A “Nice Guy” Is Not Enough

Shani Silver
7 min readSep 20, 2022

And there is nothing wrong with wanting more.

Photo by the author.

I don’t care about how things sound, I care about how things are. So when I hear the term “nice guy,” where once I might have clamored to know his name, profession, height (leave me alone) and social media information immediately, now I hear a phrase like “nice guy” and think to myself…and?

What else? What else have you got besides the fact that he’s “nice?” What else about this person drove you to tell me he exists other than the fact that he’s single, I’m single, and he’s “nice?”

What’s a “nice guy,” really? Someone who’s not an asshole? Does that sound like aiming high enough to you? Or have we been so starved for positive attention and interaction in the dating space that a “nice guy” with little to no additional information available sounds great? I wonder if one of the reasons we get repeatedly disappointed in dating is that our standards (and self worth) are set low and the world is meeting us right there. It’s no wonder we’re disappointed when we never think we can ask for things that aren’t disappointing.

Let me tell you what a nice guy actually is. A nice guy is the product of a heterosexual singlehood narrative that shames women and cherishes men, combined with a dating culture that’s allowed men to get away with the very foulest of behaviors, privately and without consequence, and both of these factors combine to write single women a one-way ticket to settling — for damn near anything as long as it’s “nice.” A nice guy is what single women, particularly those of us over 30, have been groomed to believe is the very best we can hope for. A nice guy is what the world wants us to agree to so it doesn’t have to worry about us anymore. It’s perfectly content for us to worry about us for the rest of our lives when we realize we settled for the bare minimum, aka “nice.”

One of the most frustrating situations that exists in the singlehood and dating space is a date with a nice guy. You know the mood: You meet up, he doesn’t say anything insulting, he has manners, perhaps he even *gasp* holds the door open for you. His clothes are clean and he shaved this morning. He is the quintessential nice guy and you feel absolutely zero attraction to this human being whatsoever. And instead of simply acknowledging that this is not someone…