April 11, 2007

Sheep’s Clothing

Posted in *cringe*, The Who, The WTF at 9:38 am by Dagny Taggart

From my dating perspective, there are three kinds of guys out there.  There’s the superconfident, self-assured guy, who can come across as cocky or arrogant, but doesn’t think that’s something he needs to change, because he wants the kind of girl who can handle that.  There’s a quieter, more thoughtful (not to be confused with considerate, necessarily) type, whose approach is very different – but who is equally confident in his own way.

And then, there’s the third type – the guy who thinks he’s Thoughtful Guy, wants to be Confident Guy, and is in fact neither.  I call this one, “Nice Guy”.  It’s not a good thing.

When I say that he’s a nice guy in the tone of voice that implies air quotes around the phrase, I mean I think he’s far more interested in being perceived as a great catch, than in actually being one.  This guy usually winds up being “Bitter, party of one?” when things don’t work out, and is generally best avoided.  He’s hard to spot at first, because the litmus test I’ve developed isn’t particularly effective until the second or third date, sometimes even later (hopefully, at this point, you’ve managed to weed out the overt jackassery – unless that’s your thing). 

When you go on your first date with someone, you kind of hope that the conversation progresses beyond the basics – previous residences, education, occupation, family, etc.  For it to do so, you’ve got to be talking for a while.

Second date, you’re getting a little more personal, if things are going well.  You’re finding out more about the person’s likes and dislikes, how they view the world, what role they hope to play in it.  You’re giving them a chance to talk, to put both their best and worst foot forward, so you can get a better sense of whether you’d like to spend more time with them.  If they’re genuinely interested in you, they’re doing the same thing.  It’s a fine balance, but it’s fine to stumble over your words as you find more things you have in common – to say, me too! and mean it.  To relate a funny story that exactly expresses the sentiment just shared by the other person.  All of these are the hallmark of a great connection.

The Nice Guy, however, might be so concerned with telling you how great he is, that he forgets to check in on you every so often.  So concerned is he with showing you that not only is he intelligent and deep-thinking, but works out, makes a lot of money, and saves puppies and kittens in his spare time, that he won’t know that you just had the worst day at work.  Or even worse, should you actually get a word in edgewise, he’ll be annoyed that your bad day is interfering with his ability to show you just how great a guy he really is.

The problem here, is that he’s saying all the “right” things, planning elaborate dates, putting in a lot of effort.  Except, he doesn’t know whether or not these efforts are right for both of you.  And blames you for being an ungrateful wretch when you explain, gently, that as much as you love flowers, sending you a dozen gladiolas, to which you’re violently allergic, might not have had the same impact as he’d hoped.

And when you realize that he genuinely thinks he’s being perfect, and you decide to break the news as gently as possible (by bringing a six-pack over to his place and leaving it there after you’ve had the talk), don’t be surprised to get a drunken voicemail a few weeks later, accusing you of being too stuck up to appreciate a good thing.

Because that’s how “Nice Guy” behaves when he takes off the sheep’s clothing.


  1. Did you and I date recently?

  2. HYSL: Well, the last one got 2 bottles of red and some liqueur – does that sounds familiar? 😀

  3. Ok so what kind of guy are you if say, you inadvertently talked about “ass kicking” [the lost art of kicking copious amounts of ass] for 20 mins on a first date? That guy is pretty cool right…right?

  4. HA! I wonder if that’s the guy you were at the HH with? Anyway, I think that a lot of people are like what you just described. They “read off their resume” or have a certain list of talking points to make themselves look impressive. I think it’s like when animals puff up their chests to appear larger to mates.

  5. MW: I think that guy is Confident Guy, especially if he’s willing to acknowledge his date’s ass-kicking capabilities.

    HIN: Actually, no. But, I think that Nice Guys are prevalent in the DC area because of the knee-jerk networking reaction here. Something in the water, maybe?

  6. I got an iron and a snow globe from Puerto Rico.

  7. Mr. Nobody said,

    See, you’re missing one here. What the Confident Guy, the Thoughtful Guy, and the “Nice” Guy have in common is that there is something exceptional about them. What about guys that are not particularly pompous, or deep, or self involved? You’re missing the Bland Guy. And, sometimes, that guy can be mildly pleasurable right…right?

  8. HYSL: That sounds like the beginning of a homemade table hockey game, maybe?

    Mr. N: I could see Bland Guy being soothing, at the very least – so he’s got that going for him. 😀

  9. Virgle Kent said,

    You do know I like to drown puppies in my spare time, you already know about the clown thing……

  10. I think you are well on your way to breaking through something. You are identifying what you need, what is out there and what you want…I hope that feels empowering. Truly I do.

  11. VK: did you see the link to my most fun breakup on the right? Apparently, I’m a puppy-hater, too. 😀

    INPY: Thanks – it’s empowering and a little terrifying all at the same time, but I’m trying to focus on the good!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: