Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Nice Guys

oohhhh. This is a good one.

Typhonblue has a rant up about "Nice Guys" vs. "Jerks"... (Hugo has an entirely different rant up about this article, but it triggered way different things for me).

Who would you rather date? (for those of you, fair chiklits, with an interest in dating men).

She has some interesting stuff up, and some good thoughts. But I worry when she says she's happy to have Jerk boyfriend who'll hit her back when she hits him. If you guys are smacking the crap out of each other in anger, you shouldn't be together.

But that's me. I still like to pretend that men and women can be in equal, respectful, loving relationships where they make each other better instead of dragging each other down into a pit of abject despair.

I'm old-fashioned that way.

I constantly hear Nice Guys ranting about how this woman who is just gorgeous, just like a model, is living with this good-looking, unemployed, alcoholic dickwad when she could get any man she wanted. Nice Guys never seem notice that the woman is an unemployed alcoholic dickwad.

Ohhhh boy. Yea. Ain't that the truth.

My buddy Jem: "She seems like such a nice girl. Why is she with that asshole, Kameron?"

Me: "Cause she's an asshole? Stop thinking with your dick and pretending it's your logic."

I have had a good many "nice guy" friends who I got to listen wax on about how amazing some woman was (and in high school, these were usually the "experienced" women - the ones who slept with four or five different guys every year - only, not with them), how "no one else really understands her," how "she's just so sad all the time, so confused, I could help her," how "I don't understand why she comes and talks to me and has sex with him."

Believe me, buddy: it's better for you that she's sleeping with him. They deserve each other. That woman ain't no soft cookie. She'll eat you alive. Or, hell, the one I'm thinking of would have eaten *me* alive, too.

The "all women are goddesses" lament is a problem because it creates a dichotomy. If all women are goddesses, but the goddess doesn't want you, you start to resent women, and "they" get pushed onto the flip side of that, which is "whore."

The problem with worship is what happens when you lose your faith. You tend to want to destroy everything you believed in.

And I've met "Nice Guys" who did that, too.

Nice Guys are incapable of discerning differences in the personality traits of women. Perhaps this is why Nice Guys always bemoan the model-types who date Jerks, rather then the average types who date Jerks. Since all women have the same personality – beatific, angelic, perfect – there is no way Ms. Plain Jane can compete with a beautiful woman for the attention of a Nice Guy via any positive character qualities she might posess. Beauty is the only criteria for judging women in the eyes of a Nice Guy. Thus the Nice Guy’s astounding tendency to complain about how no woman notices him, while a Nice Girl is trying to say hello.

Yep. These are the Nice Guys who'll sit over coffee with me lamenting about all of the amazing women who aren't interested in them, even though they open the door for them and everything. Often, I'll try and sneak something in like, "Maybe if you were employed and had some passion about something, she might look twice at you," but that might be stretching it a little thin with them.

The worst sitting-over-coffee-with-a-nice-guy thing is when you're listening to him moan about how great the hot chick with Major Issues really is (cause he can just see into her soul), while all you really want to do it is leap across the table and have sex with him right there.

Being a not-hot chick with minor issues, you either fall off the Nice Guy radar, or they put you on it as "goddess," and don't treat you like a real person.

And I think that's what the author was really getting at: guys who actually act like themselves, who say, "This is me," and treat you like a real person are the sorts of people you want to hang out with.

Guys who pull on a Nice Guy hood and then bitch because they're moving all of the pieces around and not getting any "reward" for it (like, say, sex), aren't really Nice Guys at all. They just think they are.

Here's where I start to worry about her rant:

Because my Jerk boyfriend doesn’t carry my pack, I’ve gotten that much stronger and more rational about what I pack. Because he doesn’t give me his jacket, I learn to remember it so I have it even when he can’t offer his. Because he doesn’t always drop everything and tend to my emotional ills, I’ve become more independent and capable of tending to them myself. Because he hits me if I hit him, I’m reminded that I’m accountable for my actions. Because he doesn’t reward my bad behavior, he’s helped me mature and grow up.

Cause it's your boyfriend's job to play dad?

The hitting thing bugs me, but there's something to what she says, and here's where I agree: I'd rather I was treated like a human being than an angel. That doesn't mean telling me I'm a fucking loser, stupid, or hitting me. That's not treating me like a human being either.

What is does mean is that if you get me a dozen roses every week when, in fact, I actually don't like roses, you're not actually being all that nice to me (yes, I had somebody who did this). What it means is that you haven't heard a word I've said, and you're getting the roses for yourself, which is great: but don't pretend it's about me. You're living in a fantasyland about the way the dynamics of a "relationship" are supposed to work, not being yourself, and not respecting me (as a side note: it turns out he liked roses, and wouldn't have minded me getting him roses... now, that I can deal with. Shit, guy, tell me these things, OK? No, darling I don't "think it's gay." Damn. This is why communication is important).

