So let’s dive back into the Nice Guy debate, shall we?
As is the nature of the Internet, this immediately was an opportunity to comment on the topic. Flippancy aside, my purpose isn’t to add to the criticism per se; instead, I want to talk about some of the underlying attitudes at play here regarding nerds, entitlement and dating.
Many people had some interesting and thought-provoking comments to share; Laurie Penny focused on the tricky topics of intersectionality and privilege while Amanda Marcotte discussed the problematic subtext of his complaints. Both Aaronson’s complaints are excellent examples of what I hear from nerds and self-described Nice Guys .
Of course, this too becomes its own invitation to comment as Scott Alexander rode to Professor Aaronson’s defense ((And believe me, Alexander’s got enough bullshit for me to handle in a future column. Critically, they’re held forth as reasons why Nice Guys deserve a break instead of the opprobrium they receive and why it’s unfair for women to treat them with disdain, with a dash of nerd victim culture and privilege for flavor.
While I can sympathize with the emotion – I’ve had all the same worst-case scenario nightmares when I’ve approached women I like – the cold truth is that this anxiety is self-inflicted.
The problem isn’t in the desire, it’s in the belief.