Treat 'em Mean, Keep 'em Keen

I prefer men who are kind and treat me with respect. I believe most women feel the same. Even though I am convinced of this, I am constantly forced to defend my gender in these moronic women-hate-nice-guys arguments with my male friends. When I wrote a few weeks back that women prefer sweethearts to swine, I got a bunch of mail refuting this. Not surprisingly, all of the letters I received telling me that women actually prefer assholes to nice guys were written by men. Here's one of them:

I absolutely disagree with your statement that women like nice guys. My experience tells me that's just not so. This isn't just based on me getting dumped for an asshole (which has happened), but also based on what I've seen from my female friends. Women (for the most part) like the idea of the exciting guy who is mysterious and rebellious (the James Dean type). That's OK, but those types tend to be emotionally unavailable, violent, noncommittal, and unfaithful. Any time my friends describe a first date with a guy and use the phrase "he was nice," I know there will not be a second date. I used to have the nice guy affliction, but eventually I realized that few women respect that. I've learned that you have to ration out the "nice" behavior. Otherwise, you don't get phone calls returned and are taken for granted. I won't treat women badly! I feel if a woman isn't comfortable with being respected or treated with affection, she isn't worth my time.

You won't treat a woman badly? Well, bully for you! On behalf of women everywhere, let me proffer my sincerest thanks. This may fall under the category of blatant generalization, but I find that men—more often than women—are wont to think they deserve some sort of Emmy for exhibiting behavior that is, at best, civil. If your most awesome quality is that you don't torture small animals or slap your girlfriend around, is that really such a great achievement?

I was out with one of my best friends and her on-again/off-again boyfriend recently. The moment she split for the bathroom, he turned and asked me if he should stop being so nice to her—his idea being that perhaps if he were a little crueler she might like him more. It was all I could do to keep from bitch-slapping him right off his barstool. I managed to keep it together long enough to hiss that I thought he was being an idiot and that now would probably be a good time to shut his cakehole. See, this guy had such a high opinion of himself that he felt the only thing she could possibly find wrong with him was that he was too nice. This was far from the case. First off, he wasn't that nice, and secondly, he has more than his fair share of irritating traits (as do most humans, except for me).

I confess that way back when I was a kid, I dated more than my fair share of abusive assholes. I was guilty of being drawn to the brooding loner type, thinking him deeper and more mysterious than the average bear. Time (along with a couple black eyes) taught me that this was not the case.

Relationships are not as complicated as people think. We are animals, and lots of times it comes down to chemistry. I'm a nice girl, my current crush is an extremely nice boy who remains utterly uninterested in jumping my bones. Does that mean I should suddenly start behaving badly? No. All it means is that I'm not his type (fool!), so I guess we'll just stay friends (grrrrr).

That said, there is a big fat line between being nice and being a pantywaist. In my experience, men often confuse the two sides of this canyonlike gap and equate niceness with being a doormat. Nobody likes a wuss. Confidence that doesn't cross over to cockiness looks good on everyone, regardless of gender.

Scores of people out there are hell-bent on injecting drama and pain into their dismal little lives. This is not a quirk peculiar to women. Plenty of men I know are drawn to the obviously insane and/or cruel bitches of the world. I was briefly involved with a man I knew I could have wrapped around my finger if only I'd been a little bossier and a tad abusive. But who has time for that? Now he's got himself a nasty girlfriend who takes all his money and treats him like shit. They'll probably get married.

Make nice with dategirl at or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave Ste 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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