Normally on Fridays, I run readers questions for Ask Dr. NerdLove. On occasion, however, I’ll get a letter that necessitates going into greater depth than the usual submission. Sometimes the answer is more complex or requires a deeper dive into the situation. These are the times when it’s time to head to the lab, see what’s on the slab, and then get elbow deep in it’s guts to see where things went wrong.
Post-mortems are rarely pretty things. More often than not, it calls for a mix of tough love and a liberal application of The Chair Leg of Truth. But at the end: we’ll understand what went wrong and what it’s going to take for things to work next time.
So scrub up, snap on the gloves and put on your gown. It’s time to do some emotional surgery.
Hey Doc, long-time reader, first-time caller.
There’s been a lot that’s been bothering me about the whole Nice Guy/Asshole thing for well over a decade. When I found PUA back when I was 19 back in 2005, it was like learning Santa Claus wasn’t real. Or, to put it bluntly, taking the red pill. I was never a social butterfly, so I never really gave much notice to the people around me or who they dated, it was just okay, “A is going out with B, big deal.” Wasn’t any of my business back then and I had enough problems of my own. Relationships simply didn’t matter to me. But deep down I had faith that good people chose their partners simply because they liked them for who they were, or they were honestly attracted to them, no tricks or anything required.
Well… yeah. That’s pretty much life, my dude. Once you get past a time when being marriage was less of a way of sealing contracts or property exchanges and people started marrying for love and companionship, that’s exactly how it works. The world got by with people hooking up, having sex and having kids long before Ross Jeffries thought saying “blow me” in an oddly stilted way could get him head.
However when I found PUA, everything changed. I first thought it was a load of bullshit,
Not entirely wrong.
some kooky internet crap akin to Alex Chiu’s claims of giving you eternal life or the dollar bill being a lizard people prophecy of the Mayans,
I refer you back to Ross Jeffries’ “Speed Seduction” method.
but then I simply resigned myself to maybe this talk of nice guys being shafted is correct.
After all, I was never a Casanova of any kind, and maybe this is what I need to do. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed right. I remember the daughter of the high school superintendent ditched a nerdy but good Asian guy for some big time military guy. Don’t really have much of an opinion on him, don’t know anything about him. But after she broke up with him, she went out with an insufferable goth kid asshole for years, way longer than the previous two, the type of troublemaker who somehow drew a penis using a pencil on a stainless steel stool and flunked most of his classes while she was a perfect straight A student.
I’m going to point out something you literally just said:
Don’t really have much of an opinion on him, don’t know anything about him.
‘cuz, that part’s kind of important. You know that a) she’s dating him and b) she’s dating him. So maybe, just maybe… she just liked them.
This same goth kid was the type who would tell the black kids they needed to be lynched to their faces, and would “joke” about anti-Semitism around actual Jewish kids around him.
Shockingly, girls do occasionally date shitty edgelords. Sometimes it’s because they think they see the good in them and can fix them. Other times they’re shitty edgelords themselves. And sometimes the shitty edgelords try to hide being shitty from people they’re trying to date.
I recalled how a similar field hockey star and straight A student dated a loser type for years, someone who couldn’t even spell cynical.
Thus far, we still are at the point of my shrugging my shoulders and saying “… and?” Because all we have is that you don’t like these dudes.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized this kind of stuff was incredibly common. These girls weren’t the female equivalent of the Deliverance boys either, they were perfectly upstanding but they went with the worst lot you can imagine. And whenever I saw how comfy and happy these girls were around these scumbags, all I could feel was contempt for them. They looked just as sleazy as these dudes, it was like hearing a public figure you support did or said something really asinine.
This is what we call “projection”, my dude. You don’t like them, cool. But the fact that you don’t see whatever it is that they see doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. You’re making a whole lot of judgements based on your ideas of who these people are without actually seeing them together. You literally have no idea what their relationship is like, what they talk about or what they do when you’re not around. You have access to a teeny, tiny part of their lives and have constructed an elaborate theory based on jack and shit.
And Jack left town.
My own experiences with romance, for lack of a better word, came to the forefront too. I remember how one of those captain of the cheerleader squad and I were casual acquaintances, and the more time we spent together, she once thought it was funny as hell to sic her scuzzy asshole friends on me and make my life a living hell. The moment I finally stand up to her though and to all of them in junior year, she actually started genuinely flirting with me and I wanted none of it if only because of what cruelty she was capable of, but that just made her want me more. She grabbed my ass and tried playing with my hair, and I was really fucking creeped out.
I’m wondering if this was her flirting or her finding another way to tease you because of how much it wigged you out. Because right now? You aren’t coming across as the most reliable narrator, bro.
