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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Nice guys don’t finish first

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“But Avery, Carleton boys are just so nice!” This is what my friends constantly shoot back at me when I start to complain about a male on campus. And you know what? Carleton boys, or men if you are so inclined to call them, are very nice. They will send you Friday flowers. They will, for the most part, text you back when you want them to. They will engage in hours of small talk if you pursue it. Maybe these things excite you. Maybe they don’t do it for you. They certainly don’t enthrall me. And it took me an entire year full of mistakes to figure that out.

Last year I said yes to pretty much anybody, that is, going on a first date with pretty much anybody. I was not attracted to a good three-quarters of the people I went on dates with and never envisioned anything more than a friendship. But I went anyways, fueling a battle in my head that it was the “polite” thing to do. It was “polite” for a woman to accept a date because the man had obviously “worked up the courage” to ask. Because he probably planned something. Because maybe he would even pay. Because, hell, it was an actual date. And those are hard to come by nowadays. We think of dating as dead, having zero pulse, nonexistent. And by dating I don’t mean “Netflix and chill” at 2am, I mean planning an activity together; going to a movie in Lakeville, getting dinner in town, walking through the Arb…or at least, this is how I would define dating.

But after going on these first (and last) dates, I realized that I was entirely selfish in accepting. I knew that nothing would result from these dates, yet I led people on regardless. I let them pay for my meals, take me around in their cars, put notes in my mailbox, and then in the ultimate Blair Waldorf move, went on to ignore them completely. I was extremely immature. I was a serial first-dater, and it was exceptionally heartless. But I don’t regret it in the least.

Going on these first dates made me realize that boys at Carleton are genuinely nice. They are sweethearts. They will, if you really want them to, take you on actual dates. But they can also push obvious boundaries and can’t seem to pick up on social cues that let them know when to stop. There was one boy in particular last spring term with whom I went on my traditional first date with. Afterwards I told him I was only interested as a friend, and we were (or at least I thought) just friends after that. But the constant texting, notes in my mailbox, invitations to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and asking my friends about my whereabouts proved to be rather suffocating. He would pay for absolutely anything with a budget I knew he didn’t have and would refuse money when I offered it. I ended up cramming a wad of cash into his mailbox and with that I considered whatever relationship that existed to be over. But on top of being overly nice, Carleton boys, especially this one in particular, do not know how to take rejection well. They are persistent to the point of badgering. Caring to the point of smothering. And attentive to the point of tipping the scale towards stalker. Truthfully, nobody needs a semi-stalker. Nobody should feel pressure to go on dates because it’s the polite thing to do. And nobody should feel guilty after breaking something off that doesn’t feel right.

I need to qualify this article by stating that this is a generalization from what I’ve experienced here at Carleton. There are some guys that certainly are not nice that are not badgering or smothering. But what I need to convey is that you need to know your self worth: you need to know that you can afford to be picky. You can afford to reject those first dates and not have a guilty conscience over it because you’re afraid of hurting a nice boy’s feelings. Part of growing up is moving out of comfortable patterns; moving on from falling for somebody just because he or she is polite or sweet or comforting. Moving onto someone who actually sparks your interest; who has a passion about something, who makes you laugh, and who maybe doesn’t have to text you constantly to show you that they’re interested. Who maybe your friends don’t think is just a “nice guy.” Because what I can adamantly state from past experience is that as long as whoever he is makes you happy and respects what you want, nice guys don’t necessarily finish first.

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