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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

There is research on (almost) anything: Nice Guys

“It is not seen as insane when a fighter, under an attack that will inevitable lead to his death, chooses to take his own life first. In fact, this act has been encouraged for centuries, and is accepted even now as an honorable reason to do the deed. How is it any different when you are under attack by your own mind?” - Emilie Autumn

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Young Women’s Dating Behavior:Why/Why Not Date a Nice Guy?

"When asked to describe the stereotypic nice guy in a study by Herold and Milhausen (1999), female respondents perceived them as either losers (men who were needy, weak, predictable, boring, inexperienced, lacking confidence, and unattractive) or good guys (men who were polite and willing to wait for sex and who possessed a good personality, high standards, and morals)...

Felmlee (2001) posited a “fatal attraction” hypothesis for this influence of time on the perception of personality traits: certain traits that attract a young woman to a young man in the beginning of the relationship may repel her from the same young man as the relationship continues or sours over time. The five most common attractive to unattractive trait pairs found were nice to passive, strong to stubborn, funny to “flaky,” outgoing to “over the top,” and caring to clingy. The “fatal attraction” hypothesis may be used to explain why a young woman who was initially attracted to her nice guy because she thought he was “nice,” over time may become eager to dump him because she views him as “too nice” (i.e., passive)...

A nice guy who is perceived as sweet/nice may be more appealing to a young woman when combined with perceptions of being physically attractive and may be less appealing to her when perceived alone. Stranger still, physical attractiveness was neither stated nor implied in the nice guy dating scenario even though some female respondents inferred it. Perceptions of being sweet/nice did not seem to fall victim to the fatal attraction hypothesis for the fun/sexy guy. For him, factor analysis showed that being sweet/nice was a highly desirable quality—as were the other two traits that increased his likelihood of getting a second date. Thus, achieving that “magic combination of desirable qualities that leads to subsequent dates” may be a more elusive proposition for the nice guy than for the fun/sexy guy...

According to Laner and Ventrone (2000), six commonly expected first date behaviors for a man are ask the woman out, decide on the plans, buy flowers for the woman, pick her up, pay all the bills, and make affectionate moves (such as hugging and kissing). Expecting all six of these behaviors may work against the nice guy because, according to Scenario 1, the nice guy performs the basic steps (i.e., asks the woman out, decides on the plans, picks her up, and pays all the bills), but goes no further... The “fatal attraction” hypothesis may explain subsequent rejection of a nice guy because his sweet/nice guy caution may be read as loser/nice guy passivity. Again, when it comes to getting a second date, being considered sweet/nice has its advantages, but only in combination with other specific desirable personality traits and/or behaviors. . . and potentially only for a fun/sexy guy...

The nice guy and the fun/sexy guy seem equally likely to be selected to participate in experimental relationship dating—the “fatal attraction” hypothesis, notwithstanding. However, if the dating experience is extended to the intensification stage (a point where the dating partners explore “coupledom” and the relationship is confirmed by others; Alder & Rodman, 2003), the fun/sexy guy may have the upper hand... If she perceives the fun/sexy guy as sweet/nice and exciting and perceives that her friends will approve of him, she is more likely to go out with him a second time and potentially more often. Again, the claim that women prefer dating fun/sexy guys rather than nice guys finds support...

Finding a “good guy” prince among several possible “nice” suitors may necessitate kissing a lot of “loser” frogs—something that recreational dating young women simply may not have the time, patience, or inclination to do. In the end, young women may continue to claim that they find certain qualities in a “good guy” nice guy as highly desirable and that they want to be in a committed relationship with one man as their ultimate goal, but, at the same time, they seem content to spend “the meantime and inbetween-time” going out with fun/sexy guys who may or may not turn into “jerks.”"

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Niceness and Dating Success: A Further Test of the Nice Guy Stereotype

"A methodological problem in these [previous] studies is that the researchers relied only upon women’s stated preferences, rather than on their actual choices. According to the nice guy stereotype, women often say they want nice men but in actuality choose men for other reasons...

Weiderman and Dubois (1998) used behavioral measures to assess women’s preferences for a mate and found a discrepancy between self-perceptions and behavior, particularly among women...

Men accurately indicated that the physical attractiveness of the targets was the most important characteristic that influenced their desirability ratings, whereas women inaccurately indicated that desired level of relationship commitment was their most important factor, when, in fact, it was one of the least important factors behaviorally. Sprecher (1989) found similar results, in that women inaccurately assessed the role of physical attractiveness in their own ratings of a target man. The women in Sprecher’s study reported that expressiveness was the most important factor in their choice, although it was the least important factor behaviorally. Physical attractiveness was the most important factor that actually influenced their ratings. The results of these two studies suggest that women’s self-reported preferences may not match their actual choices...