Shit, I remember at one point I found her on Facebook years later out of curiosity, and she’s into that whole fixing the bad boy thing. Or how some lacrosse girl in sophomore year started flirting with me and when I just kind of gave her the cold shoulder, she brazenly asked for my number. I was taken a bit aback not just by her interest but how she seemed to be demanding it, and didn’t give it to her just because it made me uncomfortable. Instead she gave me her number and pretty much demanded this time that I call her that night. Even at that age I was skeeved right the fuck out not by her forwardness but just how she lacked any notion of boundaries, so I didn’t call her.
Um… she liked you dude. This wasn’t ignoring boundaries, this was someone who was into you and telling you – in pretty much no uncertain terms – that she wanted to invite you over for a hot cup of “fuck my brains out”.
Now, if you’re not into women who’re forward, cool. But you’re ascribing a whole lot of weirdness to someone who’s being straightforward with you.
Next day she becomes more aggressive. Of course.
I couldn’t figure people out back then or the reason they did things so I just thought there were those who were naturally forward and those they preyed on, and if you didn’t want to be fucked with, you gave them a whole lot of shit to get them off your back.
This is right and correct.
IF YOU’RE IN PRISON.
Little did I know that people were taking this as a challenge or whatever, and were not sincerely listening to me when I told them I wanted them to fuck off. I was definitely the outcast in high school, that guy who was bullied relentlessly, so when these girls were interested in me, I just thought they were pitying me and I felt dirty for it. Or maybe they were the types who’d hang out in the alleyway doing needles or the like and I was better off without them.
Nope, turns out they were perfectly on the up and up with everybody else and genuinely hot for me, but not for the reasons I ever would have wanted.
Wh… what reasons would you want? Because “think you’re cool and attractive and maybe want to kiss” sounds like a pretty good reason to be hot for someone.
Now back then I was so fucking depressed and messed up in the head that I knew I was not ready for any sort of relationship. The years that followed up to the present I never once got into any relationship, both for reasons well beyond my control and for my own personal fuckups. But this queasy feeling about dating should I ever decide to get into it has never left me. I was raised around animal abusers, alcoholics, drug addicts, thieves, rapists, pedophiles, and a whole bunch of other ne’er do wells. Funny thing is I only had a few people in my immediate family, and their close circles I was forced to associate with by proxy, and each individual person fit at least two of those unsavory monikers. Even in school, a few of my dear fellow male classmates liked how baby-faced I looked back then and groped me more than a few times.
I’m grateful that I was born a boy and not a girl, because I don’t want to imagine the kind of shit that would have happened to me otherwise.
So I can’t grasp how anyone from average or good backgrounds could want this.
I think of the popular idea that women like assholes for a good number of years and then settle for good men rubbing me the wrong way, because while I abhor slut-shaming,
Someone call Sir Mix-A-Lot because there’s a big but coming…
you can also tell a lot about someone by the company they keep.
THERE IT IS.
More than anything, this whole thing makes me feel really unwanted, because if circumstances were different, I could have easily been one of those guys getting the shaft in favor of some of these grade-A dumbfucks, and even now, I just feel like I can’t trust a woman. Any woman.
Not because she slept with a lot of people but that they were all subpar, and yet she seriously got into relationships with them, and now I’m supposed to believe you’re seriously interested in me? Maybe the whole idea of genuinely being with a lot of dipshits and then settling for someone who’s “safer” IS true. In which case, I could never be happy with someone like that. And the sad thing is, I could never be sure she wants me for me either, not when this phenomenon is apparently a thing.
Have you, and this is going to be a bit out there but stick with me, have you considered that maybe you’re wrong? Like: you are so completely wrong about your understanding about yourself, those guys and the women who date them that you are in a universe of your own that’s absolutely perpendicular to ours? Because right now, you’ve crafted this view of the world that literally nobody else shares and are operating in response to rules that nobody else follows and you’re wondering why you’re having a hard time. You’ve so dug into this worldview that you’ve made it literally impossible to believe women because never mind “Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”, you’re from a dimension where rabbits are floorps and mushrooms sing sea shanties.
There’s something to be said for wanting someone good looking, but when you’re attracted to assholes and stick with them in spite of their numerous shortcomings, all my ideas of true love just go up in smoke.
You’re back to some serious projection, my dude.
It’s the same way you get turned off when you see someone attractive you’re stoked on act and talk completely vapid, and you realize that, yeah, you are definitely not who I thought you were. This isn’t my paranoia either,
Oh yes it is.
I’ve read a few articles about women who flitted out with losers back in the day with the hopes of a serious relationship, and then as they got older, then they settled with decent reliable men. Seems like desperation, not genuine attraction, or they were morons for some reason for a good ten years then finally wised up.
Have you not seen similar articles from men who were dogs for decades before they decided to settle down? Or, for that matter, dudes who spent time being as shallow as they could get away with until they couldn’t cut it any longer and realized that women weren’t interested in their shit any more? Because guess what? This isn’t about women as a gender, it’s about maturity. It’s about how your tastes change over time and what you want from a relationship is going to be different as your life changes. Some people want to pound as much ass as they can before they settle down. Some people get stuck in the same cycle of shitty relationships for years until they figure how to break out of them.
