Point-counterpoint: A bad rep for the nice guys

Rethinking the “bad boy” stereotype

Maggie Curran, Opinion Editor

Elvis Presley, James Dean, Adam Levine. Everybody loves a bad boy… or so they think.

When a boy holds open the door for you, he’s a nice guy. When a boy offers to pay after a meal, he’s a nice guy. When a boy asks you how your day was, he’s a nice guy. However, in reality, plenty of proclaimed “bad boys” also do these things. So what is the definition of “bad boy” or “nice guy”? Somehow, somewhere along the line, “bad boy” became synonymous with “interesting”, and “nice guy” became synonymous with “dull.” Truth be told, it’s not the nice guys who finish last. It’s the boring ones who are sometimes the real jerks.

Our idea of a “nice guy” has become somewhat of a cultural archetype. It’s the guy who wears bland clothes, likes bland music, watches bland movies, and talks about bland topics. He’s a people-pleaser who laughs at everything everyone else says, but never makes a joke of his own. He spends an entire date asking you questions, but has no thought-provoking answers himself. The problem is, he tries so hard to be considerate and appropriate that he forgets to have a personality (or maybe never had one to begin with). He is the human equivalent of plain Cheerios in the cereal aisle that is the dating pool.

Furthermore, it’s much easier for us to simply say “he was too nice” than to delve into the real reasons these “nice guys” don’t get a second date. In truth, a guy who is trading personality for niceness isn’t going to have a great affect on anyone. It isn’t the “bad” that makes us love bad boys—it’s that at least they’re being themselves, and therefore, are a lot more interesting.

Another reason that some so-called “nice guys” end up finishing last is that the niceness is simply a persona, forced politeness in an attempt to impress us. Ironically, these same nice guys turn into real jerks when they discover we’ve seen right through their act. Aren’t these nice-guy impersonators the real “bad boys”?

By this logic, I propose a revamp of the definitions for “bad boy” and “nice guy.” It takes a lot more than having tattoos, not replying promptly to texts, and riding a motorcycle to fit the true “bad boy” persona. Just because a boy fits that description does not mean he can’t be nice.

Bottom line: plenty of “nice guys” are actually jerks hiding behind a façade, and plenty of “bad boys” are actually nice. It’s about time we drop the labels and give every guy an equal chance to prove for himself where he falls on the spectrum, and let the real nice guys win.