No Sleep 'Till Branson

One of these guys is allergic to Gold Lamé. Can you tell which one?
Rock n' Roll, much like life is all about attitude. It's about finding the right balance of energy and cool to be able to charge head first into the unknown while simultaneously acting like you've somehow done that same unknown thing so many times that it's not really a big deal.
And yet, just like Bootsy Collins said, "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow."
Look, there are plenty of guys who overdo it in the name of rock and roll. 90% of the stick twirling moves that douche was doing were straight from the handbook of Tommy Lee.
And if you want to talk about bands who looked goofy on stage -- then you need look no further than Mötley Crüe.
Btw -- This is my Motley. I know they're like old school rock icons now and everyone loves their whole "we survived it all" attitude -- but for my money, this is when they really had it right. The music was more raw, they weren't ashamed of their New York Dolls/Glam metal roots, and Mick Mars wasn't a walking zombie yet. Make fun of them all you want -- I rocked the hell out of those first two albums, and would gladly accept life on a desert island if Shout at the Devil was all I could take with me.

It's not always easy to want something really bad, to feel driven towards a goal and not want to grab for it. To overstep your bounds and move too fast to the point where a moment of building heat is somehow instantly cooled by getting ahead of the game to the point where she backs up, pushes your hands away, and tells you to stop.

It reminds me of this interesting conversation that sparked up earlier this week over at WIGSF's blog when he decided to comment on a recurring trend in the blogosphere wherein half the bloggers out there complain about women who say they want nice guys but then turn around and date jerks, and the other half who take extensive (and occasionally insulting) efforts to explain to all the "nice guys" out there why their attitudes aren't attractive -- or worse, how all nice guys should be avoided entirely because there are lots of dudes out there who play the nice guy card in order to get what they want.
In other words, Everything's definitely not coming up Millhouse.
It's a topic that's largely played out as a reading subject on the web (it tends to show back up every spring, go figure) -- and yet the subject itself still baffles men and women year after year as we search to find the people and connections that will help us to feel whole and escape the pain and self-doubt that loneliness so often brings.

For the record, I happen to think WIGSF is a great guy. He's got a bit of curmudgeon in him to be sure -- but from what I can tell from our online interactions (never having met the dude in person) it's part of his charm. But when you read the blog entry (and consider the context of similar entries on his site over the years) it's a topic he's clearly frustrated by -- partially because he's still looking for that right connection (aren't we all) but also because when you start to put it down on paper and type it out it rarely makes any gat damn sense.
I don't know much, but I do know this: Insecurity isn't sexy.
A little self-deprecation keeps you from being an utter asshole, but the only ones who ever got laid acting like Woody Allen are the characters Woody Allen played in the movies he wrote and directed where girls like Mira Sorvino fall helplessly in love with him.

I've said this many times -- despite popular generalizations, women don't prefer to date assholes. Don't get me wrong here -- it's not like I'm any expert when it comes to the fairer sex -- but if there's anything that I do understand is that girls by and large seem prefer men with backbones. Asshole dudes tend to show theirs more often, while nice guys all too often make the mistake of being "too there" for people they're interested in, which makes them seem like no challenge at all -- and that's not very interesting for anyone.

If anything, it seems like a lot of women are attracted to confident guys who all too frequently turn out to be douchebags in the end -- a trend that tends to make a lot of other guys think being the asshole is actually the secret ingredient that their own personal recipe for attracting the ladies has been missing all along.

But personally, I think the real problem behind this issue is the syntax. Words like "asshole," "jerk," "real man," and "nice guy" are all applicable here -- but is everybody really saying these things the same way? When guys complain that women will always throw the nice guy away in favor of the asshole, do they really understand what they mean by that, or how it's being heard?

It's funny, because I think when WIGSF started writing the blog entry, he was commenting on what he saw as a trend among blogs he read, and wanted to examine why it was happening. But as the entry went along and he began to relate the topic to his personal experience, the blog entry (as blog entries frequently tend to do) became something else entirely. Still interesting to read -- but I wonder if it's actually what he was initially planning to write at all.

