For me, in measure of tone, reading Amanda Marcotte generally feels as if I were massaging my corneas with a cheap cheese grater. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t right about this bit of limerence:
Even among men who are more “successful” sexually, I think a lot of young men who are sympathetic toward feminism feel they have to behave hypocritically – be a little bit pushy, arrogant, and entitled – in order to get laid. Indeed, the life course of many male feminists seems to entail a period of acting out – usually corresponding to that point in life during which most people explore their sexuality – followed by a period of contrition. It’s almost as though there’s an unspoken deal between feminist women and their male counterparts: “We’ll forgive you for your youthful sexual arrogance and entitlement, so long as you don’t mention that a lot of us were turned on by men’s youthful sexual arrogance and entitlement.” This is a lousy deal, and it’s unnecessary. Not only does it freeze out and sexually isolate a lot of shy young men, but it causes men who are otherwise sympathetic to feminism to conclude that, in the sexual realm, feminism isn’t telling the whole story.
Shyness doesn’t make you nice. It just makes you Nice®. I have known many people who are shy assholes, who both hate other people and retreat from them, which actually makes a lot of sense.
I’m going to offer a counter-theory for Miguel. I believe what he has experienced is being rejected by women who prefer men who are self-confident, popular, and straightforward instead of men who lurk around giving you the stink eye because you haven’t offered to suck their cocks yet, even though they totally complimented on your shoes and pretended to care about your opinions. … In fact, I would point out that this is why Nice Guys® and abusers have more in common than Nice Guys® think! Both are groups of men who merely feign interest in women in order to get what they want. Nice Guys® just aren’t as good at it.
In this discussion, I think of myself as a Reformed Nice Guy®: a heterosexual male who went through a Nice Guy® stage as an adolescent, then a bit further as an undergraduate, until I abruptly, simply grew out of it. And by “grew out of it,” I mean, “processed that women I’m attracted to are as capable as I am of having needs, be they ‘healthy’ or ‘righteous’ or ‘fair’ or otherwise.”
I don’t flag this discussion to further dump on Manuel; if anything, I think it’s helpful to pull the less obvious culprits and the less obviously privileged into this running conversation. It’s constructive to remind the Nice Guys®, perhaps with more tact than Amanda can carry, that they’re maybe as guilty as any other straight male, or group of straight males, of promoting the lopsided gender politics that presently define much of heterosexuality.
But yes, Manuel, I’ve been in your shoes — I just took them off.