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Author Topic: Soliloquy of a Nice Guy
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Icon 1 posted January 28, 2002 11:00      Profile for EngrBohn     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
With the thread last week about "nice geeks", I decided to dig out a piece I wrote my sophomore year in college. I wrote while being frustrated at my reputation as a Nice Guy and how it tended to result in girl friends but not girlfriends. I wrote it about six months before I met Caryl, and after she'd read it (months later), she remarked that she wouldn't have considered dating me if I weren't a Nice Guy.

Reading over it today, I notice a couple generalizations that may stick in some people's craws, so to explain them: regarding the "Plain Jane implies intelligent", that was based on the deduction that a girl at a university who wasn't concerned about her looks had to be there because she was interested in academics; regarding the comment about liberals, well let's just say I had a narrower world-view twelve years ago.

Without furthe ado...

Soliloquy of a Nice Guy
...of events transpired during the evening of March 17, 1990
by Christopher A. Bohn
March 18, 1990

(all names other than my own have been changed)

"You sure do talk a lot when you're drunk," Joe comments to Kelly.
Kelly, two sheets to the wind, replies, "And I laugh a lot, too." Sandy laughs in agreement. "I also tell people what I really think of them."
Cathy, seeing a chance to have some fun, asks, "What do you think of Keith?"
"I'm too pissed to talk about him right now."
"What about Jones?"
"He's a Hot Stud." Kelly had mentioned earlier her desires to find a Hot Stud tonight.
Joe tosses in, "How about Homer?"
Grinning, Kelly replies, "He's a little strange."
Wanting to ask her what she thought of me, but not wanting to ask it as my first question, I start off, "What about Walker?"
Grabbing Joe's shoulders, she answers, "Walker's my hero." She then snorts out a laugh.
And I continue, "What do you think of Bohn?"
As seriously as she can, Kelly says, "Bohn's a Nice Guy."

Bohn's a Nice Guy. That's what she said. Bohn's a Nice Guy. I've always been trying to be a Nice Guy, but now that someone's said that I'm a Nice Guy, it suddenly no longer has the same appeal it used to.
Even in High School, I'd always been trying to be a Nice Guy, offering to be a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. That's me: Mr. Nice Guy. I thought I made the choice to be a Nice Guy, but I'm not so sure now. Maybe my parents molded it into me. If so, do I have them to thank, or to blame?

  • Only one person ever took me up on my offer to be a listening ear. She talked about problems with her parents and with her friends. She talked about the time she had tried to kill herself. I stayed understanding the whole time. I comforted her as much as I could. Afterwards, though, I realized what I burden I'd put on myself. I privately swore I'd never tell anyone what she told me, and I wouldn't. But, God, it wasn't going to be easy.
    A couple months later, at a cheerleader camp, I and the other (all female) cheerleaders from Desert High were in a room, talking. One of them commented, during a tearful soul-spilling, "Chris, no matter what anyone says, you're still one of us." Later that evening, we had an impromptu meeting shortly after we had finished taking showers, so the girls were all rather scantily-clad. During this meeeting, one of them, just realizing the situation, suddenly exclaimed, "Hey! Most guys would kill to be in this situation, and Chris is just standing there, as though we weren't dressed like this!" They realized I wouldn't "Try anything": they knew I'm a Nice Guy.
    But there are disadvantages to being a Nice Guy. It hurts. I've discovered something. Despite what they say, most girls do not seem to be interested in a caring, sensitive guy for a boyfriend. They want something more than a Nice Guy. Once, asking a girl to go to the Prom with me, she stopped me and said, "Oh, Chris, I think I know what you're going to ask me. Please don't." Before asking her, I had made certain she had no other plans, that no one else was going to ask her, and that she wasn't waiting for someone else to ask her. Yet, she says no. She doesn't want to be the date of someone whose outstanding asset is that he's a Nice Guy.

"I don't want to be a Nice Guy. I want to be a Hot Stud," I insist. The other four insist that I should just stay a Nice Guy.

Great, I should just stay a Nice Guy. They don't know how frustrating it is to be a Nice Guy. I still feel the same desires every other male feels. But more than that, I feel another need. Whenever I feel lonely, which isn't too infrequently, I feel the need to just hold someone and be held. But since being just a Nice Guy doesn't permit me to get close enough to a girl to hold and be held, I have to suffer through this. But no, these people don't seem to realize just how much it hurts.
Before, I justified my pain by telling myself that being able to honestly do my best to help others feel better and safe was something to feel good about. Even still, it somehow feels like an empty excuse.

I can hear the sound of the party as we approach it. I can't tell how may people are there; I just hope it isn't crowded. Kelly and Sandy are going on about something or other. Maybe I should be paying attention to what they're saying.
Turning a corner into the building, I see that the place is incredibly crowded. I walk into the apartment and look around. God, is it crowded! I lean against the wall and just watch.
Well, well. What do you know? There's Jean, the only girl that got me to stop being a Nice Guy to her.

  • As a freshman, I'd asked her to the movies, hoping to get a girlfriend. After that, we'd gone to the movies a couple more times. After only the second date, she told me about some of her conversations with other people, where she referred to me as her boyfriend. This was a little sooner than I had expected to be considered part of a "couple", but I wasn't about to complain.
    The evening after our third date, she initiated holding-hands, and once again, I wasn't complaining. When it started raining that night, we sought cover undera bridge, where the only place to sit was a thick log. Sitting astride this log for several hours, I finally was able to hold and be held.
    Since she was not planning on going home for Thanksgiving, I, being a Nice Guy, invited her home. It was during Thanksgiving Break that she introduced me to an experience which, as a Nice Guy, I would never have been able to initiate.
    Being a Nice Guy, when I found that I was not enjoying our level of intimacy, it was ever so painful to suggest that we break apart. Juduging from her behavior, she does not seem to have forgiven me for breaking up. This, too, is terribly painful.

Much of the crowd has left to go outside, so I decide to find some people to dance with. I find some people I know, and I start dancing. There's Jennifer and Michelle and a couple other people. Michelle is very much adorned in green. Jennifer is looking particularly -
...Nice Guy!...
- sexy tonight.
Here's a girl I don't remember seeing before. Her face isn't the most attractive I've seen. She looks like she could improve her visage, if she only tried. This leads me to believe she's probably rather intelligent. Judging from the way she moves and holds her drink, my guess is that she's a freshman. I suppose I'll dance with her for a while, but being a Nice Guy aside, methinks I'll not get too friendly: my feeling is that it would be too disastrous.
What am I thinking? Am I being pessimistic or realistic? Does it matter? Either way, I think I'll move along now.
There's Ralph and his girldfriend, coming as close to having sex as is possible without removing their clothes. I think even a liberal would find it disgusting.
And there's Julie and Rose. Rose doesn't look too much different from what she normally does; maybe a little bit more numb, but not much else. Julie, however, is wearing a denim skirt that goes only about halfway down her thighs. As one fashion expert I once saw would say, she looks like "she's dressed to get laid." I think -
...Nice Guy!...
- I'll dance here for a while.
Damn! It's getting too crowded again. Who's that behind me? Who are all these people? I've never seen most of them before in my life. WHo's that? Who's that? Who's that? Can't move! Got to get to the door! I can't get to the door! It's too crowded! I can barely move.
"Excuse me. Excuse me."
Get out of my way! I made it. The stairs would be a good place to sit and collect myself. No! There are people on the stairs, blocking the stairs.

I lean against the hand rail to come as close to seclusion as I can without leaving. I must look ill or something. Steve's coming this way.
"Hey, Chris, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine."
Oh, no! They're backing me up against the rail. I can't move! Let me move! Get away! Help! Let me move!
Sandy's coming over now. "Chris, will you go upstairs to see if Joe's up there?"
"Sure." I start fighting my way through the crowd again. "Excuse us, please." Finally, I get to the stiars. There are people sitting on it, too. "Excuse me. Excuse me."
There's no one on the second level. Sandy and I head up to the third level. Sandy sits down on the stiars. I join her. At last, a chance to breathe.

