Thursday, June 15, 2006

Nice Guys Finish Last!

Topics raise their heads. I reject them if they are cliched. I write them up if they are close to heart. This topic is cliched. Yet, it's too close to heart. And sooner or later I would finally write on it, repeatedly.

Today this wonderful blog motivated me to add my words to it.
(Female readers, in most part, would find the whole thing meaningful from their point of view if they invert the genders in all places in what follows)
Lots of us are unhappy for our singlehood. The loneliness is authentic component of this unhappiness. And there are additional components. Having a girlfriend is the best enough testimony that you have those 'things' in you which a girl likes. It means, you definitely have some attractive components in you. Once that's done, you don't really need to figure out what they are. Having had a girl does irreversible good things to the confidence which then bootstrap the personality in some magical way. Having had an affair, and having broken up, is also better than never having had an affair. Breaking up is a misfortune, an accident. Never having had an affair is a failure.

That's the general line of thought. For most of us, this 'failure' aspect seems far more dominating than the 'loneliness' aspect and contributes majorly to that unhappiness.

Well. I have had my share of woes regarding this matter. As many many other nice guys, I have never had an affair. It hurls me into an abysmal darkness of self-doubts. The summary of all those doubts is: Am I so unattractive that in three decades, not a single soul found me attractive enough to want to make me her own?

One of the instances of the success in brooding away my sorrows is this issue. Brooding hard on this matter has indeed opened up many aspects, which would otherwise have required first hand experience. Clarity has removed some confusions. It's far more peaceful now than it was some years ago. I provide the jist of my self-argumentations on this matter.

1) There might be some relation between one's quality with one's chances of getting a partner. But I feel the correlation is pretty weak. Here, the term 'quality' subsumes everything that can be objectively judged as a good thing to have: nice appearance, intelligence, character, wealth,...
I feel the things which trigger attraction in the opposite sex are either fairly shallow and random, or are far too deeply biological. It might involve some deep rooted calculations regarding the sexual appropriateness as partner. This is evident in the difference in the people's choice of a partner. There's not a single set of qualities which can be marked as sure bet as attractive qualities. In a simpler species, it can be said that a female looks for evidence of masculine powers in men. In humans, it doesn't work. Tastes take a 180 degree phase shift with changing fashions. Many film heroes of past decades who would have young girls swooning about them would be intigating laughter amongs girls of the new generation.

In short, I find that trying to reason about what makes someone attractive to the other sex in terms of things like physique, intelligence, characters and any denomination of power will always prove rather superfluous. Mostly attraction -- not just the first sight one, but the one that sustains longer and has lasting emotional impact -- happens due to unaccountable reasons. These reasons are neither provably shallow and sexual, nor logical and calculable, nor mystical or spiritual.

So, as far as the issue of being qualifiably attractive is concerned, perhaps all of us have some qualities which someone or the other would find very attractive. Which are these qualities? Well, nobody knows. And it depends. If there had been a clear cut answer, the league of royal stags wouldn't have been so big as it is.

2) Of course, this argumentation doesn't bring in a great deal of peace. The next one does.

We are like particles in that cuboidal box -- the one we had been taught about in our lesson of kinetic theory of gases. High energy particles collide more. Low energy particles collide less.

There mayn't be a question of being good or bad (in attractiveness terms) in any universal scale. But there's surely a question of appropriateness of pairing. A good pair of mates requires certain compatibility. It's not the qualities of a person that make him appropriate or inappropriate for pair formation. It's the reactivity between two characters which decides that. Simply put, not all guys can make pair bondings with all girls.

Now, there are guys who are comparable to high energy particle, and guys comparable to low energy ones. Same is the case with girls. Here 'high energy' and 'low energy' don't carry any positive or negative connotation. Some people are active, extrovert, restless, in the move; while some are quiet, peaceful, introvert and sedate. The former class is 'high energy'; the latter, 'low energy'.

Barring some exceptions, it can be said that high energy guys would pair well with high energy girls. Low energy guys would pair well with low energy girls. But due to their very nature, the high energy men and women will check each other out with a higher likelihood as compared to the low energy ones.

A nice guy is not unattractive. He's just low energy. He is less likely to express his emotions and take chances. More likely than not he will create ripples in the heart of a girl of his kind. They in turn are equally less likely than more aggressive damsels to give voice to their feelings. Nice guys, therefore, are quite scientifically less likely to hit it off with an appropriate partner than the more aggressive guys by some kind of square-law.

This unlikeliness and these barriers of shyness also make the first contacts -- if and when they happen -- more intensely emotional. The passion may still remain hidden but they are there. There's a possibility that such people have a way of experiencing love in a way which is inaccessible to the more experimenting creatures. This might also be a kind of protection mechanism for those more sensitive at heart.

3) Yet, it's unfortunate! Here comes to rescue the third argument which might sound somewhat fatalistic, but is sound nevertheless.

A nice guy is a nice person. He mayn't be a nice mate. A human being is just not a biological species. Biology may have its deep definitions of fitness which keep working on us all the time with invincible force. But human beings have created their own definitions which differ from the biological ones. These definitions can't be marked as shallower in an overall sense of the word.

A nice guy may indeed be the loser, an unfit species, in some deep biological sense which might be real, but very inexplicable. He is a winner in terms which are more logical and explicable. Noone has been able to define what that biological fitness means in 100% accurate sense for human race. So, gropping for it is quite unnatural for a nice guy to do. One of the defining aspects of his niceness is his logical and balanced nature. It doesn't suit him to grop around in identity crisis. Rather, it's not in his nature to do it that way. If he tries, he'll make a fool of himself with great odds. Accepting the misfortune associated with being a low energy particle makes much more sense.

