As for putting people into boxes/categories: of course! I don't think this is intrincally negative (or laughable), but I do agree that it can be dangerous. When you commit generalization to either a specific person (e.g., prejudice) or a reactive action then you risk disregarding the complexity of a situation by trying to map it to a convenient pre-established concept. I don't think this negates the purpose of those boxes, but they obviously should be applied with caution.
As for this particular guy - you may well be right. Obviously we don't know enough details about his situation. His lack of sex is probably a symptom of a deeper issue. I have no interest in this guy, but the discussion does highlight a general pattern that I find interesting. The purpose of this thread is to discuss that pattern, not the particular guy.
In my personal experience, it's a lot easier to stick someone into the "good/nice guy" "bad guy" bin until you get to know them. Anyone you know intimately gets harder and harder to stuff into one of those boxes. Kinda like it's a lot easier to be racist until you get to know people from that particular race. Part of what you are saying here: the "nice guy" is hiding something/manipulating the situation and is still not able to get what he's after because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line (I believe you said, "grow a dick.") I agree with that, but I'm also saying, his problem is not being a "nice guy" so don't try to stuff him into that bin in the first place---the sex isn't what he's really after (would he be 28 and a virgin if that was all he was really after? Probably not.) If he gets a little, his problem isn't solved. He's looking for more than that.
On another note: you look for patterns a lot. I've been reading this off and on (I got mad at you once and deleted you over something I cannot recall) for several years. I think you like to try to predict people's actions because you don't really like unwelcomed surprises.
It's in our DNA to look for patterns (as it is with almost all species). I agree with that. Most species don't have the same cerebrocortical wattage humans do and that's what makes humans fall into more traps/make more mistakes i.e. we take it, too far.
Agreed. This is my problem with ideologists. They take a model and overextend its applications. It's the same idea as taking a metaphor too far. That said, I don't believe there is anything intrinsically wrong with patterns; the problem is in how we choose to apply them. (E.g., turning stereotypes into prejudices).
This all seems a bit obvious, though.
I have a lot of close friends that I'd generally characterize as "nice guys" or "bad boys". I don't think it exclusively defines them, by any means, but as a label it definitely helps summarize a loose grouping of characteristics. In fact, I'd use those same labels to define myself at different periods of my life. Again [words|categories|metaphors] can be overextended, but are a convenient "anchor" to reference a concept.
I didn't get the impression this was necessarily exclusive to sex. I think some guys want sex, others want relationships; I think either can fall into the trap discussed in this thread. I also think a lot of people who want sex really want intimacy. But that's another topic altogether.
I make, too many mistakes when I try to categorize. --and as you indirectly point out, people change and I think people treat almost everyone they meet differently. "Bad boys" or "Himbos/brohos" can turn on a dime when the stars align and they meet "the" woman at the right time/right place and can become "henpecked."
This is an error in the application, not the model. Every adjective represents a model. Some we're used to applying as transient, such as emotions (e.g., "happy", "sad"). Others we're used to applying as exclusive and immutable concepts, such as personalities. The latter I think is a mistake. You seem to agree, but make the assumption that someone who identifies personality patterns also makes that mistake. Certainly, this is a pattern you've identified in people :).
You mentioned you've been reading my journal for a long time. You may recall me assessment of Kiersey's book regarding the MBTI. If so, you may remember that my primary criticism of the personality system is that it assumes that people's personalities are set in stone. I strongly disagree with this.
If you read the comments on this post (as well as the Slog article it references) you'll find tons of testimonials of guys saying that they once fit the "nice guy" pattern, but have since changed. That's certainly true of me. And I'm sure the motivations for change as as varied as the men, but it's still a trend we can identify with.
I wonder if you consequently know a lot of their counterparts, the "nice girl" and the "bad girl"? I'd think that this isn't necessarily gender-specific; both sexes are equally likely to fall into the same habits. (As a likely candidate for a "nice girl", it is difficult to tell a guy that you don't like them. But, I too, am flattered if someone likes me and has the guts to say so.)
Anyway. I give up reading the comments. There's too many of them and I got bored. This is as far as I got.
I definitely think these traits can be applied to either gender, but that they play out different in each case.
I've had a few female friends who insist that they only get into relationships (or have sex, for that matter) because men agressively pursue them; that they, essentially, get tired of saying "no". I always found this apalling, but in the view of the female as the gatekeeper it seems like the logical end to the "nice girl" as the equivelent of spinelessness.
In my experience, the "nice girl", like her male counterpart, is non-confrontational and, thefore, in a relationship tends to bottle up her problems until they explode. As a result, relationships with "nice girls" often end abruptly and quite possibly over small misunderstandings that have been collecting interest over time.
When it comes to dating vs. relationships I definitely think there are parallels between the bad girl and bad boy. I think both are considered more attractive in the short-term. Which I think stems from the fact that both are seen as objects of sexuality and, arguably, irresponsible fun.
As for patterns: absolutely. I've thought a lot about this and it's certainly a fundamental trend in my life. My career (software architecture, running a business), for example, is largely about identifying, articulating, encapsulating and, ultimately, managing patterns. Even my academic interests (anthropology, municipal design) ultimately boil down to those things.
I've never psychoanalyzed myself on this; I tend to simply accept that this is a tendency I have, and find opportunities to utilize that tendency. I certainly think that modeling (the application of patterns) in general is a useful tool to help predict behaviors and manage reactions; I apply this principal as a manager and designer, and used to use it when I volunteered as a counselor as well.
As an aside, does anyone like unwelcome surprises? I certainly think I'm capable of adapting to unknowns or unexpected events, but if something is labeled as "unwelcome" then obviously it's not something I want.
I meant I think most surprises are unwelcomed/cause discomfort, but I'm not speculating/saying you can't adapt. It's a strong "tendency"--even in your clothes (that I've seen).
What's really interesting about this thread here is how you're recognizing a pattern in me and characterizing (categorizing) my motivations according to that pattern. I don't mind this, but I find it interesting because you seem critical (or, at least, cautious) of patterns and categorization.
But yes, I'm very much a classic Type A Engineering personality. At work, at least, I'm more often than not an INTJ in the Meyers-Briggs personality sorter and tend to fit the stereotypes of that personality pattern.
Some people thrive in chaos (cowboys). Other people need absolute predictability, stability. I fall in between. I'm very comfortable with surprises, but certainly strive to maximize predictability. My role in my company, for instance, is largely to take the findings of chaos-driven people and wrap them up into models that can be consumed by stability-driven people.