the man” all the time. So my advice is for guys, to open their eyes and seek women who are honest and down to earth. Stop believing the media and what society tells you…it’s smoke and mirrors. Real girls want real guys, that’s it.

  3. I’ve been having trouble with this stuff lately. I hate the self important bravado bro-dudes use, I’ll never be that guy, can’t stand them. And yet, they’re the ones with who go home with the girls. I’m not tall, not incredibly hansom, but when I talk to people I have genuine interest in their experience and I always try to listen and be open to conversations more than just flirting. Being this way has led me to have a ton of great friends but be single for years. I know women are not shallow gold-diggers, anyone with a brain knows that. Still, I’ve found that being kind and thinking of others first isn’t enough to be thought of as someone who is date-worthy. Which males it hard to figure out what else I could do to find a nice girl.

    • It’s not that being nice and a good listener doesn’t make you date-worthy, more likely that the women you are friends with just don’t think of you in a romantic way. There are people out there who want a partner who makes them feel listened to and respected. Just keep being you.

    • *Apparently I suck at proof-reading, that’s supposed to be Makes, not males ha