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  • Robert Farago

The Truth About Men Being Nice

A new friend (not shown) spills the tea

Social media coaches continue to excoriate men for simping: being too nice to women. They’re still telling impressionable lonely hearts to follow ye olde “treat ‘em mean to keep ‘em keen” strategy. News flash! It does work…

Not with every woman every time. But a lot more often than you’d imagine – assuming you can’t imagine a woman letting a guy bully and cajole his way into her bed.

Note the cajole part of the program. That’s key. But first, why would a woman fall for a man who’s being a dick to get his dick wet? I mean, establish a satisfying long-term relationship?

Exploiting insecurity

Women are insecure. Don’t take my word for it. According to, 85 percent of women don’t consider themselves to be attractive. This deficit is more than skin deep.

79% of women admit to having struggled with their self-esteem at some point in their lives. More than half of women don’t believe other people like them. What’s more, 62 percent of women said they do not believe they are intelligent.

Mean men zero-in on a woman’s self-doubt like a laser-guided missile. The loathsome Lotharios destroy their target’s defenses by triggering them.

What’s wrong with me? an offended female wants to know.

This provokes a need to prove herself worthy – even to an aggressive, conceited, unwoke asshole trying to get her to do the horizontal mambo. Romeo and Juliet it ain’t, but game on!

Basic biology

Dating coaches see that description as a feature, not a bug. A mean man is an “I’m the prize” alpha. (Unlike the pleading protagonist in the song above.) The mean alpha appeals to a woman’s baked-in biological need to be… wait for it… dominated.

But wait equality-offended peeps, there’s more! The love gurus argue that being mean is a firm foundation for the future.

A man who avoids displays of deference and eschews unsolicited solicitude (i.e., being nice) forces a woman to play on his terms. Where everyone’s happier!

This is where it gets interesting…

Remember the cajole component? The soothsayers say men should be both mean and nice, intermittently. Blow hot and cold, right from the git-go. Ye olde “keep ‘em guessing” shtick.

In theory, this makes women more appreciative of, if not desperate for, niceness. Because they never know when it will arrive.

Cruel? Manipulative? You betcha! Effective? Let’s go to the tape…

Bodice Rippers FTW?

One dating coach pointed to the popularity of romance novels as proof that nice is a four-letter word. A genre that puts women on a roller coaster ride.

“Is he a good guy or a bad guy? Is he after me or my dowry? Does the dragon slayer love the princess or me, a lowly servant girl? Will he live to choose?” That sort of thing.

I ran this roller coaster of love theory by a comely acquaintance. She said romance novels aren’t about romantic uncertainty in and of itself.

“They’re about adventure,” she declared. More specifically, “excitement.” In other words, women are attracted to men who aren’t boring.

The problem: “nice men” and “boring men” occupy the same space in the Venn diagram of attractiveness. In this, the gurus are not entirely maybe even mostly wrong.

It’s certainly true that Bob from accounting is going to have a hard time picking-up women unless he finds a way not to be boring Bob from accounting.

My female advisor thinks that’s the main reason being mean works: it’s interesting! Different! Exciting!

A man who isn’t wealthy or a Brad-Pitt-a-like (i.e. intrinsically exciting) who wants to be nice and romantically successful needs to be both nice and exciting.

How can a nice, not-that-handsome or wealthy man be exciting?

According to my female friend, excitement is an attitude. A nice guy who’s excited about life in a confident way is exciting. Even nerds get laid, she might have said.

Start as you mean to finish

“Setting a hook with thrills isn’t enough,” the divorcée demurred. “You’ve got to keep it exciting.”

“When a man’s in a relationship, he should do everything he can to make sure it’s an adventure. New people, places and experiences, both sexual and otherwise.”

OK, I added that last bit. Anyway, the bottom line for nice guys comes from a riff on Frank Herbert’s Dune, “boredom is the date-killer.”

Sound advice? Or was my date just being nice, telling me what I wanted to hear? Watch this space.


Please share a link to The Truth About Everything with your friends, family, co-workers and casual acquaintances. They may not thank you, but I will. Promise.

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