For example -- I think (I can't really say that I know this for certain, I'm more tossing out my opinion in the hope of spurring an honest discussion about the language used in this argument) -- that when women say that by and large "nice guys" aren't really that attractive that they aren't talking about the same thing guys mean when they say "But I'm a nice guy."
I think men envision the "nice guy" as someone who listens. Someone you can tell your problems
to who will offer advice and understanding. Someone who's willing to help out and do nice things.
But I'm starting to suspect that when women use the word "nice," it's more of a polite way for then to say "soft."
Perhaps a better way to phrase this is "pliable," "easily manipulated," or "uninteresting." Either way, I think there's a division there. A difference in the meanings that's keeping the two sides of this discussion from ever truly understanding each other.
Or to put it another way -- a guy could wrestle bears and be covered in prison tattoos and still possibly be "too nice" for some women to be interested in (does that make sense?).
I do happen to think that women want men (and other women too, for that matter) to listen, be understanding, and communicate. But I'm not totally sure that this is an extra requirement as much as it is a basic expectation. I think if you really got down to it, men want these things too. Perhaps not quite as much communication as most women would prefer -- but still,
I think a lot of Nice Guys™ are looking to score points for something that
a lot of women don't actually have on their scorecard in the first place.
By the same token, the idea of "Men being MEN" gets batted around in these discussions a lot too. It's clearly an important concept -- but do people really understand what women mean when they say this is what they want in a mate? Seriously, does being a "real man" mean you have to work on cars, bend steel with your teeth, or ride a horse that's standing on the top of a motorcycle while flexing your bountiful muscles and drinking AXE body spray out of a steel-toed workboot?
Or does it simply mean that by a certain age you're kinda expected to have your shit together,
know what you want out of your life, and are actually taking steps to try to make that happen?
You can't be something you're not. If you're a nice guy, you've gotta be a nice guy. But understand what that really means. In other words, you can be a good listener without looking like a pansy. You can be understanding and compassionate and still take control when the moment calls for it. You can hurt and feel and show emotion without giving up your internal sense of purpose of direction.

Because when you get right down to it -- that's what life is. Taking the hit, shaking it off, and then charging back into the game. Do I always know how things are going to work out in my life? No, not at all. But do I know what I want? Do I know where I want to be when it's all said and done?
Hell to the yes.
Take our drummer friend in the video at the top of the page. The drumset with the flames on it, the moves, the stick twirling. This guy truly believes that he alone is destined for something bigger than some wedding band or whatever the hell Rich K. and the All-Nighters is supposed to be (btw, my favorite part of that video is how the other guys in the band basically ignore his antics, almost like they don't even know he's doing them). From his perspective, he probably thinks he's pushing towards that goal with all his might.
But just because you can do Tommy Lee moves does not intrinsically make you Tommy Lee.
That guy dates supermodels. He's also by all accounts a colossal asshole who's riddled with Hepatitis C and has spent time in jail for spousal abuse. Is that really the image you're looking to co-opt onto for all the single ladies here at the DAR meeting watching you and your little drum performance?

Finding love isn't easy. Making it work is even harder. But there's really no sense at all in complaining about not being able to find the right connection if you're not being true to yourself. Understand what it is that makes you who you are, and stop relying on arbitrary labels that might not even mean the same things you think they do to the people you're trying to attract.
And for crissakes, stop trying to be something you're not.
Otherwise you'll just end up being the dude in the cheesy cover band who looks like
a jackass waving his arms around while playing cover of an effed out ZZ Top tune.

[Listening to:  Barton Fink - "Dicey Street Blues" ]


unMuse said…
Speaking from experience, it's nearly impossible to find anyone who has that certain special mix of crazy, smart, funny, responsible, wild, caring, honest, respectable that we all craze. I mean just look at those lump of words. They are antonyms to each other.

But you're right about the backbone thing. Listen, women hate to admit it but we like to feel like we can "manipulate" our guy a little bit. We love a guy that knows those little, unimportant battles they let us win but never call us on it. We need a guy that knows how to tell the difference between letting us win the small things and letting us control the relationship as well as him.

For example - going to the more expensive restaurant that one time because we really wanted to go, or going to the expensive, and now unaffordable, restaurant all of the time. It's such a minor thing and we do whine when we don't get our way and it is easier to get us to give you blow jobs if you give in all of the time... but it's boring. It's soft and weak.

As far as feminism as come, and trust me I am so thankful for it, if you want a woman to truly love you she has to feel safe enough to be weak and that's a hard, hard thing to do.
JerseySjov said…
confidence is everything for me. i don't care much for the "Nice Guy" because at my age that means the "Doormat" or "Stage 5 Clinger". On the flip side of the coin, I'm not really the type of girl you'd want to take home to mama until you get into my head a little bit and realize that i do actually know how to act.

i know my ideal partner would be a take-charge type of guy, which is why i don't ask guys on dates [flings are an entirely different story]; i'd much rather be the one being pursued. there are plenty of guys who i would happily date if they would just come up to me and ask!

ps i posted that drummer video on a friend's facebook wall yesterday. love it. that guy thinks he's the man and i'm in no place to contest that
Anonymous said…
It's funny, because I think when WIGSF started writing the blog entry, he was commenting on what he saw as a trend among blogs he read, and wanted to examine why it was happening. But as the entry went along and he began to relate the topic to his personal experience, the blog entry (as blog entries frequently tend to do) became something else entirely. Still interesting to read -- but I wonder if it's actually what he was initially planning to write at all.

Ultimately, I'm a single guy for a couple of key reasons.