And what I see when I look at men who try very hard to be "nice guys" and then wonder why they aren't getting dates with the sorts of women they want (and there are, indeed, some who are indeed quite happy to date women who look like real people), are guys who are trapped in "this is the way it's supposed to be" script.

As nice as that script may work for imaginary women living in fantasyland, you're going to get more affection if instead of playing by a set script, you listen to what the hell she's saying and make some alterations in your "affection" tactics. If she doesn't like flowers, find out what the hell she likes. And - and this is important - if she disrespects you, leave. Because I wouldn't expect a woman to stay with a guy who disrespected her any more than I'd expect a guy to. Cause people are people, and if we can get away with being assholes, most of us probably will. And who the hell really wants to be with somebody who doesn't respect themselves?

I'm obviously carrying around a lot of bias against guys who described themselves as "nice," because when I sit down with them, they sound a lot like martyrs. I used to describe myself as a "nice" girl. But you know, I realized being nice was, in fact, really boring. I got a few dates that way, but they weren't with people who were very interesting, and there was going to come a point where I was going to be who I was, and he would either freak out, or try and get me back to being "nice."

So I don't bitch that I'm not dating anyone because I'm "nice." In fact, I'm not dating anyone by choice - the people who've made inquiries or who I've met haven't done much for me, and I'm not yet at the point where I'm ready to actively pursue.

But I did used to bitch about being nice and unnoticed, so I know where some of these guys are coming from. I know all about what it is to try and play by the script, and not have it work, and not know why.

In my case, it was because I never got to be myself, so I never had any fun, so the guy I was with didn't have much fun (or if he did, it wasn't enough fun for me to continue).

The Nice Guy, while searching for a Goddess, eventually turns into a non-person, too, and might even become somebody he's not so sure he really wants to be.

Find out who you are first, before you go looking for a woman to fill up the void in your life.

You might realize that that was the problem all along.

Weighing in On "Why I'm a Feminist"

This is an old one, but I only recently found it. Check it out.

And So My Schedule Shapes Up

Finally, a project kick-off that will result in actual work. I'll be in Indianapolis on Thursday, heading down with Yellow and Sarah the construction manager. Not an overnight thing, but home late. Meaning I'll have to go jogging Friday night instead of Thursday night. That's OK. I can handle that.

Heading to New Jersey on Monday morning, booking the 14th-22rd (which gives me my New York weekend ha ha - see my sneakiness), unless Mosh uncovers my sneaky New York weekend plan. But I don't think he'll mind. Me staying over a weekend *saves* them money, in the long run. heh heh

Possibly, more New York the first week of March for some training sessions. These people keep investing more and more money in me, like I have a Real Job or something.

It's going to be a busy year.

EDIT: My bosses are all insane. They can't make up their minds. First it's X, then Y, then Z. They better figure out what the hell they want me to do, travel-wise, by the time I leave today, cause you better bet I have no interest in staying here past 3pm, being bored out of my ever-loving mind, and I've got plans to make.

Another Day, Another Roundhouse, Another Bad Right Hook

Had a tough MA class last night. I was frustrated at work, and then showed up to class and wasn't performing at the energy level I really wanted to perform at, and I kept feeling like I was fucking everything up, which launched me into my self-hate talk, which wasn't made any better by the presence of all the mirrors.

Sometimes it just gets to me.

When I got home, I realized how hungry I'd been, and ate, then fell into bed at quarter to nine - realizing how tired I was, and slept right to my alarm at 5:15am.

What amazes me about taking martial arts classes is how much it's about repetition. You do the same things, the same drills, over and over and over again. Then you get corrected on what you're doing wrong. Then you do it over and over again. Then you get corrected again. Then you do it again.

The amazing part about it is that after a while, somebody tells you to do a front kick, a double jab/right cross/left hook, or jab-jab-cross-front kick-roundhouse, and you just sort of do it. You know what they're talking about, and even if the form isn't perfect, you do it.

One of the women taking a trial class last night asked me how long I'd been coming in, and I didn't realize until I said it, "Eight months," that that's really how long I've been doing this. I was frustrated, again, that I wasn't performing better during that class, knowing how long I've been doing it. She asked how I liked it, and I got to wax on about how much I love my martial arts school, how nice everyone is, how great Sifu Kat is, how it's worth every bloody penny (and it's a lot of pennies), how my confidence has improved, how it only took two weeks before I started seeing muscles, increase in strength and stamina. And as an afterthought (she wasn't thin), I added that I'd also dropped a couple of sizes.

