When you see something about the world that you don’t like, and that doesn’t fit with your ideas of justice, it’s important that you take a stand against it. That’s why, when I looked at stats and read stories about inequality between men and women, about violence against women, and about how even in small, daily encounters, women are treated unfairly, I thought, “This isn’t right. I should become a nice guy.” So that’s what I did. And a lot has changed for me.
My days of hooting at women on the street are over. My days of hollering at women in hospitals and at church cookouts are long gone. I now understand that a party might be an appropriate place to strike up a conversation with a woman, but a public bus that has been hijacked and will explode if it goes slower than 55 miles per hour quite simply isn’t. Even if the police save us, slipping her my phone number while she is talking to reporters and quietly sobbing is inappropriate
When a woman treats me rudely, I no longer assume it must be because of her hormones. Instead, I take into account the fact that I am in the middle of an intersection, am dancing a jig, and have been blocking traffic for well over forty-five minutes. The traffic-blocking jig, though full of masculine, poetic energy, might have something to do with her curt tone.
In the workplace, I am trying to be a better listener. When a woman disagrees with one of my ideas, I no longer think that it must be because she is ugly, lonely, and secretly in love with me. Instead, I consider the possibility that a competing company already executed the idea I mentioned, it poisoned eighty-nine children, and now that company is banned in twelve states and the E.U. Often, on days when I listen closely like this, I reward myself with a treat, like takeout from an expensive restaurant. It isn’t a big deal — I have a very large salary. I’m one of those nice guys.
Romance can be a bit confusing for us nice guys. Sometimes I hear that women like tough, macho men who have a hint of danger about them, and other times I hear women like sensitive, kind, funny guys who would make good long-term partners. It’s possible to ask a woman on a first date what kind of partner she’s looking for, but women tend to talk for hours nonstop if you let them, so I’ve taken to splitting the difference. I’ll open the door to a restaurant for a woman, then close it in her face and punch a wall. I’ll offer to pay for the meal, then when the check comes I’ll light a napkin on fire and disappear out a bathroom window. Sometimes I’ll text back the next day, other times it will be months and I’ll explain that I’ve changed my name and moved to Argentina. This system has worked surprisingly well. I’ve had over twenty-five first dates in the past year.
In a certain way, I understand women better than I understand men.
Although women are less intelligent than men and have more frivolous interests, a nice guy like me should never point that out. Take fashion, for instance. Men know that you should dress in a way that is utilitarian, modestly hip, and inexpensive. That’s where my sweatpantsuit idea came from. Women think you should spend every waking hour researching new trends and shopping. Pinterest! Websites! Crazy, I know — but I don’t point out that I think it’s crazy because I’m nice. So when my female neighbor asks me if those are mustard stains on my sweatshirt and if the hole in my seat can perhaps be patched and if this is truly the life I imagined for myself, I don’t get angry or frustrated. I just feel superior. I’m a nice guy.
When a nice guy like me disagrees with a woman or doesn’t like how he’s being treated, what should he do? Women like being the center of attention, so if you point out how you feel uncomfortable or disrespected, they’ll likely make the discussion about how they don’t like how they’re being treated — and all of a sudden you’re the bad guy. No, the best tactic is a bit of judo: use their strength—the ability to get people to feel sorry for them — against them. Instead of explaining why you’re upset using reasons and logic, simply start crying. Silent, slow tears at first, and then big, heaving wails. Their nurturing instinct will kick in, they will comfort you, and if you mention a memory of your dead father, you just won every argument for the next week. It doesn’t matter that your father is still alive and is coming to visit for your birthday — what matters is that he feels dead in that moment. See, a nice guy never has to argue to get his way.
But that’s not all I have to do as a nice guy. For instance, I am single, and it is important for me to explain to others that the reason I’m single is not because I am boring, have trouble relating to women, am privately prejudiced, and use niceness as a cover for thoughts that are hyper-sexualized and misogynistic. No, the reason I’m single is because I am too nice! It’s counterintuitive, so a nice guy like me needs to explain this to women in a way that is verbose and dumbed down. Together, we can all make the world a better place for women, and the only thing we have to do is act on generalizations based on myths handed down by sexists who stand to gain economically and politically from systemic and social oppression.
Chas Gillespie is the personal assistant of Dayn Rond, whose latest romance novel, Mr. Trump Meets Mr. Putin, is available now.