Kill the slumbering Idol dear
lest sleep awake too soon
I'ts dripping lips are leering dear
They lust against the moon
It should be dead
Her severed head
But the machete was too dull
Her grasping tendrils healed themselves
Because the moon was full
“Nice guys finish last.” I’ve heard the phrase in a hundred different places and ways since I was a little kid. My brother used to watch videos making jokes about the idea and I hated it. The idea that the emotional caring guy gets stomped in the face by life in deference to a sexually driven, arrogant jerk just because life says so has always made me angry. Mostly because I always considered myself to be that caring guy, and the old adage always seemed to be true. All through high school I was overlooked while guys who were just plain mean were dating left and right.
For years my sense of shame dictated I see this issue in a particular way: Arrogant guys were in the wrong, quiet guys like me were in the right. Case closed. But after healing from shame, watching healthy, single, male role models deal with dating, some reflection, and a couple movies, I realized some things.
Firstly, Nice guys and jerks are the same. Quiet manipulation and arrogant jargon may be different means, but they have the same end. For the most part both categories of guys want the same thing, to date, to enjoy dating, to get married (at best), to have sex. Their focus is almost always on themselves. Not on the best interest of the girl or of the overall relationship. Now nice guys might be more polite and decent, but in general, they’re just as selfish. In the movie “The Mask” starring Jim Carrey, Carrey’s character is a meek banker and a self proclaimed, “nice guy”. He even writes a newspaper article that got published in the movie about the fact that he was tender and caring but has no luck in love. But if you actually look at this persons character, he’s self centered, wallowing in self pity, and shallow. In morality’s scheme he’s no better than the villain of the film, simply less able, and just ends up on the right side of story for convenience sake. Being timid and tender may make you “nice” but it doesn’t make you good.
Secondly, I believe both of these conditions of young men (and many older men) flow from their own inadequacy and shame. Arrogant guys need to cover their inability, and sense of emptiness by pretending to be more than they are. Timid guys struggle with the lack of confidence sparked by these issues and are unable to live up to their full potential. I think it is obvious that neither of these parties are healthy enough for a relationship in such a condition.
Lastly, good men, don’t care if they finish last. Marriage is about serving your spouse, actually loving your spouse. If your goal and focus is getting the perks of the relationship as fast as possible and covering your wounds with someone else that cannot truly satisfy you, it doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, you’re relationship is bound for the rocks. We wonder why the divorce rate is so high, while we popularize the false notions of love in romance comedies and fail to educate the youth about the truths of marriage. It does not matter when you get married, or even if you get married. But if you do, the important thing is doing it with the right heart and for the right reasons. Humble, mature, men do this right.
I may still be transitioning form nice guy to good man, but everything takes time, and there are many guys out there who need to evaluate where their hearts are really at in seeking relationships, even if they are “nice.”