But I realized that bit was indeed at the end of my list. Sort of an added bonus.

I've talked a lot about how frustrating my weight has been for me, especially since I'm used to crash dieting and crash binging, jumping alarmingly up and down the scale as I please. And during class, I know that one of the big motivators for my self-hate talk were those mirrors.

And I don't know when I'm going to come to grips with my body. Every time I think I've nailed it again, everytime I think, "This is the last time I'm going to bitch about myself," I'll have a low day, and my record gets stuck.

Because I know that at a size 20 or a size 12, I have the same view of myself. My body gets smaller, but retains the same shape. I will never been thin, I will never be boyish-looking. I will never dye my hair blonde. I will never get a boob job. And no matter how much I get irritated with my body, I'll never get liposuction.

I have resolved to like myself just as I am while striving to be the best person *I* can be, not the best person hair dye and scalpels can make me, because ultimately, what scalpels do is make you look like everybody else. They don't make you look like you.

I have bad moments. I get frustrated. I want to punch in the mirror and scream at it, "How can I be working so goddamn hard and still look like *this*?"

Last night, talking with the woman taking the trial class, who was not thin, who had been working her butt off in class with us and kept up pretty damn well, she mentioned she'd been working out with a personal trainer for a year.

She, like me, did not look like she'd been working her ass off for a year.

And I wondered, "How many of us are there? These incredibly strong, healthy women who eat well and exercise and are going to live until they're a hundred and twelve, who are being told there's something wrong with their bodies when in fact, there's nothing wrong with them at all? When in fact, they're some of the healthiest people you'd ever meet, and the only thing eating them up every night is worry over why it is their hips continue to carry around baby-making weight when the last thing they really want is babies?"

I have amazing genetics. Despite the fact that some of them treat themselves like shit (no exercise/crap diet/alcoholic), we live for an amazingly long time. Going by genetics alone, unless I get cancer or get hit by a bus, I'll live at least into my nineties, and probably pretty far into that. And I'll do it with these goddamn hips.

And maybe that's the worst part of the self-hate talk, those self-hate moments, because that night, pulling on me sweat pants and tank top for bed, I looked in the mirror and realized that I, personally, really did actually like myself. That I didn't mind the flair of the hips, or the fact that I could stand to lose 25lbs. I didn't mind being curvy and solid.

The reason I was so stressed out in class was because I was with a bunch of other people who we're thinner and/or stronger than I was. I was with a group of people who could possibly be judging me, and for anybody who's ever identified as a fat girl, you know how worried you can get when exercising en mass. Thinking, "I'm too fat to perform well," meant me not performing as well, meant me tripping up, meant me falling into the hate-talk spiral.

This morning I rolled out of bed, well-rested, with a pleasant ache from class, and got dressed in new shirt, my brown jacket, my favorite jeans. Put on that French perfume, got my hair right - and startled myself when I looked in the mirror.

Because I like the way I look. No, I'm not perfect. And no, I don't look like everyone else. Yes, yes, I told myself as I looked, I can stand to lose 25lbs, and I'm doing that this year, slowly, like a reasonable person, because that's my set weight, and that's where my body's headed. But right now, that person staring back at me, that body, is really OK. Seriously. Really. You look like yourself. And that's not mean or bad or ugly or evil. It's just you. You look like you. And you're not a bad person.

Stop. With. The. Self. Hate. Talk.

Dammit. Just... stop.

Why do you constantly care about what other people think? Why do you constantly break yourself down before they get a chance to?

One of the survival tactics I developed in the 6th grade, when I experienced the worst of grade-school harrassment, was to find out all of my faults and think up the worst insults they could result in *before* my tormentors did so. It made me very good at finding all of the things "wrong" with me.

Later, as I got older and started pining after impossible guys who weren't interested in me, I'd try and figure out what about me I was supposed to change in order to be loved, in order to be liked.

What I realized later was that the moment I liked myself, the moment I stopped caring about what everyone else thought, the more I stood up for myself and said, "Yep. Here. This is who I am, and I like being this way," the more people were drawn to me, the more people wanted to hang out with me.

Self-confidence is a powerful thing, and I know that I had one good friend bitch at me because of that confidence when I was first discovering it as a high school freshman.

He insisted I was becoming arrogant, I was becoming "a bitch..." What I later learned was that this "friend" of mine was upset that I wasn't spending as much time with him, that my newfound confidence meant I could expand my social circle and not rely on his "counsel."