1) I not confident not because I'm lack the ability to have confidence, but because I'm a logical, rational human being. Confidence requires the ability to shut that stuff off and just wing it. The old Cosby bit "You walk across the street without looking and a car hits you, you're not going to walk across the street no more." Well, I've been hit by a car a few times and it doesn't feel good. I don't want to feel like that again so I stopped crossing the street. My memory is too good, my history too depressing for me to have confidence.

2) I live with my parents. When a woman hear's that about me. The nice ones will look at the door. The not-nice ones will run for it.
Yes, I'm a grown man of nearly 30 years of age. Some people view that as a negative aspect to a person's personality. For me, it's a cultural thing. Italian-Canadians don't live by themselves. (My brother moved out at 29 and he was the youngest person in my large Italian family to ever live alone; beating my cousin's record of 35. For the first three years, my father asked him to move back home every week.) In our culture, living alone is something you just don't do. It's expected that when two Italian-Canadians get married, the new couple will live in the home of one of their parents. This couple will not get a home of their own until they can afford a place just as nice, if not nicer. I was six when my parents moved out of my grandparents' house. They had been married for twelve years and had two kids under my grandparents' roof. (And the grandparents moved in with my parents a month later.) Non-Italian women don't get that.
I'm in no rush to leave my parents house. They're in no rush to see me leave. When my brother left, my father's exact words to me were "Don't get any ideas. You're not going anywhere." I'm okay with that. That's the world I grew up in.
The fact is non-Italian women don't understand the Italian family dynamic. We actually love each other and when you really think about it, why would you not want to be surrounded by people who love you? I'm certainly not living there for free. I'm kicking up rent and utilities every month. But that's how the family dynamic works. We all contribute to make each other's life better.
I agree Hex, issues with semantics are definitely at play here. A woman's definition of a "nice guy" and a man's definition of a "nice guy" don't often seem to match. Or jerk or asshole. Heck, one woman's definition of a nice guy won't necessarily match another woman's, either.

Let's take "nice guy" for example. You correlate that to a nice way of saying a guy lacks backbone. I can agree with that. Although I can also think of at least one guy I know who does have a lot of backbone, but is also someone I would consider a really, really nice guy. For instance, he waited until he was 30 years old to lose his virginity. Not because he didn't have any prospects - he had lots - but because he didn't believe in getting sexually involved with someone he didn't love because it would be taking "advantage of her". He firmly stood his ground and repeatedly, and firmly, turned down lots of prime booty because he didn't want sex without love. Does he have backbone? In my opinion, yes. But damn that's a really nice guy. To me, anyways.

I asked my husband to define a nice guy. He said it's a guy whos'e never offensive and is non-confrontational. I can agree with that definition, too. But the problem I have with this definition is that implies that the inverse is also true. That a guy who is confrontational is never a nice guy. I don't agree with that, because there will always be circumstances that require a confrontation for the sake up standing up for yourself, or defending someone else, or upholding a moral. Doing so wouldn't necessarily make you not a nice person.

So what is my personal definition of a "nice guy"? It's a polite way of saying the guy simply doesn't excite me or sexually interest me. I believe that when most women say "he's too nice", all she's saying is "I don't want him". The end. There could be a multitude of reasons for this, or various combinations of traits or the lack thereof that make me not interested in a guy beyond maybe friendship. But those reasons aren't universally applied to every guy I don't find attractive, or to every guy that I think is "a nice guy". Sometimes, I have absolutely no idea why I'm not attracted to someone. I think that what defines a nice guy could vary too, from woman to woman and from guy to guy for a particular woman.

It's like you said, Hex - don't worry about these labels. Don't worry about trying to be or pretending to be someone you're not. Be who you are and be on the lookout for the right connection. Finding the right match is hard enough as it is - worrying about how to interpret labels will only make it even harder.
Satorical said…
WIGSF--That kind of family dynamic is laudable and sadly dead for the most part in the US. It has huge implications at all stages of life--who cares for grandma/the parents when they can't take care of themselves.

All you can do is own it: "I live with my folks. It's a cultural thing." Then if the woman gives a shit she'll ask more about it, but you don't have to make apology one for who you are.
Anonymous said…
I'm very proud of who I am and of my family, even though I've started a blog that existed solely to laugh at dear ol' dad. But dammit, he's funny.
Hex said…
Unmuse -- excellent point about providing enough trust and safety for someone to believe they can be vulnerable.

Jersey -- it's almost as if people could wake up and see their own potential better they'd have a lot more fun, eh?

WIGSF -- I'm with Satorical on this. You don't live at home because you're not able to live somewhere else, you do it because that's what your family does.

I think it wouldn't be that far out of the realm of acceptability that if a woman inquired about your living situation that you framed it as "I take care of my parents" or "I watch over my family, it's an Italian thing."

Sometimes it's weird how the language we choose to represent ourselves with paints us into different corners..

Tatiana -- So true. Even when we don't know what attracts us to people, it's nearly impossible to ignore the things we don't like.

WIGSF -- Your dad is a riot, there's no doubt about that.