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Ask E. Jean for DearSugar: Is there Such a Thing as a Nice Guy?

Dear E. Jean--

I really need to know: is there any such thing as a truly good guy?? No matter what I do or how I try to change my patterns from the past, I just seem to keep attracting jerks over and over and over and over. I've tried dating against my type -- choosing a quiet, polite science nerd (he was a graduate student in microbiology) instead of my usual brooding artist type. He turned out to be a control freak, a liar, and had a violent temper! I am still recovering from the shock of discovering his true character. I didn't go on a single date for over a year, not trusting my own judgment.

Recently, I went on a few dates with a person who just seemed to exude "good guy" vibes--thoughtful, gentle, good listener--and just when I started to feel like he was really trustworthy, he invited me out with his friends and then spent the whole night ignoring me and blatantly flirting with some other girl right in front in me. I was not only crushed, I felt humiliated in front of his friends.

So, please tell me--is there such a thing as a TRULY nice guy?? And how can I tell the difference? I'm starting to feel like all other women know some secret about this that I don't.

To see E. Jean's answer

MY YOUNG TROLLYMOG: No, my darling, there’s no such thing as a “truly nice guy.” As you’ve discovered, the moment you think you’ve found a nice chap, 99 times out of a 100 he’ll turn out to be a rogue, cad, dillweed, schnook, twit, drunkard, sadomasochist, lecher, pimp, nincompoop, egomaniac, zod, moron, mama’s boy, or jerkball. Stop looking for a “nice guy!” Gah!

Cease searching for a “type.” To hell with telling “the difference?”

It’s time to uncork your brain, open your eyes and sample all types -- shy boys, heroes, geniuses, poets, adventurers, daredevils, moguls, saints and scapegraces. Face down the dimwits. Go everywhere! Do everything! Be extraordinary, be celebrated, be a virtuoso of the male sex!

How? If you place yourself where there are high numbers of men, it becomes a mathematical certainty you will meet a non-dolt.

Where? Golf courses, cigar bars, batting cages, car shows, geek-meets, poetry slams, concerts, polo fields, rugby games, the gym, and church on Friday Night. (I like the men’s room at Yankee Stadium during the playoffs, myself.) Better yet, try a speed-dating event for young professionals; and dip your toe into

Best of all, if you want to meet someone who’s passionate, bright, caring and shares your philosophy, volunteer with a political campaign. Not only your love life, but your country’s future is on the line.

Because in the end, it is not about “types,” sweetheart. The secret is--yes! There’s a secret--If you limit yourself to a certain category of men, you’ll end up with a categorical clod.

