Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Crackpot Inventor Syndrome

Every once in a while I run across another internet essay by a "Nice Guy" complaining about how "women don't like nice guys, they like jerks." Usually the Nice Guy then goes on to demonstrate his niceness by saying hateful things about women, and explaining his deep insights about how shallow and evil they are.

This really reminds me of the writings of crackpot inventors, who complain about how scientists won't accept the genius of their perpetual-motion machines. Typically the crackpot inventors then take up a second project, namely figuring out "what is wrong with scientists?" They quickly discover the answer: scientists are closed-minded, they are snobs, they are jealous of the superior intellects of crackpot inventors. They are unwilling to let an outsider into their club, and even less willing to let their hard-won knowledge be rendered obsolete by the breakthroughs of the inventors. In the end, really, scientists are insufferable jerks! They don't even deserve the perpetual-motion machine! They're too immature to handle the anti-gravity ray!

Nice Guys complain that they've been "just friends" with a woman for quite a while, but -- amazingly! -- it has not lead to anything "more." This is an odd attitude, because it actually defines friendship as a type of rejection. (Try to wrap your head around that one.) To normal people, friendship is a good thing and valuable for its own sake. But to the Nice Guy, friendship with a woman is something else: it is reserving a place "next in line" to be her boyfriend. To the Nice Guy, friendship is stalking from point-blank range. (I imagine I'd find that twice as horrifying if I were female.)

I'd like to explain to the Nice Guys that they have Crackpot Inventor Syndrome, but I don't think it would work. Nice Guys aren't out trying to understand the reasons why they're wrong. They have created inside their own heads a perfect vision of how the world "ought to work." Just like crackpot inventors.


Peter said...

An absolutely delightful post! I've never thought "Nice Guys" through, but you have. I was a Nice Guy until I somehow got married. This would have helped me during my Nice Guy years.

m said...

I've always been a "Nice Girl", obliviously fumbling through friendships with guys until they awkwardly admit their crushes. What?!? You're ruining our friendship!

Then a few years ago, a guy told me men never, ever befriend women without at least imagining them without clothes on, etc. Lovely.

This brings me to my next question: Why did you leave me a comment? You're a guy. I'm a girl. Knowing what I know from my guy "friends", why did I subsequently write back via your blog archives? Hmmmmm...