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You know that moment – that nice guy, who’s very nice, nicely asks you out on a nice date and you say yes because you want to be… nice. He’s so nice he probably just wants to take you out for a nice cage-free dinner and talk about some nice literature and have zero expectations from there because nice guys don’t have expectations – that’s why they’re the nice guys. So you go on your nice date, and he opens doors for you and that’s nice, and he pays for you and that’s nice, and he tries to kiss you and you’re like EXCUSE ME GOOD SIR. Because nice can only take you so far. And you want to rewind the clock to when the nice guy asked you out so nicely and say, “That’s very nice… but no thank you.”
We have such a hard time saying the second part of that sentence. Letting someone down easy is still letting someone down, and the people-pleaser in all of us tends to buckle under that pressure.
Now that I’m in a relationship, I thought this “nice guy dilemma” was a thing of the past. But I should’ve known better, because science taught me that at a very basic level, things are neither created nor destroyed. And so, of course, this dilemma never disappeared. It merely transmogrified and then lay in wait… until it resurfaced, undetectable, when a friend invited me to join her book club.
BOOK CLUBS, Y’ALL. THE NICE GUYS OF NON-SINGLE LIFE.
Sometimes we make the situation more complicated than it is, but it’s usually pretty simple: if someone is really, truly interested in hanging out, they’ll make it happen.
It all began when I was working as a barista in a small coffee shop, crafting lattes with care and laughing too hard at the dad-jokes my boss would use to induce the family-friendly-atmosphere Midwesterners crave. And, as is the plight of young female baristas everywhere, it was not a rare occurrence for a prowling bachelor to misconstrue my cheery [corporate-mandated] disposition as an invitation into my pants. In no other world could one so easily mistake “2% or skim?” for “your place or mine?”
You should know, dear reader, that I am not a young woman easily exploited. I have absolutely no problem telling a man that I am not interested in him romantically. Thanks a latte, but cappucci-NO, sir. I do not give my number to customers. And as awkward as these encounters could be, they were hardly any more than the occasional annoyance.
Until the day I met Jerry.
Unfortunately, my ending doesn’t really coincide with the Hollywood Hudson-McConaughey ending that we got to watch unfold on the silver screen. Mine actually resulted in what mostly happens in too-soon relationships: I got dumped.
Friends, listen up. I am not afraid to say that I was dumped. And the worst part was? I wasn’t even in my homeland! Talk about culture shock. I blame it all on chick flicks. Stupid Leap Year. Stupid P.S. I Love You.
Stupid every movie, book and television show that taught me that dating a guy with an Irish accent would be cool, romantic, story-book-esque and awesome.
Nick had a pinky ring. That was probably the 7th of too many warning signs. But he had a pinky ring and he liked it and he would clink it against his glass and I hated it. I don’t think it was until tonight that I realized Nick actually liked his pinky ring. He wore it proudly, no hipster irony. Just some dickhead who sincerely thought he looked cool. Which would be cute. If he wasn’t a dickhead and if it wasn’t a pinky ring.
Nick and I had been hanging out for about 2 months. We dabbled in dating, had really bad sex once and sort of okay sex again then he went to Mexico for a week and then I went to Vegas and then I got sick and then tonight he invited me out for what would be our first hang in 3 weeks.
I’ve already fast-forwarded to the part where you find out he has a pinky ring, so saying anything to bolster his case is pointless now. But I will say Nick’s good. He’s not a bully. He doesn’t know how to dress himself and he took me on dates. He made me tea and complimented my bra and took me to a weird wrestling match once that would’ve been awful had I not found him terribly cute. But he’s also a dumb idiot who doesn’t understand people things.
For the past year or two, I’ve been messing around with OKCupid. Mostly I just log on late at night, grumble to myself about the slim pickings’, and send a couple of semi-desperate messages to guys who I think are in my “range.”
Ten months ago, however, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and actually meet up with a quality specimen, with whom I had been messaging somewhat regularly. We went out for drinks at a whiskey bar. He was late, but paid for my drinks and had a nice personality. Unfortunately, there was pretty much no chemistry. I was bored when he kissed me, so I sent him packing pretty early in the evening, rented The Hunger Games from a Redbox, and swung through the drive thru at In-n-Out. It ended up being a great night.
I assumed that, after a delicately worded text message about not being ready for a commitment, we would probably never talk again. He texted me back, a little bummed out, but understanding. And that was the last I heard from him.
So, good news guys. I’m not totally dead inside! Bad news, I let my guard down enough to fall for someone and he managed to crush my heart like a baby bird just making its way out of the nest and forced some serious personal reflection.
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