The ‘Good Guy’ Image

mask

I want to talk this morning about some examples of men in reality and in fiction who used their Good Guy image to manipulate and poorly treat women.

First, I’m gonna exemplify comedian Louis CK. I liked him. I laughed at the things he wrote. He’s written some really quotable lines that are meaningful to me. He portrayed himself as a male feminist advocate…talking about women’s very real fear on dates and in relationships of sexual assault and domestic violence, and men’s historical and current responsibilities in that fear. He’s the father of two daughters and spoke respectfully about his ex-wife in public. He’s worked on projects with other diverse comedians I’ve always respected as people and as writers.
*I’M NO LONGER A FAN.*
Because Louis CK also harasses women. He used his fame and ‘good guy’ public image to do it. I believe his accusers, and here’s why…I trust women.
In addition to just believing what women say, and not automatically discounting them as liars, I also know there are predators out there (the most sinister kind in my opinion) who count on that good guy design they’ve created to ensure the women who speak about their dastardly deeds won’t be believed, and they won’t face consequences for their reprehensible behavior.
Cries of ‘rejection revenge’ or ‘after his money’ or ‘just wants attention’ or whatever fall on deaf ears in my case, though. I believe women tell the truth when they make claims of harassment and assault. *I just believe women tell the truth.* And I know there are men who present as ‘good guys’ to the world who are really consent violating, power hungry creeps, and they count on Good Guy to win the public opinion battle for them…to ensure the general public goes to victim blaming. Is it possible for a woman to lie about harassment or assault? Yes. Is it likely or common? I don’t think so. See, it’s *possible* for a person to lie about having cancer. I actually know 2 people who have done this to get care and attention. But it’s not likely or common. I mean…the overwhelming majority of people who say they have cancer actually have cancer. Imagine if because of those 2 people I know who lied about it, I didn’t believe my friends and family members and my own mother when they said they were diagnosed with cancer. Exactly the same situation here.
So while I still believe, ‘The only reason you should look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them,’ and I certainly still believe, ‘When a person tells you that you hurt them, YOU don’t get to decide that you didn’t,’ I won’t be quoting Louis CK again. And I won’t be watching any of his movies or stand up specials again either. See, women’s rights mean something to me, but so does loyalty. When you say you’re my ally, I expect you to live that way. Men, if you claim to be a feminist and pro-woman, the very least you can do is to not assault or harass them.
I trust women. I believe survivors. And I don’t buy that ‘Good Guy’ disguise.

There’s also this phenomenon in fiction, particularly romantic fiction, that has seeped into mainstream social society. It’s Nice Guys. That tired myth that women like assholes when they overlook that Nice Guy that so obviously loves them. That women should pay attention and affection to that Nice Guy.
‘Give him a chance. He likes you so much. He’s so NICE.’
A lot of popular media features this theme, and people love it. Even women. I’ll admit I used to fall for it myself. Everybody remembers this guy, right?

loveross

We were supposed to believe he was her lobster, but what he really was was a Nice Guy. That’s a mask too. He wasn’t using his cultivated image to get away with abusive behavior, but he did follow the script of Nice Guys using kindness as a currency to obtain romantic fidelity and sex. He lamented constantly about why his ex-wife would fall in love with a woman because ‘he was so nice.’ He pined for Rachel, wondering how she could possibly go out with any other man after meeting him because he liked her so much and ‘he was so nice.’ Right. How could a woman possibly misinterpret kindness for anything other than romantic love? Women are stupid creatures, obviously. <SARCASM>
I read this metaphor on a meme once, and it’s genius. I’d like to properly attribute it, but since it was a meme, I don’t know who coined it. It goes something like this…
“Women aren’t machines men can drop kindness coins into and get sex.”
nice guy lines

I really want people to see things from other people’s perspectives. Live in someone else’s reality for a while.

I’ve been on the ‘I approached him respectfully,’ end of this.
I was nice. I was kind. I was a lady. I wasn’t rude when I walked up. I was his friend first. I was a GOOD friend. I helped him. *He still wasn’t interested.*
And NOBODY thought he was a jerk for telling me so.
NOBODY thought he owed me at least just one date.
NOBODY told him, ‘Just give her a chance! She’s so NICE. She’s such a lady…’
And I didn’t think they should have. He just wasn’t interested.
And THAT’S OK.
But if it’s ok that *he’s* not interested? It’s the same kind of ok that *she’s* not interested too.

Know the term ‘Friend Zone?’ I get it. I really do. There is not a human on the planet who’s been ‘Friend Zoned’ more than me. Someone you like wants to ‘just be friends.’ No fun. The difference between when *I* say ‘Friend Zone,’ and when many men say it, is that I never thought a man ‘owed me’ his romantic interest in exchange for my kind behavior. In fact, every time I heard, ‘Let’s just be friends,’ I assumed it WAS my behavior, or more likely, my appearance, that made that statement happen, and whatever it was, was on me. They made a choice and weren’t interested, so I either DID then ‘just be friends’ with them, or totally moved on with my life. I didn’t ever call a guy a bitch. I didn’t call him a tease. I didn’t accuse him of being a gold-digger because I spent money on him which he accepted, and then refused to date me or kiss me. But women get that kind of behavior. Because they didn’t give in to the Nice Guy with his Good Guy image, wearing his Good Guy mask. They get that behavior not only FROM ‘Nice Guys’, but also from their friends and family…other women. And then sometimes they get stalked. Or harassed. Or even attacked. And when they get stalked, harassed, or attacked, people (men AND women) blame them for the bad behavior of the men involved. ‘But he spent money on you! But he was so nice to you! But he likes you so much!’ But guess what? She still doesn’t owe him anything. None of the men I ‘liked so much’ or ‘was so nice to’ owed me their time, attention, and certainly not their affection, and no one ever argued that they did. Why do so many people think women owe men theirs?
I’ve written a couple of stories where friends eventually become lovers/partners. I’ve written a few where friends realize that the person they’ve been looking for has been right in front of them for a long time. But in my stories, I tried to make sure those characters were never using kindness as a currency, particularly the men. I don’t ever want to write a romantic hero that exploits a Good Guy image. I want to just write good guys.

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