We’ve All Been Used At Some Point, Right?
Nice guys whine about not finishing first when in reality, they are rarely even running the race.
Aziz Ansari is a funny comedian. I can’t relate to him the way I do with Chris Rock or Patrice O’Neal (R.i.P). But he’s background noise on a Saturday night while doing laundry or as I toil away on a draft for an article. I tuned into the first season of Master of None because Netflix shows have mostly hit a high note.
The second season, though, was a general disappointment. It took a couple of days to pinpoint what the problem was. The crux of the season’s ending is Dev (Ansari) thought way too highly of himself, as the plot line involving his love interest Francesca dragged out the inevitable. In the end, neither of them were interesting enough for me to hope they’d end up together.
Dev finds himself in a position that many guys have placed themselves in. They develop feelings and allow an emotional connection to mature for a woman who is either unavailable or unsure if the feeling is mutual. They think that time spent, effort shown, or words said will change this. So they wait.
In the span of a couple episodes, Dev is snowed in watching a classic Italian movie and goes on a romantic day trip with Francesca while she’s visiting in the United States. He knows he has a short window to persuade her that he’s the one she should be with. Or to be it more broader, he’s doing all of this to convince her to stay in New York to give them a chance to see if he’s the one.
Purposely, their tension is palpable and uncomfortable. Francesca wants to be loyal to her fiance because she’s a woman with a good moral compass. But at her core, she’s truly conflicted. Dev had spent time with her and her son in Italy making pasta. They have some history, even if it’s pales in comparison to what she has with her fiance. They have chemistry, although I never really feel that. Francesca has never had to deal with a disconnect between her mind and her heart. That’s unfortunate for Dev because as the token “nice guy”, he’s trying to not be a dick. As the “nice guy”, he’s trying to respect boundaries. Here’s the thing, the second season doesn’t make Dev out to be much of a nice guy.
Nice guys are nice guys until they don’t get their win. If a nice guy can’t have you, then that means he lost. And nobody likes to admit they lost something they passionately pursued.
The final episode struck a chord. It was actually annoying because it gave me a thought I’d never considered before. Dev realizes that because she didn’t choose him, the entire time they’d spend together was a waste of his time. He blamed Francesca for unrequited love — despite knowing she had a fiance! The entire fight blew my mind simply because of its ridiculousness.
Nice guys often think they’re coming to the table with something original. They cater to the needs of their suitor. They listen to things they probably don’t care about. They research and collect intelligence in hopes that they can become the guy that the woman they’re pursuing describes. We spend an absurd amount of platonic time with the expectation that the woman will see us in a different light. There are thousands of formulaic Hollywood romantic comedies built on this exact premise.
Nice guys use “niceness” to mask the lack of communication skills to state what they want and mean what they say. Instead of being the guy she chooses to go on luxurious baecations with and cook breakfast for on a Sunday morning, you wind up being the guy she uses until she figures it all out.
Look — we’ve all been Dev. It happens because we need to learn the hard way.
Stop letting people use you out of boredom, out of fear, out of confusion, or out of lukewarm interest.
If you’re old enough, you can look back over your past and see a situation that went horribly wrong because you couldn’t be bothered to use your fucking words early!
Guys often use the “nice guy” card as means to be the victim. As a man, I can say that that’s very lazy on the part of the individual. If you allow a woman who’s not sure about her interest in you to waste your time, that’s on you, good sir. Although you can argue that Francesca used Dev for companionship, I don’t believe it was for malicious reasons. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t selfish though. For Dev’s part in all of this — again, he knew she wasn’t free to choose him. That’s a major point to make sure.
People have a habit of latching onto new and better when their relationship isn’t going well. If you’re single, the guy who compliments you all the time and takes interest is going to stand out. The woman who seems to be available when you need her or that you log a lot of late nights in the office with is appealing.
It’s not wrong to gravitate to towards someone who’s adding positivity to your life when you need it. However, understand these are always real people with real feelings. Don’t damage and destroy what could be great friendships just because you want the relationship title so badly. Some connections aren’t meant to be solely romantic.
And for the “nice guys” out there, if a woman is taken, stop thinking you’re clever enough to sway her in your direction. If she wants you, it won’t be because you’re nice.