Recently, I was prompted to read an article by a woman who has refused men’s attempts to get her to have sex despite the fact that many of them would be considered nice guys by contemporary standards. It’s often difficult for many people to understand why she would insist on waiting until marriage to have sex when there were nice guys readily available.
No doubt the author has been advised many times to go with whichever nice guy was interested at the time. I can sympathize with her. I’ve been told many times that I need to find a nice girl to date and encouraged to go with whichever nice girl was interested at the time.
My problem with doing that is not that I don’t think they are nice girls. I’m sure they are, at least in the vast majority of cases. Most women try very hard to live up to the “nice girl” standard our culture has presented them with. And that’s very admirable in many ways; striving to meet an ideal is often a good thing.
It’s not their fault that the culturally defined ideal woman they are trying to live up to is actually deeply dysfunctional. My heart breaks for the many women who work so hard to meet the standards that not only won’t make them happy, but will actually keep them trapped in a cycle of unhappiness-causing behaviors.
Our sex-obsessed and consumeristic culture which so often reduces women to objects to be adorned or stripped primarily for the gaze of others is not doing them any favors with regard to fostering a fulfilling and meaningful life. And in both the short term and long term, it has many deleterious effects for women.
One of them is that it negatively impacts their relationships, not exclusively but especially the romantic ones. Women are simultaneously advised that if their man isn’t keeping them happy then they should leave AND that they need to keep their man happy with great oral sex techniques or he will leave.
This isn’t a problem because I have anything against men trying to keep their women happy or women trying to keep their man happy. It’s because we actually seem to think that we can keep someone happy and that they can keep us happy. That sounds great, but in practice it’s nonsense.
The only person who has the capacity to develop in me the habits that will lead to a happy life is me. Even were I to date the ideal nice girl who lives up to all the standards of our culture, wildly incoherent as they are, she could never make me happy. And I could never make her happy. We can only build the habits that make ourselves happy and then share that ever-increasing happiness with one another, a great gift of love for one another.
And if we were to understand our relationships as a matter of sharing our happiness with another person rather than a function of them keeping us happy, maybe we would have more fulfilling relationships. Maybe we wouldn’t settle for serial flings that can never fulfill the deepest longings of the heart, trying over and over to fill our hearts with a paltry dash of love which soon evaporates.
So I’m not looking for a nice girl. I’m looking for a woman who rejects the contemporary cultural ideal of the nice girl and lives boldly by her own principles. And even if we aren’t compatible and don’t end up getting married, at least she has a better chance of being happy. More than finding someone, that’s what I want for women. I want them to have fulfilling lives whether I’m part of them or not.