My father and I were in a particularly jovial mood that night. Perhaps it was the fact that I just landed a new job. Or maybe he had one too many glasses of the White Zin that we shared over a succulent meal. But, as always, and on cue, if every other pressing issue in my life was for the moment settled, the question would arise. “Son, how are the ladies?” he’d ask, shooting me that slick smirk that shone and spoke of his pride over his yonder-years.
My father wasn’t always this rotund, jolly ol’ China-man Santa Claus that you might have known or seen around the house. In fact, there was a time in his life when he was quite the opposite. A time which supposedly found him to be the talk of the town, the flavor of the week for all the ladies he knew, every week. I know this, because he would never hesitate to jump on an opportunity to share about his womanizing prowess.
You see, in a time and life long ago, my father was quite the playboy. Hong Kong found him roaming the streets at a bold sixteen, riding his motorcycle with the cool breeze blowing behind his back, and easy women painting his night time revelries. Girls who would fall for his every word and line, left and right, some even supposedly offering marriage proposals. Ladies who would take after his “bad-boy” player image, who couldn’t resist his charm and reckless abandon.
Granted, I wouldn’t have just taken his word on any of this without good reason. We tend to like making big of ourselves, don’t we? But I know this, because of testimonies from his sister who had shared an apartment with him in New York. I know this, because I once stumbled upon an old Polaroid of him—thin, stylish, with a Paul McCartney hairdo—that would dare to prove me wrong.
So it bemuses him when he thinks upon those days, and then looks at his son, who would appear to be quite the opposite. The nice boy. The clean-cut, well-mannered boy. The church boy. The boy who doesn’t chase after every skirt he sees. —What’s wrong with you, boy? At times, when he doesn’t know what to make of it, he’ll simply resign. “You’re too good, son,” he’d often quip. The translation being: “Your life’s too orderly, too neat. Girls like the bad boys.”
And that got me thinking. I think we’ve all heard the argument before: “Nice guys always finish last.” Girls don’t like the guys who dote over them, who bend head over heels for them, and would do everything short of castration for them. If they can curry his favor that easily, the argument goes, then what more would he have to offer her in a relationship? She has already gotten all she will need from him. She has already defeated the man, a battle that did not see her lay a single finger on her sword.
But now I fight back.
First, let me say that I believe the term ‘nice guy’ is misappropriated to the wrong type of men. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I truly don’t believe those are ‘nice’ guys. I’m sure they are very nice, but that is not the most prominent characteristic about them. Instead, what screams out to the prospective desired female is “neediness.” Or desperation. It’s kind of like a tootsie pop, with all the good chocolate centered-filling covered by layers of harder, less appealing candy (I guess if you like tootsie pops, this analogy kind of falls apart, but I was never a fan.) The fact that some guys would put on a dog collar to be at every wake and whim of the girl reveals not their kindness but weakness. You see, the difference between his 2-7 off-suit and yours is the fact that while he’s still playing his bluff, you’ve already called “all-in,” and now you are left at the mercy of the ever-cruel gender.
For those guys, I would just like to encourage them to see their self-worth. You shouldn’t allow yourself to be played like the fiddle if she does not make it perfectly clear that she wants what you have to offer in an exclusive relationship. I’m sure she’s cute and that when she smiles, the sun and the lilies all come out and play the banjo and do the jig. But the spoiler at the end of the movie reveals that she is not worth it.
Girls—and I do not use this term loosely—who desire the male who give off the “bad-boy” image are not worth my time. If you want the guy who doesn’t treat you right, who purposely ignores you because ‘that’s cool’ and puts his selfish habits before you, who demeans you and belittles your worth, then be my guest. I wouldn’t say I understand it, but that’s okay. Because I probably wouldn’t want to be with you, anyway. You are either insecure, immature or delusional. I’ll just sit back and relax, and wait for someone better.
My dad is right. I am a nice guy. But that’s not all there is about me. I am realizing the freedom in being confident in who I am and what are my strengths and weaknesses. As Saint Paul had written, “By God’s grace, I am what I am.” I don’t need any girl who doesn’t want what I have to offer, and I definitely do not need a girl to determine my worth.
So, as I sat there, digesting the bits of wisdom that my father had to offer me, I turned to him and said, “Pops, you ain’t gotta worry about me.” He smiled. I think he might have been torn. Perhaps one half of him was confused as to how this apple could have fallen from that tree. But I’d like to think that when he looked at me, he was proud, and was delighted to see that I didn’t turn out all that bad.
After all, my dad isn’t the only one in the family who’s got game. (I meant my sister—stay away from her, you freaks.)