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The Nice Guy Dilemma

Do you think I’m special? Do you think I’m nice?
Am I bright enough to shine in your spaces?
Between the noise you hear and the sound you like
Are we just sinking in the ocean of faces?

All the right friends in all the right places
So yeah, we’re going down, they got
All the right moves and all the right faces
So yeah, we’re going down

It don’t matter what you see, I know I could never be
Someone that’ll look like you
It don’t matter what you say, I know I could never face
Someone that could sound like you

One Republic, All the Right Moves

What makes someone a nice guy? I often speak about Alphas and Betas, cads and dads. Is it as simple as that? Is that even a valid construct? In our culture, we tend to reduce nice guys, simplify them to the point where we’ve stripped them of all dignity. Is it true that nice guys finish last? And if so, why?

A while back I found an essay online called Ode to the Nice Guys, written by Fu-Zu Jen, a Wharton undergrad in 2003 (link here). It’s remained active and viral for all these years, so it clearly has struck a chord. But with whom? As I skimmed it for the first time, I found it heartwarming in a Hallmark card kind of way, but as I read it through carefully I found myself feeling more and more defensive. She might as well have called it Ode to the Eunuchs. She begins:

This is a tribute to the nice guys. The nice guys that finish last, that never become more than friends, that endure hours of whining and bitching about what assholes guys are, while disproving the very point. This is dedicated to those guys who always provide a shoulder to lean on but restrain themselves to tentative hugs, those guys who hold open doors and give reassuring pats on the back and sit patiently outside the changing room at department stores. This is in honor of the guys that obligingly reiterate how cute/beautiful/smart/funny/sexy their female friends are at the appropriate moment, because they know most girls need that litany of support.

To give her credit, she observes and acknowledges that by women LJBFing the best men, they’re having sex with the worst men:

[Girls] continue to lament the lack of datable men in the world, and they expect their too-nice-to-date male friends to sympathize and apologize for the men that are jerks. Sorry, guys, girls like that are beyond my ability to fathom. I can’t figure out why the connection breaks down between what they say (I want a nice guy!) and what they do (I’m going to sleep with this complete ass now!). But one thing I can do, is say that the nice-guy-finishes-last phenomenon doesn’t last forever. There are definitely many girls who grow out of that train of thought and realize they should be dating the nice guys, not taking them for granted. The tricky part is finding those girls, and even trickier, finding the ones that are single.

Tricky indeed. And of course, as I’ve learned from many of the men who comment here, the nice guys aren’t so keen to take up with those girls, the ones who grow up and grow wise well into their 20s. They’re past their sell date by then, like so many day-old bagels being delivered to a homeless shelter.

Usually, the explanation given for this sad state of affairs is female hypergamy. Women are always looking to trade up, and their top choice will always be a man who displays social dominance and a history of sexual success with women. There’s no question that female hypergamy plays a role in mate selection, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. That too is reductionist. The truth is, women seek a whole variety of traits when seeking a long-term partner, including:

  • Economic Capacity
  • Social Status
  • Youth
  • Ambition and Industriousness
  • Dependability and Stability
  • Honesty
  • Intelligence
  • Compatibility
  • Size and Strength
  • Robust health
  • Willingness to demonstrate love and commitment

(Source: The Evolution of Desire: Strategies for Human Mating, David Buss, 1994)

Obviously, not all of these requirements can even be assessed much less insisted upon for short-term mating, and when mating is so short-term as to begin and end within half a turn of the earth, female hypergamy is very much the law of the sexual landscape. When sexual gratification is delayed, it is both natural and possible for women to consider a wider set of traits.

Research also demonstrates that women prize kindness in men. Last month the British Journal of Psychology published a Canadian study (link here) that showed online dating profiles to 300 volunteers. Some of the profiles were altered to demonstrate kindness and altruistic interests. The women showed a strong preference for those profiles, even where the clues were fairly subtle. Dr. Pat Barclay, author of the study says:

This suggests that women are attuned to generosity, and that altruism serves a purpose in mate selection. If a man is kind and generous towards others – even strangers – then there’s a good chance that he’d make a good and generous parent.

Dr Viren Swami, a specialist in interpersonal attraction from the Department of Psychology at the University of Westminster had a similar take:

Our research has found ‘agreeableness’ to be particularly important to whether people are attracted to each other. Altruism could be regarded as one component of agreeableness.

It’s been suggested that men deliberately play up their altruistic tendencies as a way of demonstrating that they’re not just after sex. I think that sounds like a good strategy as long as it’s not completely fabricated. A man’s being eager to reassure women about this is probably a tip-off that he is a man of good character, and wants that to come across in his profile.

Interestingly, while men valued signals of kindness when looking for a LTR, they found it off-putting when looking for something short-term. One researcher hypothesized that men don’t want their hookups distracted by other interests, but I’d venture a different idea. I think it’s much harder to f*ck over a woman when you know from the start that she is kind. It feels just a bit crappier if you can’t pretend she’s a cold-hearted wench.

I’d been thinking about all this for a while when blogger Matt Savage came by last week and left a comment. He has a really good post on his own blog Modern Savage called Why the Ode to the Nice Guys is Complete Crap (link here). He sources a variety of interesting articles by and about nice guys, and his view is interesting because he doesn’t dismiss the problem by attributing it to female hypergamy:

We often see this argument that most women want Jerks and not Nice Guys, hence, the age old debate of Nice Guys vs. Jerks. This is misleading and often perpetuated by the Nice Guys themselves. They’ll have you believe that since they are not the ones getting the women and because they label themselves as “Nice” then all those other guys getting women must be the opposite, Jerks. Of course, we all know that this is ridiculous. There are plenty of good guys out there who are neither jerks nor spineless Nice Guys. There are some guys who are just, well, Good Guys!


He ends by making an appeal: Please don’t feed the nice guys!

Finally, to all those bloggers out there, passing along the “Ode to the Nice Guys”, please for the love of humanity STOP! This type of behavior should not be encouraged. These guys need to learn how to grow a spine and live life for themselves, not aimlessly rambling along trying to please every woman that crosses their path. Seriously, they are having a hard enough time getting women as it is, they do not need people filling their heads with nonsense.

A man should not be “Nice.” He should have goals, passion, convictions, identity and a sense of self. Sometimes a man needs to put himself first.


This got me thinking that “nice” is a terrible adjective. No one wants nice. Nice is what you say about your ugly friend who you are trying to set up with someone out of their league. Nice is kind of vanilla, it’s boring. Nice is faint praise. I like being called smart, feisty, funny, wonderful, awesome, sexy!, etc. but I really don’t think I’d be too pleased if someone describing me resorted to nice.

Jessi Fischer is an MA candidate in Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University and writes a great blog called Sexademic. She wrote the post Good Guys Make Bad Lovers and Other Stupid Stereotypes (link here). I really like what she has to say about the stereotype of the nice guy:

Underlying the alpha and beta male mindset is that hot sex is incompatible with kindness. We think nice girls can’t be sexual or that sexual girls are bad and bitchy. Is this just a logical fallacy rooted in demonizing sex? If sex is bad then all sexual people are bad people?

Let’s drop this sexual construction like the bad habit it is. Sure, some jerks are good in bed. But lots of perfectly nice people can fuck like madmen. There is no real correlation between social kindness and sexual satisfaction. The only sure thing we can say about bad boys is that they have more sex partners, but a high number of sex partners does not equal sexual skills.

Part of me wonders if there is a self-fulfilling prophecy at work with nice guys. Does self-conception impede sexual engagement? As in, seeing yourself as the nice guy could create sexual anxiety that causes you to fumble and not get into it?


And from her follow up post Kindness and Hot Sex Are Not Mutually Exclusive (link here):

Niceness is not incompatible with hot sex. Selfishness is. Manipulative behaviors are. But niceness? There are few things on earth nicer than satisfying sex. Orgasms are nice. Enjoying another person’s body is nice.

People will protest time and time again that bad boys do get laid more and women go after them. Fair enough. Still doesn’t mean the sex is good quality. So what is the appeal of these bad boys? Why do they (self-reportedly) have more sex partners?

Well, being an outgoing person will get you laid more. Why? The first step of sleeping with someone is meeting them. So if you have an active social life it stands to reason your sex life will be more active. Then there is the confidence factor. Really, be genuinely confident in yourself and people will follow suit. Our self-conceptions can cock/box-block us at every turn.

Everyone has different sexual desires. Compatibility makes for hot sex above all else. Not a bad boy attitude, not overwhelming attention to your lover. Compatibility.


A very different kind of blogger, Athol Kay writes the blog Married Man Sex Life (link here). He felt his pulse start racing the first time he saw his wife, but was displeased to see she had a boyfriend:

Things are going a little less than perfectly between them, and I work that angle fairly firmly. I make it plain that I think he’s a jerk, he doesn’t seem to be good for her, and she’d be better off with a nice man. Which in retrospect is funny in that my words were “hey I’m the nice guy you should be with”, but my actions were actually pure jerk. She laps it up.

The point is, if I had been nice, I would have never had married [her]. Being nice is a very important aspect of your personality, having no nice in you just means you’re an asshole. Adding in a little of the jerk/Alpha Male trait is the key to building attraction though.

When was the last time you made it plain being “just friends” … isn’t an option you can live with? Just don’t phrase it in the form of a question to her. Make a statement.

There’s lots of good advice here for both men and women. The key is to focus on CHARACTER when selecting a partner. Is he honest? Is she dependable and stable? Is he hard-working? Willing and available to demonstrate love and commitment to the right woman? Are the two of you compatible?

If you can answer these questions in the affirmative, then you’ve got a relationship prospect. If, on the other hand, you’re taking a look at someone to fill a need for less time than it takes the earth to rotate once, it’s a moot point. Caveat emptor, because you don’t get to complain afterwards.

3 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • http://themodernsavage.com Matt Savage

    Great article.

    The problem I think a lot of people have when discussing the virtues of a "nice guy" is that they confuse they typical qualities of a nice guy or that of being a Beta male with the act of being nice. For instance, an alpha male can still act in a nice manner without resorting to things a Beta male would do, like being needy for instance.
    My recent post Attraction Triangle Game Theory

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Thanks, Matt, I agree. I think it's gotten to the point where nice = loser. But we all know what it feels like when someone is NOT nice. We meet someone, and they're rude or dismissive. On the other hand, when someone is polite, interested, makes an effort at conversation, it's nice. It feels good. And no one has a monopoly on nice behavior, even if we tend to see it more from certain people than others. I think we can really only relate to people who are genuine; if someone ignores us, we write them off (or should). If someone acts needy, same story.

  • http://grerp.blogspot.com/ grerp

    That seems a little heartfelt and rambling in retrospect. Sorry. The fact is, in this world, good guys should be beating women off with sticks; they should be that in demand.
    My recent post Piece of Advice #7: Do not be this girl

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      This is so, so true. And it's also very obvious who the good men are as one goes through life. I can't imagine anything worse than choosing a man of poor moral character to be with, when life with a good man is so much more fulfilling. Selecting a man for his "bad boy" qualities is a losing bet. Down that road lies pure misery.

  • Passer_By

    Part I (In two parts due to length)

    This is just random speculation on my part – haven't really thought it through. But I think, perhaps, we have two separate but somewhat related causes of this problem.

