An interesting find from Plastic.
May 5, 2002 10:27 PM   Subscribe

An interesting find from Plastic. Are men becoming overly feminine? Or is this "nice guy" stage cyclical?
posted by BlueTrain (41 comments total)
 
I vote for cyclical. My hope is that men are becoming better able to integrate masculine and feminine "qualities."
posted by allaboutgeorge at 10:54 PM on May 5, 2002


What a maroon this guy is! Here's a secret excerpt I found from Glover's daily planner that sheds light on what he really means:
To do:
9:00a Start "No more Mr. Nice Guy" seminar series and book
10:30a Launch Seattle-area Fight Club
12:00p Lunch
1:00p Declare "Wimps are Dead" and urge men everywhere to take control of their lives
2:30p Painting lessons
3:00p Promote Nietzchean/Hitlerean ideals of complete female submissiveness to the male sexual urge
4:30p Take over world, exterminate unclean races.
5:30p Write letter to ex from World Domination headquarters, explaining how he's no longer a "Nice Guy"
Sure, there are personality disorders that men- and women- possess including passive-agressive behavior or passivity. Quoting the article:

His concern is not with generic niceness but a specific constellation of traits such as passivity, conflict avoidance and emotional caretaking that in the past were more commonly associated with women.

What's so bad about traits associated with women, such as emotional awareness? Some so-called feminine traits might be something we should strive for, not to run from. The historian Stephanie Coontz mentioned in the article seemed to get it, noting that this urge comes up pretty often in societies, and isn't anything new. Certainly, fascist demagogues do well to play into these feelings to drum up support, but they are otherwise pretty baseless and stupid. Of course conflict avoidance, extreme passivity and other psychological games we play aren't healthy, but that's not gender specific. From the tone of the article at least, this Robert Glover seems as riled up by "women-y" traits in general, by feminine forces and what are presumably "weaknesses" like compassion or open-mindedness to the other person's viewpoint, as he is by men who genuinely wallow in self-created emotional neuroses.
posted by hincandenza at 10:54 PM on May 5, 2002


Take his counsel regarding wifely chitchat, for instance. Glover makes no bones about telling husbands not to listen when their wives run on about "work, family, girlfriends and rude checkout people." "I don't think men are inclined or even interested to hear about every detail of a woman's day," Glover says. "I'm just encouraging men to listen more selectively so they'll listen more carefully."

You heard it here first folks. the secret of a good marraige? ignore your spouse

posted by boltman at 11:24 PM on May 5, 2002


from the article:

"Wow, your description of the Nice Guy sounds SO much like my ex-boyfriend, whom I broke up with for the same reasons -- that he was too much of a nice guy," she told Glover. "Note (that) nice guy = desperate guy."

i guess this is really what i don't get. not that some girl likes her men mean: everyone's got their preferences. what are you fixing by morphing nice guys into "Men"? you move from one group of girls to another. you move from one group of friends to another. you're not moving forwards but sideways.

in a way these "recovering nice guys" seem just as insecure as glover stereotypes the nice guys. they're bending themselves to pressure from others. i wish people could say: look, this is who i am. i'm proud of who i am, even though i can't please everyone.
posted by moz at 11:33 PM on May 5, 2002


This guy sounds just like Tom Cruise's character in Magnolia. Reading his list of nice guy symptoms I've come to the conclusion that Glover is just another "I'M SUCESSFUL AND I CAN TEACH YOU TO BE TOO!" self-help bullshit guru. As much as he wants to be the real Tyler Durden, well it just doesn't work without the anti-consumerist and nihilist messages.

His list contains things 'nice guys' do. Most of which boils down to not being honest and not always getting your way. Hey Glover welcome to planet earth. The guy who doesn't call his boss on the phone at 3am and says, "Fuck you and your company" is the guy who keeps his job. The guy who is subtle and smart usually gets his way, especially compared to the loud-mouth a-hole no one likes. This 'nice guy syndrome' sounds like the smart way to do things and his hackneyed message is just a machismo pep rally. I'm sure the book will fill a lot of people will a burst of confidence and power, but when they have to contend with reality I wonder how many of these ex-niceguys have truly followed the teaching? Few to none I'd guess.

So what's the final step after you've become a loud-mouth asshole with a neglected wife and family? That's right join the promise keepers and weep while hugging another man.
posted by skallas at 11:35 PM on May 5, 2002


I guess there's some truth here. Women like their unintelligent brawny 'bitta rough' nit-wits.
posted by wackybrit at 11:46 PM on May 5, 2002


"In an age of suicide bombers, contaminated mail, road rage and rampant rudeness, it seems the last thing we should worry about is an epidemic of overniceness."

'The game is to have them all running about with fire extinguishers whenever there is a flood, and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gunwale under. Thus we make it fashionable to expose the dangers of enthusiasm when they are all really becoming worldly and lukewarm; a century later, when we are really making them all Byronic and drunk with emotion, the fashionable outcry is directed against the dangers of the mere "understanding". '

Obviously.
posted by Catch at 11:54 PM on May 5, 2002


And how exactly is this different than women reading 'Good Housekeeping' or attending cooking classes?
posted by ttrendel at 11:56 PM on May 5, 2002


glover you faker now get out!
posted by jcterminal at 12:15 AM on May 6, 2002


I know the people being described in this article, and they're always, without fail, complete assholes once they feel comfortable enough to let their Nice Guy guard down.

I'm always polite in person, but I've learned early on to not repress anything, and these guys don't seem to know the difference between basic etiquette and denying their id to themselves. They're always all sheepish and conflicted. They live in fear of offending people. They're generally hypersensitve to almost any perceived infraction against their "manhood", yet paradoxically pride themselves for backing away from even the most basic confrontation. They let things fester, and then whine on about what they should have done, hours ago.

This is not grown-up behavior, but it accounts for about maybe two thirds of most men I meet who are under 35 or so.
While this may be more prominent, and perhaps more noticeable in men due to expectation set by gender roles, I certainly see it in women, and it's just as sickening.

It's all too easy to get by in our society with no sense of yourself.
You're not really a grown-up until you can find the median between self-denial and being a caveman.
A lot of modern people seem to live an amazing amount of time without being forced to strike that balance.
posted by dong_resin at 2:35 AM on May 6, 2002


What a cocknacho. What the world flippin needs is more nice motherfucking guys that aren't motherfucking afraid to say that they are. Plus us nice guys need an edge, hence my no-apologies use of profanity. I'm fucking honest thank you very much. And when I witness sexist obnoxiousness I call it out. Though I am myself, spineless and agreeable. Fuck you definers! I'm a nice motherfucking guy and I don't need some frat boy get rich-quick schemin' motherfucker tellin' me that being nice is pussy, and overall, that this idiot has ME all figured out.

Just like the future flames I'm destined to get for using so many four motherfucking words. Just cos I used 'dem 'der words doesn't mean you can define me. It just means you can't pigeonhole me nor anybody for that matter.

We need more humanity! Humotherfuckinganity!

---Sorry mom. . .
posted by crasspastor at 2:35 AM on May 6, 2002


GIRLFRIEND with PENIS wanted, for twittering conversation and ...... (?)
posted by IXOYE at 3:51 AM on May 6, 2002


"Glover says the president's inherent Nice Guy-ism makes it impossible for him to sound menacing." Tell that to the people in a bombed-out Afghan village. Sure, there are fellows who need to learn to stick up for themselves, but I don't see that macho agression is in short supply. I'm also skeptical of his assertion that women grow to despise men who don't proposition them. Since when?
posted by sheauga at 4:09 AM on May 6, 2002



posted by kliuless at 5:56 AM on May 6, 2002


Real Men Don't Eat Quiche blah blah blah. Old, ragged, tired, played and done. Or is it "real life imitates the movie Magnolia?
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:14 AM on May 6, 2002


Glover has some issues. I don't think he likes women very much, hence his distaste for being associate with what he sees as feminine qualities. The way he differentiates Nice Guys from un-Nice Guys is annoyingly simplistic - Lou Pinella is not a Nice Guy because he scowls and waves his hands in frustration?? That bastard!

Sweeping generalizations and pigeonholing and tying everyone up into neat little packages galore here. Very entertaining, actually.
posted by iconomy at 6:30 AM on May 6, 2002


a Federal Way therapist

That says it all for anyone from around here. As for Seattle Post Intelligencer links, well...
posted by y2karl at 7:15 AM on May 6, 2002


And what are the causes of this wussiness? They include... wait for it... absent fathers, the anti-war movement of the Vietnam era, the sexual revolution, an educational system that he claims is "dominated by women" and "women's liberation and feminism."

The "nice guy" male problem here is just a red herring. After all, Glover portrays them more as victims of society (and the aforementioned "problems") than a menace in-and-of themselves. His real agenda is taking a cheap swipe at liberalism and feminism, the two ideologies he- as an insecure male- is most threatened by.
posted by mkultra at 7:35 AM on May 6, 2002


This guy dissed Lou Pinella? Blasphemer. Besides there is no correlation between being a nice guy and success. Remember the words of Leo Durocher-"Nice Guys finish last." Take it from me, I know.
posted by jonmc at 7:44 AM on May 6, 2002


Hincandenza: Trying to Godwin a thread so quickly isn't nice. This is an interesting discussion.

Wackybrit: ~could you generalize that a bit, maybe?~

Right on, you crass motherfucking pastor!

That "integrated male" sounds like a healthy person. So what's so male about that? I understand that for some people it can be stimulating or reassuring to have their development into a Secure, Independent, Non-Depressed person take place under the guiding light of "maleness", but that doesn't mean this process is essentially gender-specific.
This guy is using the everenduring potential of the "gender-gap" to titillate and sell a therapy for a very normal set of symptoms.

(On preview:) I don't really think he has an agenda. He might just a bit overwhelmed by the fact that even He (A Therapist!) could have some Problems, and these turned out to be Large, and a Lot of Work, verily a Paradigm-Shift no less. So he's a real believer alright. Doesn't make him an ideologue, though.
posted by disso at 7:54 AM on May 6, 2002


hincandenza: From the tone of the article at least, this Robert Glover seems as riled up by "women-y" traits in general, by feminine forces and what are presumably "weaknesses" like compassion or open-mindedness to the other person's viewpoint, as he is by men who genuinely wallow in self-created emotional neuroses.

If I had spent a hundred years, I could not have come up with a more inaccurate representation of the article. He never says that compassion or open-mindedness are weaknesses.

sheauga: I'm also skeptical of his assertion that women grow to despise men who don't proposition them.

There is no assertion remotely like that, anywhere in the article.

boltman: You heard it here first folks. the secret of a good marraige? ignore your spouse

He is not saying to ignore your spouse. He's talking about not feeling the need to apply a more masculine listening style (looking for a solution) to a more feminine way of dealing with a problem (seeking/giving empathy).

skallas: The guy who doesn't call his boss on the phone at 3am and says, "Fuck you and your company" is the guy who keeps his job. The guy who is subtle and smart usually gets his way, especially compared to the loud-mouth a-hole no one likes.

Sounds to me like the guy who wants to make that phone call and doesn't, is hardly getting his way by keeping his job.

mkultra: His real agenda is taking a cheap swipe at liberalism and feminism, the two ideologies he- as an insecure male- is most threatened by.

I consider myself pretty liberal, and I agree with almost everything he says in the article. And insecure males who are threatened by feminism are exactly the type of people he's apparently writing about.
posted by bingo at 10:21 AM on May 6, 2002


bingo:

He is not saying to ignore your spouse.

actually, glover is saying to (at times) ignore your spouse. the article's author writes that "Glover makes no bones about telling husbands not to listen when their wives run on about 'work, family, girlfriends and rude checkout people.'" glover's comments continue: 'I don't think men are inclined or even interested to hear about every detail of a woman's day,' Glover says. 'I'm just encouraging men to listen more selectively so they'll listen more carefully.'"

