Written By: Jaclyn Lochner; Edited By: Me
It’s Saturday night and you’re in a crowed bar with your girlfriends. You just spent the last three hours primping, and you’ve finally arrived. You’re looking good in your tight skinny jeans, four-inch heels, and low-cut top. Your nails and toes are freshly done and your hair would make any model jealous. It’s time to do some damage. As you walk in, a scrawny guy about your height, shorter because of the heels, quietly introduces himself and politely offers to buy your first drink. At the same time, a hand smacks your backside and a drink of some sort is thrust in your face. You spin around to find a tall, muscular, hunk of man meat slouched against the bar. He doesn’t say a word, just gives you a slight nod. You have no idea what’s in the cup, and he doesn’t even ask your name. Be honest, who are you more likely to talk to?
If you’re like most women, you’re going to pretend you’d say something like, “Oh please you jerk!” and walk over to the nicer guy. A polite conversation would ensue, you'd discover that you had oh-so-much in common, and you'd live happily ever after….BULL!
Studies have shown that while the overwhelming majority of women say that they're looking for “nice guy” attributes, such as kindness, sensitivity, and emotional expressiveness, these same women choose to date “macho men” who are insensitive, distant, jerks (Urbaniak & Kilmann, 2006). The chance that women will make this choice is even higher if the “jerk” is more physically attractive. This leaves all the nice guys in the corner of the bar, marked off as “just friends,” and undoubtedly confused.
Do women really want attractive men who don’t treat them with respect? Is this rule applied to all dating situations or just casual sex partners? Studies have shown that men and women both rank kindness/consideration as one of the most desired attributes in a romantic partner. However, women in the study were more willing to compromise on niceness in short term relationships, including casual sex partners.
On the other side, they were more willing to compromise on attractiveness when considereing long-term mates (Urbaniak & Kilmann, 2006). So apparently, we care less about how we are treated by men we plan on having only a short-term relationship with, but we want them to be hot. And, we don’t mind if our romantic partners in the long-term are a little less attractive, but we want them to score higher in areas like interpersonal skill and responsiveness (Urbaniak & Kilmann, 2006).
My question is, how are we to find Mr. Right and Nice, if we keep chasing after Mr. Hot and Rude? While I agree that women today have a right to get out there and find what it is they are looking for, even if that means that they try the wrong thing a few times, it seems that we women have developed a trend. We fall for the types of guys we know we don’t want because they are attractive to us in the short run. We then rationalize our behavior by saying we’re just being “young and experimental.” We’re not going to seriously date them for goodness sakes.
Meanwhile, we submit ourselves to treatment by men that is hurtful, and sometimes end upbecoming attached to the opposite type we are looking for in a man. These macho men have their behaviors positively reinforced, urging them to keep on acting the way they have been, and the nice guys begin to wonder if they should focus on being less nice. "Some have suggested that men hide their own niceness in order to get the girl. After all, who would want to be perceived as "too nice?" (Urbaniak & Kilmann, 2006).
Okay girls, we need to make a decision. Popular culture as well as books and magazines for years have stated that girls want nice guys who aren’t afraid to share their emotions. If this is the case, why does research show the opposite- that the nice guy always finishes last? In movies like Roxanne and Hitch, the audience sympathizes with the less attractive, but more emotionally open, intellectually articulate underdog. We rejoice when he gets the girl in the end, but is this a misrepresentation of actual life? When was the last time you chose the "nice guy"?Is this the kind of modern women our mothers and grandmothers hoped we would become? While modern times do allow more flexibility in how we go about finding our life mates, have we begun to abuse this privelege? If we purposely choose casual sex partners based mostly on looks, can we be mad at men for doing the same thing?
The movie Shallow Hal shows what happens when a man begins to see women for their inner beauty and their intellectual and emotional qualities. Women and men alike see this movie and laugh at the absurd shallowness of the male character, and rejoice when he chooses the less beautiful choice, who is ultimately the better woman for him. Shouldn’t there be a Shallow Gals movie? Don’t girls do the same thing? Casual dating is no longer a man’s world, but I’m not so sure this is a situation that we should be rejoicing about.
I challenge my readers to open their eyes the next time they are out for a night on the town. Really look around you. Try being aware of every move you make when interacting with the opposite sex. I know it’s hard, but do your best not to focus looks. Maybe you’ll catch yourself flirting with a jerk. Try to ignore his physical charms and take a look at the glimpses he is giving you into his character and personality. A slap on the rear may seem flirtatious in the moment, but is this the kind of rude behavior we have been brought up to value?
Maybe you’ll notice a really nice guy vying for your attention. He may be alone in a corner. He might not even be bad to look at, just not up in your face like the rest. The studies have shown there’s a much higher chance that he’s the one for you. Give him a shot. You might be surprised at the happiness you can find in a “nice guy” for a change.
- Urbaniak, G. C., & Kilmann, P. (2006). Niceness and dating success. A further test of the nice guy stereotype. Sex Roles, 55, 209-224.