    1. First, the evo psych issue to which Susan alluded. It's not just hypergamy standing alone that would cause the attraction to jerks, it's that it may have been true long ago (say 100,000 years to maybe 1,000,000 years ago, or even more) that such behavior could be a fairly good proxy for alpha status, since only the alpha recognized by other males could get away with that sort of behavior in small groups without receiving a beat down by other males. So, there may be some very very ancient wiring that uses excessively confident assertiveness (i.e., generally assoholic behavior) as a rough proxy for more alpha mate/sperm quality, even though it's a very poor proxy for quality now.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Passer By, I talk a lot about this! It's my belief that in today's culture and economy, many of the traits that predict success are what we would consider beta-type traits. In fact, if you look at many of the most successful men in our society, they are brainy and inventive, not physically dominant, necessarily. Indeed, profs at Harvard Business School have studied how traditional Alpha behaviors are maladaptive in corporate America today. So while there may be some hard-wiring (nature), we also are able to observe which men succeed today (nurture).

      • Obsidian

        Ms. Walsh, here's the thing: without strong social constructs and strictures that FORCE Women enmasse to buck their naturally hypergamlous instincts, all we're saying about the great things about Good Guys is literally akin to pissing in the wind.

        What's so very interesting and ironic, I might add, is just how much Game and its EP-informed underpinnings are basically taking a big, stinky, runny Number Two all over the Feminist Lobby's notions of "socially constructed" roles and the like. When Women are given a choice, *without fear of consequences* – that's key – they can and will, nine times out of ten, choose Mr. Asshat over Mr. Beta Max, even when they know better, so to speak. The trick is we have to bring back severe consequences for mixing it up with the Alpha Cads in the first place. Easier said than done, but that's really the only way to go. Women have pretty much proven that they don't have what it takes to get the job done left to their own devices. Not PC to say, but bang, there it is…

        I'm just sayin…

        The Obsidian

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Well, I think you know that you and I have a difference of opinion here. I acknowledge the role of female hypergamy, but as I say in the post, it just doesn't tell the whole story. It is true that in the current era, where no-strings sex is far more common than relationship sex, most sexually active women are gunning for Alpha, whether he's an asshat or not. Social proof contributes to this, of course.

          The distinction I make is wrt long-term mating. Then women often exercise more informed judgment. I know it's popular in some circles to say that a woman will choose 5 minutes with Alpha over 5 years with Beta every time, but that's just not true. Of course, it really depends on how you define those terms, which is something else you and I have tussled on.

          I like Athol Kay's view of this quite a bit – men need both Alpha and Beta traits to be at their best.

        • Obsidian

          Ms. Walsh,
          The issue here is that alot of today's Women will go for the Alpha Cad, then "settle:" for the Beta, either by virtue of having not been able to land and keep said Alpha Cad, or simply not being able to compete in the first place. That is today's reality, and it really doesn't help any of us to try to deny this isn't happening. It is. And we need to be brutally honest about that.

          Like I said, ignorance is bliss. Today guys know the deal, and are acting accordingly. Many guys who would have settled in the past, are now saying thanks, but no thanks. Hence the "Spinster Lit" (LOVE that term!) you've been talking about lately.

          Simply put Ms. Walsh, guys don't want Mr. Asshat's sloppy seconds. He many not be able to compete with him outright, but he'll be damned if he's gonna be the garbage man after the party's over either. The sexual marketplace has been completely deregulated, that is a fact, and like any marketplace that is freed up of regulations and rules, the gap between haves and have nots widens.

          I'm just sayin.

          The Obsidian

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Yes, we're totally on the same page here. That's why I refer to those women as being past their sell date. And I don't blame any man for not wanting sloppy seconds, period. No one wants to feel like an also-ran.

          The women who will succeed in these tough market conditions are the ones that are honest with themselves about their market value and act accordingly. By the way, that means that women of high market value need to refrain from selling themselves cheaply to the cads. A much more effective strategy is to hold off patiently for a man of quality and character. Of course, this is difficult to do, and many will fail.

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/novaseeker novaseeker

        It's not really physical dominance (although height helps), but social dominance. The guys I know who are COOs and GCs and investment bankers (or at least who were back in the day before the great collapse we are enduring) were not all physically dominant guys, but were all socially dominant. Not exactly "nurturing". Strong, decisive, convincing, effective — not soft, nurturing, team-building and so on. They are "alphas" at work. Whether they can parley that into being "alphas" with women depends on whether their social dominance extends beyond work society to sex/mating society — and that varies a lot. Quite a few of the work alphas I have known have been well-adjusted family guys … but hardly "beta" in terms of social dominance generally. I think there are quite a few men like this in all walks of life, while there are very, very few men who can get laid virtually on demand (the hallmark of a sexual "alpha" male). The issue isn't that there aren't enough well-adjusted work alphas, it's that there are far too many Dilberts (who really aren't wanted by *any* woman who has options … and there will be legions more of them in the years ahead) and that young women in particular are regrettably focused on the sexual alphas.

  • Passer_By

    2. "Nice guys" may just be guys who are predisposed to try to do the right thing and play by the "rules" which have been drummed into them since childhood. Unfortunately, one of those "rules" is a level of unassertiveness and obsequiousness toward women that the overwhelming majority of women seem to find very unattractive. They respond more to men who are comfortable with socially dominant behavior toward them – dominant eye contact, slight cockiness, and so on – almost a degree of slightly cocky but caring condension (like one would have toward a younger sister or her friends). But the socially imposed rule of excessive deference and, for lack of a better term, "shit taking", has been drummed into the rule followers first by the old chivalry proponents and then later even more so by strident feminists. Nobody (especialy other women) ever seemd to have the temerity to point out to them that they were absolutely full of shit, probably due to the shaming assault that would ensue.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      In fairness, I think many women are ignorant or even uncomfortable about what really turns them on. For example, most women fantasize about being "taken forcefully." Yet traditional feminists would find this extremely threatening. As is clearly stated in Game material, men should look at what women do, not what they say.

      Chivalry was made extinct by feminism, and all but the most cocksure of men can't pull it off without looking weak. I would advise most men to avoid chivalry and all men to avoid deference.

      • Obsidian

        Ms. Walsh,
        There is nothing wrong with Chivarly, the problem is that people done got it twisted as to what it actually meant.

        Chivalry is EARNED. Simply having a vagina doesn't mean I must defer to you. IF you conduct yourself as a Lady, I will then treat you in kind. On the other hand, if you comport yourself in the manner beffiting a Hoochified Ho, then that is how you will be treated.

        Guys need to learn the difference. And then teach Women about this.

        O.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Hahaha, Obs, this is a valid point. The truth is, many men enjoy being chivalrous with a women who has earned their affection. It's the same with paying, I find. I think women have no right whatsoever to expect a man to pay for them. However, some men will decline offers by women to pay. They enjoy providing for a woman they care for. Of course, some make the mistake of providing too much to women who will just take them for a ride. As you say, guys need to learn the difference.

          I suspect that the instinct for chivalry (originally meant to protect womenfolk) and providing are hard-wired in male DNA by 10,000 years of evo programming.

        • Obsidian

          Ms. Walsh,
          As you know, there are some pretty hard and fast rules about this sort of thing in Game circles; gjuys who insist on paying too much too soon are AFCs who pretty much deserve to be taken for all they got. It`s like guys going to titty bars – they deserve to get took. If a Man has even a moderate level of Game, he need never frequent such places.

          O.

  • Passer_By

    Part III (I lied, I guess)

    So, following these "rules" may have put the guys predisposed to play by the rules (i.e., the "nice guys") at a huge disadvantage. If you give them a new set of rules that make them more attractive (but start young in inculcating these behaviors), they could still be perfectly "nice" or "kind" but no longer restrained by conventions that make them unattractive. In other words, it's not neccesarily the general "badness" of all the so-called "bad boys" that women respond to so much, it may just be that their willingness to disregard rules and conventions allows them to disregard the one long-standing social rule that women find really really unattractive in men but that has been drilled into the nice guys since they were too young to remember. It would be interesting to see if women (especially younger women) continue to have a strong preference for the "bad boys" if we strip that one aspect of convenionality out of the rules taught to the nice boys.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      I think this would make a big difference, in that it would make many more men viable/competitive in the mating game. However, I do believe that the "bad boy" will always hold some allure, because women can't resist the fantasy that they will be the one to "flip him." It brings out all of our nurturing instincts, our romantic tendencies and our love for the underdog (especially if he is sexy/aloof).

      • randomthought

        If there will always be a preference for the bad-boy, with the all the potential for cuckoldry in our social/mating system, what point is there in a man even going to college and aspiring to become a good LTR prospect? In fact, the decreasing number of college admissions/graduations of men, I believe, is related to this same question.
        In short, why be good LTR material when women are selecting for STR material?
        The fact that women start selecting for LTR material when they're older doesn't negate this question as they are basically making cuckolds of those men who by pursued LTR game, and if a guy has to choose between cad or cuckold, most I think will choose cad.

        • randomthought

          If our current social/cultural/mating system, or whatever you want to call it depending on your idealogical framework, continues, I think a lot of the men pursuing LTR game now by going to college and what not, are going to turn around when they're in their 20's and 30's and go, "Ya know what, there's no point in being 'good' or 'moral' or 'law abiding' when all it gets me is the left-overs of the guys that aren't."
          When that happens, we should all be truely worried, as that is when the rule of law will break down as men will no longer see any advantage to upholding their bargain in the social contract. Anarchy will ensue, a new dark age will arise, " 'cept this time we'll have nukes!"

        • randomthought

          lol, a bit melodramatic but hey, it still poses a valid concern.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          I think that is already happening with some men. It's not hard to find guys who are angry and bitter about this topic online. As things stand now, I do think we're headed for utter chaos. When that happens, it will serve as a "correction," but it's impossible to know just what form that will take.

          There is still hope and opportunity for men and women of good character who want healthy LTRs. That's really why I blog. It's difficult in today's environment for those "have nots" in the sexual marketplace to connect, but I believe there is great potential there.

          I do think it's easier to make that happen after college, by the way. College rewards guys with outgoing personalities and confidence and lots of good mating prospects won't have matured enough yet to get in the game.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Hi randomthought, thanks for leaving a comment. I'm glad you raised this question, because this is one area where I differ with a lot of the guys about Game. I don't believe that a woman only thinks with her "hindbrain" or only responds to the "gina tingle." A woman can look at a bad boy, and see the sexual appeal, and not want to touch him with a ten-foot pole. He may be attractive but he's also bad news. I never wanted anything to do with cads, and I see many women avoid them. A good analogy might be hard drugs – the short-term benefit is far outweighed by the long-term cost.

          Even scientists like Helen Fisher who study mating behavior will say that these instincts, while hard-wired, account for only around 10% of decision-making. Other factors are more important, including self-esteem, character, degree of risk aversion, and general agreeableness as a personality trait.

          Yes, there are women who will cuckold good men, but they're not good women. Men who are oriented towards a LTR should avoid Girls Gone Wild and girls who hang with cads, because they demonstrate the traits that make them likely to choose cads and cuckold dads. There are many women who have values that enable them to ignore that "gina tingle", knowing that down that path lies misery.

  • grerp

    Nice is an extremely bland adjective. My husband always made it clear he did not want to be called a nice guy. Calling something “nice” is like saying it’s a C+ – just above mediocre. No man or woman is going to get impassioned about someone a titch above mediocre.

