“Be nice, be yourself”
I remember those words well. I took them to heart for decades and it almost ruined me.
Nice. I was supposed to be nice she told me. At the time, I really didn’t know exactly what “nice” meant. I just remember being an active young boy and when I got to be rambunctious there was usually an adult female with the “be nice!” admonishment. OK, nice means calm. If I took something away from someone when I was playing with other children, it was “be nice!” from an adult female. OK, nice means not doing or taking things that you want. Nice means restraint. Nice means non-assertiveness.
“Be nice, be yourself”
Those words were spoken to me by mother just as I was entering the hormonal throes of puberty. I was starting to notice girls in a very different way. The words were the result of a perfectly normal boy’s curiosity. My mother was an early adopter of the single mother household and I only saw my father on weekends so she was the most convenient parent to ask this fateful question:
“How do I get girls to like me more?”
In retrospect, I should have asked my father.
I remember my mother smiling as she answered my question with those soul-damning words. She was so proud that I was taking an interest in girls. Private Boy was becoming Private Man! Of course, a few years later when I was about to graduate high school and still a virgin, that same mother, unaware of how her words affected me, told me flat out, “It’s OK to be gay.” She simply didn’t understand that I actually took her original advice about girls and it had yielded no results in the realm of having actual sex with a girl. My mother thought I might be gay. Sure, I had plenty of friends who were girls, just no girlfriend. High school was all about the Friend Zone for me.
As for the “be yourself” part. I also didn’t know what that really meant. Being myself meant being an active boy and being curious about the world. Actually, the “nice” thing seemed to cancel out the “be yourself” thing. Quite a contradiction for a 12 year old boy to absorb. But to make mom and girls happy, I went with the nice thing to carry the ball into the end zone of sexual failure.
One of the reasons I took a year off between high school and college was partly the result of not wanting to be a virgin when I entered my freshman year. That year off was full of adventures and yes, some of them were sexual. There was the summer overseas in the Southern Hemisphere. No sex there. I was attending an all-boys Anglican high school complete with uniforms and corporal punishment. There were a couple of mixers with the local all-girls school but I never met anyone.
Back home for a few months and working retail, I kissed a few girls but didn’t make the beast with two backs. Then, another adventure presented itself – to go to Colorado to be a ski bum. I didn’t know how to ski but an opportunity is an opportunity. As my high school friends were already in college, I stayed with some of them in their dorm rooms as I drove westward across the country from New England.
On the way out, I spent a night at Rensselaer, a very math and science kind of school. My friend, Eric, let me stay in his room. While hanging out and meeting the other freshman on that floor of the dorm, I was briefly introduced to a very cute blond. I was friendly to her but it never even entered my mind that she could be interested in me. Later that evening, one of guys in the dorm told me that she thought I was “really cute” and that she had a room on the third floor of the dorm. But I was nice and didn’t visit the cute blond. Yes, so nice I was.
While in Colorado I worked two jobs, learned to ski, and didn’t really meet any girls at all. The snow didn’t quite fall that season and the work dried up, forcing me to return home, once again staying with former high school classmates in their dorm rooms as I drove back to New England.
The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is a huge place. My female friend and former classmate, Cathy, was there for her freshman year and it was my plan to stay in her dorm room for that night – the floor and sleeping bag thing. She had a cute roommate whose name I have long forgotten. The roommate and I hung around all evening together after I arrived because my friend had to study. The roommate and I enjoyed each others company for a few hours. I wasn’t really looking for sex but it happened.
My friend’s roommate was my first. The sex was brief and awkward for me. That’s probably the reason I don’t remember her name and likely she doesn’t even remember the encounter at all.
OK, the virginity was gone with a one night stand at a freshman dorm in 1980. I was 18 years old. In reviewing the events of that night, there was no Game, no acting all confident. I was just being nice . Could Mom have been right after all? No. I didn’t need Game to seduce that girl.