Add that to the fact that I spent some time being "trained" and then spent down time in a household full of self-hate talk, and what you end up with is a woman staring into the mirror who's constantly at war with herself.

One day, I remember I really like the way I look, and fuck all you fuckers, the next day I get pissed off because I'm not "thin enough," which in the US is now equated with being "good enough." Not just in an attractive sense, but in a literal moral sense. Being overweight is being seen as a sign of moral decay. You're lazy, decadent, give in too much to your desires.

And I think of that woman in my MA class who was seeing a personal trainer, I think of myself, who's not only running twice a week and going to three MA classes a week and working with free weights every morning, watching what I eat, but I'd been doing those free weights and light cardio for six months *before* I started the classes, and before that, even though I was eating crappy and taking crappy care of myself, I was still doing light exercise regularly. And *before that* - except for a couple crappy six month periods - I spent two years in Alaska and a year before Alaska actually being somewhat active and paying attention to what I ate.

And I think: I'm going to outlive everyone. I'm going to be a size 14 and outlive everybody, and I'm going to be able to kick their asses, and unless I stand up for myself, and stop fucking hating myself, I'm the only person who's going to know that.

If I get pissed off at what I see in the mirror, they'll see it and get pissed off, too. If I can't even treat myself with some kind of respect, I can't expect anyone else to do so.

I need less bad days. I need less self-hate talk. I need to alter my default.

It's one day at a time. It's never over. Some days are just better than others.

And you deal with that. And you get up, and you go again.

Conversations With My Roommate

As I don’t actually do anything here all day, and Jenn is a procrastinator, we often send e-mail back and forth to bide our time.

Yesterday, she sent me this clip of “a man saving a gazelle.” I was unimpressed, and did not respond.

Several hours later, this conversation ensued:

Jenn: Do you not love the man saving the gazelle? Is he not excellent?

Me: You realize that though the gazelle was saved, the Cheetah now goes hungry.

Jenn: Screw the cheetahs and their oppressive regime! Do they value freedom? Do their people have liberty? Do they know SCIENCE? We should invade their country and overthrow their evil dictator, then give gazelles the vote!

All we have to do is send a small unit of our troops in to rescue the gazelles, just as that lone citizen did - this will spark a revolution that spread like wildfire! Soon you will see a coalition of the willing charging in to save the gazelles - our soldiers will be sprinting alongside wildebeests, elephants, caffeinated sloths, and the occasional arctic moose!

Me: Oh, Jenn.

Jenn: I am offended by your patronizing tone, my roommate. The men and women of this country could do worse than getting out there every once in a while to rescue the odd gazelle.

Me: I just don't think I have anything to say to that. I mean, really. You know, cheetahs have spots. Like giraffes.

Jenn: I'm sure that lily-livered Brendan is a cheetah sympathizer, then. We'll have to keep an eye on him.

Moral of the story: watch out for the cheetah sympathizers.

I have the Best. Friends. Ever.

Hopping into Bed With Somebody of the Same Sex Means You're Bad With Money

Oh, boy. Wow. I love professors.

I'm not even going to tell you how much better pretty much everybody I know is with money, compared to me: but let me tell you, who they go to bed with every night (or every year, or on a good weekend) has nothing to do with how well they spend their money or how much they put into savings. Like, at all.

I want to see this guy's scientific studies. I want your raw data, your control group, dickwad.

I could make up some "generalities" about dumb-ass, old white male professors, and how great they are at sticking their feet in their mouths and playing holier-than-thou, but I'm not going to to do it, because though it may be "generally" true, what kind of half-assed "studies" or "theories" do I have to go on?

Why, none. So I won't walk into a classroom and tell them you're an asshole cause you were born white, male, and mostly straight.

via Positive Liberty, who talks more about it.

Do Women With Fake Breasts Live Longer?

What a fucktard.

Who the fuck elected this guy? Who cast their vote for him? I really, really want to meet these people. I imagine that they are utterly fascinating individuals.

Someone Else's Thoughts on Attraction & Desire

Nice post by ActivistGradGirl about desire and attraction, which I may have linked to before, but which I've recently re-read, and still like very much.

I love examining desire and attraction, because not only are they deeply personal respones, but they're also unique to each person. It's one of the reasons I've always hated sexuality labels, and the ways in which we're allowed to talk about sex. There's a dialogue we aren't really allowed to have, when we try to pretend that desire and attraction are exactly the same across the board.

Most Excellent

You Are the Very Gay Peppermint Patty!

Softball is the huge tipoff here...
As well as a "best friend" who loves to call her "sir"