Suddenly, Sandy starts to cry. I ask her if she wants to talk about it. She shakes her head and mouths "No." I sit there and try to apear as open as I can. Is this about her problems with Joe? Is she nervous with me around? "Would you like me to leave?"
"No." She weeps for a little while longer and then suggests we go look out the window. We get there just as a threesome of guys start urinating on some bushes. Sandy is rather embarrassed.
We talk for a while. Oh, God, how I slip into the Nice Guy role so easily. She talks about a couple problems she has with Joe, and then the topic jumps around: high schools, sex-ed programs; I cannot seem to remember the conversation beyond half a second ago. Our conversation seems to continue for some time.

I just now notice her beer. She'd had a couple beers before the party, and this near-empty thirty-two cup probably represents her second beer since arriving at the party.
When she stands to head downstairs, she stumbles for a while. I'd better keep a careful eye on her. After all, I'm such a Nice Guy. She has trouble walking downstairs, so I keep a hand on her shoulder or arm to keep her from falling. Because I'm a Nice Guy.

Because Bohn's such a God-damned Nice Guy.

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Posts: 987 | From: United States | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged
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Icon 14 posted January 28, 2002 11:46      Profile for Dahak   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Right on, brother Bohn. Many's been the occasion when I've heard female friends bemoaning the fact that the guys they're currently seeing are *ssholes (or whatever the gripe is) and "Why can't I find a (nice, normal, non-psycho, non-loser, whatever) guy?" Most of the time, I wish I had a neon sign that I could whip out that had the words "RIGHT HERE!" flashing in bright red.

"A child of five could understand this! Therefore, fetch me a child of five!"

Posts: 53 | From: Royersford, PA, United States | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
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Icon 1 posted January 28, 2002 11:57      Profile for curlysimon   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Imagine if every guy were a Hot Stud and there weren't any Nice Guys... How dull for the women out there.

As frustrating as it is, it is merely a label and you are who you are. Trying to be someone who you aren't will merely end up backfiring and end with lots of hurt and pain.

Posts: 40 | From: CO, USA | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
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Icon 1 posted January 28, 2002 12:38      Profile for EngrBohn     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm certainly not now suggesting that being a Nice Guy is bad -- as I said, my wife wouldn't be if I weren't a Nice Guy, and she's made me the happiest man alive (you may feel free to argue that I'm wrong because your wife has made you the happiest man alive, but I'll never concede the argument). And a Nice Guy *is* who I am -- to thine own self, and all that.

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Icon 14 posted January 28, 2002 12:50      Profile for macman   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You hit it right on the head! This is possibly the best essay on being a nice guy that I've ever read. I especially like how you put the real life stuff in there; it makes things less abstract. Great job.

Paranoia is having all the facts.

Posts: 14 | From: a galaxy far, far away | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged

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Icon 1 posted January 28, 2002 18:26      Profile for Geordie     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Indeed a good essay, although I think it is important to reiterate the lesson you have learned in the intervening years. There really are women out there who appreciate a "Nice Guy" and who would not want you any other way. Of course there are just as many women who have a similar experience as you portrayed in your anecdote. There will always be people who feel that the strengths they have are not valued by the gender they are interested in. With time and effort though I think most people will be well rewarded as apparently you have been.
Posts: 323 | From: Fairfax Station, VA, USA | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
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Icon 1 posted January 28, 2002 22:16      Profile for Bregalad     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Very well written Chris. I think it explains the "dilemma of the nice guy" very well.

Thank you for sharing. I hope some day I can challenge you on that happiest man in the world thing.

Posts: 484 | From: Vancouver, BC, Canada | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged

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