    I’ve always thought that my highest aspiration for my son is that he be “good.” And I don’t mean good as in well behaved. I mean having integrity, adding something positive to the world, being a loyal and kind friend. Standing up for what he believes in even when it costs him something. I suppose I also want him to be strong and wise so that all that goodness doesn’t get harnessed by someone who would drain him and throw him away. Nice guys may finish last. Good guys, I don’t know. But I hope he has the strength to try anyway and I hope someone will value it accordingly.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      I totally relate to this as a mother of a son. These are the qualities that make someone admirable, but they're also the qualities that make someone good at relationships. Too often, men with these qualities are underappreciated, but goodness seems like a better goal than niceness. I also agree that strength is important, and it's important to teach our sons to be assertive as well as kind.

  • Jacko

    I'm just curious, is your blog targeted to a young, 20-something audience? I like your blog, but I'm a 40 yr old man. Once you hit 40 nobody talks about bad boys anymore, just men. Actually, now that I think about it, what is the cut-off age for 'bad boy' and 'nice guy'?

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Jacko, I started blogging a little over a year ago for college-aged women. Now the age range goes from 18-50+, and the readers are at least a third male. Commenters are mostly male lately! When I write, I generally have in mind single women and men aged 20-40 or so, I'd say. The vocab changes a bit depending on the topic– "bad boy" is a time-tested concept, e.g. James Dean. I don't think of it as totally age-dependent, but I suppose it is somewhat. Still, I can easily imagine thinking of a 40 yo guy in this way.

      Nice guys? They're found at all ages, as are good men, we hope.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/GudEnuf GudEnuf

    "This suggests that women are attuned to generosity, and that altruism serves a purpose in mate selection. If a man is kind and generous towards others – even strangers – then there’s a good chance that he’d make a good and generous parent."

    Friendliness towards children is one of the easiest ways to impress a woman. Guy who volunteers for Big Brother Big Sister > guy who drives a nice car.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      So true! I hear girls go on about this all the time – all gushing over the varsity baseball player who coaches a Special Needs Little League team, for example.

      Btw, volunteering can be a good way to meet people of the opposite sex. In that case, a Habitat for Humanity build is probably a better bet than Big Bro Big Sis, altho that is obviously a very worthy organization.

    • Esau

      Hmmm. In the Jessi Fischer post that Susan linked to ("Kindness and Hot Sex are Not Mutually Exclusive") she actually writes this line:

      "When I imagine the “nice guy” stereotype I imagine a socially-neutered male that constantly gives to others even when it inconveniences him."

      So it does seem as though she is frankly equating generosity or altruism with weakness ("socially-neutered") — and thus shows herself to be _exactly_ the stereotypical woman that she says should not exist. I wasn't very impressed with her reasoning, but at least she's being inadvertently honest.

      In the real world, I would hazard a guess that altruism or generosity might make a man look _more_ attractive if he's _already_ fairly so; but if he isn't attractive to begin with for some other reason (ie looks, money, attitude, etc) then an attitude of generosity could easily work against him.

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/sexademic sexademic

        When I wrote that, I wasn't talking about how *I* would characterize a nice guy. (All my guy friends are nice and very few of them are socially-neutered aka shy). I'm talking about the nice guy occupying our social imaginations when we say "nice guys finish last." The stereotype of "nice guy" that we see in movies and stories. This is the nice guy Matt Savage is talking about when he says: "These guys need to learn how to grow a spine and live life for themselves, not aimlessly rambling along trying to please every woman that crosses their path."

        The bigger point is that we imagine spinelessness and niceness to be mutually inclusive. They aren't. I hope that makes more sense.

        My wording with that statement confused several comments on my own blog though, so I wanted to clarify. My bad. Sorry.

        • ExNewYorker

          Ahh, essentially this means: "don't be a nice guy".

          For anyone who has read "The Selfish Gene", it means you can't be a true dove, or you'll get walked all over. The "tit for tat" strategy requires having a little bit of a "non-nice" strategy. To be a "good guy", you sometimes have to retaliate and be a bit of a jerk…

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Well, perhaps it's semantics, but there's a difference between having backbone and being a jerk. A man who says, as Athol Kay suggests, "Being platonic friends is not an option." is going to get a lot further than one who is fawning, obsequious, ever hopeful. A good man who stands up for oneself is sexy, and that's nice. What's unattractive is anyone who is willing to ignore their own needs completely while they try to satisfy yours. We call them needy, but often they're really just the opposite.

        • ExNewYorker

          *Laugh* , I agree. It was a case of rhetorical flourish…

          However, I do think that a good man does need to have some capability of "non-nice" behavior, in "The Selfish Gene" form. This doesn't just apply to a guy's interaction with women, but with men too. I'm pretty sure a lot of the guys remember how they handled the bullies while growing up…you sometimes got your ass kicked, but the bullies realized there were easier pickings elsewhere.

          I'm not advocating full jerk behavior, but a man needs to be a little "selfish" sometimes in understanding, and putting himself and his needs first.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Yes, I'm down with this. He should also be a little unpredictable. Keeps a woman on her toes. Just saying.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/hambydammit hambydammit

          I got invited to go to Las Vegas last weekend by a girl who typically dates jerks. (She'd just broken up with her last jerk… again.) I had nothing better to do for the weekend, and it was going to be a big group of people, so I said, "Sure. That sounds fun. Call me tomorrow and we'll work out the details." That was last Monday. I didn't hear from her again until Wednesday, when she asked me if I was still going. I told her no, I wasn't going because she didn't call me and I made other plans. She tried to get me to change my plans and go. I said, "Sorry sweetie. I'd have been happy to go, but you have to hold up your end of things when you ask me for something." (You should know she wanted me to go "as a friend" so she wouldn't be by herself with a bunch of couples.)

          Long story short: She went by herself, had a fine time, and so forth, but now she's kissing my ass and trying to get me to hang out with her with no mention of "as a friend." I wasn't an asshole, but I did stand up for myself when she gave me a shit test. She knows now that I'm not the guy who's going to be there no matter what. I'm the guy who'll be around if she treats me well. That's having a spine, and it's attractive, even though nothing I did was even remotely "asshole."

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          That's brilliant! You earned her respect and got her interested by not being a wuss. Standing up for oneself, refusing to take a one-down position, pretty much says it all. People always want the upper hand – I think the goal should be to let go of the competition entirely – if you respect yourself you can't be in a one-down position, and you never need regret "giving in."

        • Esau

          Well, now that we have that (sort of) straight, perhaps you'd like a chance to expand on the very next sentences from that same post:

          "…you know that whole giving thing? Sometimes guys do this in hopes to get laid. Then these “nice” guys become upset when sexytime does not appear."

          You clearly think these guys deserve no sympathy or consideration — and rightly so! The horror! the horror! of a man actually trying to be a giving person! and the unforgivable temerity he shows in even daring to _think_ that being a giving person will make him more attractive. God knows we can't allow such evil schemers in our midst….

          So tell us: if on planet Sexademic a guy is not allowed to complain when being a giving person fails to be sexy, when exactly _is_ he allowed to complain? Trick question! the answer, in the academic feminism in which you seem to be firmly embedded, is that men are _never_ allowed to complain about women's behavior at large! Your writing, both in the linked posts and elsewhere, betrays not the slightest hint of sympathy for the good, honest, decent but sexless man, of whom there are so many in the world. Unlike Susan, who can see these men as full human beings, you offer nothing beyond ridicule and disdain for them.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Whoa, Esau, I think that's harsh. I have not read all of Sexademic's posts, but let's stick to the phrase you quote here. Most women have been in the position of having a guy flip out when the dinner they paid for doesn't buy them sex. I once had a guy friend who offered to help me move, which was very generous. There were several of us there, I bought beer and lunch for everyone. At the end of the day, he was super pissed that it wasn't going to turn into an overnight. He slammed the door on his way out and he never spoke to me again. I think this is what Sexademic is talking about. I do not think that guys are obligated to pay for women, and they certainly shouldn't feel pressured to offer physical labor. However, if they do, they should do so cheerfully without expectation of sex as recompense. FWIW, after that I always hired movers. I realized that moving was a thankless task, and that if I didn't want to sleep with a guy, it was much easier to pay a professional!

          The point is, I was not attracted to that guy, and never led him on. He offered to help, obviously in hopes that would make me like him, and if I'm being honest I will admit I probably sensed that at the time. Which makes me a bitch. When that didn't happen, he became resentful. This is why I tell guys not to do favors for women – it almost never pays off in the way that they want.

      • ExNewYorker

        For a cad alpha, showing a little bit of "altruism or generosity" is a like catnip for the kitties. It gives the false impression being a "tameable" alpha. Boy, how many ships have crashed on that Scylla!

        But if the cads can fake such altruism, how can one hope to find the truth? By not relying on the images the cads portray on the first couple of "dates". Patience, grasshopper, patience…

        • ATS

          Or, in other words, consistency, consistency, consistency.

          Only way to truly know what a person's made of.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Exactly! Does he treat his mother as well as he claims to treat those orphans? Is he kind and respectful toward strangers, especially the people who perform a service for him? This is also true for women – many pretend to be selfless, cooing over your friend's children or your niece, then turn into some version of the wicked stepmother if given the chance. It takes time to observe someone in enough situations to make an accurate assessment of character. If women waited to have sex until they felt confident of a man's character, the whole sociosexual environment would change dramatically. Nice guys would finish first.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          This is critical! A cad's most effective strategy is playing the nice guy early on. I can't tell you how many stories of shipwreck I've heard along these lines. And he'll often have his friends lined up, assuring the target that he's a great guy. Which he is, for drinking beer and generally hanging out with. Never ever take a guy's word for another guy's character unless it's a trusted family member or friend who will put your needs first.

          There's no getting around the time requirement. That's why I say you don't get to complain if you go for the quick hookup.

        • grerp

          One thing that I observed when I was young – 18 – that was ultimately helpful, though it didn't seem that way at the time, was some close-to-home extreme caddish behavior. A friend of mine got pregnant by a guy I had had a long-time crush on. I'd known him for a long time and had a couple years earlier decided he was a bad bet, but didn't realize how bad. The pair of them were friends with benefits, meaning she was wild about him and wanted to be exclusive and he wanted easy sex when it was available. When she got pregnant, he shunned her, denied paternity, and got his parents to harass her family (single mom with 4 kids). Anyway, like I said, I'd known him for years, we went to the same church, he lived in the adjacent neighborhood, and our parents were of the same socioeconomic background and had very similar values and religious beliefs.
          My lesson from all this was that if a guy who was raised much like I was could do this than any guy could. Not any guy would, but it was entirely up to me to be careful with my heart and my body. Very careful.
          My recent post Piece of Advice #7: Do not be this girl

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          grerp, you're lucky, because by 18 you were wise beyond your years. You had the advantage of not only making a good choice, but seeing it played out in such a way as to make you thankful you had never been involved with this guy.

          We often assume that someone raised in a similar community as us will have internalized the same values. This is particularly true around religion, I find. No woman can afford to assume a man is of good character. He must demonstrate this. And we should not be making excuses for poor behavior because of a difficult childhood, withholding father, etc.

        • grerp

          It would be nice to think that it was wisdom, but perhaps it was just because I've always been so risk averse. I'm trying to understand what makes women think they can realistically take down bad boys.

          In this case, the incident that turned me off the guy happened at a social event during which he both behaved wildly and badly and played a minor humiliating prank on me. My embarrassment at being pranked was enough for me to say, "That's it. He's a jerk. Done with feeling anything for him." My friend was there and saw the whole thing go down and didn't make the same decision. In retrospect, perhaps it was my hurt pride that saved me. Although, honestly, from that time on I knew what he wanted from girls – sex – and I knew what I would get from him in return – the time of day – wasn't worth it, so I essentially ran a cost/benefit analysis.