And yeah, some people date assholes because they dig assholes. Welcome to the great human experience, wear a helmet.
And you know, when I found the whole nice guy thing and how badly people react to it, I was just honestly taken aback. To me, being a nice person who befriends someone over time where feelings possibly develop, that just seems perfectly natural to me.
Maybe she’ll never be attracted to you as a friend, or maybe, for whatever reason, said friend just has issues that can’t attract women, but all that goes completely out the window when I see that women really are attracted to the scum of the earth and not fucking repulsed to their core.
If I had grown up in a normal household, I know I would have been one of those nice guys that would have been dumped or rejected time and time again. I read all the time about how to be a great guy instead of a nice guy, but in light of the above events of wanting a loser piece of shit over someone who’s actually decent and their possible implications that the Red Pill of all things is fucking right, I really don’t know what that means.
It means that you’re spending a lot of time trying to justify hating people my dude. I get that you went through shit and you have my sympathy, but you seem to have come out of it convinced that the best way to deal with this is to be as aggressively unlikable as possible. Your issue has far more to do with the fact that you’ve decided that the world is evil and you’re the righteous man beset on all sides. In reality, you’re pissed off at everybody and wondering why nobody likes your ass and refuses to follow the rules that you’ve unilaterally decided run the world based on that.
The reason why the Red Pill philosophy is so attractive to you right now is because it justifies this feeling that you’re righteous and women are evil. In reality… it’s got far more to do with the fact that everything you’ve mentioned makes it sound like you’re an asshole to anyone who shows you the slightest bit of interest.
To be a great guy that is. Shit, if your only competition are douche bags, it feels like you have to work at being worthwhile while they don’t, and that is wrong all by itself.
And once again: this is where you’re wrong.
The “former Nice Guys,” and similar stalky weirdos are not paragons of virtue and I was and still am just as disgusted at them when I read about how they went from being dirtbags to stereotypes straight out of a bad movie, but why go for all the losers?
From what I hear in a good number of dating circles, you still have to be more jerkish and prioritize your decisions over hers as opposed to being nice and considerate of her decisions, or else she’ll perceive you as “weak,” and too giving of your love, and the last thing I want with someone I care for in that capacity is for their affection for me to be based upon a competition of wills.
Well, good news is: if you keep on like this, I can guarantee you that this will never be an issue for you.
I just want someone I can be happy with and trust nonconditionally in life.
Dude. Dude. You literally just got done explaining that you don’t trust anyone. There has not been a moment in this entire letter where you’ve given me the slightest indication that you like anyone, never mind believe that it’s possible to trust people. If you meet one asshole, then you’re unlucky. If everyone you meet is an asshole… well, you may well be the asshole. And here’s the thing: you have been relentlessly unwilling to look around and ask if you’re the asshole. The Red Pill is appealing because it conforms to your dislike of women and confirms that women are all bitches and whores who can’t appreciate a “nice guy” like you when thus far I haven’t seen anything that suggests you’re nice or even datable.
And that’s that. Hopefully you’ll set me straight in whatever way you see fit, because I just can’t any point in doing a relationship. That in itself makes me feel more rotten than ever, since it’s not just shitting on the concept of a relationship, but a whole lot of people I don’t know just as well.
Choking on the Red Pill
I’m gonna level with you dude: you should not be dating. Not for a very long time. Not because God has decided to shit in your dinner for all eternity but because you are carrying around a world of pain and anger. You’ve spent 1800 words showing that you have a chip on your shoulder that’s become so massive that it collapsed in on itself, formed a singularity and is starting to distort the world around you.
Until you learn how to let go of that anger and pain, you will never be happy. You will always be convinced that women who are just trying to connect with you, get to know you, flirt with you or even just get to know you on a human level are either slumming or trying to fuck you over. So, more than anything else, you need to get your ass to therapy. You need to talk to a therapist who can help you unpack this anger that you’re radiating like a dwarf star and unwarp your ability to human. Life has been hard for you. You’ve seen some serious shit. I would not be the least bit surprised that you’re dealing with PTSD. But until you start to get your shit together, this anger is going to eat away at you like a cancer until there’s nothing left. You will just keep pushing people away until everyone quits reaching out to you, and then you’ll be left alone and bitter, wondering why everybody abandoned you.
Ditch the Red Pill enablers who just want to direct your rage at women dude and find a counselor you can work with. This could take a few tries; as with dating or friendship, you need to find someone you have chemistry. One style of therapy may not work for you; that doesn’t mean no therapy will work. You may need medication; that’s fine. You may need talk therapy. That’s also fine. But you need help.
The good news is: help is out there. You just have to seek it out. Take that time and find it. Let go of your anger, learn to let yourself be open, to hope again. Once the pain has lessened… you’ll be in a better position to deal with the world as it actually is, and not how it looks through those goggles of rage.