For the uninitiated, the term “Nice Guy” (with caps) refers to the sort of creep who hangs around women in an attempt to get into their pants simply by trying to make himself the “default” choice. He does his best to worm his way into their life and make himself available, and doesn’t take no for an answer, instead preferring to guilt-trip his targets and complain to anyone who will listen about being “friend-zoned”.
Now, I won’t lie; I’ve used the term “friend zone” before (usually jokingly) and, when single, have got depressed that certain women whom I liked and was spending a lot of time with didn’t seem to reciprocate my feelings. Or, to be frank, in most cases didn’t know about my feelings at all. Because I didn’t tell them. Because I am a nervous wreck in even the most mundane of social situations at times, let alone a high-pressure one like confessing that you like someone. If I had been turned down, I would have left it at that. (And in fact, in one case where I did confess my feelings and got turned down, I hit the brakes immediately.)
In short, while I may have, in the past, used some of the terminology or exhibited some of the behaviours of these “Nice Guys”, I am certainly not and have never been a creep. I do not and have never believed, as the wise Mitu Khandaker once said to me when describing this phenomenon, that “if I put in enough Kindness Coins then Sex will fall out”.
I do consider myself a nice guy (no caps), though.
Herein lies the problem I have with this term “Nice Guy” (with caps). It carries with it such baggage that it is no longer possible to refer to yourself or someone else as a “nice guy” (no caps) because of the negative associations with “Nice Guys” (with caps).
See where the confusion is coming from, now?
The thing is, being a person who considers himself (and is often described as) a “nice guy” (no caps) makes me feel like absolute fucking shit any time the “Nice Guy” (with caps) discussion comes up. I know that it’s not about me, I know that I don’t exhibit those behaviours or put women in unsafe or uncomfortable situations, but it still makes me feel like crap. I already lack confidence in personal (not professional) social interactions, especially when meeting new people. I already worry about coming across as a dick, as being boring, as being a creep, and now, with this “Nice Guy” phenomenon and the widespread adoption of “Nice Guy” (with caps) as the accepted terminology, have to worry about whether or not I’m being too nice and coming across as, in the words of my fine friend Campfire Burning (a participant in the discussion from an earlier and another self-professed “nice guy” (no caps)) a “creepy misogynistic would-be or actual rapist or paedophile”.
So please, for the love of all us genuine nice guys (no caps), please please please find another way to describe these creeps. There’s one, in fact. What’s wrong with “creep”? Or “jerk”? Or “terrifying, predatory guy who just won’t leave me alone”? Or “Hello, police, please? Yeah, I’m being stalked.”
I know the reason that people refer to them as “Nice Guys” (with caps) is because they refer to themselves as “Nice Guys” (with caps), but in doing so you’re just reinforcing the stereotype that the words “nice” and “guy” when put together is somehow a bad thing. And it isn’t. Those of us who are nice guys (no caps) are being slammed with the reputation of an unpleasant, undesirable part of society. And that is most certainly Not Okay. So cut it out. Please.