|Men can get out of the "Friend Zone" by finding a woman who wants to be more than buddies. (Shutterstock)
Nice guys, I like ya.
But while I am a big, big fan, I also recognize that nice guys have a rather burdensome image to grapple with.
Good fellas must constantly wrestle with the idea that they always finish last, an assumption that threatens to pigeon-hole them into one neatly categorized area, where they're quickly tucked away in a rather pale, nondescript folder marked, The Friend Zone.
Like crazy glue or a sticky mouse trap, once you're in The Friend Zone, well, you're pretty much stuck.
For a moment though, I'd like to back up to the idea that nice guys finish last.
Actually, I'd like to challenge it because, frankly, it's a myth.
Okay, it is true that women can be lured by the intoxicating scent of bad-boy leather, but the nice guy ultimately wins.
In the film, Youth in Revolt, gangly, sweet boy Michael Cera stars as Nick Twisp, who creates a tough-guy, mustache-sporting alter ego named François Dillinger in order to impress a girl. As dangerous Dillinger, he sets things on fire, crashes cars and flees the fuzz. Like dangling a ball of yarn before an eager-to-please kitten, his dream girl strings him along until, finally, he claims his victory. Yes, he gets the girl, but at the cost of his own identity, which is an awfully big price to pay for a little action, don't ya think?
In reality, nice guys get passed over by certain kinds of women all the time.
Over here in girl world, we can spot this type of femme fatale quicker than a cheetah can pounce on his prey. It's quite painful to watch as nice guys get lost in the befuddling girl-game maze, a game they don't usually know they're playing.
Sadly, most blokes don't even realize it until long after they've invested a whole lot of time, money and energy on a gal.
If you've been slotted in The Friend Zone, this means she's not attracted to you, but still wants to keep you around. After all, nothing boosts the ego quite like basking in the generous adoration offered up by a nice guy who's fawning all over you. So, I am going to let you in on a little secret here: If a woman tells you she likes you only as a friend, believe her.
By now, you're probably wondering how, exactly, the nice guy is winning here, right?
After all, hey doesn't get the girl and his image is sealed air-tight in the dreaded Friend Zone category.
Here's the thing - you do win, precisely because you don't get the girl.
Or, rather, that kind of girl. That is the prize, and it's a mighty victorious one, let me tell ya.
See, eventually nice guys do get the girl.
Better ones. Kinder ones. Ones of the less superficial variety.
They wind up scoring keenly observant women who realize that while the bad-ass in black leather might make for a tasty catch of the day, he's also going to spoil very quickly.
These dames are smart enough to toss the bad fish back, cast their lines again and wait patiently for a better offering with more sustenance to come along.
So guys, if you're sweet, kind, thoughtful and caring, stay that way, but also know where to draw the line.
By pandering to a dame's every whim, she will, rather cruelly, lay you down in carpet position and promptly walk all over you with her dagger-sharp heels. Sure, she might occasionally tease you with a good butt wiggle, but this tired kitten-and-yarn trick still isn't going to get you any.
Instead, you become her go-to guy when things go bust in her love life, and her back-up plan when other plans fall through.
"No woman likes a puppy," remarks a male friend of mine.
"Every woman likes a guy who has some confidence and can tell them where to go."
My buddy is right, except for one part.
Women love puppies, just not in our men.
Much like seeing beefy gym dudes walking with chipmunk-sized purse dogs or the poor sod stuck carrying his girlfriend's purse while she attends to le tour de shopping, playing the part of a doting, oversized lap dog just isn't hot.
Get a backbone, keep it in place and don't get trapped in the hamster-wheel spinning of The Friend Zone because, guess what? She's just using you.
Toss her back in the pond, wipe your hands clean and hold out for a better fish to come along and take the nice-guy bait.