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When it comes to men, I’ve always loved me a bad boy. It’s not that there aren’t plenty of lovely men out there (or so I’ve been told), men who aren’t pathological liars, it’s just that they’ve never really been my type.
Unless my gut instinct is clanging, my intuition shouting, “Run!” and I’m getting emails from their exes telling me how awful they are and women are holding babies up accusingly by the roadside as we drive past, I just can’t really see the appeal. I thrive on challenge and adversity. Some of the men I’ve dated make Dirty John look like a contender for The Bachelor. I once dated a cat burglar. I always wondered where he went at night. Not pizza delivery, it turns out.
I’ve known men whose idea of chivalry was holding my wallet for me, men whose excruciating cheapness set my teeth on edge. Drug addicts, misanthropes (though I can hardly talk in that regard), cheaters. As soon as I put one out, I’d light another - anyone who’s dated an a-hole knows you can become addicted to the hopeless cycle of argue and make up, the adrenaline rush of high emotions.
Now, though, something super-weird has happened. I’m dating a nice guy. Not on purpose, may I point out, completely by accident. I had no idea he was a nice guy - he is covered in tattoos and does extreme sports, which is proper douche bag signage right there. I really feel he might have said something from the get-go so I could have avoided this whole terrifying situation.
Because dating a nice guy is scary as when you’re used to drama lama a-holes. You’re constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s like watching a slow-boil horror movie. Menacing music plays and you’re waiting for the killer to jump out and it doesn’t happen and doesn’t happen and you get more and more wound up expecting the awful thing that’s surely coming and then he says something like, "How was your day, beautiful?" and you need to be scraped off the ceiling.
Dating a nice guy, you wonder briefly if you’ve been hit by a car and you’re actually in a coma.
And while being respected, listened to and having your bed hair brushed out is undeniably healing and emotionally detangling, the fact that it comes as a surprise that a man can behave like this is very, very sad and speaks to just how many awful men there are out there. I blame their mothers.
Of course, there are drawbacks to dating a nice guy. He recorded my snoring the other day because he thought it was "cute" and he always wants to talk about feelings. I hate talking about my feelings. For someone who works in communications, communicating with me about me is extremely painful. What’s wrong? Nothing’s wrong. Am I OK? I’m fine. Fine, I said. I would rather kiss Winston Peters than talk about my feelings. If I’m experiencing an unpleasant sensation like guilt, anxiety or sadness, I just go full Ripley, open the airlock and flush that motherclucker into space.
The nice guy’s not that nice, by the way. He’s no pushover. Although the saying "Nice guys finish last" turns out to be 100% true. They do, because they are polite.
Dating a nice guy, you can be yourself and just relax. It’s not a leap into the unknown, once you finally get your head around the concepts of dependability, rationality and kindness. Instead of illogicality, immoderation and obsessiveness. And who needs an adrenaline rush to be happy?
On Sunday, the nice guy and I went on a date in Queenstown. Half an hour from Queenstown to be exact, at a suspended platform above the Nevis gorge. "It’s going be OK," he said, just before I dropped 70m at 120kmh, screaming.