The present study represents a further test of the nice guy stereotype. More specifically, we examined the relationship between men’s niceness/agreeableness, their physical attractiveness as rated by women, and their self-reported dating success across different relationship contexts...

The present study includes some enhancements to previous work in this area. Rather than relying upon women’s selfreported mate preferences or dating choices in an artificial, laboratory setting, we evaluated men’s reports of their dating success in relation to niceness/agreeableness and physical attractiveness. This study also allowed for an assessment of different types of success within different relationship contexts and the differing contributions of niceness/agreeableness versus physical attractiveness within these different contexts...

We found limited support for Hypothesis 1, that physical attractiveness would be more influential than niceness/agreeableness within the shorter-term, less-committed relationship contexts. In the casual dating context, attractiveness was a significant predictor of relationship success, but the order of magnitude was the same as for agreeableness, and was generally low...

Hypothesis 2, that high levels of niceness/agreeableness would be more important than physical attractiveness in committed/romantic relationships, was not supported... the results were actually more consistent with an inverse relationship between niceness and success in this context, even though this was mediated by the other variables.

Hypothesis 3, that higher scores on agreeableness would be positively related to success in all four relationship contexts, was not supported. Rather, the opposite effect was found: Agreeableness was significantly, negatively related to relationship success in two of the contexts (casual dating and one-time sexual encounters), and was equivocally negatively related to success in the other two contexts (casual sex and committed/romantic).

Hypothesis 4, that men rated relatively high in niceness/ agreeableness but relatively low in physical attractiveness (“homely nice guys”) should report greater success in the committed/romantic context, whereas low niceness/high attractiveness men (“cute, macho guys”) would report more success in the three short-term, low-commitment contexts, was partially supported. The “cute, macho guys” did, in fact, report significantly more success in the casual dating and one-time sexual encounter contexts, but there was no significant difference in the casual sex context. There was also no significant difference in the committed/romantic context, thus the “homely, nice guys” did not fare better in this context as hypothesized...

The “less-nice” men reported greater success in more superficial relationships, especially regarding one-time sexual encounters, though the magnitude of this advantage dissipated when it came to committed/romantic relationships. This variability in the relative importance of niceness/agreeableness to different types of relationships is consistent with previous research in this area. Clearly, context matters...

The fact that low agreeableness, generally speaking, was more related to success across all the relationship contexts than high agreeableness was somewhat surprising. Previous studies have shown that women highly value niceness in committed/romantic partners (and still value niceness, if less-so, in more sexual contexts; e.g., Regan et al., 2000; Urbaniak & Kilmann, 2003). The present results, however, failed to show any clear advantage for the men who were highly nice/agreeable, even in the romantic context. As such, results from the present study actually are more consistent with the nice guy stereotype, overall, than were the results of our earlier study, which had suggested that the stereotype might be a myth. This contradictory finding suggests a discrepancy between which men women will say they prefer, or will choose in a (experimentallymanipulated) hypothetical scenario, and which men actually are successful—at least, by the men’s own accounts...

If, as earlier research has suggested, women really prefer and would like to choose nice men, overall, why, then, do nicer men not report more success? There are, of course, many possibilities. One of these possibilities could be that women’s preferences are largely irrelevant, and whom they ultimately date stems from other, external pressures. Less-agreeable men may be able to persuade or “talk women into” into various dating relationships more so than nice men, to the point where the women’s self-perceived preferences are overwhelmed... Nice guys may be more prone to “take no for an answer” and give up, whereas the less-nice, macho guys are able, ultimately, to win women’s hearts and minds (or, at least, their bodies) through persistence... Nevertheless... it is difficult to discount the influence of women’s mate preferences altogether.

Also surprising in the present study was the relative unimportance of physical attractiveness in relation to relationship success, given the significant role it was expected to play in the more sexual than romantic relationship contexts and given previous studies... It could be that, in this day and age, looks do not really matter as much as they once did. This conclusion appears unlikely, however, so the more logical possibility is that this result had something to do with the methodology we employed"

Weiderman and Dubois and the following paragraph are the most damning evidence that what women say they want, what women think they want and what women really want aren't always the same (note that men are more consistent), but actually some of the rest of the extracts have the same moralité.

Previously cited evidence supporting my axiom:
Balderdash: Female Sexuality: Complicated (2/3)
Balderdash: What Do Women Want? - Discovering What Ignites Female Desire
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