So we do a lot of talk here about how women are assumed to be the very big exception to the rule when we in fact are not.  Tag-along spouses to conventions, the (supposedly) endangered species of female gamer, the well-nigh extinct female action movie junkie, and so forth.  However, this particular issue is one which is not limited solely to the geek population, though it likely applies more often in this demographic than in others.  Many of us are familiar with these sentiments, having likely heard them many a time from various males:

 

“Nice guys finish last.”

 

“Women always go for the assholes.  Why can’t they see how much better I would be for them?”

 

“Why doesn’t she notice me?!”

 

I begin my explanation with several examples of the sorts of events which have conditioned us to be wary of “nice guys” (not to be confused with actual nice guys) because of the potential for us to end up in very, very unfortunate situations.

 

 

Sadly, I must admit that I am still incapable of being alone in the house when men come to do work.  There are three specific instances which come to mind…and considering that two of them involve rather large companies, I think it’s about time something was said.

 

The first happened when I’d gone home during a college break.  My parents were having work done on their roof.  My parents also worked very long days, so they would be gone by the time I was awake, and they wouldn’t get back until well after dark.  No big deal, right?  I had a car, I had friends to see, and no one was going to stop me from doing anything.  Except that every time I set foot outside the house, seven roofers descended upon me, leering and doing everything they could to make me generally uncomfortable.  If I came back to the house and they were still there, they would find any excuse to knock on the door and try to get into the house.  Can we use your phone?  Can we get some water?  You have cell phones, geniuses, and get your foot out of my doorway.  Eventually, I stopped leaving the house altogether.  By the end of the week, it occurred to me that my father might be interested in what was going on while he was away.  Okay, you’re away at school, your “friends” are unreliable, you usually just accept that you’re going to have to fend for yourself.  At any rate, I wised up, informed my parents of the situation, and the roofers were gone the next day.

 

Then there was the issue of having cable and all of those good technological things installed in my place.  The thing is, I could install my own damn cable Internet, network my own house, and stick my own cable box on top of my TV if the cable company would allow me to do so.  Unfortunately, I still must waste half my day sitting around watching Hulu while waiting for someone to show up to do these things for me because apparently, self-installation is not an option around here.  Well, when I lived in New Orleans, I lived alone.  It took me two months to get someone to come out and install my cable.  Why?  I don’t know.  Ask Cox Communications.  When the man finally did come to stick a freaking cable modem onto the end of a wire and put a box on my television, I figured it was a pretty quick deal, and he’d be out of my hair.  Oh, wrong.  Very, very wrong.  After he finished, he proceeded to sit on my sofa for forty-five minutes in an attempt to chat me up.  It was disturbing, and he didn’t seem to notice the five thousand times I asked him to just give me the paper to sign and go away.  Incident the second.

 

Well, then my shower exploded.  It wouldn’t turn off, water was everywhere, the wall was just….there was a huge mess.  I had to call Roto Rooter.  That’s all well and good.  They showed up pretty quickly.  There were two men – one of them was an apprentice or something.  However, ten minutes after they set foot inside my home, inappropriate things began to happen.  For example, one (while sitting on my couch trying to have social hour) asked me, “Ain’t you got a man to be doin’ this for you?”  To which I replied that no, my man worked at Michoud and couldn’t exactly drop everything to come running to my rescue.  The man proceeded to give me the sort of very long up and down stare that I never mind as long as I’m out in public…however, that sort of look is not welcome when I am in my home unless

 

1.  I am throwing an awesome party, or

 

2.  I am running around scantily clad. 

 

Neither of which was the case.  He then took it one step further.  “Shit, if I was your man, I’d be home all day, every day.”  Not cool, sir.  Not cool at all.  Roto Rooter, please screen your staff a bit better in the future.

 

Aside from my run-ins with creepy men in my house, I’ve also had to deal with stalkers.  I have received anonymous, sexually threatening snail mail, and the NOPD has refused to take a report regarding it.  At one point, I went on two dates with a very unassuming, soft-spoken, shy guy who ended up standing in my dorm room chanting in tongues and then telling me that he was convinced I could speak to spirits, so he needed me to talk to his master Satan for him.  He befriended everyone on my floor simply so he could return to bother me after I physically dragged him from the building and tried to file a report with campus police…who said that despite the fact that he didn’t attend the university, as long as he was there to visit someone they couldn’t bar him from setting foot on campus.

 

These events bring me to an absolutely crucial point which most “nice guys” fail to realize:  most women have had to deal with creepy situations and/or stalkers at some point in their lives.  I’d had five bona fide stalkers before I turned twenty-three.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  you may think you’re being a “nice guy,” but you may be coming off as a potential stalker.  And I can probably speak for most women when I say that given the choice between a potentially neglectful asshole and a potentially restraining-order-worthy stalker, I’d much rather take my chances on the former.  It’s not that women prefer mean men.  We don’t.  Unfortunately, if all you do is admire from afar, well…we’re not psychic, fellas.  And if you come off as insecure or a touch too obsessed….we’re probably too busy Googling “restraining order in (insert state here)” to give much thought to going out with you.  We’ve all heard the nice guy whining.   We don’t need to hear it anymore. 

 

And now I return to my geek dating commandments: 

 

If thou art displeased with thine current situation, do something about it.

 

Unless thou speakest thine mind concerning thine feelings, the object of thine affection cannot be blamed for failing to notice thine mooning and pining.

 

If thou displayest qualities which may eventually require legal action, there shall be great wailing and gnashing of teeth.

 

So please, guys.  Examine your own behavior very, very carefully before wallowing in self-pity at the masochism of womankind for failing to acknowledge your well-intentioned affections.  We have to defend ourselves against both existing and potential threats…and our stalker-sense is very easily triggered.