On Dating Good Guys

There seems to be this undercurrent of asshole-loving lately; my peers justifying their ill-advised decision to partner with people they believe can and will ‘change.’ I’m all about personal preference, but it seems that while the Nice Guy/Asshole debate rages on, no one has stood up for the Good Guys.

When I was younger (whatever age you are when people actually sign yearbooks), there was this one descriptor that people always included when signing my autograph book or what-have-you. ‘Sweet.’ “Stay sweet, Stephanie,” or “You’re such a sweet girl.” It’s funny; I don’t think anyone has called me ‘sweet’ since I was thirteen, probably – but at the time, it was a recurring theme. I was sweet.

I don’t believe I’m inherently ‘unsweetened’ now, but I’ve developed somewhat of an acerbic tinge. I won’t shy away from expressing my opinion (unless I’ve predetermined that my opponent will likely refer to out-of-context talking points that they picked up from Rush Limbaugh – in that case, I won’t waste my breath). I am a master of dirty looks, the silent treatment, and making apparent when someone’s actions are unacceptable. I can, at times, be a raging bitch.

These two polarizing aspects of my personality (along with many others) coexist peaceably. I try to be thoughtful, I do nice things for other people because I want to, I am genuine when expressing emotion (OMG I know, earnestness, gross!). But I also won’t take your crap, and if you give me enough of it, I will peace out of your life and I will not regret it. Count on that. I am capable of being a warm blanket of golden light, but I’m also capable of being a laser beam that will effing cut you. In other words, I am the nice guy. And I am the asshole. We all are, to some degree.

Which is why, when given the choice, I want to date a Good Guy. I want someone who is a real, flawed human being – someone who, despite those flaws, makes the conscious, ongoing effort to act benevolently toward the people around him. Because there is no such thing as An Asshole and A Nice Guy and if that’s all we can say about these people, what they really are is An Actor. A one-dimensional character whose actions are motivated by the desire to project a controlled, steadfast image to the world.

I do not want to fix someone. I’m too busy working on myself. I wouldn’t want to date someone who isn’t doing the same, who doesn’t see the value in growth. I’m not here to hold someone’s hand while they learn how to grow up. I’m not a pre-school teacher; I’m not a therapist. A man is not an art project to be cut up into little pieces and glued back together. You’re your own fixer-upper, honey; do with that what you will.

I want to be with someone who respects me, someone who I can respect. I do not want to tote around some unruly asshole, a discount handbag that looks impressive on the outside but is really falling apart at the seams. This would be a reflection of my own bad taste and insecurity, dating some mess of a person who doesn’t use the words, ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You,’ someone who has no consideration for other people. I don’t want to introduce that person to my friends, or to my family – who all happen to be Good People who have a low tolerance for assholes.

I don’t want to date someone indifferent to themselves or to me. Is it an oddity that I don’t want to be treated like crap? I do not have time to hopelessly await someone’s phone call; I do not have time to place heaps of unwarranted blame on myself when someone or something seemingly ‘disappears.’ I don’t have the time to jump through hoops to prove that I am worthy of someone’s affections, and even if I did have the time? That’s not how I would spend it.

No, I want a Good Guy – someone who is a good person before I date him, while I date him, and after I date him. Someone who is capable of letting go of whatever Grave Injustices were done to him, who doesn’t blame the world for his misfortunes. Someone who respects himself, who wants to be with someone who will treat him the way he deserves to be treated. Someone who is nice but not a doormat, someone who is confident but not an asshole. Someone who gets to date a Good Person by being one, not by appealing to a girl’s desire to ‘fix’ their self-perpetuated damage.

So, to the ladies who want assholes, keep them. I’ll take the sane, emotionally stable man any day. TC mark


More From Thought Catalog

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t have thought any of the staffers here were qualified to discuss ‘good guys’

  • http://somuchtocome.blogspot.com Aja

    This was my ex.  I wish he hadn’t moved away :(

  • Shwax

    You’re such a rebel. A sweet rebel.

  • Adam


  • Michael Lynch

    This is refreshing. The whole idea of girls going for asshole guys is getting tiresome. It sounds like you have a good judge of character.

  • http://twitter.com/tashny Tashny Sukumaran

    i think we all want to date “good people”. but there’s no such thing as a good person who is good to everyone. (and i wonder, does that make them NOT good people?)

    • http://maxwellchance.wordpress.com Duke Holland of Gishmale

      Jesus was good to everyone. And you’re just young. 

      • Asdf

        Not to me. He punched me in the crotch and stole my bread, broke it, fed his posse and called it HIS body. Dude totally took credit for my bread. And now who gets all the glory? Jesus. And who gets infertility? This guy.

      • http://maxwellchance.wordpress.com Duke Holland of Gishmale

        Oh, Jesus up to his ol’ tricks again. Gotta’ love him. 

      • guest

        thats brilliant

    • Meghan

      if you respect yourself, you’re only going to “fall in love” with people who respect you. you CAN help who you fall in love with by liking yourself first. The author wasn’t saying that all people are good, all people are FLAWED but good people are actively trying to better themselves and thus treat others better.

    • Random

      If you can’t help but fall in love with assholes it’s a personal failing.

    • guesty

      But actually you can.

  • http://maxwellchance.wordpress.com Duke Holland of Gishmale

    This was awesome. I feel like you just took my hand while giving the world the finger. +8 love points. 

  • Thomas J

    I rarely leave comments but thought this deserved one. Very well done.

    My favorite part:

    “…what they really are is An Actor. A one-dimensional character whose
    actions are motivated by the desire to project a controlled, steadfast
    image to the world.”

  • Thomas J

    I rarely leave comments but thought this deserved one. Very well done.

    My favorite part:

    “…what they really are is An Actor. A one-dimensional character whose
    actions are motivated by the desire to project a controlled, steadfast
    image to the world.”

  • http://eccentricerrant.wordpress.com/ Alexandrea

    I’ve met a lot of self-proclaimed good guys — friends with many, went out with a few. But they aren’t good guys. For a lack of a better term, they’re doormats, pushovers. Women find it hard to respect such a man.

    At least you defined what a good guy really is.

    • Asdf

      Perhaps but how many doormats get laid? I’m always laying a doormat in some place or another. Being pushed over just means you’re prepped and ready to go when the time is right.

    • the sexiest guest

      guy: “UGH, I’m SOOOO NICE! I OPEN THE DOOR FOR THEM, SMILE A LOT, AND always tell them how beautiful they are!!! so..WHY DON’T GIRLS LIKE ME?!

      girl: because you’re a pussy.

      • http://eccentricerrant.wordpress.com/ Alexandrea

        That’s a nice guy. Obviously, you got the nice guy and the pushover confused. Thanks for proving my point.

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        PRETTY MUCH!

  • karina

    Yes, Steph! (OMG EARNESTY!)

    this line was it:  “someone who is a good person before I date him, while I date him, and after I date him.”

    Thanks for this!

  • ryan

    very well written. i could not agree more. everyone is responsible for themselves and we need to hold people accountable for that. people change by making  a conscious effort to do so because they believe it is the best thing for them. not because someone is pushing them into it. people who want to mold someone whether it is in a dating situation or any relationship really, family, friends, whatever… you can expect to experience a lot of tension and a lot of feeling miserable because you’re forcing something that is out of your control. people need to just be more accepting of others flaws and who they are and appreciate the good things and be glad you get to share in that. everyone needs to stop wanting specifics and start enjoying what’s already there…. i think many are missing out. loved this.

  • Ellipsis5

    Might I add, a good guy is not a pushover if you have the space to say no and have the prerogative to decide what to do. In fact, it might even lead to mutual respect! *GASP*

    • http://eccentricerrant.wordpress.com/ Alexandrea

      I sooo agree. Pushover /= good guy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/con4cyn Constance Perkins

    I love this. To me, though, it sounds like asking for too much, but on the other hand it’s what everyone deserves.

  • scin

    mmmm. this makes me miss my last-weekend-man. but he’s not even close to being mine.

  • saritapatrice

    Hear, hear!

    I enjoyed reading this. Thank you for speaking for the fans of the good guy.

  • http://twitter.com/whoismau Mauricio


  • Melissa

    Yes to this!  Thanks, Stephanie, for putting into eloquent words an idea that has brewing in my mind recently.  Thinking of printing this piece and reading it before going on a date.  Such a great read!

  • vee

    this is perfect.

  • http://twitter.com/ingenuegle Egle Makaraite

    Preach it girl. You fucking rule.

  • guesty

    I like emotionally stable dudes, too.  As long as they’re hot.  

    • Dallas

      That’s the problem though. Typically the HOT ones male or female have little redeeming qualities excluding their hotness. . . .

      • the sexiest guest

        ..if you’re so focused on their “hotness” then that’s all you’re going to get.

      • Guesty

        Well, not like blindingly hot.  It’s important to have realistic standards when you are on the homely side.  

  • Zach

    Thanks for reassuring that the right girl for me is still out there somewhere. :)

  • http://www.remylexington.blogspot.com Remy Lexington

    I don’t always think that people like the assholes because they are assholes. It’s because they like the game. They like the whole “Oh does he/she like me or not?” thing. Its fun when its a bit back and forth. An Asshole plays into. If they are a jerk to everyone, the few moments when they are nice to you are really special then.

    Secondly, everyone wants or likes what they can’t have. An Asshole never makes you think you can have them. Nice guys finish last because, unless a girl has been scoping out the guy, if he just approaches her and says how much he really likes her. Its either 1. too easy. 2. creepy.

    • Loljame

      agreed. assholes know how to keep things interesting, and i’m just a drama-crazed girl

      • Hemmingway21

        Good guys don’t have to be boring.   Good Boring Guy’s exist and Good boring a$$holes to do.
        What your looking is for the adventure and confidence that a$$holes have that a lot of good guys don’t invest in developing in themselves.

        I’ll take a good girl on an adventure, but only once if shes boring. :)

  • Guest

    Preach it.

    Love this quote – “No, I want a Good Guy – someone who is a good person before I date him, while I date him, and after I date him.”

    I also want to be this ‘Good Girl’ – but where do you draw the line when the relationship has ended, when the ‘Good Guy’ has become a complete ass hole? Do you stay “Good’ or cut him like a laser beam?

  • Sophia

    And with that, Stephanie Georgeopulos is added to my list of favorite TC writers.

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