Monday, March 1, 2010

Belle de Jour Talks Dating Stereotypes: NICE GUYS

The incomparable Belle de Jour continued to tease today with new excerpts from her upcoming book on relationships, a followup to her blockbuster “Guide to Men” from last year.

Happily, it will soon be the guy’s turn to hear her advice, in Belle de Jour’s Guide to Women, scheduled to be published in May.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with her, Belle de Jour had been the nom de plume of a celebrated British erotic author, who was also a London call girl for two years.

Last year, Belle revealed she is Dr. Brooke Magnanti, of Bristol, England, a noted scientist. Brooke’s specialist areas are developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology. She has a PhD in informatics, epidemiology and forensic science and is now working at the Bristol Initiative for Research of Child Health. She is currently part of a team researching the potential effects on babies of their mothers' exposure to toxic chemicals.

So fans, sit back and read another installment of what every man should know about dating and relationships. Here’s her most current blog posting in full. Read it here, or read it directly on Brooke’s award-winning blog:

lundi, mars 1

Belle de Jour's Guide to Women: stereotypes, continued.

This has been discussed at length in many places on the web - not to mention the Guide to Men - but it's worth repeating, because it's gone endemic in a way that puts malaria to shame. Gents, feast your minds on...

Stereotype 3: "Women only like bad boys, never nice guys like me!"

I have some news for the self-professed Nice Guys out there. When I hear the words 'Nice Guy', I think back to the old saying that a gentleman would never dare call himself such.

But surely all women want to be with a nice guy, yes? Exactly. You see, someone advertising himself as a Nice Guy isn't much of a selling point. We’re sort of hoping all the guys we’d like to get naked with are nice. The hooker equivalent would be a call girl advertising herself as alive – a nice thought, yes, but you should take it as read unless advised otherwise. In the great scheme of things, niceness of a potential partner is assumed.

Add to which the observation that most people who would willingly call themselves Nice Guys are, in point of fact, jerks. Only they don't realise it.

Oh, I am familiar with the usual arguments. Some self-professed Nice Guys like to complain (why, some have even made writing careers of this) that women are only attracted to men who treat them badly and are therefore incapable of recognising a good thing when they meet one. And the line is repeated so often it has no real meaning. Methinks the Nice Guy doth protest too much.

Thing is, there are many actual nice guys in this world. My friend A4 is a perfect example of the actually nice sort. He's attractive, smart, kind, and burdened with a crippling shyness that could be the subject of a Smiths song. In practice, he's far too clueless to go around calling himself a 'Nice Guy' to girls he’s interested in, because he sees them as people, not potential marks. On the one hand, you'll never meet a more caring and generous individual. On the other, his inability to press any of his advantages regularly astounds me. But that's just one end of the continuum.

On the other is the canonical Nice Guy, also known as the Underappreciated Martyr. His usual calling cards: uses the word 'genuine' on a dating site ('genuine man'? You don't say? Again, that's something we heterosexual ladies sort of take for granted…); always stays to the end of the night hoping to pick up stray girls; is physically overfamiliar within minutes of meeting.

Nice Guy offers help – with strings attached. They may seem like inconsequential strings, but I assure you, he is tabulating what is ‘owed’ him in his mind. Meet for drinks and he pays? Go to the cinema and he happens to have already bought the tickets? Need a hand moving a few boxes? Before she knows it the woman will feel obliged to go on a number of pseudo-dates on nights she would rather be doing something else, such as scrubbing the bathroom floor. And there will be no polite way out.

In other words, what Nice Guy is hoping to do is wear down a woman’s resistance over time in the hope that she will give in someday – most likely shortly after a breakup, or under the influence of alcohol – and bestow on him a Pity Fuck. And that is the worst sort of male lecherousness. The man who pretends to be a friend but is motivated by nothing more than the desire to get into a woman’s knickers. The man who sees women as objects, not individuals.

A Nice Guy will only establish a friendship with a woman with the intention of cracking on to her eventually. A strong clue is the fact that they generally befriend women far beyond their pulling power. Now, there is nothing wrong with aiming high as such – but Nice Guy’s refusal to consider less desirable women even as friendship material is a strong indication something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

An actual nice guy, on the other hand, sees a woman as a person first. Possibly a person he fancies, but a human nonetheless. Not a blow-up-doll replacement. Not a mark on a bedpost. Not a way to prove something to the ghosts of ex-girlfriends and bullies who belittled him along the way.

Admittedly, distinguishing between Nice Guys and nice guys can be difficult for a novice. So let’s throw out a few scenarios. What would you do? Compare your answers against what an actual nice guy would do, and what the self-centred 'Nice Guy' does:

At a party: Let’s say a woman has had a few too many bevvies, her friends have gone and she does not have enough for a taxi.

A nice guy will: offer a lift or some cash if he can, but if she refuses, won't mention it again. He may ask a mutual friend the next day to check up on her and will leave it at that.

'Nice Guy' will: hand her a tenner for the taxi 'only as long as you meet me for drinks next week’. Or he’ll share the taxi, saying he lives in the same direction, and try to get out at hers.