          I think that's what girls need to do more of – clear, unemotional (although I can hardly claim to have been unemotional here) analysis.
          My recent post Piece of Advice #8: Lose the weight

        • MuleChewingBriars

          I read your post on losing weight. I wish you could hire Angelina Jolie to read it on nationwide TV.

          I'm a male who wants to lose 30 pounds. It does matter, especially as you get older.

          Hey guys? Lose the weight too.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          I agree, that is an excellent post. For the record, I consider Angelina Jolie an average-looking skinny chick, but I know every guy feels otherwise.

          Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma is a great book on this topic. He has lots of good rules, including:

          Don't eat anything that arrives through the window of your car.
          Don't eat anything your grandma wouldn't recognize.
          Eat plants, but don't eat anything made in a plant.

          I'm psyched that health care reform will mandate nutritional labeling at many restaurants. I have a feeling that appetizer salad that I love from The Cheesecake Factory is at least 1,000 calories!

        • grerp

          Thanks, MuleChewingBriars! Good luck on your weight loss goals.
          My recent post Piece of Advice # 9: Take a sabbatical to a third world country

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          There is no question that humiliation is an excellent teacher. Some women never seem to tire of it, but a woman with healthy self-esteem does not tolerate humiliation well and will avoid repeating mistakes that are likely to spark a recurrence. Many jerks are simply selfish, but some have a sadistic streak as well. These are the truly dangerous guys – they derive pleasure by making you uncomfortable or unhappy.

          I agree entirely about the cost/benefit analysis, and I think that's a good framework for evaluating someone's potential. We need to get less emotional and more analytical to make good decisions. Something as simple as making a list of pros and cons can serve as a stark indication of a guy's character. I've known many young men and women who, though unable to think of anything good to say about a person beyond "hot," can't resist the challenge, the hope that they can win this person. It's definitely a case of "Be careful what you wish for, because if your best-case scenario plays out, you've succeeded in getting into a relationship with someone who will not hesitate to hurt you without remorse.

  • Aldonza

    I so dislike pegging all men into these simplistic buckets. I've dated men who admitted to being somewhat assholish to other women but treated me very nicely. I've also dated men who treated me like crap, but doted on other women. I'm beginning to believe that a lot of these labels are way more fluid than any of the current theories will admit.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      I think the only thing you can do is judge someone's character at face value based on your own experience. You're right, good men behave badly, and vice versa. I would say, though, that a man who treated you nicely but other women poorly was probably a man of questionable character who was trying to win you, or get something for himself. And a man who doted on other women but treated you badly is the same guy – it's just that he didn't put in the effort to succeed with you/deceive you.

      I do think a cad is a cad is a cad. However, I do allow for the possibility that some men stop being cads, while others grow into it. Betas who embrace Dark Game would be an example of the latter.

      • Aldonza

        I disagree. I don't treat all men identical. I regret some of the things I've done in the past while I was feeling my way around dating. None of it was intentional or mean-spirited, but people got hurt nonetheless.

        My point was, even a nice guy has the ability to be a cad to a girl that he has no interest in.

  • Jason

    I was expecting a mention of "No More Mr. Nice Guy"

    (http://www.amazon.com/No-More-Mr-Nice-Guy/dp/0762

    "Dr. Robert Glover has devoted his career as a psychotherapist to freeing men from what he was dubbed the "Nice Guy Syndrome"-trying too hard to please others while neglecting their own needs, thus causing unhappiness and resentfulness. It's no wonder that unfulfilled Nice Guys lash out in frusteration at their loved ones, claims Dr. Glover. He explains how they can stop seeking approval and start getting what they want in life, by presenting the information and tools to help them ensure their needs are met, to express their emotions, to have a satisfying sex life, to embrace their masculinity and form meaningful relationships with other men, and to live up to their creative potential."

    • Esau

      I think Dr. Glover is certainly on to something here, and his efforts sound worthwhile. But realize that this is a twisted labyrinth where little is straightforward. For example, when you read

      "how they can stop seeking approval and start getting what they want in life",

      well, what if what you want _is_ approval? Then you're either stuck in some sort of Zen koan, ie "stop seeking what you seek;" or you have to undergo a big change to start wanting things other than approval, which is not as easy as it sounds.

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

        That's very true, but sometimes the very act of stopping the seeking of the approval makes it easier to win. A book like this may provide enough guidance and support to take that first step, which is really a step back, i.e. doing less, expressing less, emoting less up front.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Jason, welcome, thanks for commenting! I'd not heard of this book, but it looks like a good one, and has many positive reviews on Amazon. I look forward to reading it, thanks for the suggestion.

  • ATS

    Married to a nice guy here for the past 13 years, and have had alpha cads as boyfriends, and from my personal experience, let me just say that the stereotype about nice guys being bad lovers is just bunk.
    The wonderful thing about nice guys is that they LISTEN, so they actually pay attention to what you want, what your preferences are, and being with someone who knows all the right moves to drive you crazy, who places importance on both of you being satisfied–makes the sex unbelievable.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Yay, I'm glad to hear the endorsement of sex with a good man who adores you. Casual sex can never compare, it just can't. It's like Jessi F. said on her blog – selfishness is the biggest buzzkill in bed, compatibility and feeling mentally "into it" is the recipe for great sex. It's also important to feel special during sex, at least for me. If you know that your partner has been with a lot of people, it's very difficult to feel that you're making a difference or providing a new experience for the other person.

    • Obsidian

      ATS,
      Here's the problem though, and I am surprised no one picked up on it:

      You had *been* with Alpha Cads, emphasis on past tense, THEN, you saw the light and rode happily off into the sunset.

      Back before things like Game, Evolutionary Psychology and Twitter, Facebook and MySpace when guys were pretty much in the dark about the Crimson Arts, gals like you could get away with such things. Nowadays however, the Beta Corps know the deal – and are voting with their feet. Besides, who really wants Mr. Asshat's sloppy seconds?

      So, you'll please pardon the growing number of guys who politely say, thanks, but no thanks.

      I'm just sayin…

      The Obsidian

      • ATS

        Just a couple, though, Obs–and they started out as seemingly nice, too. Good-looking, and they were the ones who went after me, not the other way around. (No self-respecting single Filipina during my time would be caught dead going after men the way they do now–my older brothers would have stripped my hide if I even tried to call a guy first) But a few months later after we became an item (or when they already won me, to use the term we did back then) their true colors come out. I saw just how selfish and entitled they felt because they were good-looking and it was obvious other women wanted them–and they got kicked out into the proverbial curb.

        (Backgrounder, so you understand where I'm coming from: We Filipinas [well, my generation of Filipinas--the younger ones are beginning to ape their western counterparts now, sigh] would never have gone out with a man as his "girlfriend" if he didn't court us first. Which meant they needed to pay us a visit at home, meet our parents, show proper respect. We didn't meet men somewhere for a date–we had to be picked up at home. And we didn't kiss on dates–no kissing until there was a commitment, and it was the WOMAN who signified if she wanted to be committed, not the man. The man courted a girl, and it was up to the girl to decide if she wanted to be that man's girlfriend. I've turned down a few suitors back then, as did most of my girlfriends. That was just how things were done then, which I don't think finds its equivalent in American society, unless it was a century ago. What can I say? We're Catholic and quite old fashioned back then)

        So these alpha cads I got involved with aren't the stripe we see now, the sort who negged women at the get-go to get to them—they courted me the old fashioned way, weren't douchey when we started out, but as time went on they dropped the "nice" act. Maybe the term "alpha cads" shouldn't be applied to them, considering how they're used now, but they were definitely top of the heap, goodlooking, upper class, and had a sense of entitlement. They just didn't show that sense of entitlement and selfishness right off the bat with me, but when they did, boom, out they went.

        I agree with you that times are different now. These days women fall all over the cads and make all the moves, and a lot of women don't have the self respect and dignity to hold themselves back. That just wasn't done during my time, in my society, almost twenty years ago. In my time too, women didn't sleep around, didn't hook up, didn't have one-night stands. We went for commitment and long term relationships. All the women I know in my circle are still married to their partners–separation is just unheard of.

        I've always gone for consistency in how decently I was treated, and the men who didn't show it or reciprocate the respect I was willing to give them got the boot. The one who did and I fell in love with, I married. And yep, he courted me the old-fashioned way too–I wasn't going to have it any other way.

    • Passer_By

      "let me just say that the stereotype about nice guys being bad lovers is just bunk. "

      Anybody who saw the first Revenge of the Nerds knows that. Lewis Skolnick pleased Betty in ways that Stan the quarterback never could.

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

        Haha, I dated a quarterback named Stan through most of college, and this was true! He wasn't a cad, though – those were the days when even natural Alphas had to be nice. In my experience, guys who get a lot of girls, and/or have big penises are lazy lovers. It's a contraindicator for good sex.

  • VJ1

    Well I'm calling BS on the whole project. Re-read the study. It's Canadian! As in 'worthwhile Canadian initiative' (google it). I'm sorry, having lived there for a time, I just know we're talking about basically a different species of American males & females. They're just a bit more appreciative of 'nice' right?

    And yes as others have pointed out, the definitions here are pretty nebulous & all over the place, being very imprecise and easily varying in both time & space & by 'observer'/'performer'.

    And someone please go back and parse all those 'dark triad of (attractive) traits' studies on how very particular 'bad boys' on a certain spectrum of specific traits that somehow many women do find 'strangely attractive'. Perhaps we need further clinical proof of all this?

    In any case my questions was which of the tall dudes above was the son? Far right (tallest) or perhaps Mr. Black shirt, middle? Inquiring minds… Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      We definitely need more studies on short-term vs. long-term mating strategies. In a world where much mating is short-term, it's easy to start saying women like dangerous men. A man who possesses the dark triad: narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism (cunning and deceit) makes a very poor prospective parent. A woman is better off marrying Dexter! At least he's a kind serial killler.

      Here's a study: http://www.bradley.edu/academics/las/psy/facstaff

      And an excerpt: We found that the scores on the Dark Triad traits were positively related to having more sex partners, an unrestricted sociosexuality and a greater preference for short-term mates. Those who score high on the Dark Triad traits may be equipped to engage in exploitative (e.g. deceptive promises of commitment, behaviourally aggressive) short-term mating, which may be a viable reproductive strategy when the relative frequency of exploitable cooperators in a population is sufficiently high. Whereas such a strategy capitalises on quantity at the cost of receiving long-term benefits, individuals who are not high on the Dark Triad traits —the majority of populations —may be better equipped to form cooperative long-term relationships and, to a lesser degree, short-term relationships without deception. This long-term, nonexploitive strategy may represent a slower but more stable approach to reproduction.

      In other words, these men are toxic, and they thrive in a culture where casual sex is the norm. Their attractiveness is short-lived, but they can do great damage in a short period of time.

  • http://www.marriedmansexlife.com Athol Kay

    Hi Susan, thanks for the link love. Much appreciated.

    I go into a fair amount of depth that the jerks vs nice guy thing is kinda a broken model. Men need both Alpha and Beta Male Traits. I talk more on that at http://www.marriedmansexlife.com/2010/01/little-m
    My recent post What Do You Want?

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      That is a GREAT post! I've been making that essential argument for some time, but I've largely been shot down in Game circles. Still, here at HUS I continue to proclaim the great attractiveness of many beta traits. As I said above to Passer By, aside from the question of relationships, the current (and future) economy rewards beta traits over alpha traits. Talking about men strictly in terms of how much sex they get is simplistic and counterproductive in my view, though I understand its importance to men.