To see more advice from E. Jean visit Elle Magazine and


Join The Conversation
Dr_NO Dr_NO 9 years
Excellent advice! Mathematical certainty, eh? I never was good at numbers...but I'm also a diligent student;)
dindz dindz 9 years
We still exist. Unfortunately, current cultural trends paint us as wimps or worse when we're just being ourselves - meaning behaving as how we were raised correctly, to be gentlemen - we often get strange, skeptical looks from girls thinking that our being nice and gentlemanly is just "an act". It's sad. And it's a sad fact.
Tamma1387 Tamma1387 9 years
There ARE nice guys out there. I know, I found a rare one. I mean, how many 21 year old guys will date a girl with a baby that isn't his? He works two jobs, goes to college and still puts the 2 of us first. He has his nights out with the boys and I have mine with the girls. He's faithful, loving and a gentleman. The trick is though, no guy is perfect. They all mess up. But so do we. Communicate with these jerks your dating. tell them whatever they're doing is not cool, and some of them may step back and look. Stop looking for a while. Go out and do things you enjoy. Don't wait for one to come along, but embrace him when he does. It works trust me.
JamieBlood JamieBlood 9 years
I dated a million and one jerks and then when I was done - through with men all together, I met the nicest guy! I thought something was wrong with him. I wanted to break-up with him thinking he was a nerd or would drive me crazy. My mom of all people convinced me not to. I have now been married to him for 9 and a half years and we have two beautiful children. He's amazing! Still brings me flowers (even has my son surprising me with flowers), helps me around the house, cooks amazingly well and is not a nerd. Okay maybe a little but I like that. He is human though and let's me down every once and a great while. I've also had to deal with a lot of jealous women and my own self confidence as everyone around me acts as though I'm the lucky one to have him and not the other way around. Luckily I never get that from him. Even when I put on weight he still thought I was sexy and never once made me feel different. I know a lot of men out there who are amazing, you just have to be patient. Oh and all of us women have to work on not having lofty expectations - communication is the key! They can't read our minds!
missmaddie missmaddie 9 years
A lesson in statistics... if you pick and choose your experimental group, you'll only see what you're looking for: "bad guys." Random samples are the only way to go.
monsieurilya monsieurilya 9 years
so, i hesitate speaking on behalf of my entire sex, but WE'RE NOT ALL BAD! and on that note some girls are quite dotty!
everythingnice everythingnice 9 years
I found a nice guy long ago and let him slip away, and to tell you the truth I haven't found one like him since. Dating can be hell but can be pure bliss.......
demeter demeter 9 years
Of course there's such a thing as a nice guy, but they get overlooked because most girls are too into the bad boys hotness.
fab4 fab4 9 years
E. Jean, I'm sorry, but I think your advice is a great example of the negative outlook women have on men. I have a nice guy that I've been dating for two years. We went to high school together and ran back into one another after college. Your advice is cynical and negative and there is no reason for women to go to golf courses to get a date. They just need to keep being themselves and be positive. How DARE you tell women there is no such thing as a good guy.....
RUD3GIRL-2K7 RUD3GIRL-2K7 9 years
hargreae hargreae 10 years
Yes, there are plenty of nice guys out there. I know because I am one. I've been called it plenty of times. Unfortunately, girls don't really want to date nice guys because nice guys are rarely hot and exciting. Your real question is 'Is there such a thing as a Nice Guy who is also hot and exciting?' And the answer to that is No, because hot and exciting guys don't need to be nice.
sw2190 sw2190 10 years
there is so secret becasue love is craazy just as much as lifes surprises are
sw2190 sw2190 10 years
tricky one.......most guys can be real jerks even the ones you love bust isnt everyone sumtimes? jsut find sumone that is willing to give you what you offer them, relationships all have ups and downs there will be someone for you you just havent found the right one, dont look too hard that could be the problem sum1 will turn up when you least expect it, be weary and stand your ground when they do and have a little patience to find out who they really are
j0nasln j0nasln 10 years
I am definately a nice guy. I would do anything for my girlfriend, but she just broke up with me. My question is....are there really girls who want a nice guy??
Realblonde Realblonde 10 years
The only real nice guys are gay guys. Go out with a gay guy and you will have a blast! And at the end of the night he won't expect anything from you except a hug!
hills hills 10 years
yes deffinatly, there are always gentlemen out there, u just have to atract the right guys, why dont u go out with freinds and have a game in them trying to pic out a guy they thinks suitable, also u could start somthing u like doing, a thing that also men do [hobby] and strike up a convo. dont pressure urself just have fun with it.
Vdogg Vdogg 10 years
well if there's one thing that's forsure it's that every guy has SOME faults. They could be a great lover, caring, and funny.. and then you'll find out that they're lazy & don't want the responsibility of supporting a family. Any number of things can go wrong.. what you need to decide is: what characteristics do you need the MOST, & which ones do living without? If a man who is very career-minded is very important to you, look for that.. just don't expect them to have every single other characteristic you're looking for. It also helps to be optimistic about the search.. now that you've got your head in "all men are dogs" mode - it's going to be A LOT harder for you to notice the sincerely good things about some guys you meet. Don't go looking for faults in everyone you meet, try to give them a chance.. there really are AMAZING guys out there, i got myself one!!
nessabum nessabum 10 years
maybe meet new guys through your friends--i mean your friends would have to be friends with them for a reason. :D
Sherbear Sherbear 10 years
Patterns are truly hard to move away have a pattern of attraching the wrong type of guy. I think you have to believe in yourself first and get right with yourself and then things will start to change for you. Men and everything in your life.
bookgirl bookgirl 10 years
It is true that when you're not looking the "right man" shows up. I had just gotten out of a crappy relationship (and there were many more before)and was ready to swear off men when I met my current boyfriend, we've now been together for a year and he is really nice. I have never been mad at him for more than 5 mins., and he is always very thoughtful (he buys me gifts, makes me dinner, and does other nice things).
DearSugar DearSugar 10 years
Thanks E. Jean, this is great advice -- we all have to expand our horizons and keep our eyes open!!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
There is no surefire way to tell, but I always look for someone who treats service people well. If they are friendly to people they don't _have_ to be friendly to, then they are probably not half bad. Although I have dated people who fit the above rule and ended up jerky, I think it's at least a good indication of character.
reeveske reeveske 10 years
luckygirl18 i tottally agree with your comment about them popping up when you least expect it. i also have noticed too (like with my beau) that sometimes it takes the right girl for a guy to treat her right. My boyfriend casualy dated girls for a long while and never took them seriuosly but when we started dating, he told me when he realised how amazing i was (i know, try to hold your gag reflex) and knew he had to treat me right to keep me around. and three years later he still is!
andaman andaman 10 years
This whole post is very carey bradshaw, don't know if its good or bed?
andaman andaman 10 years
Karma is the world's best self policing that I know :)
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