Not so long ago, I found myself bemoaning the utter lack of nice guys in the world. Loudly. Which means on Twitter. Such complaints are generally met by the males in attendance with a counter-bemoanment: girls don't really want nice guys--they say they do, but they don't.
That should be true. I would hope most guys want it to be true.
Allow me to explain:
Nobody is nice all the time. Think of yourself, for example. I'm going to think of myself because I don't know you. (Or maybe I do, but let's not be semanticists about this, okay?) If I were to be nice all the time, I would have to do a lot of things that I don't think I should do too often at all, and definitely not in a relationship, including but not limited to
b) completely disregarding my own needs/wants
c) not expressing my opinion
d) ignoring prudent prioritisation in an effort to be nice to everyone
So, this quote-unqote Nice Guy that we seem to want is doing those things, too. Nice Guys are nice all the time because they don't know how to stand up for what they think or believe in, and they prioritise people liking them over being honest and true to themselves. In short, they're generally insecure weenies.
There are only two reasons I can think of why any woman would want to be with a Nice Guy. The first, and I see this happen all the time, is that she wants someone she can control, so she's looking for someone who's insecure and will let her dictate everything, forever, just for the privilege of being with her because he doesn't think he could find someone better.
The other reason why girls--non-psycho controlling ones--cry out for a nice guy is that they've been hurt. And they don't want to get hurt again. So a girl may want a guy who she thinks will prioritize being nice over things like breaking up with her if he's not into it, or telling her he doesn't like something she said or did, or cancelling a date because he has work to do, or whatever it was that made that girl feel wounded in the past.
In the beginning, the Nice Guy can seem pretty great to date. I know because I've been there. But eventually a couple things happen that aren't so great. One is that you start to notice that Nice Guy is sorely lacking in the categories of intestinal fortitude and moral integrity, which makes him hard to trust or respect. And unless you're in the group of women who just want someone to control, that's not a good thing. The second is that eventually Nice Guy is no longer concerned with how you perceive him because his primary goal is to be liked. Once you're a lock, you go to the bottom of the totem pole, and his behaviour completely changes. Again, I know because I've been there. Several times. Kind of a magnet for Nice Guys with no self-esteem.
But there is another breed of man who possesses many of the finer qualities of the Nice Guy, but is not an insecure weenie. He'll treat you like an equal--which means sometimes he'll tell you something because it's what he really thinks or feels even though it's difficult to say and hard to hear. Granted, he might not hold the door for you, but I bet he'll hold it for the guy on crutches who's half a block away. He might tell you that you're wrong sometimes, but he'll also have the balls to stand up for you when it's the right thing to do. And he'll stand up for other people, too--like the barista being berated by a jerk of a customer. Because he doesn't have to be nice to everyone. He's not the Nice Guy.
He's the Good Guy.
A Good Guy is respectful, considerate, and kind like a Nice Guy. But not to a fault. Just a normal amount that still allows him to be honest. He can still look out for his interests and be aware of whether you are one of his interests. He can still talk about what he really thinks--so you can figure out whether you should even be together and if you are going to be together, he'll talk about problems that arise.
If it doesn't work out, you dated a guy who treated you like an equal and gave you respect and honesty. If it does, you get a really Good Guy who you know always tries to do the right thing even if it isn't the easy thing. And that's a pretty awesome kind of person to get to spend some indefinitely large chunk of your life with.
The best part is that I think there are a lot of Good Guys. Way more Good Guys than Nice Guys. So stop dating Nice Guys. Stop looking for them. Stop bemoaning the lack of them. In fact, next time you see one, tell him to man up and stop being an insecure weenie.
For another interesting Southwestern Ontario female perspective on nice guys (though she doesn't refer to nice guys in the sense that I refer to Nice Guys), check out Sarah's blog post. I think she's bang on and probably said it better than I.