      • Mike

        That is a GREAT post! I've been making that essential argument for some time, but I've largely been shot down in Game circles. Still, here at HUS I continue to proclaim the great attractiveness of many beta traits.

        Depends. Depends on perspective, goals, and objectives. I'm with you and Athol that the right mix of Alpha and Beta traits is IDEAL IF we are talking long-term boyfriend or husband. Probably the recipe for a good lasting happy relationship. But if you are guy simply interested in short-term sexual relationships, then any Beta traits are completely unnecessary.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Most men eschew beta behavior, as it does not get them what they want in the short-term, e.g. sex. A man who is dominant gets more short-term sex. Beta traits are those things women select for when thinking long-term. They're the "partnership" traits, by and large. They certainly don't preclude good sex, in fact I would argue that emotional intelligence and sensitivity are required for the best sex.

          Obviously, my own bias here is towards real relationships, and Athol is specifically writing about marriage. Women who want relationships will select men accordingly. A woman who continually has short-term sexual relationships is selecting for Alpha traits alone. Some would argue that woman doesn't want a relationship, since she repeatedly chooses cads and fails to learn anything from her experiences.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/_synthesis_ synthesis

    This seems like deja vu since I think I've said this in another comment before, but it goes back to the oft-repeated saying that all the good ones (those with alpha and beta traits) are taken. The rest are undateable. Except for the bad boys. Those can be tamed, right?

    I get the feeling that my parents raised me to be the last bastion of manners and chivalry. This is a losing strategy. Let someone else save the world.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Manners are important in a civilized society. Bad man can have good manners and vice versa, it's really a function of training, as you say. However, even the sexiest, baddest boy gets old fast if he's rude or uncouth.

      Chivalry? Dead. As I said above to Passer By. Kindness is welcome, considerate behavior also. But I agree that men should not go out of their way to accommodate or "protect" a woman until she's earned it.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/_synthesis_ synthesis

        American culture as of late is severely lacking in manners. Oh, and the bad boy isn't necessarily rude and uncouth towards his girl. Just people he looks down on, people that get in his way, etc.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Very true about American culture, and therefore Americans themselves.

          As for the bad boy, if he is rude to others now, he will be rude to you later.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/_synthesis_ synthesis

          And then he kisses and makes up, and things are fine until he's a jerk to her again, and then he kisses and…

  • LesserBeta

    I would say that there was once a point in time where I was nice. The problem is, I find, that many women will take advantage of your altruism if that's the case, especially if they're hot. They can smell weakness and they know how to exploit it. Do one nice thing for them and they'll have an endless list of favours to ask from you, offering nothing in return. Yet, when you want to spend time with them, they'll flake or show up late, without even apologizing. As I've learned from some friends who've been in worse situations than I have, they'll even laugh at you behind your back.

    • LesserBeta

      Sometimes experience is the best teacher. Life teaches you hard lessons. As was said on the 40 year old virgin, "Don't put the pu$$y on a pedastal". Sounds crude, but the saying rings true with me today. A lot of women are rotten to the core and don't deserve to be treated nicely at all.

      I only needed a few realllly bad experiences to shake me down to reality. If you are one to learn from your mistakes, I don't think a nice guy can remain a nice guy forever. That is, if you have any backbone at all. Life embitters you and eventually you stop giving a fvck.

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

        Welcome, LesserBeta, thanks for leaving a comment! It's important to develop that backbone before you become embittered. If you are a man of good character and won't let a woman take advantage of you, you're going to be more successful with women. And that's going to make you like them more.

        Again, it's not about "nice." Try for integrity and kindness with a healthy dose of self-respect.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          This is actually a comment from LesserBeta, who was unable to get his reply to post. (Anyone know of another good comment system?)

          Thanks for the advice, Susana.

          I figured as much that this was the case. It's actually quite whorelike how women can partake in this behaviour. If a find out a girl likes me but the attraction isn't mutual, I never use her.

          While my standards for appearance haven't changed much, I find I've become much more picky when it comes to character traits. For example:

          - If you make plans with a girl, does she flake or show up late?
          - If she shows up late, what is her reason? Is she apologetic or does she argue with you?
          - When she wants to hang out with you, is it only on occasions where there are added benefits for her? Does she ever contact you simply because she enjoys your company?
          - If you go to a restaurant, does she offer to pay her portion of the tab? (the monetary aspect is not important, but the gesture is)

          A guy with my track record may not be able to afford adding more standards to my list, yet I'm finding many girls fail miserably when put to these tests. So much so that I find myself getting ecstatic when one passes them.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Here's the bottom line about women – if they ask you for a favor, they're not attracted to you. A little one sure, Can I borrow your phone?, Can I borrow your notes?, etc. If a woman likes a guy, and is trying to get in there, she won't risk asking him to do something that he might not be thrilled to do. She doesn't want him thinking she's a pain in the ass.

      Furthermore, it's not about reciprocating. Guys make the mistake of thinking that if they do things for a woman, she'll reward them by spending time with them. No. Your reward was your brief and temporary association with her – the privilege of basking in her attention. Stay away from women who ask you to do stuff!

      • LesserBeta

        Thanks for the advice, Susan. I figured as much. It's actually quite sick and whorelike how some women can do this. When I'm unattracted to a girl, I don't try to get them to do things for me. It's just manipulative and chances are I can just do it myself anyways, which is my general attitude about most things.

        I've noticed myself developing new standards I'm holding when it comes to women. I'm no more stringent about looks than before, but I notice things like the following:

        - When you make plans with her, does she show up late?
        - If she does show up late, what was her reason? Did she apologize and try to make up for it or argue with you instead?
        - When she wants to spend time with you, is there an ulterior motive? Are there ever times where she wants to hang out with you just because she enjoys your company and doesn't get anything extra out of it?
        - Does she offer to pay her half of the tab? (what's not important is the monetary aspect, but the gesture)

      • LesserBeta

        Thanks for the advice, Susana.

        I figured as much that this was the case. It's actually quite whorelike how women can partake in this behaviour. If a find out a girl likes me but the attraction isn't mutual, I never use her.

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

        Here's a comment from LesserBeta, who was unable to post it himself. (Ugh, does anyone know of a better comment system?)

        Thanks for the advice, Susana.

        I figured as much that this was the case. It's actually quite whorelike how women can partake in this behaviour. If a find out a girl likes me but the attraction isn't mutual, I never use her.

        While my standards for appearance haven't changed much, I find I've become much more picky when it comes to character traits. For example:

        - If you make plans with a girl, does she flake or show up late?
        - If she shows up late, what is her reason? Is she apologetic or does she argue with you?
        - When she wants to hang out with you, is it only on occasions where there are added benefits for her? Does she ever contact you simply because she enjoys your company?
        - If you go to a restaurant, does she offer to pay her portion of the tab? (the monetary aspect is not important, but the gesture is)

        A guy with my track record may not be able to afford adding more standards to my list, yet I'm finding many girls fail miserably when put to these tests. So much so that I find myself getting ecstatic when one passes them.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          LB, you are entirely right to add standards to your list. I think you'll find that your track record improves, because you won't waste time with women of poor character. If a woman can't meet these standards, she is toying with you, and is unworthy of your time. If you can quickly eliminate the women who behave in this way, you'll be more likely to recognize and appreciate a woman who likes you for yourself, rather than what you can provide for her ego.

  • LesserBeta

    A friend who went through the same thing as me until the age of 21 gave me some good advice. That is, look after yourself before looking after anyone else. Become the man you want to be and the women will just gravitate towards you. I'm working on my self-improvement as always (even did it as a nice guy) but unfortunately my social connections are breaking down as I'm figuring all this stuff out too late…as I just graduated from university and the opportunities are more scarce.

    Sure, I can convey confidence in many other areas of my life. But there is always that lingering insecurity at 23 years old about being a virgin and never being in a serious relationship. It's a bit of a vicious cycle.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Pssshhhhh, it is not too late. You're 23! Opportunities to meet women may not be as plentiful as in college, but it's easier to date now that you're out. Hookup culture is not quite so pervasive. Get out every single day and have as many interactions as you can. Be friendly. If you're nervous, fake it till you make it. A lot of Game is about practice, practice, practice, and getting inured to rejection.

  • http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com/ Stuart Schneiderman

    Certainly, the issues are confusing, but that is in part because many young women come at the question of finding a mate through the prism of their traumatic experiences of men– especially the traumas they undergo because of too much hooking up.

    Once traumatized, their goal is no longer finding a mate, but curing, or self-medicating, the trauma.

    Trauma affects and distorts judgment. Once traumatized a person will place the highest priority in avoiding the trauma. This might mean that she will avoid a man she might have a LTR with because such a relationship would make her more vulnerable to more pain.

    The more interesting question is: why would she seek out the kind of man who had traumatized her in the first place? What is the great appeal of bad boys? It feels like a counterphobic reaction.

    We might think that she wants to do to a bad boy what he did to her, thus to even the score, to avenge her pain, to find justice. This would be one motivation.

    Another would be that she feels that she should not have been traumatized by the hook-up and that the only way she can show herself that she is strong enough to do as she pleases and not suffer the consequences is to keep hooking up.

    In the end this leads to emotional numbness, and a generalized failure to know the difference between the nice guy who is just plain weak and ineffectual and the nice guy who has good character and would make a suitable.

    My recent post More on Male Bashing and the Financial Crisis

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Wow, this really rings true, Stuart, and I hadn't looked at it this way before. I do often see a kind of determination in women to not let the last bad hookup experience get the better of them. Sometimes this takes the form of their trying repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) to get some kind of rise out of a guy that is ignoring them post-hookup. They want to have the last word as a way to preserve some amount of dignity. Of course, they behave in more and more desperate ways, perhaps eventually making a drunken scene that robs them of dignity entirely.

      Now she's worse off, and yes, she might seek revenge on some other guy. She might even claim that "all guys are douchebags," and attempt to treat men poorly. Unfortunately, she's still chasing the kind of men who don't really care what she thinks of them, and once more her efforts fail. As you say, she eventually willingly engages in that mutual exploitation that you wrote about in a post of your own.

      Not only does she wind up numb, but I fear that she will also feel undeserving of a good man. Many women who have done a lot of hooking up do have concerns that they're "spoiled goods." This is why girls in college are preoccupied with their "number" and often unwilling to confess it. I've seen girls confess a high number to close friends, and those friends have basically said, "Ouch." Young women know that sexual double-standard still prevails, so they feel more and more worthless. It's a terrible cycle.

  • HR Lincoln

    I'd like to toss my perspective in, FWIW. Bear in mind it comes from an attractive, successful, middle-aged guy with plenty of experience with women.
    I happen to be active in my church and am involved in a some charitable activities to which I contribute time and money. I have learned to not talk about this at all with prospective mates until AFTER a sexual relationship has been established. For whatever reason, I have found that while women may get warm/fuzzy feelings about a man's involvement in these things, it tends to be a negative toward whatever sexual vibe may exist at the onset of a relationship, and things are more likely to fizzle from there.
    Even with middle-aged women, a bit of aloofness, narcissism, and swagger is appealing at the front end of a relationship. At least that's what I've observed. And wishing it weren't that way does not change reality.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      HR Lincoln, first time commenter, welcome! This surprises me. It sounds as if, in your experience, women have found your altruism to be a weakness, and kindness a buzzkill. Perhaps that reflects the short vs. long-term mating considerations, which would suggest that women always approach a new relationship as short-term, only valuing character traits once the sexual vibe has been established.

