Some men just need to be taken out back and shot. Wait. Let me rephrase that…nope, that pretty much sums it up. Now while I obviously don’t mean that literally there are just some men who…whew Lordy. As women we’re taught to look out for the liars, cheaters and just overall losers. We hear these horror stories from our sister’s best friend’s mother’s neighbor’s cat; stories of men who have left women for her best friend or a woman coming home early from work one day and finding her husband parading through the house in her heels and pink negligee. These stories scare us to death and when we actually meet a seemingly nice guy we cling to him like a life raft. We’ve been told from day one that there are “bad boys” and “nice guys”; you date one and marry the other. But what happens when you can no longer differentiate between the two? Or is it that we just don’t want to?
Sixty years after his death, James Dean is still the iconic “bad boy.” You say those two words and you immediately think of leather jackets, motorcycles and tight jeans..yes please. While you’re lucky if he buys you dinner first and certainly won’t call the next day, there’s an element of thrill there that men have been using to their advantage for decades. Then there’s the nice guy. There isn’t a smoldering, sexed up poster child for him. I hear “nice guy” and I immediately either think of my accountant or one of those “Great personality” types. Not as appealing. But. The thing about a nice guy is that you know you’ll be treated like a lady. He’ll treat you with the utmost respect and call when he says he will. And then there’s a different type of man; one who isn’t as easily identifiable. He’s the bad boy pretending to be a nice guy; a wolf in sheep’s clothing and you don’t stand a chance.
By now, I pretty much know the “type” of man I like. There isn’t a specific height, weight or build but, for me, it all boils down to personality. I like a man who walks into a room and owns it, one who is confident and has a personality as big as life. It’s been my experience that that type of man is usually just on the other side of cocky but, to quote a girlfriend, “I like a little bit of an a**hole in my man.” You don’t normally find that in a nice guy do you? There’s my problem. But last week, I thought I just might have met a nice guy who fit the bill. He was sweet, thoughtful and attentive and seemed more than a little interested in me. It was perfect. And then it wasn’t. We had spent all night together, laughing and talking about nothing and had been mistaken for a couple on more than one occasion. Hours into the evening, we were on our way to grab a drink and had already made plans to see each other again when he oh so casually dropped into the conversation: “Oh by the way, I’m engaged. Ready to go?” Um. No. No I am not. Cursing him in the middle of the street didn’t seem like the best option and I was simply too shocked to say anything other than “Congratulations.” Because, really, what was I supposed to say? I had been completely duped; he was a seemingly “nice guy” that was just too good, or too shady, to be true.
A lot of women consider themselves to be a good judge of character. I certainly do. But when you look at the men we date…are we really, ladies? Are we so desperate, (yes, I said it, desperate) to find that elusive nice guy that we overlook certain qualities or character flaws in the not-so-nice guys? Or are the men so dang good at pulling the wool over our eyes that we just don’t see it until it’s too late? I think it’s a little of both. I have a girlfriend who moved to New York and promptly met, fell in love and moved in with an out of work actor whom she constantly referred to as “the most wonderful man.” My friend was going to school and working two jobs while her Mr. Wonderful did…nothing. Yet still, they went out to dinner every night and he constantly bought her jewelry and sent her flowers. They had been dating for a year when the police showed up at her door and arrested Mr. Wonderful for nine counts of identity theft. Now who saw that coming?
There’s a well worn cliché that says nice guys finish last. But in love, I don’t think that’s the case. Yes, all women go though a bad boy stage and there are times in our lives where the last thing we want is a “nice guy”. But then age, maturity and a longing for substance and stability takes over and it’s the nice guys that we run too. Whether it be bad boys or nice guys, it’s the character of the man makes all the difference in the world, making them caring, genuine, kind hearted men. And that is something you just can’t fake.0