Asshole? Nice guy? Which one do YOU want to be?

I had an…interesting experience today. I had a man inform me that he wasn’t attracted to me. Now, keep in mind, this is not a man I even know, much less had expressed any interest in. He approached me solely for the purpose of telling me this. I replied rather snarkily with “Good for you. You felt the need to tell me this, why?” Being bitchy may not have been the best route, but when presented with an asshole, that tends to be my default response.

Why did I think he was an asshole? Well, a couple of reasons, actually.

1. He’s an overweight, out of shape truck driver. Who approached me to tell me he wasn’t physically attracted to me. I have to say, he does have confidence. But it seems it’s overflowed into arrogance, to assume that I would even care that he’d noticed my existence.

2. Only an asshole not only judges a woman based on her appearance, but then tells her his negative judgments. There is much more to a woman than the way she looks.

I have 2 sons. One thing I have begun to teach my sons, a lesson this man clearly never learned, is that the things you say to a woman can have a lasting effect on her.

If you’re not attracted to a woman, there’s a couple of kind ways to handle it:

1. If you don’t even know her, keep it to yourself! There is no reason, other than being a complete douchebag, to deliberately approach a woman who doesn’t even know you and tell her you aren’t attracted to her.

2. If you only think she’s attracted to you, keep it to yourself. Number one, if she hasn’t come out and told you, she probably doesn’t want you to know, so you’ll embarrass her. Number two, if you’re wrong, you’re just going to look like an idiot. And an arrogant one, at that.

3.. If you know she’s attracted to you, a very simple, polite “I’m sorry, but you’re not my type” works just fine.

Look, guys, it’s really pretty simple. You get mad at us for thinking there are no nice guys left. Well, with examples like this guy, what do you honestly expect us to think? Teach your friends to be nicer to women. Teach your sons to be nicer. In fact, here’s a lesson plan all worked out for you, the same one I use for my sons.

1. If you don’t like a girl, let her down gently, if you must let her down at all. If she has expressed no interest in you, keep your opinions of her to yourself. If you know she’s interested in you, kindly let her know that you just don’t like her that way. Let her know that it’s nothing personal against her, you just don’t think the two of you would work as anything more than friends.

2. Don’t use a girl. If you know she’s into you, but you’re not into her, don’t lead her to believe otherwise. Don’t date her, kiss her, or sleep with her just to have a warm body. If you’re that desperate to get laid, pick a hand and use it – don’t use the girl that would like to have more from you.

3. If you DO use the girl, don’t get pissed off when she tells everyone what an asshole you are – you earned it! Now you need to deal with it. And if you go around calling her a slut or a whore – remember she can’t be a slut or a whore all by herself. And then ask yourself this: would you want your daughter to one day be with a man who could sleep with a girl and then call her a slut or a whore? No? Then don’t be that guy yourself.

4. If you really don’t want commitment, be clear about it. Don’t lie to a girl to get laid, and then get angry when she thinks it’s more than that. We believe what you tell us. If you tell us you love us, you want us, you want to be with us or marry us – we’re going to take you at your word. If that’s not what you want, then say so. And if you think a girl is still hoping for more, even after you’ve been clear – don’t sleep with her. Refer back to “pick a hand.”

5. Remember this: After you’ve said whatever hurtful thing you’ve said to a woman, you’ll forget about it and move on. But she won’t. She will remember it. In the back of her mind, your voice will whisper those words over and over again. If she’s particularly young (and now I’m talking to the teenage boys and men in their early 20s), and hasn’t yet had a chance to build up her confidence and learn that not all men are jerks, your words will have a profound impact on her relationships for the rest of her life. Do you really want to be the guy that causes her to have horrible relationships the rest of her life because of what you said?

Now, I’m done talking to the assholes. Now, I want to talk to the nice guys. I know you nice guys exist, I’ve met one or two of you. And I’m raising two more. Here’s what I want to say to you nice guys:

1. We know that it hurts you when we don’t trust you. When we are wary or shy, or tell you we’re afraid you’ll lie, cheat, abuse, neglect, betray or otherwise hurt us, you feel you’re being punished for someone else’s sins. We know this, and trust me, we don’t do it to hurt you or to punish you. We do it because…well, your less kind brethren have shown us that that is what men do. They’ve had lots of time to drill that into our heads, and you’ve had much less time to convince us otherwise. Be patient, okay?

2. If you are patient, you’ll find that we’re worth it. Those of us who’ve been hurt before really want someone to love. We just need to know that it’s safe for us to do that. If you’re patient, and you wait, you’ll be showing us it’s safe. And once we know it’s safe to love you, we will. We will love you like we never loved any other man. We will give you our entire heart, our every secret, share our most intimate thoughts and dreams. We will trust you – with everything.

3. Don’t treat us like some kind of pet project. Sometimes you nice guys, in an attempt to convince us you’re nice and we’re pretty/nice/funny/whatever it is, tend to make us feel more like a project: you’re going to fix us up, pretty us up and move on to the next project. If you want to try to build up a woman’s confidence in herself, go for it – but remember that confidence comes from within. If she doesn’t have it or want it on her own, you can’t force her to have it. And making her feel like a project can hurt her confidence even more.

So what should you do instead, if you want to show her you’re a nice guy, build her confidence and prove that you like her? It’s actually very simple. Woo her. Be a little old-fashioned. Treat her like a lady. A few ideas for specific things you can do:

a. Send her some flowers. You don’t have to send a dozen expensive roses. Find out what her favorite flower is and send her a small bouquet of those – even better, pick a bunch of wildflowers from the side of the road or a meadow somewhere and present her with those in person.

b. Text her or email her just to say hi. If you know she’s having a bad day at work, or feeling a little down, a quick text from you or a short, sweet email can put a smile on her face.

c. Call her when you say you will, show up when you’re supposed to. Nothing will set things back more than if you don’t keep your word.

d. Make firsts count. First dates, first kisses, first time you hold hands – make them special. Don’t take her to McDonalds on your first date. Take her to the park for a romantic picnic. And that first kiss? Don’t just give her a quick peck. Touch her face gently with your hand, look into her eyes, gently pull her close and softly but firmly press your lips against hers. Don’t deepen the kiss – let her do that if she wants to. Slip your fingers between hers when you hold her hand, stoke her thumb with your own.

I write romance – and romance sells for a reason. Whether we admit it or not, women want romance. We want men to sweep us off our feet, to be our knight in shining armor. We want men who can love us completely, deeply, unconditionally.

I’m single, and that’s what I want. I don’t expect Prince Charming to ride up on his white horse and take me away. But yes, I do want to find that man who can love me whether I’m at my best or my worst, who will encourage me to chase my dreams and hold me if I fail. The man who can make me feel special and secure, who will show me I can trust him completely, and who will never abuse the trust I place in him. I know those men, and those relationships, exist, because I see them every day: my parents, my grandparents, my dearest friends since high school, several of my cousins. They exist.

So, if you’re a single guy and can’t figure out why, consider the things I mentioned. Figure out if you’re an asshole or a nice guy. If you’re an asshole, change it. If you’re a nice guy, keep waiting. I promise, one of us nice girls will find you one day, and when we do…you’ll be glad you didn’t give up. 😉