      The study above showed women online dating profiles to see what they would prefer – however, it was obviously a hypothetical exercise. They may have "preferred" those profiles for long-term matching, but would not have found those guys sexy to begin with.

      • Mike

        Perhaps that reflects the short vs. long-term mating considerations, which would suggest that women always approach a new relationship as short-term, only valuing character traits once the sexual vibe has been established.

        The study above showed women online dating profiles to see what they would prefer – however, it was obviously a hypothetical exercise. They may have "preferred" those profiles for long-term matching, but would not have found those guys sexy to begin with.

        Bingo! This would be my conclusion based on my experience. Again, not to be crude about it, but it is one thing to answer a survey question about what you would prefer, and another who you are actually having sex with it.

        In my view, that is NOT to say you have to be a "jerk" or you can't be a "good guy". It is just a question of the order you display certain traits in as HR Lincoln states. In the beginning, you have to generate sexual attraction and the simple fact is altruism doesn't do a darn thing for that although yeah maybe it will make you a good potential Dad in her mind.

        David D goes into this in his archetype of the Lover versus the Provider and the traits associated with each. If you establish the potential Lover frame right away, you can always transition to a more Provider frame down the road, but reality would seem to suggest if you focus on the Provider stuff right away (like active in Church, charitable activities, coach special needs kids, etc) and disregard the Lover stuff (social dominance, assertiveness, etc.) then moving into the Lover role will be very much an uphill battle.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          It's interesting – it really is all about timing, and not showing too much too soon. The good guy has to withhold evidence of his more nurturing traits in order to get laid.

          The cad pretends to be a nice guy in order to get laid. Despite conventional Game wisdom, women with good mental health/self-esteem will not select a jerk. The women who go for short-term sex with cads are women who "need" the sexual validation of the Alpha male. Often, cads are very effective at masquerading as romantic, emotionally tuned in guys and can keep this up for a few weeks, after which they bail, whether they got sex or not.

          It strikes me that there really is quite a bit of subterfuge going on here.

  • Obsidian

    Here's something I wrote a little while back on the topic:

    http://theobsidianfiles.wordpress.com/2009/12/27/

    The Obsidian

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Obs, this is a GREAT post. I urge all readers to go right over there and check out the difference between a Gentleman and a Chump. An choice quote:

      Gentlemen don’t give Women anything they haven’t EARNED. Women, in order to respect a Man, have to feel that they’ve “won” him over all other Women in the round, so to speak; when a Man gives too much too soon, which can happen in many forms, it signals to a Woman that, again, he is of lower value, rank, social class, etc, and she will lose interest.

      100% right. That's why I say no free favors.

      • MuleChewingBriars

        Obsidian has it right.

        It used to be that the Nice Guy was the larval stage of the Stand Up Guy. It takes boys a l-o-n-g time to become men. It takes time to discover your strengths and weaknesses in the arena with all the other men. It takes time to prepare yourself mentally for the responsibility of taking on a woman and later a family. This used to take less than two dozen years.

        Now it happens seldom if at all. Maybe it arises from fathers not holding their sons accountable.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Maybe it arises too from fathers being separated from their sons by divorce. In the best case, he's absent half the time, but many boys grow up without a solid male presence at all.

  • Obsidian

    Thanks, Ms. Walsh. Here is another post recently wrote that illustrates the principles I discuss above in more detail:
    http://theobsidianfiles.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/

    The Obsidian

  • lemonadestar

    Susan, thanks again for MORE blogs to read. ;) Seriously though, I like that I can read what you write and be exposed to so many more thoughts and opinions on a subject.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Lemonadestar aka LTP it's good to see you! Haha, blog addiction is "realer" than Tiger Woods' sex addiction. My Google reader is so filled with subscriptions to blogs that I literally can't read them all. There are just so many smart, interesting, great writers online! I keep discovering new ones all the time. I suppose we all need to get choosy at some point – thanks for choosing to read mine!

  • Cindy

    My mom snagged my dad when she was seventeen (he was eighteen). They have been together 30+ years now. Her dating advice for getting true love and eventually marriage:
    1.Date a guy you know well. Don’t waste time with men who ask you out on the street. They don’t know anything about you except that they find you physically attractive, not a good basis for a relationship. If you do want to get to know someone ask if they go to a sports club, church, bar and go there (with a couple of girlfriends) to talk with him. Repeat a couple of weeks/ months. See if he really likes the goofy, genuine you.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      I love this, especially the part about the goofy, genuine you. If you can be yourself with someone from the start, that is a very good sign. This is why I believe that friendship is a good basis for dating – well, make that "friends with potential."

  • Cindy

    2.If he takes you on a first date, casually introduce them to a couple of friends/ family members who just happened to be around. Friends and family can pick up subtle messages about a person and see if you are compatible, because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation as you are. This will also scare off some men who are not really interested.
    3.Don’t have sex with the guy for at least half a year since the time you started dating. Some guys think it’s impossible to go from "having sex too soon and don’t really know what’s going on" to a girlfriend. Unfair but true. Have dates, kiss, invest in a couple of good vibrators. (My mom waited a year to have sex with my dad, and she’s proud of it.)
    What do you think Susan? Is my mom’s dating advice still valid?

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      A lot of guys who are only after sex will do everything they can to avoid meeting the people you care about. If a guy isn't interested in meeting your friends, siblings, parents, etc. it means he knows he can't stand up to scrutiny. Take him at his word/actions. However, I agree with Passer By that this is too much for a first date. I would expect a guy or girl to only be interested in meeting the fam after they know there's an emotional connection. In other words, after he likes the goofy, genuine you. The reverse is true too. I remember once a guy brought me to his sister's for dinner on a first date! I was really creeped out as I saw her giving him the thumbs up when she thought I wasn't looking. I LJBF'd him that very night.

      • Cindy

        Thank you passer_by and susanawalsh for replying. I appreciate it! Yes my mom is quite traditional and her "timing" and introduction of family members might be a little outdated! It gets quite confusing when my mother tells me that sex after a year is good timing, while popular media makes it seems as if most people have sex on the third date! It's nice to know this site that I trust where I can ask these questions so that I can find a happy medium. I don't want to get my heart broken, but I don't want to scare away men either! Lol.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          I think your mom's instincts are good ones – I'd say listen up, just adjust for your own generation with respect to timing. The world really has changed quite a bit!

    • Passer_By

      On your 3 points, including the 1 below:

      1. Generally true. Or, even if you don't know him well, someone you trust does.

      2. Ehh. If you followed your point number 1, it shouldn't be necessary. Nothing to make a guy feel judged like putting him under a microscope for all your friends and family on a first date. Also, since this would be unusual, all these friends and family showing up would make most guys feel like something was up, so they'd be nervous and would not come accross well. Your mom's advice here sucks . . . big time.

      3. May have been good once, but today most guys will (or should) correctly interpret this as lack of interest/attraction by most women. The vast majoriy of women, if they're attracted to a guy, will WANT to have sex much sooner than 6 months. Most of the time, if a guy allows this to go on, he's going to end up with nothing or with a relationship in which the woman is really not attracted to him but is settling.

  • VJ1

    Well some of the problem arrives when the woman indeed wants to 'slow up' the game to 'properly play' some poor 'gentlemanly chump' strung along on a string for awhile while not 'coming across' with too much physical intimacy 'too early', because she thinks of him as a 'good prospect' for a LTR. But she'll frequently be perfectly happy to see a round robin of FWB's or just FB's/Fav alpha cads 'on the down low' (secretly) all the while trying to 'land' Mr. Clueless 'nice guy' by withholding sex, the 'old fashioned way'. Now this is a kind of game that's still being played what, 1000's of years later too. But it's increasingly harder to 'hide' the double life here too.

    Or putting it in a slightly different context whereby the gal will have often wholly different standards depending on the audience. One standard for the 'white bread rich/college guys' that she expects to 'take it slow', and another audience for the 'wild alpha-cads' or simply 'locals' that she just enjoys from time to time for recreation. Again, her perfect right to be so 'exercised', but when the nice guys hear wind of it? Many of them are increasingly unable to 'suck up their pride' and just let 'bygones be bygones' and continue on as if nothing much is happening. (This is also a classic theme in romantic literature too). Strangely enough? There's women playing this game with several 'baby daddies' and then dating 'mere civilians' (always looking for that 'nice guy&chump' with the Mr. Big payoff ), but otherwise dating as if they were chaste & virginal 17-18 YO's. Sometimes well into their 30-40's too before they crash the scam. It's an amazing sight to behold too. These gals can teach some serious game to anyone almost we imagine! Cheers, 'VJ'

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      True, but men do this too. I know guys that will act all patient and caring if a woman wants to wait a while before having sex. Meanwhile, they're hooking up with randoms on the side. I really object to this from either sex. We live in a world where honesty about sexual partners is important for health reasons. So if it's hard to hide the double life, that's a good thing.

      • Passer_By

        Hmmm. Not sure I like the analogy. Not defending what such a guy does, but it's not like he's the one holding out on her while he's going wild with others.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          You must remember that men and women want different things. A woman who withholds sex from a good guy while going wild with other guys is lying and cheating the good guy of the sex that he wants.

          A man who pretends to be emotionally invested and patient is lying and cheating a good woman of what she really wants, which is a committed exclusive relationship. It's not exactly the same thing, but I think the analogy holds.

        • Passer_By

          I understand they want different things – to a point. I guess, more accurately, both geners generally (hopefully) want both, but they put different weight on each. But, in your example, she is demanding that her needs be met while not expecting his needs to be met. And, for all we know, he is more than happy to give her everything she wants if she goes all in like a normal adult. He is being dishonest, so it is cheating. But this is simply garden variety cheating with a slight mitigating factor in that he is not getting his needs met in the relationship.

          In the other case, stands ready and willing to give her EVERYTHING she wants, but she will give him NEITHER sex nor true commitment, while she enjoys gathering the seed of other men. This is orders of magnitude worse – it's far worse than garden variety cheating (with or without the mitigating factor). It's hard to imagine anything a man can do to a woman in a relationship (short of violence or rape) that is close to this. You're generally very fair on gender issues, but you are unable to view this one through a male prism of extreme aversity to true cuckoldry, which is what this guy is going to get if they get married.

        • Passer_By

          Continued:

          I think the interests of the two genders in their partner's fidelity is not exactly equal, and we are not likely wired the exact same way. But, even assuming that we are wired identically that way and have the exact same emotional interest in fidelity, for the reasons I state above, she is doing a much greater screw job on the guy than in your example.

          I guess if I needed to come up with an example that is analogous, it's a bit contrived, but maybe if a man were getting great sex from a woman for a year or more, and she was deeply in love and committed and thinking about the long term (and thought he was too), and then he showed up one day and told her he was getting married to another woman he'd been seeing all along but who was not willing to have sex with him until marriage, so he had to have something on the side. But when she objects, he acts surprised and says "You couldn't have possibly thought that I would see you as marriage material, did you? You're good in bed, but I can't imagine you as the mother of my children." That might be close, but even then she can cut her losses and move on.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Yikes, that's ugly. I see your point. By the way, I hope you know that I was in no way defending the behavior of a woman who behaves this way. I just find that sometimes men tend to focus so much on the sex – I agree that men and women want the same things, with perhaps a slightly different emphasis on sex vs. emotions. In a really good relationship, though, the man gets emotionally invested and the woman gets more sexually assertive – when it's really working, I think they have very similar wants.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          That's fair. I do know from reading that cuckoldry is the worst thing imaginable to a male, and that jealousy probably evolved as an emotion in response to it.

          Just one question about this:

          she is demanding that her needs be met while not expecting his needs to be met.

          Are you saying here that it's unfair for a woman to withhold sex in exchange for commitment? Because for many millennia that was the quid pro quo, and I think that worked pretty well, or at least better than what we have now. If he's happy to give her everything once she goes all in, and she's happy to get sexy once he's gone all in, then we have a standoff – who blinks first?

        • Passer_By

          ::Are you saying here that it's unfair for a woman to withhold sex in exchange for commitment?

          Well, not unfair, no. Though I'm not sure it's relevant to the example. In this case, she wants his commitments while she thinks about whether he's right for sex. Obviously, some period of time is fine, so I'm not saying she's doing the wrong thing, or he's doing the right thing. I'm just saying that she hasn't given up nearly so much as the cuckolded guy for nothing in return. In other words, although he is committing an offense (assuming this is a relatively short term situation), the offense committed is not nearly the dagger in the heart that the other one is.

          I do, however, think that absent religious issues it's unreasonable for her to expect it to go on for a long time. That just means that she's not sufficiently in to him and is stringing him a long (as we both thought in the 6 month example or whatever it was).

        • Cindy

          Passer_by, since you referred directly to my example I would like to point out that it is not intended to "string along" anybody. I believe that sex is a way (not the only way) of building intimacy between a man and a woman. It's a way of getting to a higher level of involvement, and that couples who are together for a long time have evolved past that stage of intial attraction, that is to say: there is more to keep them together. Sex should be an extra addition to an intimate relationship, not a must. That's why I believe that I could not be with a man who cuts his losses at say, 4 months into the relationship if he has not gotten sex. I would doubt that there was nothing else there for him to stay. And I would personally feel unfomfortable with have sex with someone so soon. Everybody is different in that perspective.

    • Mike

      Well some of the problem arrives when the woman indeed wants to 'slow up' the game to 'properly play' some poor 'gentlemanly chump' strung along on a string for awhile while not 'coming across' with too much physical intimacy 'too early', because she thinks of him as a 'good prospect' for a LTR. But she'll frequently be perfectly happy to see a round robin of FWB's or just FB's/Fav alpha cads 'on the down low' (secretly) all the while trying to 'land' Mr. Clueless 'nice guy' by withholding sex, the 'old fashioned way'.

      Can't find the link now, but I remember reading an article written by some model maybe a year or so ago where she basically admitted exactly this strategy. She was playing the "good girl" role for some good LTR/husband prospect who was well to do while meanwhile she had a rotation of alphas servicing her. I recall the disgust reading the article. In this case, I guess to me it isn't the promiscuity that is the really big deal as much as she is a fraud, but again the onus here I think is on the guy to be watchful for this type of subterfuge, although it could be tough to ferret out exactly what she might be doing because many cad alphas do abide by a sort of "don't kiss and tell" strategy. Again, in the current sexual/mating marketplace, whether male or female, I think you really have to operate with a "buyer beware" strategy.

      I'm curious on how many women are using this strategy of "proper courtship" with a husband/beta/provider type with no sex while at the same time getting regular sex from cad types. I would/think hope it is a small minority, but I think it is probably more common then one would expect.

      • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

        I think/hope it is a very small minority. I personally have never seen it in action, though admittedly the women who talk to me are a self-selected group. Basically, it’s the strategy of a dishonest, selfish person. Even if you’re in the dark about other sexual partners, there should be plenty of signs of poor character if you’re keeping your eyes open. A good guy in this situation will sense that something is not right – she’s emotionally uninvolved.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/novaseeker novaseeker

          Not sure. I think there are women who sometimes pull this off while they are married, too — sex with the lover, or lovers, on demand, but withholding sex from hubby as a means to exert control, to punish and so on, or providing hubby just enough sex to cover the tracks, but nothing more (and doing sexual things with lover that she would never allow hubby to do). I think that as a mating strategy it's probably not very common, but I'm not sure it's all that hard for some women to pull off, given how much more cued in to nonverbal communication women are than men.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          All I can say is that a woman who behaved this way and got found out would be the story of the year in my own social group. I'm not saying it doesn't happen – human nature is far too elastic to claim that. It is just so immoral, so dishonest and manipulative that it's horrifying to contemplate.

          OK, I do have one recollection. A woman came to pick up her daughter one afternoon after she'd been over to play. This mother came into my home wearing an expensive looking navy wool suit. She was impeccably turned out. She walked past me and called up the stairs to her daughter. I was astounded, and then very amused, to see that the back of her suit was covered with crushed popcorn kernels. My mind raced – was this woman having sex with a film projectionist at the matinee? Or on the floor in the back row of a theater? Of course, I've told that story many times and no one ever believes me. They just don't think it's plausible that this respectable woman and mother would do that. But I know what I saw: popcorn kernels from head to toe.

          So yeah, perhaps I'm naive. We really don't know what goes on in other people's lives.

        • Passer_By

          "Of course, I've told that story many times . . ."

          Why, you little gossip!

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Ha! That story is irresistible! It still cracks me up just thinking about it. This uptight WASPy woman rolling around on the dirty floor of the cinema. It's just such a great visual.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Ha! That story is irresistible! It still cracks me up just thinking about it. This uptight WASPy woman rolling around on the dirty floor of the cinema. It's just such a great visual.

    • Kurt

      I wonder how often this happens. I would think that the “nice guy” would either have to be so inexperienced with women or just clueless to not suspect she’s up to something.

      • Kurt

        Now that I think about it, this is exactly what happened on the TV show, “The Office.” Angela from accounting was engaged to Andy but was secretly having an affair with Dwight. During their engagement Angela only had sex with Andy twice as I recall.

  • VJ1

    Yep, I've seen that strategy too, along with 'whatever it takes' to get her into the rotation/harem deal. Or less. I've got a question to ask you, I imagine I might have to 'uncloak' to ask it, but I'll put it in the form. Cheers, 'VJ'

  • 108spirits

    Men used to be OK with women withholding sex until relationship commitment is made. That is because back then (social pressure, different cultural expectations etc.) the man knew that although she's not banging him, she's not banging another guy either. Now, he knows that there's a great possibility that she is getting it from someone else.

    I know plenty of women who do this, and I've been that "someone else".

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Thanks for leaving a comment, 108spirits. This is very true. I can't help but wonder what kind of women these are or where you find them, though. I really don't think a majority of single women are having multiple sexual STRs while cultivating one LTR. Yes, there are more highly promiscuous women than ever before, but I know many women who absolutely do not behave this way. However, you are exactly right that since female sexuality was unleashed 40 years ago, the incentives for monogamy and commitment have largely disappeared.

  • Gil

    Part 1 of 2:

    Nice schmice! Chances such Nice Guys are always hanging around decent-to-good-looking women. If they preferred to be nice to fatties then they would have no problem getting laid. Instead they try to poach Alpha women from Alpha males and ain't going to happen.

    Nice Guys have to face facts – humans are animals too. Big problem – humans are highly sexually-dimorphic. This means two things: 1 – the ideal man looks a good deal different from the ideal woman, 2 – men and women who come the closest to the ideal forms are the most attractive. Unsurprisingly men who come close to the ideal man happen to be genetically gifted – their Alphanesss can be gauged from their near-perfect vertical bi-lateral symmetry. Unsurprising they have masculine features – big, burly, above-average height, dominating, very assertive, etc. Why shouldn't they be sought after – they look and act like men because, quite frankly, are Men!

  • Gil

    Part 2 of 2:

    Nice guys, on the other hand, are lop-sided in some way, tend to have rather lean phisyques, effeminate features, don't have much in the way of serious assertiveness, etc. Women can't find them really attractive because they don't match up well with the necessary sexually dimorphic features of a man any more than a man find a burly, masculine woman with whiskers attractive because she's so far from the sexual dimorphics features of a woman.

    At the end of the day, Omega males and females were born that way and are unlikely to get a chance to engage in the act that is meant to propogate their genes. End of story.

    • Kurt

      Actually, I think that there are many so-called “nice guys” who are only labeled “nice” because they are shy or inexperienced around women, not because of any other physical shortcoming.

      • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

        I agree with this 100%. Since women respond well to social dominance, and self-confidence is a pretty good metric for that, men need to develop this and also reduce their sensitivity to the risk of rejection. This is where Game can be quite helpful.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

    Yikes, Gil, sounds like you are a high-testosterone kind of guy! There is some logic in your argument, though there are many exceptions to the rule. For one thing, studies show that women increasingly prefer "pretty" men to burly ones. I've written about this before – one factor is the Pill, which prevents the estrogen spike in women that is normally associated with ovulation and corresponds to her increased attraction to burly types.

    New research (tomorrow's post, in fact) shows that women in countries with excellent health care choose more effeminate faces, while women in less healthy countries choose more dominant looking men. The theory is that when women no longer need that kind of man to ensure the survival and success of her offspring, she'll choose a man who looks better at collaborating and partnering than dominating.

    • Gil

      It's one things to say women may prefer lesser Alphas/greater Betas males and then presume they'd, in turn, fancy lesser Beta/Omega males.

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  • finsalscollons

    The problem is not about nice guys. It is about our culture.

    I agree with Savage that nice guys are unattractive not because are nice but because they are spineless and they bent to please women. An alpha can be nice and attract women.

    The problem is about culture. Society sends the wrong message to young guys. From Mommy to social conservatives to feminists, everybody repeats the same mantra to young guys: "be nice to girls, be sensitive, listen to them, bent to their will". When boys are in school, they are taught to behave like women.

    Then young guys do what they have been told and become nice guys. Then, they are ignored or scorned by young women. They became deppressed or angry.

    The solution is to teach men how to behave to attract women. That is, Game. But do you imagine a society where Game is taught in schools, is promoted in TV series and by psychologists? This won't happen.

    Our society will keep on emasculating men and making them unattractive for the opposite sex. And then nice guys will wonder: "Why women don't want me? I have done everything that is right". And they will become depressed with anger and self-pity.

    I was a nice guy once, when I was young and I had the same problems but then I figured out the truth. And yes, I am angry at a culture who made me lose twenty years of my life by feeding me with lies.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

    Yes, I hear you on this. I think what happens is that the boys who are naturally higher-testosterone are not able to conform to this training and retain their alphaness. It is effective with women, but these boys often have problems getting along with others, etc. The boys who conform to the culture that favors female behavior get lots of good feedback growing up, and then find that they are not getting girls.

    Game will never be taught in schools, but there are definitely academics who are studying this, especially in schools, to understand why boys are struggling. The problem is that any change that promotes the well-being of boys will be threatening to a very effective feminist lobby, who will perceive that what is good for boys must be bad for girls.

  • swiss

    what a great piece — wow! You completely nailed it:

    1. Neither "nice" nor "not nice" girls want a Spineless Nice Guy

    2. Women yearn for a guy, as you say, who has "goals, passion, convictions, identity and a sense of self. Sometimes a man needs to put himself first."

    YES!!!!!!!!!

    It's so amazing as a woman to find a great guy who's bringing a lot to the table, in terms of who he is—not money, not status, not fame, not cars, not houses, not clothes, not even looks—but who he intrinsically uniquely is in the world. And then almost indescribably sad when the relationship starts, and he loses that amazing sense of self we were so attracted to and excited by! We don't want clones of ourselves or someone to slavishly worship our every word and movement. We want YOU with your zeal for life: your "goals, passion, convictions, identity and a sense of self."

