October 24, 2022 - Nice Guy

I spend a lot of time on my phone.

So much time that I now have two phones. Yeah, that's complicated.

I've tried different ways to cut down, I unfriended everyone except my kids, ex-wife, and sister on Facebook in a final step to get myself off *that* platform. That helped a LOT. But I still scroll the Google News feed on the daily, and it trolls me like no other. Once I click an article it immediately posts five more just like it. It's relentless.

I've been working a lot on my self, my mental state, my emotional state, my health, the language I use, so I'm particularly susceptible to articles on those topics for sure. Those and the Packers of course. Oh my beloved Packers.

Yesterday I clicked on an article called 10 Things I Find Sexy in a Man (That Aren't All About Sex). The way the writer wrote was actually super sexy, which made me giggle a little. Super high-maintenance too, but still sexy, which says a lot about me right there as well. I related to a lot of things in it, felt a kinship, right? Like, yes, that's sexy. Ooh, sometimes I AM sexy. How could I not be, I'M AWESOME. But there was one part that sent me reeling. She described the difference between a sexy guy, a douchebag guy, and a nice guy. Douchebag guys and nice guys are not sexy. And she actually described "Nice Guy" clearly and succinctly to me for the first time, and I realized, holy fucking hell, I'M A NICE GUY.

I'd never seen myself that way before and it shook me to my core. My mind raced back over instance after instance, example after example, of my NICE GUY failures. Thanks brain, that was fucking great of you. I lashed out at my brain "I WILL NEVER BE A NICE GUY AGAIN! MARK MY FUCKING WORDS YOU FUCKING DOUCHEBAG BRAIN!"

I'm not really sure why this epiphany came to me now, 3 months shy of my 60th birthday, 9 weeks into sobriety, 3 years into therapy. Was I too young before to see it? Too easily distracted by the promise of a friendly drink? Too emotionally unaware? Yes, all those things and more I'm sure (go ahead, pile them on, this dumpster is ON FIRE!).

The memory that really sealed the deal was from a BREAKUP date in Colorado last year. I'd met a woman on FB Dating who was honestly mean to me, emotionally stunted, used horrible abusive language, and openly ridiculed me on occasion. I called her to set up a break up date finally, and she wouldn't actually get together with me for over 6 weeks after, to avoid having to face rejection I suppose. In the breakup date she finally poured her heart out about all her past abusive relationships, her fear of intimacy, her abusive mother, the list went on and on. I stared at her slack-jawed, "why didn't you tell me any of this before, I would have understood so many things about you..."

Then she said "I've never dated a NICE GUY before."


Looking back though, it's happened over and over. None of those relationships were successful of course, but even in my "successful" relationships I can see the examples. Times when I was trying so hard to be someone I wasn't. Times I tried so hard to listen "properly" that I actually stopped listening. Times I sat thinking about what I wanted to say next instead of listening and witnessing and giving space without trying to fix the other person or offering advice. Things I KNOW NOT TO DO, but do them anyway. Why do I do that?

Anyway, at least I'm beginning to like myself more lately, starting to genuinely like being alone. Man, if I live as long as my dad did, I've got 35 more years of this. And that uproarious humor does not escape me.

I bet I could Google a cure.


** Here's the description she used to define nice guys:

"Some men don’t listen at all. They just don’t. They talk about themselves ad nauseum and then wonder what happened when I wander away. These men are generally referred to as “douchebags.”

Other men listen in such a manner that they practically collapse into me. They fall all over themselves to “do” listening right, keeping their focus and attention so on me that they lose themselves. In a way, they actually stop listening in their attempt to prove how well they do listen. These men are generally known as “nice guys.”

Either way, not sexy."

From this article: