this is an essay i wrote awhile ago for submission to a regional publication. it wasn't chosen for publication but i thought it would be fitting to post it here in honor of good man month.
Dear Mr. Nice Guy,
Good men are hard to find and even harder to keep. It’s unforgiveable to let one go. Just like you, they keep slipping through my hands like so much sand in an hourglass. You’re right. You are underappreciated. You’ve been given a bad rap and truthfully I preferred a broken and bruised heart to your respectful ways. I’m sorry I said you were boring. I’m sorry I said you were soft. I’m sorry I said you weren’t sexy enough. I’m sorry for not giving you a chance.
When we first met, you confused me. Seriously, who’s honest anymore Mr. Nice Guy? Who says what they mean in the dating game these days? I suppose you do, and it’s clear you don’t believe in playing with my emotions. What’s a single woman to do with all that free time, now that she has no reason to spend her time psychoanalyzing too short text messages, missed calls with no voicemail, and first dates that never make it to a second one?
And another thing Mr. Nice Guy, how dare you be into commitment? I mean who’s into getting serious? Who wants the pressure of a man who wants to be with only me? I would much rather prefer a man who’s juggling me and sixty other women across the city. I like a man who keeps me guessing.
Marriage, commitment, rings, his and hers sinks and towels, matching outfits – these words didn’t scare you. In fact, you welcomed them, wanted them, wanted me, but I wasn’t ready for you. My early 20s mind couldn’t fathom giving up the freedom of singleness to settle down with you. I couldn’t imagine my one and your one becoming one. I couldn’t bring myself to give up the lottery-like possibility of finding five other men that might be the one. I was standing on the side of the road with a hitchhiker’s thumb, passing up the most safe ride home. I was waiting for something better. Like baiting a unicorn on a fishing pole, I was stupid to throw you back into the sea that clichés say is running aplenty with fish.
Trust me. When my night’s get lonely, when I’m out with some ignorant fool who doesn’t know opening the door for a lady from throwing a shot of tequila down his throat, who assumes that dinner and a second date means sex, I think of you. Don’t tell anyone I’m writing this but sometimes I daydream of you. You, the one any woman wants to bring home to meet a dysfunctional family. You, who would rub my back while my family argues the merit of scripture and scrabble, and gaze at me with the look that said you loved and accepted me just for me and would do the same for them. You, who would make love, make babies, and stick around to deal with me, my horrible hormonal attitude, and alien cravings; stick around for baby names, birth, pre-k, middle school, college, and empty nest until it’s back to just us. You, who even as you are reading this forgives the silly me that sent you on your way in the first place.
The phrase “no more Mr. Nice Guy” has haunted me since I ended things with you. You made me question my definition of a man. As if the paramount of testosterone has to equal hairy machismo, never-ending noncommittal, and grunts-only communication. You had character, endurance, perseverance, respect, patience, and I was just too fireworks-driven to see it.
You have no reason to trust these words coming from the pen of a woman who so quickly and easily dismissed you, but years and life and trouble and struggle have shaped that woman with the same indelible imprint with which quick rivers slowly hewn canyons. I see you more clearly now, as I see myself.
I really just wanted to let you know that the phrase “nice guys finish last” is propaganda pushed by bad boys in gentlemen’s clothing. Whatever you do in life, don’t shy away from being the nice guy, especially not because of women like me. Sooner or later some woman is going to relish your gentlemanly gestures. She will find your respectful hand in the small of her back so much more sexy than a strange first-date hand attempting the squeeze on her inner thigh. She will be swept away by your chivalrous door-opening, coat-holding, pulling out her chair, and she will not ditch you for the next smooth swagger, emotionally unavailable, slick talker. Hold out for her and don’t settle for less.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to reply. I wouldn’t dare ask you for a second chance. I just wanted to clear the air and hopefully give myself a clean slate. And maybe, just maybe I’ll cross paths with another nice guy and this time I won’t give him back.