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The Truth About Nice Guys

Baby fell for Johnny. Sandy pulled out all stops to get Danny. Lisa Simpson even had a thing for Nelson for awhile.

And we all remember when Carrie left Aidan for Big.

Women Love a Rebel

What is it about the casual air of the devil-may-care bad boy that sends women to jelly?

They’re arrogant, obnoxious, single-minded, manipulative and selfish.

And yet they always seem to get the girl. Well – the string of girls, to be precise.

Cliche though it may be, many guys feel that it’s the nice guys that get the wooden spoon in the race of love.

While Mr Nice Guy might be standing back respectfully waiting for the right moment to ask a woman out, Bad Boy rides in on his motorcycle and snatches her away.

“Story of my life,” tweeted one disgruntled Nice Guy when questioned.

But here’s the thing: My female Tweeps and Facebookers, polled on the matter of which man they would choose, voted unanimously for Mr Nice.

Not. A. Single. One. Said they would prefer the Bad Boy. Which is a good sign, since going for Mr Nice Guy is a sign of emotional maturity in a woman.

But is there a difference between what we say and what we do?

Because if no one wants the rebels, why are they still getting the girls?

One theory for the perception-versus-reality discrepancy is that the Bad Boys seem to get the girl more often because they try it on more often with the ladies.

It’s a numbers game, like sales – the more people you cold call the higher your conversion rate is going to be.

And a Bad Boy is not without redeeming features.

The thing any red-blooded woman loves is confidence (slash arrogance), which comes heavily salted with mystery and a good dose of masculinity.


“They’re exciting – a challenge. You don’t know what’s going to happen next,” says M, who still admits to having a rebel fantasy.

Of course, these very attractive traits can also be found in Nice Guys everywhere.

I hazard to say that if some of the more shy Nice Guys adopted a bit of brazenness they’d fare even better with the ladies.

“Nice is great. But too nice? That’s a soft-on,” says K. She’s speaking of one or two doormats she’s dated in her time.

W sums it up nicely: “We all want the Nice Guy who knows how to be bad when it counts.”

What about you? Do you love a Nice Guy or lust after the bad ones?

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Author |

Writer, dating columnist, wife, coffee addict, foodie, fashionista... Melburnian through and through. Muser, dancer, blogger, tweeter. Likes to get her head on telly now and again. Sleeper, dreamer, a sucker for romance. And of course... a cheap date.


4 comments for “The Truth About Nice Guys”

  1. Posted by Chez | April 6, 2011, 10:56 pm

    Great read and thinking fodder, Emma!

    My friends and I are pro Mr Nice Guy but lament the ones we’ve met to date seem to lack the initiative to close the deal- land the kiss or help take our friendship/loads of quality-tension/flirty-time to the next level DESPITE our hints and blushing on both sides! Sure I’ve sealed some deals in my time but itd sure be nice if for once a Mr Nice applied his killer Words with Friends prowess on US!

    In the meantime, the thing about bad boys is they dig deep or are arrogant/ foolish enough to step up.. Which I’ll confess can be an ego boost after all the stalemating with Nev the Nice!

  2. Posted by Emma | April 7, 2011, 10:46 am

    Chez, I completely agree with you!

    I’ve dated many a ‘nice guy’ who just doesn’t seem all that interested… but then looks really wounded if he finds out you’re now dating someone else. It’s very confusing!

  3. Posted by Sarah at You Can Get The Guy | May 14, 2011, 6:40 am

    Awesome article, and SOOO true. I think, personally, that we as women are hard wired genetically (like I am talking Darwin here) to look for the bad boys because on the outside they seem to be the “alpha male” stereotype – and the alpha male is the leader pf the pack, the one that we are genetically predispositioned to want to mate with. But, its the NICE guys who are really the ones who can give us the stability, good family life, good father figure and so many of those characteristics that we really do want in a man.

  4. Posted by Joe | July 6, 2011, 5:11 am

    You don’t have to be a jerk, but you can’t be spineless. The problem is that nice guys are too nice; there’s no chemistry, no confidence. So a “bad boy” is really just a man who is confident.

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