At work: You’re thrown together on a work project with a single woman who is new to the job.

A nice guy will: be helpful and professional. He might get round to asking for her number at some point in a strictly social setting, but in general, if he fancies her, she’ll be the last to know. If he comments on her appearance at all, it is to helpfully advise that there is still a drop of toothpaste on her cheek right before that important meeting.

'Nice Guy' will: always comment on what she is wearing. Especially if some element of it stinks of the walk of shame (wearing yesterday's clothes, or keeping a change of shoes in her desk). As with the party situation, help on the job will only be given once she agrees to some non-work-related outing. He may propose ‘talking about this over drinks’.


In early conversations: Once you’ve established something in common, you have officially entered the getting-to-know-you period of friendship. Rapport with the woman begins to build.

A nice guy will: tell her interesting things about himself, or be interested in the more unusual aspects of her personality.

'Nice Guy' will: steer the conversation towards relationships. Either hers (the better to put her in a vulnerable position) or his (the better to elicit sympathy).


On a date: Hey, we all have to go out sometime, am I right?

A nice guy will: take her home at a reasonable hour, may kiss her when you part, but will never push beyond the speed at which she is willing to go.

'Nice Guy' will: be 'so caught up' in talking to her that he 'accidentally missed the last bus'. Then will angle for an invitation to sleep on her sofa.


In a relationship: So you’re boyfriend and girlfriend. Now the real challenges arise.

A nice guy will: come around to realising his feelings for her slowly. He values her and doesn't want to mess this up. He wants to know more about her tastes and habits, likes and dislikes before falling in love. Treats her the same in public as he does in private.

'Nice Guy' will: come on strong, move quickly, and throw blame at her if she gets cold feet. He'll jump straight to the L-word, often without knowing much more about her than surface qualities. Is considerably nicer to her when he knows others are watching.


Giving gifts: Whether a holiday or a birthday, ’tis better to both give and receive. Or so you might believe…

A nice guy will: give her something he has observed she likes or need – or he will ask what she wants. Will not push for more acknowledgment for a gift, nor more in return, than she finds acceptable.

'Nice Guy' will: buy something showy whether she likes it or not. Demands profuse acknowledgment and a token equal in value to what he spent. Preferably straightaway.


When rejected: Yes, the road to true love never did run smooth. Ah well. Sometimes parting ways is best for all involved.

A nice guy will: keep any hurt feelings to himself, but probably avoid her in future. If other people know what happened and it comes up in conversation, he will change the subject.

'Nice Guy' will: get a few insults in on the way out the door, ‘I always fancied your friend Emma anyway!' Will phone everyone she knows after, to ensure his version of events is spread around first.

(Interestingly, there are many similarities between Nice Guy and another type of girl. Let us call her A Relationship Solves Everything, or ARSE for short. This is the sort of woman who, instead of having a breather between relationships to get the measure of what might have gone wrong and why, has a regular boyfriend within nanoseconds of the last one moving out. Instead of addressing her own problems, being paired off is the sole measure of her self-worth. She's interviewing you for a position, not forming a real connection. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you don't want to date someone like this because she makes you wonder if it's you she likes, or just your bank account and ability to fit into a morning suit. Well surprise surprise, women don't like men who make them wonder things like that either.)

Nice Guy is results-orientated. To his mind there is no point to being nice for its own sake. To the Nice Guy, if he has put in the time, he expects his reward. While there are a few things in life that have a guaranteed input-to-result equation, matters of the heart rarely work in this way. A fact which Nice Guy yet to accept. As he has also failed to accept the observation that being a shoulder to cry on specifically with the aim of getting something in return makes him a jerk. Not a friend.

Am I being unfair? Hell yes. Love isn't fair. My advice isn't fair. Life is, in almost every perceptible way, unfair.

But I'm speaking from experience and I tell you this: the one ex who caused the most trouble in my life... the one ex who was the worst liar and cheat I ever met... who tallied up each and every one of my faults and used them as a reason to treat me as less of a person... who was so wrapped up in his sense of entitlement to me, like I was something he owned... who cosied up to the Daily Fail when it became clear I wasn't going to play his game any more... guess how he would describe himself?

A 'Nice Guy'.

Truth hurts, fellas, and the truth is this. Someone who willingly calls himself a Nice Guy? Isn't. And the women you actually want to get with? Are on to that. Don't blame us. Blame a culture that has made people think misrepresenting themselves is not only undetectable to potential mates, but in fact the best way to get ahead in love. Blame The Rules. Blame The Game. Blame every character ever played by Charlie Sheen. But don't blame women themselves.

Be honest, be real, and most of all, be... nice.


In addition to Guide to Men and a great book entitled Belle’s Bits, her other books are: The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl, September 2005; The Further Adventures of a London Call Girl, May 2007; and Playing the Game, June 2009. All of her books are widely available across the pond at Amazon UK.

Her writing has been so popular that it became the basis for the international hit TV series, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, starring Billie Piper. It can be seen on Showtime in the U.S., and the first two seasons are available on DVD. The third season premiered this month, and was previewed by a special 30-minute interview of Brooke conducted by Billie.

— The Curator

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