Originally posted February 16, 2010.
Decades of dramatic societal shifts have created a new breed of males.
Men who have been conditioned to seek the approval of others, especially the women in their lives. Men who are so concerned about looking good and doing “right” that they’ve lost touch with their masculinity.
When you look at what society portrays as masculine, it seems a bit off. Today’s magazine and television culture portrays men as buffoons, interested only in how to attain six pack abs and how to score with every woman that walks by.
But if you look deeper at today’s man, you’ll also see that he is good, giving and caring. He’s a Nice Guy. So what’s wrong with that you ask?
Today’s sensitive Nice Guy is often thought of by his behavior, and being kind and caring is an admirable behavior, but what I’m talking about is not his behavior, it’s his belief structure about himself and the world around him.
Underneath the Nice Guy’s behavior is something deeper.
A belief that if he is “good” and always does the right thing – even at the sacrifice of his own needs and masculinity – he will be loved, have his needs met, and have an overall smooth and happy life.
Today’s man often experiences an aimless wandering of his spirit. A meandering of his identity and an endless quest to “find himself.” And this is a big deal!
As a recovering Nice Guy myself, I’ve seen first hand how this syndrome impacts my life and those around me. I’ve also seen it in many of the clients I’ve worked with.
I was reluctant to grow up and assume the responsibilities of adulthood. I also was unsure about what it meant to be a man. So based on those around me it was easier to become a Nice Guy. It was easier to go with the flow and remain largely unseen.
That’s the issue with the Nice Guy.
The Nice Guy has lost the confidence of the men of the past, as well as the focus, skills and virtues that embodied the generation that led our nation through the Great Depression and a couple of World Wars.
There are several other reasons behind this shift. Feminism, while doing some great things for our society, complicated the message men received. Radical feminism frequently threw around statements like “men are pigs” and “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Boys raised by mothers during and after this movement grew up looking to their mom for definition and approval. Dad was often at work, possibly working multiple jobs, or absent entirely. Boys would attend female dominated education systems (I had 5 male teachers from Kindergarten to 12th grade).
If you subscribe to the idea, as I do, that masculinity bestows masculinity, then it’s pretty easy to see how the Nice Guy evolved.
Today – Nice Guys are everywhere.
He’s the one who’s wife runs the show.
He’s the one who so habitually avoids conflict that his wife or girlfriend experiences chronic frustration.
He’s the one who will do anything for a buddy, yet his own life is often chaotic and in shambles.
He’s the one who lets others walk all over him because he doesn’t want to rock the boat.
He’s the dependable guy who never says “no” to anyone.
He’s mister fix it for everyone else but himself.
He’s the guy who seeks approval from those around him.
Need I continue?
You may know one of these Nice Guys. He may be the one who’s reading this, or you’re married to him, or you attend church with him. Look around, he’s everywhere. And as a result, many marriages are suffering from monotony and boredom or falling apart at the seams.
Nice Guys have fallen victim to believing a myth. We do not live in an androgynous society, nor should we.
Men today need to learn to be men!
Not some watered down version of a man or some masculined version of a woman – they need to be strong, convicted, resolved, hairy legged men!
A belief only confirmed by the popularity of John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart and Brett McKay’s Art of Manliness blog.
I believe that’s what a woman really wants as well.
What do you think? Am I wrong in this observation?
Originally posted February 16, 2010.