    I bet men are equally disappointed when a woman who adores him—and also has goals, passion, convictions, identity and a sense of self—loses everything but her adoration for him. It's boring. And feels almost like a betrayal — like, what happened to that great person who you liked and respected….for being themselves?

    I'm so glad I totally stumbled upon your blog and this whole topic!

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      swiss, welcome, and thanks for commenting! I know it's helpful for the guys to hear what women have to say and vice versa, so I really appreciate you sharing your opinion. Come back and comment soon!

  • Kurt

    I personally have more success with women who have done something to indicate their interest in me before I have even spoken with them. This has happened in the past, for example, where a woman whom I might not have thought would have been interested starts staring me down. Some of these women are very attractive and I don’t think I come across as a “nice guy” with them at all, probably because I am confident from the start that they find me attractive. However, I have less success when I do the approaching first without any indication of interest because I am often very unsure as to whether the women like me – maybe I behave differently around them than I do around the ones who have already signaled their interest? The ironic thing is that the ones who signal their interest first are often more attractive than the ones who don’t.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Well, the women who signal their interest first are obviously quite confident that if they stare you down, you will respond with interest. So it’s not surprising they are very attractive. That might be a good match for you, provided that you can hold your own with them once the conversation starts. It’s also the reason you are probably less successful with women you approach – women can sense even the slightest degree of nervousness or self-doubt, and it’s incompatible with sexual attraction.

  • Kurt

    By the way, you are definitely correct about the so-called “Nice Guys” who don’t want women their own age. I know some bitter guys like this who slaved away during their mid-20s-mid-30s as lawyers to make some decent money only to discover that being financially successful is not valued very much by today’s women. These guys are very distrustful of women, especially women their own age. They essentially assume that if a woman their own age wants them now, it is only because that woman’s biological clock is ticking because time is running out for her.

    I truly believe that a lot of women in their mid-late 30s are going to have to marry men at least a decade older if they want to have a chance at having children before the time runs out – unless the woman is exceptionally attractive, many of the unmarried guys view those women as damaged goods in some way.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I think this is very true. To make matters worse for these women, a man in his forties will try to go younger than mid to late 30s if he can. Some matches get made this way, but in that case both parties are compromising, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  • karen

    I am a female who is attracted to nice guys.  Unfortunately, I never know if they are just being nice to me or if they actually like me as more than a friend.  I know that it is scary for guys to approach a female that they are interested in.  But trust me, there are many females out there who would love to date a nice guy, myself included.  Just don’t approach when you are drunk because you won’t be taken seriously.  Plus, just be a total gentleman towards all women.  Trust me, we females talk.  We may not be interested in you, but if you are a nice guy we may try to set you up with our sisters and friends.

  • http://dittoeffect.com/ Adam Clarke

    I have researched the nice guy for quite some time and find that a really large % of guys are nice guys and experience relationship issues because of it. I used to be a nice guy until I read the book no more mr nice guy. I felt as though one of my biggest problems was always seeking approval from other people.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Adam Clarke
      Yes, this is the “red pill” that many men have swallowed. Seeking approval for women is disaster, as is any kind of supplicating behavior. I think if a man stops doing this one thing he will change his life overnight.

  • Anonymous
  • http://badgerhut.wordpress.com Badger

    Adam, Susan – you can still be nice without seeking approval in return. If you operate from high status while being nice it reinforces your status (feed the gender-free hamster). Athol Kay just had a good post about making sure people don’t take him for a sap. Something about another woman’s muffins.
    .
    It’s actually quite reasonable for women to think that some “nice guys” are annoying and manipulative – if it’s not about helping your fellow (wo)man but about seeking approval and trading help for love.
    .
    I would note this is also a major failure mode in women’s relationships with men, and in parenting, as I alluded to in my latest post – thinking that if you “give” enough to your boyfriend/child they’ll be indebted to love you back. Love is irrational and it does not keep score.

  • Jennifer

    Pure wisdom, Susan; you analyze the aspects of Game and its questions, both the disturbing ones and the positive ones, in a great and reassuring way. Thank you!!

  • Cj

    Re: age differences

    I’m a 41 year old successful American male. The average age of the women I date is 25. It’s not that I dislike women near my age; it’s simply that they don’t have anywhere near the sexual appeal as women in their 20′s. Believe me, I’ve tried dating women closer to my age but women that are 35+ seem to have lost something that I can’t overlook. I see no reason to date a woman if I’m not sexually attracted to her. Sex is too important to me.

    Re: being “too nice”

    I think it boils down to perspective. When I go places, I don’t feel like I’m walking “into” someone else’s space; I feel the exact opposite: wherever I am, it’s MY space; MY world, and those who come into contact with me are reaching out TO me rather than me reaching out to them. That’s how I view interaction with others, both men and women. I know it’s a very egocentric perspective but I can’t help it.

    I think if a man maintains focus on his career and his goals, he’ll attract plenty of women. I am very focused on my agenda 24/7. Whenever I’m out and about, women seem to go out of their way to flirt with me. It’s not that I’m exceptionally good looking either; I’d rate myself about a 7/10. I think it has more to do with my presence and the manner in which I interact with people. If a man is in complete control of his own world, I think it’s very appealing to women.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Cj
      Thanks for that comment. You sound like the real deal, i.e. alpha male. Good for you. I like your description of your perspective – I’ve clipped it for future use!

  • Jennifer

    Susan, do you ever find it amusing how even some of the jerkiest, most selfish gamers compliment you as being a smart lady? It’s funny because the REASON you’re smart is that you tell women to avoid guys like them! LOL

  • Dogsquat

    Stephenie, I think Susan is smart, but more than that – she is a keen observer, and I believe is genuinely interested in truth, no matter how unpleasant it is. Not many blogging types admit their faults, biases, and (Lord forfend!) when they get something wrong.

    It’s just easier to say smart.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Keep the compliments coming!

  • Jennifer

    I guess, Stephanie, people will always admire people who are better than they are :)

    That’s very true Dog, Susan is not interested in being PC, but she’s also the perfect shade of red pill that knows women need more than what a lot of jerky guys advise giving them.

    Btw, your posts are typically awesome and you sound like a straight-arrow type of dude. I just gotta ask, and I hope you don’t mind: where did you get that ugly picture?? It just startled the heck out of me when I first saw it enlarged, lol.

  • Jennifer

    “she’s also the perfect shade of red pill that knows women need more than what a lot of jerky guys advise giving them”

    And she also knows where women fall short, what they need to give guys, and how the feminist entitlement myths are harming everyone.

  • Jennifer

    “I know it’s a very egocentric perspective”

    Yes it is. I prefer a Christian attitude in men, one of strong confidence but not myopic focus on the self. This is why Dalrock tells women never to marry alphas.

  • Jennifer

    “I really don’t think I’d be too pleased if someone describing me resorted to nice”

    The word’s been terribly abused; it used to be a good thing. I glow when someone calls me nice. But if that’s ALL you are, there’s a problem.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    Susan, do you ever find it amusing how even some of the jerkiest, most selfish gamers compliment you as being a smart lady? It’s funny because the REASON you’re smart is that you tell women to avoid guys like them! LOL

    I’m not surprised my womanizer friends used to think the world of me and there was not a day I didn’t reminded they were cheaters and liars I can’t explain it either. :)

    Maybe because they rarely encounter a woman who sees through their tricks?

  • Cj

    One of the simplest things a guy can do to elevate his appeal is to dress nicer. It doesn’t take much either. Wear designer jeans. Take your shirts to the dry cleaner. Keep your shoes polished. Don’t ever wear concert t shirts or any t shirts for that matter unless it’s a high quality undershirt. Buy a few nice watches. Always dress classy with a little bit of flair. Your clothes are a reflection of how you feel about yourself.

    Most guys dress like slobs and then wonder why they don’t stand out from a crowd. I’ve tried to help friends of mine but they just don’t get it. Dressing nice conveys self respect. Dressing ‘average’ tells people that you think you’re average. People like to associate with winners, and winners aren’t average by any means.

    I hold women to the same standard. The manner in which a girl conducts herself and presents herself is a direct reflection of me; I don’t care how beautiful she is, if she doesn’t have a classy demeanor then she’s not worthy of my attention.

  • Cj

    Re: ” Maybe because they rarely encounter a woman who sees through their tricks?”

    Those “tricks” aren’t the devious machinations of men; they’re the subconscious attraction triggers instilled into women by Mother Nature. They exist for a reason: to ensure the survival of the species.

    There’s a sliding scale between extreme Alpha and extreme Beta. The equivalent scale for a woman is her sex appeal; women with the highest sex appeal can and will attract the most extreme Alphas. To see this in action one simply has to look at the wives/partners of the highest paid athletes; those women are models, actresses, celebrities, or everyday women that have enormous sex appeal (youth and beauty).

    Alpha men do get married and have children, so they aren’t out of reach. A woman’s sex appeal directly correlates with her ability to attract powerful men. The problem comes into play when a woman thinks that if a man sleeps with her then she’s high enough status to keep him. Nothing could be further form the truth.

    For a woman to get laid, she doesn’t need anything more than a pulse. For her to measure her value based on the quality of men that will sleep with her is an enormous mistake. The majority of men are about as discriminating about their sex partner as a stray dog is about its food source. However, when it comes to a long term relationship, men can be extremely selective, especially if the man is considering marriage/children.

    On the flip side, it’s much more difficult for a man to get sex. Women are naturally far more selective about their sexual partners than men are. Those polarities in ability to get sex are why men with many sex partners are considered studs while women with many sex partners are considered sluts. As with all accomplishments, anything easily acquired is not held in high regard.

    An unmarried Alpha male with a sexual appeal of a 10/10 will gladly have a casual sex encounter with an average girl that rates a 4 or 5 but there is no way in hell that Alpha 10 will actively date the average 4 or 5 female let alone marry her. However, that girl now thinks she’s worthy of an Alpha 10 just because he had sex with her. If she sets her standards for a long term partner based on that casual sex encounter, she’s going to be single for a long time if not forever.

    The best measure for a woman to determine whether or not she’s capable of keeping a man’s long term attention is to see how long he waits to have sex with her. A man who won’t wait is a man who has better options available. A man who will wait to have sex with a particular girl is a man who thinks she’s a potential match for a long term commitment.

    Of course, a man’s Alpha status and a woman’s sexual appeal definitely aren’t the only determiners for an ideal partner but they are the initial attraction triggers.

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  • http://mabogunje.net/ Damola Mabogunje

    Hello Susan,
    I stumbled upon this article while in the middle of crafting my own response to the “Ode to the Nice Guys” article by Fu-zu Jen and it made me rethink what I had to say. So please stop by my blog when you have a moment, and let me know what you think of it. :)

  • http://mabogunje.net/ Damola Mabogunje
  • Shterenberg

    The really sad thing about all these discussions of “nice” guy is that nice guys are turning into assholes or rarely display kindness fo fear of looking weak. And the idea of the guy being nice to you only if you deserve is like him being nice to you because of an ulterior motive (e.g. sex) or this person isnt actually a nice person, I wouldn’t want to date somebody who is nice to me but unkind to others. Furthermore this is actually on the top of my list as a girl and plenty of other girls I know too and this comes before “looks” so its not an added bonus. As a college student I find it really frustrating looking for such guys they are either sopping over another girl or are in a relationship or not in the mood for a relationship right now i.e. career-orientated. Because of this “nice guy” debate and the sexual pressure genuinely kind men seem to be dissappearing and its very dissappointing.

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