Well, again that may sound like quiting the race. But, for a nice guy, the race is merely a nightmare which lasts some moments of naturally unavoidable insecurity. In other times, he's not necessarily in the race of finding a mate. Therefore, he mayn't end up finding one. Again, since biological bases have the advantage of sounding 'natural'; since most of crowd who have paired up already are 'high energy', which means that they would usually be the more visible ones, the feeling of losing out may become quite imposing. But a louder statement mayn't necessarily be true.

A nice guy is a loser in a race which has a larger fan following. Hence, his loss gets more media coverage. This hype may even pursuade him to spiral into self-loathing. But, there're races where he's making great strides. Not many are looking. Not many care. But some do.

Those who care are like us nice guys. Sitting quietly and doing nothing more than reasoning about their loneliness. This will hardly ever make good a real contact. Sigh! But they are there. They must be there. :)


Rajani said...

Nice analyses, Sujit, and I could relate to some of the paths you have been down. I agree to a greater extent with the second line of reasoning you have presented. I don't know what you mean by "nice guy/girl", though.

Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti said...
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Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti said...

Hm. Even I don't. The closest I can get is: "A good guy with no girl."
It's an approximate definition. I know nice guys who have finally got a girl after years of seemingly perpetual loneliness.
I will list a couple of un-nice things which have been statistically found a success in wooing girls.
- Aggressiveness (Power)
- Arrogance (Confidence)
- A scar on the face ;) (Bravery)
- A record of some crime (Adventurousness)
- Dishonesty and lack of commitment (Lightness of mind, happy go lucky)
- Showoff (Outgoingness)

All the above qualities are the variants of the corresponding parenthesised qualities. Only in excess of the desired. I know they truly don't impress a sensible girl upfront. But I have been a first hand witness to sensible girls falling for guys whose predominant characteristic is one of the above. No! Those girls aren't always silly!

A nice guy perhaps loses out when he shows
- lack of Aggressiveness (Powerless)
- lack of Arrogance (No Confidence)
- No scars ;) (No record of Bravery)
- No record of some crime (Never Adventured, never experimented)
- honesty and commitment (theoretical and boring)
- No Showoff (Introvert)

Ya. That's a nice guy for you. :)

Pritesh said...

Hehe! Nice reply Sujju......and since I have been in so called "affairs", I could speak for people who have had affairs.

The attracting factors may vary but I feel that there is one that never fails. SINCERITY. Irrespective of what nature the girl has, she never misses sincerity in a guy. And sincerity not only in loving, but in general. In doing things, in BEING........

And I don't think I agree with the high energy and low energy hypothesis. The analogy drawn is interesting but not quite valid. There are quite a few HIGH ENERGY particles I know who are still unpaired. So, it's not about high or low energy or even about visibility!!! I know some people who are the QUIETEST types and attract women like crazy.

True, it's difficult to say what attracts but being high energy is not one of them. Dedication and sincerity are two of the most important characteristic.

And dedication shows.......a guy who respects HIS family is likely to respect elders in general, so girls do go for such guys. A guy who does his work sincerely is likely to be sincere with whatever work his future wife will give him, so girls go for such guys.

and yes, that emotional factor is something even I agree with. It's VERY hard to say how adn why such emotional bonds form but whatever it is, it's made in heaven for sure! :-)

Awesome post Sujju! You're getting better. The arguments are listed very well and clarity is amazing......

Just one last point. Being alone is not being lonely! People seem to often confuse between the two. I once wrote an article in a magazine titled "1 is not a lonely number". If I still have it, I shall send it across to you! :)

fuse me said...

Nice one sujju....but since I don't fall under the category of 'nice guy' under the definition you have put, I can't exactly relate with those feelings. I can understand them though.

But i must tell you one thing. Girls get fatally attracted to one thing. If they see a guy who is generally good, but has some aspect which needs working on, then the girls go running for that. They think they can step in and correct that aspect (like a mother) However they try all their lives and don't succeed (Men are men)

I think it is similar with guys too. After the initial attraction towards the positives, it is the deficiencies in the particular girl which emotionally attracts a guy.

Thats my opinion from some experience.

Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti said...

Hm. Thanks Rajani, Pritesh and Ananth for your views.

Ya. I have nothing more to say on this. No repetition, no rebuttal. :)

Thanks a lot.

Vikrant Naik said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vikrant Naik said...

hey, thanks for the citation..
liked the kinetic theory wala funda...
to know what a nice guy means...send people to my post...heheh
i agree on the comment by some "fuse me" ... girls tend to fall for guys whom they think they can mould...which will be the next post on my blog...
ciao and keep me informed about ur new posts...
and post was not autobiographical...i prefer to be single...

Dheepikaa B said...

I am reminded of Shark Tale.
The being somebody and the nobody - but still being loved. Or still not being single, if you would relate.

I think the 'high energy' and 'low energy' words have their own subtle impacts on justifying why your post reads nice guys are not fun. The kinetic energy analogy is great. But it does not read equality like you have tried to sound. There was a stage when you came to impress, nice guys are not losers. They just finish last. Ultimately, the idea was confused. Cliched?

I agree with the deficiency and working on. That's the importance a person feels in a relationship. Fictitiously, nice guys don't have deficiencies? ;) a nutshell, an attempt to give shape to a not completely comprehended emotion! As long as u feel successful about it.