I have noticed that more often than not, when I hear someone described as a “nice guy,” the word but naturally follows. “He’s a nice guy but he gets uncomfortably aggressive sometimes.” “I’m sure he’s a nice guy but I’m shocked that anyone could say that!” I think the idea of the “nice guy” has become an excuse for the men who claim the title to get away with saying or doing things that are completely unacceptable.
Take the following situation: my friend went on a date the other day. This guy seemed charming and intelligent, they had a lot in common – he was what most people would consider nice. Halfway through their date, he sparked a conversation in which he completely ripped apart her career and industry on an uneducated opinion. When she asked him to change the subject because she was uncomfortable, he refused. As she told me this story, she talked about how furious she felt and how he had berated her, she continued on to explain that he was still a ‘nice guy’ and she was sure other women would like him… but she just couldn’t get past that conversation.
She absolutely should not have to get past that conversation.
He is not a nice guy. Any person who is willing to make their date feel like absolute shit about their passions is not a nice person. If someone has an opinion, that’s fantastic, let’s speak freely. If you’re visibly and consciously upsetting someone and not fazed by their distraught emotions, that is not nice. You’re an asshole.
I don’t care how charming someone is on the surface, how many friends they have that will vouch they’re a ‘good dude,’ that doesn’t make them nice. That gives no excuse to belittle others, take advantage of their status or make a woman feel bad for not meeting their expectations.
I want to be clear, I’m not talking about the guys who have made a few honest mistakes, lord knows I have made my share… especially when it comes to people I’ve dated. Many of us have hurt our loved ones intentionally in a brief moment of rage or have left a few broken hearts in our wake. I’m talking about the guys who could get away with murder due to their ‘nice guy’ stature. In our culture, ‘nice guys’ have become almost godly, untouchable. Is it because they are seemingly a rare occurrence, so hard to come by?
I think not.
You see, I know genuinely nice guys. The kind that respect women and see them as equals, who fight for human rights and injustice, the ones that adventure and hold doors open. They are out there! They don’t need an excuse. To me, they deserve so much more than the term ‘nice guy,’ they are hilarious, kind hearted, open-minded, respectful men. I don’t want to diminish their worth by continuing to let the idea of the “nice guy” be used as a blanket defense for those who don’t deserve it.