Looking back, I realized that she seduced me. I was in the middle of an alpha adventure, driving alone across country after doing something vaguely risky. Plus, I had already been overseas doing something reasonably exotic. I distinctively remember the girl saying at some point “what you did was exciting” or words to that effect. As well, my original friend likely prequalified me to the roommate. That’s a real female friend.
I did some other interesting things before going to college. With one exception, girls eluded me romantically and sexually because I was being nice all the time. I do remember hanging out a lot at Harvard in the freshman dorms because I had quite a few former classmates attending there. I actually met lots of girls and had anyone taught me the most basic elements of Game, I could have cleaned up. Shit, I was riding a motorcycle then and working a somewhat dangerous job in a state mental hospital. I was doing alpha things but with a beta attitude. No sex for the Private Man.
The only exception in a basically sexless span of time between returning from Colorado and starting freshman year in September of 1981 was on a major motorcycle trip from New England to the top of the Dempster Highway in the Northwest Territories. That’s above the Arctic Circle and in Canada for you geographical illiterates. Once again, I passed through Colorado so I could stay with some friends I had made the previous winter while doing the ski bum thing.
I spent a week in Colorado at a house in the mountains (Summit County) rented by four, footloose young guys. They were all good guys. They all worked hard, didn’t party too much, and were quite friendly to me despite that fact that I was taking over their sofa during my stay. One of the guys was a muscular, good looking guy. He was from somewhere in the Midwest as I recall. He was sweet on a girl who lived nearby and invited me to join them for a beer at a local ski resort bar.
I need to apologize to that guy, a sincere and honest apology. Buddy, I didn’t mean to steal that girl. I really, really didn’t. I knew you really liked her. I knew that you wanted to pitch sweet woo to her. You told me so. I violated the guy code and for this, I am deeply sorry.
The episode in Colorado with that guy’s girl was all about Game. I just didn’t know it at the time. Consider the overall situation and my frame. I had just spent two weeks on the road on a motorcycle. Already I had two wrecks but I managed to persevere and keep going. I had a few thousand miles in front of me and I was feeling confident, very confident. I was doing an alpha adventure and finally had an alpha attitude to accompany me. In retrospect, it was the attitude that sealed the deal.
The worst of it – again, I really do apologize to that guy – is that I had sex with the girl on the sofa not 20 feet from his room while he was supposedly sleeping. I wasn’t being nice as Mom had instructed me. Unfortunately, I was an awkward and incompetent lover, it being only my second time. I set up a second meeting with this girl before I returned to my trip and she stood me up. Lesson learned. If you’re going to have sex with them, do it right if you expect a second time.
[Post script on that epic motorcycle trip – the motorcycle was stolen in the Yukon and I finished the trip to Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk hitch-hiking and flying and then returned home the same way.]
A few years back and before I completely understood Game, I was on Jewish online dating website. While I’m not Jewish, my step-father is and I spent my adolescent years in a mostly Jewish household. The Jewish women I dated – the strong and independent type – all complained bitterly about the Jewish “momma’s boys” and how I was so refreshing. Those women were complaining about beta men, nothing more. I didn’t ask these women how they were raising their own sons. I didn’t want to see a Jewish rationalization hamster have a heart attack. Oy.
Going to mom for advice about girls is the worst thing a boy can do. This is where fathers and other male family members come in. I have told on numerous occasions to my ex’s sons (17 and 25) that being too nice to girls will get them friends, not sex. They seem to understand. Sadly, there is a generation of men who never figured it out. They never learned to take the lead in dating and relationships. To them, all women are mom in a certain sense. These men are the white knight pedestalizers.
I am sincerely grateful for discovering the manosphere. It has helped me learn from my past experiences and to sweep away negative feelings about that past. The manosphere is the link between experience and wisdom and is unique to men.
To all the dads and uncles out there, be honest with the boys young men in your life. Tell them the realities of life, of girls, of being more alpha. Tell them not to be so damned nice.