I know we’ve discussed the unfortunate phenomenon of “nice guys” expecting a pat on the head for not behaving badly on this site, or perhaps on Feminism. I don’t think we’ve done a big meta entry on the subject, but over at Majikthise, there’s a great post describing pretty much what I highlight here. Notice I don’t say meta post. LOL, I don’t have it in me.
In a nutshell, it’s when a guy expects behaving in a way any human being really should to be considered a great accomplishment. I personally would like to call this Nice Guy Syndrome, but that’s already been taken…to describe how nice guys can’t win (primarily when scoring with women). That’s a whole ‘nother nasty subject.
It’s commercial time again. Remember when Klondike’s advertisements matched their catchphrase “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?”, with showing people doing crazy, crazy things and therefore proving just how fabulous that ice cream treat was? Gone are those days. Apparently now acting in a simply decent fashion is enough to earn a reward.
Take Klondike Bar’s latest commercial, in which a man and woman are at a sidewalk cafe. The man is telling the woman a story or is talking about his day, when a beautiful woman walks by. The woman at the table tracks the other woman carefully, but the man keeps talking. The tagline: Dave Howell kept his eyes on his wife. Give that guy a Klondike Bar.
Or maybe this older one I found on YouTube while looking for the first demonstrates it better. In this one, we see a man reach for a drinking glass on a coffee table. He picks it up and carries it to the kitchen, where he puts it in the dishwasher. His wife looks on, appearing either impressed or shocked. The tagline: Pete Herman brought his glass into the kitchen…and put it in the dishwasher. Give that guy a Klondike Bar.
Oh, dear. I missed the memo on when a man not gawking at beautiful woman while in a committed relationship was meritorious behavior. I also missed in the “rulebook” where common household chores were on par with great feats of amazing amazingness when done by a man. How could I have overlooked such big items? Simple. They don’t exist.
And they’re not big items. These two examples are small items which pave the way for big items. We’re supposed to thank and reward guys for appropriate behavior. “Hey, thanks for not catcalling me on the street. You’re swell!” or “Thanks for not being a rapist. Gold star for you!” It’s absurd to dole out bonus points to those who behave appropriately, because doing so almost tacitly implies there needs to be the bad guys to make the good guys look so good for being ordinary.
Not that good guys don’t deserve some props, sometimes. I’m just not sure that doing things that are expected by other groups of people should be included as laudable behaviors. I probably didn’t make that very clear. Feel free to step in with better insights!