A recent study has concluded that it doesn’t pay to be a “nice” guy. Scientists have found that men who are “agreeable” in the workplace don’t earn as much money as men who are more cutthroat. This groundbreaking finding serves to prove that tired old saying that “nice guys finish last.” When did you become so starved for attention, science? I know that modern society is allergic to reason and that facts and the boring pursuit of truth aren’t sexy. But why bother drumming up controversy by using social research to confirm a statement that only reinforces gender cliches? Do you need a ratings boost?
When women hear that “nice guys finish last,” they wail and shake their fists and wonder aloud, very loudly, if they’ll ever, ever, ever find a guy who isn’t a jackass. Then there are the men who are actually jackasses who tell themselves they’re “nice guys,” because even jackasses need to sleep. But then they read, for the 1000th time, that “nice guys finish last,” and resign themselves to being jackasses. Because why bother being a nice guy if you’re doomed to failure? Both men and women respond emotionally to the phrase “nice guys finish last.” I don’t care how scientifically sound the study happens to be because I’ll bet all my credit card debt that it was inspired by a desire to steal some spotlight instead of illuminating the human condition.
Science, I think your time and money is better served ensuring that humanity isn’t conquered by an army of mutant monkeys created by Dr. James Franco.
Here’s the truth from a lifelong study conducted at the John DeVore Institute of I Am Old And Have Lurned Some Stuff. Nice guys do finish last. But who said being first all the time is the end all be all? Being first and being the best aren’t the same concept. The best is always saved for last. The last dance is possibly the most important dance at prom. There is a reason dessert is served at the end of the meal. When jumping out of a sinking boat into shark-infested waters, it doesn’t pay to be the first one in the drink. The tortoise is more gangster than the hare.
Life isn’t a mad, greedy scramble. Only the road to hell is paved. The road to zen warrior bliss is an uneven, bumpy trail covered in roots and other corny imagery. Our day-to-day is a long-distance hike over hills, through swamps and sometimes in total darkness. It helps to be patient and have a long wizard’s stave and if you have traveling companions, a free elbow to help them when they stumble. Let the bastards sprint ahead, their finish line is just another starting gun going bang. If you’re a nice guy, then finish last. The saying really should be “jerks premature ejaculate.”
There’s an old dirty joke about a young bull and an old bull overlooking a pasture of grazing heifers. The young bull goes, “I got an idea! Let’s run down this hill and screw one of those heifers!” The old bull says, “I got a better idea. Let’s stroll down this hill and screw all of those heifers!” Yes, I know, that’s the sort of joke only beloved by an advertising executive from the 1960s who is actually a metaphor for male social identity. But let me rewrite the groaner. A jerk and a nice guy are at a party full of hot women. The jerk goes, “I’ve got an idea. You’re a loser and I can shoot fireworks out of my dickhole. Now I’m going to go over there and bag one of those bitches.” The nice guy goes, “You do that.” See, the joke is funny because the jerk is not going to get laid and if he does get laid, he will soon become the topic of a scathing blog post.
The study I referenced earlier tries to equate “nice guys” with the word “agreeable.” Men who are “agreeable” at the office suffer what the scientists call a “backlash” during salary negotiations. The study also found the reverse is true for women. Women who are not agreeable have punier paychecks than those who are “ladies.” Basically, in the corporate world, it only pays to be a villainous cur if you’re a man or a submissive Barbie Doll if you’re a woman. As I pointed out earlier, this study is more Cosmopolitan cover-line than contemplation of the cosmos. The cable news channels covered the scientifically proven fact that nice guys finish last, wallow in misery and die alone in a ditch with wild, hysterical abandon.
But this notion that “nice” and “agreeable” are the same thing is disingenuous. In the context of this study, an “agreeable” man sounds like a pushover. A spineless ninny. A bowl of parfait. You know what makes a “nice” guy a “nice” guy? It’s not a guy who avoids conflict, or eye contact or smiles all the time. To monkeys, smiling is a form of aggression. A guy who smiles all the time can be hiding snakes behind his teeth. A shy man can just be a self-loathing man, and self-loathing is low self-esteem turned cancerous. A nice guy is not a chump.
I pity men whose primary emotional defense is melting. Jerks have few fears because they’re myopic nincompoops. They come off as brave, but what they are is reckless and ignorant of what really paces in the shadows. A brave person regularly texts with his or her fears. Fear will let you know why you will fail. What might be around that dark corner. How you might meet a grisly end. A brave person will read those texts, occasionally text back “LOL,” shut the phone off and keep tapdancing forward.
A “nice” guy is a guy who has a natural born sense of justice. He will do unto you as you do unto him. Live and let live, bro! That is, until you get fighty with him and his. A nice guy isn’t a guy who backs down from the good fight. You can be nice and also negotiate like a titanium-cold terminator. Because a nice guy wouldn’t be negotiating if he didn’t feel he had earned a little extra scratch. Nice guys aren’t entitled princes. They want what’s fair and square. An honest wage for their labors. Nice guys are not fickle. They are not fair-weather friends. They will watch your back. A nice guy isn’t a jellyfish. Sure, sometimes ruthless men will cut in line and dive headfirst into piles of whatever glitters. But those same short-sighted buffoons are so often seen sitting on the sides of the road to hell, weeping into hands sticky with guilt. Slow and steady isn’t sexy. But neither is science. There are ample rewards when patience and courage throw a hot tub party and invite righteousness.
Nice guys are usually the last men standing.