The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

10 May 2006

Niceness: threat or menace?

We need a definition of the Nice Guy, says Paul of York, and this is his:

Nice Guys ... are guys women do not want to meet but have to sometimes and will never get serious with or be seen with, if possible. Look it up, if you don't believe that.

Nice guys are the ground feeders of the male gender, a suffering gene pool, the male seals kept off the beach, a wandering group of optimistic hopefuls fooling themselves, thinking their likability can convert into love.

Looks like I missed on a couple of counts.

Compare this to Leo Durocher's definition:

"The nice guys are all over there. In seventh place."

The media managed to screw up Durocher's statement, which is remembered as "Nice guys finish last," which is off by at least one position, inasmuch as the major leagues had eight teams each in those days. And I once twisted that 45 degrees or so and came up with "Nice guys let her finish first," which perhaps unsurprisingly played better in theory than in practice.

Then again, to quote Zen master Yogi Berra:

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

Which, I have to admit, has a nice symmetry.

Posted at 2:39 PM to Table for One


Brilliant, Yogi! Theory never does quite catch up to reality. Maybe not as catchy as the resturant that's so crowded nobody goes there any more, but just as true.

Posted by: John Salmon at 8:29 PM on 10 May 2006

Nice guys are the ground feeders of the male gender, a suffering gene pool, the male seals kept off the beach...

They suffer because "nice," properly applied, is not a condition but an action -- not an adjective but a verb. You "play nicely" if you want to get along well with others -- but when others don't want to get along well with you, being nice is an anti-survival trait.

Posted by: McGehee at 11:43 AM on 11 May 2006

...not an adjective but a verb.

Should have read,

"...not an adjective but an adverb."

Posted by: McGehee at 11:45 AM on 11 May 2006