I want a man!  

Posted by Laya in ,

Ohoho, the raised eyebrows. The shock on your faces. It tickles my funnybone.

I actually first thought of titling this "where have all the nice guys gone?" Then, having read all the rants asking why girls pass over nice guys in favor of guys who are not so nice, who mostly treat them like dirt, and enumerating all the virtues of the nice guys that the girls have passed over, I realized: I don't really want a nice guy as described in those rants-- I want a man. That word implying not just a nice guy, but a guy who can stand up for himself, who knows his own mind, speaks it, and acts on it.


I don't really want just a nice guy-- I want a man.

I wouldn't mind a nice guy. I wouldn't mind a shoulder to cry on, a pat on the back, having doors opened for me. I would appreciate it very much if a guy waited outside the department store dressing room for me without grumbling (and passed honest and appreciative judgment on whatever I tried on). But, as a friend of mine once said, it's to a girl's advantage to have a guy best friend-- most of the advantages of having a boyfriend with none of the advantages (er, guy best friends, you know I love you, come back here).

It's just that I'd like a guy to be more assertive. Girls like bad boys, so they say-- and being a girl myself, I'd say it's because the bad boys are always so assertive. If they want you, they tell you without hemming and hawing about it. A girl does like being swept off her feet once in a while. If we already know you are a nice guy, it won't tarnish your image if you threw caution to the winds sometimes. As Amelia Peabody Emerson once told her son in one of Elizabeth Peters' books, a lady might like it when a gentleman finds her beauty so irresistible that it overcomes his scruples. So you may dance attendance on a certain girl all you want, but unless you decide to cross the line, the girl won't think of you as anything more than a best friend, even though she might have entertained the thought that perhaps you were having different feelings for her. As long as you act like a best friend, you'll get treated like one, because the girl won't be able to read your mind and won't want to assume something that isn't there. (Go watch the K-Drama Shining Inheritance. Pay close attention to Sun Woo Hwan and Park Jun Se.) Then, when a badder guy than you comes into her life and latches on to her first, she will turn her attention to him... and even if you confess after that it will be too late. She saw him first, and she might think that you just realized you liked her as more than a friend when she was already with somebody else. Either way, once someone gets her attention ahead of you, you're doomed, unless the other guy is such a jerk that she realizes you're a knight in shining armor in comparison. But even then, human nature being kind of tunnel-vision in that way, it's a long shot.

I know someone who does the best-friend routine as a way of weeding out the wimps from the men. She calls them all "kuya," and waits to see if someone would dare to break the "kuya" assumption. Until now, she bewails the fact that even when the guys show signs of interest in her, none of them ever tells her that they felt any differently. One of our other friends told her that it was likely none of them ever would because they thought she would not be interested in them aside from being a friend. Which begs the question: Does the guy only show open interest, then, when the girl does? To me that would be wimpy... why should it be the girl that first crossed the line? The guy who would wait for the girl to do that is not worth crossing the line for. Corollarily, a girl who would still deny you once you crossed that line for them either really isn't interested in you apart from friendship and will act that way, or go on with that "we're just friends" schtick but take advantage of your feelings, in which case they're probably not worth it.

Sometimes, too, guys simply seem too good to be true (and have girls secretly asking themselves the questions: Is he a saint? No wait... is he gay?). Then they begin to doubt themselves: If he's a saint... then he's too good for me and I don't deserve him. We're illogical that way. If he's gay, then I shouldn't fall for him as I might just get hurt if he rejects me. It's that "too good" thing that really traps us. (Go read Jane Eyre and watch Queen Seon Deok. Pay attention to St. John Rivers and Edward Rochester in the former, and to Yushin and Bidam in the latter... then ask yourself why Jane fell for Rochester and Seon Deok fell for Bidam. Until now I want to whack the quintessential nice guy Yushin on the head with a palu-palo for being too nice. He had Seon Deok right there... and he stepped aside and let her fall for somebody else.)

The part about not wanting to ruin a friendship also rings true: for girls who've been dumped, friends probably last more than boyfriends. In which case she wants to keep you for as long as she can, logic being that boyfriends come and go, but friends are forever. So you're more important to her, really. It's up to you to prove it to her that a best friend can be a boyfriend; better yet, that a best friend can be a boyfriend who will never leave. Otherwise, she'll settle for half a loaf... a friend who will always be around, even if she has to share him with other people.

All of this really poses an knotty dilemma. Some people who put emphasis on trust might view falling in love with a friend as a betrayal of that trust. A guy may be hesitant of telling a girl his feelings because she might feel that he really wanted something else all along and was just stringing her along with his talk of friendship; a girl might think, and for good reason, that a guy friend would leave if she fell for him. It happens. It comes to an impasse between one's own concept of what is honorable and what is not. If you really were just going through a nice guy act just to get laid, then "get thee away," you're worse than the baddest of bad boys, and don't have the right to gripe about how nice guys finish last, because you really aren't a nice guy at heart.

A real man, on the other hand, to me is a completely different thing. He'd be the guy who does all the things the nice guys do but knows when to put his foot down. He'd be the guy who'd tell me honestly, but nicely, what he feels, and who'd have the strength to face whatever I told him in return. He'd insist that I stop playing around and give him a straight answer, instead of giving in to me every time I dragged him along as "a symbolic warm body for my ego." A real man has enough self-respect not to let me make a fool out of him, and enough respect for me to speak to me honestly about how I make him feel. He would know how to be supportive and protective without being suffocating, and how to let me do my own thing without being too compliant.

So yes, I really don't want a nice guy. Bring on the men.

This entry was posted at Tuesday, April 13, 2010 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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