There is no assertion remotely [similar to the idea that women grow to despise men who don't proposition them] ... anywhere in the article.

ms. goodnow, the article's author, writes:

Without blinking, he adds that women may be drawn initially to men who "listen to them for hours and drink coffee with them and never sexualize them." But in the end, he claims, women "come to despise" them for those very qualities.

sheauga took glover's logic a step further in assuming that by despising the qualities of the listener, these women are actually upset that they were not propositioned. (that seemed a fair step to me.) in spite of that, the claim of glover's above to me does seem "remotely like" what sheauga wrote.

regarding the cheap swipe at liberalism and feminism, i suppose one can only infer that. glover does say that our educational system(s) is both "dominated by women[,] ... women's liberation and feminism." if you ask me, i think glover is a loon and an insecure one at that. he changed his entire personality because he wanted to please his wife and he wants me to believe he is a model of (manly!) strength?
posted by moz at 11:13 AM on May 6, 2002


hmmm... the guy is definitely a tool. There isn't any kind of therapy group or seminar that will do what he is trying to do for "nice guys". Only a woman can do what he's proposing anyway. A woman can turn any big tough he man guy into a girly boy if she really wants to...but its impossible to turn a wimp into a big tough he man.

Once a wimp always a wimp. Glover is a wimp and if his wife is actually drawn to the big tough he man type ... bets are good they won't be together forever and ever.

But he is right about one thing.

There are far too many momma boys in the world.

period.
posted by oh posey at 4:31 PM on May 6, 2002


i love dong resin.

men women bah humbug. i'm so tired of talking and thinking about how we can all get along. we can't - so we shouldn't, or we can so it's easy. mommas boys, wimps, macho he men. people who aren't themselves are always a turn off, and this is all just such bullshit.
posted by goneill at 6:03 PM on May 6, 2002


Hear, hear, goneill, "people who aren't themselves are always a turn off," well said.
posted by bittennails at 7:23 PM on May 6, 2002


Oh, sorry the bullshit part too ;)
posted by bittennails at 7:24 PM on May 6, 2002


"You're not really a grown-up until you can find the median between self-denial and being a caveman. "

I just found my next email signature -- thanks Dong.
posted by xena at 7:35 PM on May 6, 2002


When I first read your post, goneill, I thought you wrote "macho ho men," a phrase I was hoping would catch on. Oh, well.

I'll echo your point about people who aren't themselves, except to suggest that there are some people who are someone else who is really very interesting, and those people are always, for better or for worse, a turn-on.
posted by BT at 7:38 PM on May 6, 2002


I'm here to help, xena.

And fart, but mostly help.

Actually, that was one of those posts where I come back, read it, and cringe. I hate when I come off sincere. I'm about as deep as a Foghat record. So much more fun to make fun of dead celebrities.
posted by dong_resin at 8:19 PM on May 6, 2002


moz: actually, glover is saying to (at times) ignore your spouse. the article's author writes that "Glover makes no bones about telling husbands not to listen when their wives run on about 'work, family, girlfriends and rude checkout people.'" glover's comments continue: 'I don't think men are inclined or even interested to hear about every detail of a woman's day,' Glover says. 'I'm just encouraging men to listen more selectively so they'll listen more carefully.'"

Yes, I read the article. He is not saying to ignore your spouse. Further comments in my post above.

sheauga: I'm also skeptical of his assertion that women grow to despise men who don't proposition them.

bingo: There is no assertion remotely like that, anywhere in the article.

moz quotes the article: Without blinking, he adds that women may be drawn initially to men who "listen to them for hours and drink coffee with them and never sexualize them." But in the end, he claims, women "come to despise" them for those very qualities.

moz: sheauga took glover's logic a step further in assuming that by despising the qualities of the listener, these women are actually upset that they were not propositioned. (that seemed a fair step to me.) in spite of that, the claim of glover's above to me does seem "remotely like" what sheauga wrote.

