The Nice Man Cometh
Women like me. They are comfortable with me because I am affable and uncomplicated and harmless and moderately attractive. I’m nice. I’m the archetypical “nice guy.”
But that label does nothing to encourage me. I believe that the Nice Guy is an eternally condemned masochist and an unapologetically unaware sadist.
I have chosen this life. I find new and ever-adaptable methods of going the extra mile and meeting a fist to the stomach at the end. I hold doors, notice hairstyles, compliment ensembles, and watch “Gilmore Girls.” I listen to rants about boyfriends and crushes, of which I am neither. The result: friendship, and all of the privileges and pains thereof.
As said masochist, I have come to terms with what I call “relationship purgatory,” the ambiguous in-between in which the Nice Guy resides. Here, the dating game breaks from the “I like you, let’s go out” pattern. I want women I cannot have, women out of my proverbial league. They are beautiful and terrible teases, overly flirtatious though obviously otherwise attached (exception: some of these teases, though not officially involved, have crushes on guys that are not said Nice Guy). These tawdry vixens assail me with devious and maniacal games. String me along for three would-be dates, then tell me you have a long-distance boyfriend? Been there. Flirt with me all week, then go out with a different guy on the weekend? Done that. Sure, they befriend me, but they are, or soon will be, unattainable. And mean.
But as I, the Nice Guy, pine for these unattainables, another female subspecies, the attainables, pine for me. These women, sometimes attractive in their own right, do not interest the apparently not-so-Nice Guy Tyler. They, too, become my friends, awkwardly lavishing affection and favors upon me. I wallow in loaded friendships, unsure of proper etiquette when it comes to accepting a foil-wrapped tray of fresh-baked cheesecake brownies, knowing full well that these delicacies will not get me to ask you out. The attainables’ love crumbs are ashamedly brushed from my lips…
And so I sit in Relationship Purgatory. Tyler, the Nice Guy: friend to all women, overlooked by those I want, wanted by those I overlook. What am I supposed to do about it? Do I boldly confront the flirtatious-but-attached girl? Do I reveal myself (figuratively) to the unattached-but-went-on-a-date-this-weekend girl before she, too, becomes involved? Do I sit idly by and let these women pat me on the head and call me “cute” like I’m some likable-but-not-lovable dog?
I am a true believer. I masochistically give without expectation of reciprocation. I sadistically take and fuel another’s futile hopes. I am a Nice Guy…I think.
And so I sit in Relationship Purgatory.
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