It doesn't seem like a fair step to me, it seems like a crass assumption made without much forethought or examination of what the article is actually about.

The scenario decribed is one that I've heard many women complain about, often right down to the coffee. The issue is not that they wish the wimps were sexually propositioning them, the issue is that these men are irritating because a) by virtue of their wimpishness, the idea of an impending sexual proposition is repugnant, and b) it's irritating to be around anyone who has constructed most or all of their personality around a denial of their basic nature, especially when that denial has to do with obsequiousness and cultivated faux-sensitivity aimed in your direction. Or, in the words of John Hughes as Ferris Bueller: "You can't respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn't work."

he changed his entire personality because he wanted to please his wife and he wants me to believe he is a model of (manly!) strength?

The article doesn't say anything remotely like that. Here is the closest possible thing, which I suppose you must be referring to:

"My frustrations were pretty typical Nice Guy relationship issues," he says. "Not feeling appreciated, not feeling sexually desired by my wife. I didn't feel like I could make my wife happy, (didn't feel) like I received as much as I gave."

He's saying that his wife wasn't attracted to him, because he wasn't being himself. See the comment I just made about pussies who drink coffee.
posted by bingo at 8:21 PM on May 6, 2002


I'm about as deep as a Foghat record.

Hey, Foghat is some deep shit, man. 'specially after 3 quarts of Ballantine and some Carbona, only then does the deep subtext of "Slow Ride" make itself known.
posted by jonmc at 8:38 PM on May 6, 2002


Yes, I read the article. He is not saying to ignore your spouse. Further comments in my post above.

this is in regards to bingo's earlier words:

He's talking about not feeling the need to apply a more masculine listening style (looking for a solution) to a more feminine way of dealing with a problem (seeking/giving empathy).

i don't know. when glover said not to listen to wives run on about work and some other matters, i thought he meant to, you know, ignore them. usually, when one says "i don't want to listen to you," it's also fair to reword their sentence as "i want to ignore you." you say that men actually choose not to feel a need to "look for a solution" -- which, by ignoring a spouse, seems a true statement to me -- but to claim that glover did not say to (selectively) ignore one's wife seems false.

(i wrote): he changed his entire personality because he wanted to please his wife and he wants me to believe he is a model of (manly!) strength?

(bingo wrote): The article doesn't say anything remotely like that. Here is the closest possible thing, which I suppose you must be referring to:

sure the article does. see here:

"Elizabeth would often state that she never knew when she was going to 'get it' from me," Glover says. "I decided to seek some answers. I loved Elizabeth and didn't want my second marriage to end in divorce."

Glover, who spent a total of five years in therapy, says the emotional overhaul wasn't easy.

"Doing this recovery from the Nice Guy Syndrome isn't just tweaking things here or there," he says. "It is a dramatic shift in paradigm."


this isn't a change in personality?
posted by moz at 8:42 PM on May 6, 2002


moz, it's a change in personality, but it's a change towards the self that he is naturally, not towards a facade constructed to make his wife happy. The whole idea, once again, is that his wife is more attracted to him because he's more of a real man now, instead of acting like a nice guy when he really insn't one.

i don't know. when glover said not to listen to wives run on about work and some other matters, i thought he meant to, you know, ignore them. usually, when one says "i don't want to listen to you," it's also fair to reword their sentence as "i want to ignore you." you say that men actually choose not to feel a need to "look for a solution" -- which, by ignoring a spouse, seems a true statement to me -- but to claim that glover did not say to (selectively) ignore one's wife seems false.

But he didn't say "I don't want to listen to you," nor did he suggest that anyone else say it, so you are rewording your own inference. And when I was talking about looking for a solution, I wasn't talking about the man looking for a way out of the conversation. I was talking about common differences in the way men and women use conversation as a way of dealing with personal problems. Women tend to see such talks as a chance to vent and empathize: one person talks, the other relates, gives support etc. Men tend to see them as strategy sessions for changing the situation: a man hears a woman share her problems, and he mistakenly thinks that what she wants is advice from him about how to change her situation.

I'm not saying that this is always the case, but I first heard about it in a women's studies class, and have since found that it recurs as a basic model of difference in interaction between the sexes in a lot of feminist literature, in some form or another.
posted by bingo at 9:15 PM on May 6, 2002


bingo writes:

But he didn't say "I don't want to listen to you," nor did he suggest that anyone else say it, so you are rewording your own inference.

my point is this: in the article it is written that "Glover makes no bones about telling husbands not to listen when their wives run on about 'work, family, girlfriends and rude checkout people.'" this sounds to me that glover is suggesting one ignore one's wife (sometimes).

i feel very foolish, lately, because i've been getting into some long arguments and i don't want that to be the sort of person i am. so i apologize if i've been wrangling a bit lately. i'm not really sure what's getting into me.
posted by moz at 9:39 PM on May 6, 2002


moz, don't you think he specified 'work, family, girlfriends and rude checkout people,' grouped together like that, for a reason? He's just saying that men shouldn't feel obligated to listen carefully to the details of their wives day-to-day ramblings about unimportant stuff. Which, as I was trying to explain in my last comment, is not a sexist idea so much as an idea about taking an attitude toward casual unimportant conversation that is going to be healthy for both people. I guess that you can technically say that he's telling men to ignore their wives in the same sense that you can say that political instability in Salina, Kansas means that there's political instability in America. But that's really more about playing a word game than describing what's actually being communicated.

i feel very foolish, lately, because i've been getting into some long arguments and i don't want that to be the sort of person i am. so i apologize if i've been wrangling a bit lately. i'm not really sure what's getting into me.

It's impossible for me not to point out that this is EXACTLY the kind of apologetic nice guy stuff the subject of the article is talking about.
posted by bingo at 12:38 AM on May 7, 2002


moz, don't you think he specified 'work, family, girlfriends and rude checkout people,' grouped together like that, for a reason?

i think it doesn't matter, bingo. glover is endorsing a selective ignorance, which has been my point all along. you can think it's a word game if you like.

It's impossible for me not to point out that this is EXACTLY the kind of apologetic nice guy stuff the subject of the article is talking about.

maybe so, but this is who i am. what i won't apologize for is being myself. i feel i've the strength not to change my personality because this girl or that girl may reject me for who i happen to be.
posted by moz at 8:58 AM on May 7, 2002


glover is endorsing a selective ignorance, which has been my point all along. you can think it's a word game if you like.

Your point all along has been wrong.

i feel i've the strength not to change my personality because this girl or that girl may reject me for who i happen to be.

That is not what Glover is saying at all, in this universe or any other.
posted by bingo at 10:27 AM on May 7, 2002


bingo wrote: I guess that you can technically say that he's telling men to ignore their wives

i wrote:glover is endorsing a selective ignorance, which has been my point all along.

bingo wrote: Your point all along has been wrong.

ok bingo. if you say so.
posted by moz at 10:36 AM on May 7, 2002


It's not my saying so that makes it true. Quoting me out of context, as well as truncating the quotes, isn't any more effective than doing the same thing to the people described in the article.
posted by bingo at 11:06 AM on May 7, 2002


Are you guys married?
posted by oh posey at 11:15 AM on May 7, 2002


you'd think we were, posey. there are some things i feel strongly about; i wish i could do a better job of understanding when i've said my peace and when to let another's words stand on their own. i haven't done a good job of that here; i think had i stopped about half-way up i'd have been fine.

i suppose we all tend to tune some people out sometimes. if i and a girl were going out, and all i could talk about was baseball, she might be interested for a while before finally tuning me out. if the circumstances were reversed, i might do the same. what bugged me in the article was the notion that there are some things you just don't have to pay attention to. i think maybe if you find yourself in a situation where you are ignoring another, you've got a problem you should be addressing (like "stop talking about baseball!!! i like it but not THAT much!!!") rather than a situation where you shrug your shoulders and say, "oh well."
posted by moz at 4:06 PM on May 7, 2002


« Older "Do It   |   Enron Pipeline Leaves Scar on South America Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments