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To the Men Lurking and Scrolling Through Madame Noire:

We need to talk (or rather you just need to read). Madame Noire is a space for women–specifically Black women–to relax, unwind, and feel heard. We don’t have many of those so if you’re going to be here, there a few things you need to be open to learning. Today’s topic? Women everywhere really need y’all to get a grasp on what does and does not qualify you to be in a relationship–or at least get a date. Somehow we have reached the midpoint in 2018 and women are still having to explain the very simple concept of how choices when it comes to dating works.

In a recent post about getting over bad boys, some troll typed out a response implying that women only ever want a good guy once a bad one has stomped all over their heart. I will never deny that some people (men and women) do look for a soft place to land to lick their wounds once they get their heart’s broken, but this comment implied that women in general only see good guys as emotional janitors. That is not true of most emotionally stable women. It also implies that being A Good Guy™ entitles you to romance, which is also untrue.

A whole wide world of information is at our fingertips at any given moment. There is no lack of available knowledge on any given subject, and yet some of you are still convinced that you deserve any woman you want for doing virtually nothing. While women are expected to be beautiful (above all), smart (but not too smart), blindly trusting, a 5-star chef in the kitchen, a magician in the bedroom, and loyal to a fault in order to be deemed worthy of commitment, there are men who honestly believe that all they have to do is be nice.

What a sad state of affairs! You know the bar has been set astonishingly low if guys think all it takes to earn and secure companionship is being A Good Guy™. What exactly does it mean to be A Good Guy™? We couldn’t possibly know because it largely appears to be a self-ascribed title. But, from what I’ve gathered, being A Good Guy™ entails occasionally doing good deeds and being outwardly pleasant during day-to-day interactions. It can include being kind to special people in your life, but that’s just some extra flourish on the act. It doesn’t seem that much more (if anything) is really required to be deemed A Good Guy™.

Here’s the problem: Being A Good Guy™ is not enough to be considered a great catch. People (men and women) should absolutely seek out partners that are kindhearted and loving (I’ll touch on the difference later), but you have to bring more to the table than just not being a jerk. Although that’s not a bad place to start, it is the bare minimum. If you really want to find a partner in life, there has to be more to you. Being nice is easy. Kids learn how to be nice in preschool. Step up your game because exhibiting basic human decency is…well…basic.

And here’s something else to think about: Many a bad boy masquerades as a Good Guy™ in the beginning! In my case, my ex seemed like a great guy when I first met him, but over time I discovered that I was sadly mistaken. Not unlike myself, a woman may have genuinely been looking for a decent man only to be bamboozled by a bad one.

Now that we have established that being A Good Guy™ is simply not enough to “deserve” a woman, here are some things that could improve your chances in the dating game. If a particular tip does not apply to you, feel free to move on to the next one.

First and foremost, consider your motivations. If you’re only being nice to women in hopes that they will date you because you’re such a Good Guy™, then you’re actually not that great of a guy. You’re looking at your behavior as social currency, in which case you see women as purchasable commodities. Off top, that is a flawed way of mentally framing women and relationships. Forget the idea that being nice is the only effort you need to exert to snag a woman.

And stop complaining about how women don’t like you because you’re “too nice.” You’re probably not as nice as you think you are, and there is nothing attractive or sexy about a person (regardless of gender) who is constantly complaining and playing the victim.

Next, understand that women want someone who is kind. There is a world of difference between being nice and being kind. Kindness is a more genuine quality that comes from the heart. It does not seek recognition for good works. Kindness leads good works simply for the purpose of doing good and benefitting others. There is something selfless about kindness, and it counts for a lot. Perfect example: When Meghan Markle was first being set up with Prince Harry, she told their mutual friend that she wouldn’t be interested if he was not a kind man. She was willing to turn down royalty over a possible lack of kindness.

Don’t forget that women also want partners who are intelligent, or at least interesting. Work on cultivating your mind so that you can carry on better-than-decent conversation. Read some good books. Dive a little deeper into your personal interests. Take on a new hobby. Expand your mind so that you can offer engaging dialogue. While you’re at it, you may also want to develop a sense of humor because we like to laugh. Hopefully, while you’re doing those things, you’ll gain a more solid sense of self, too. Women like a man who knows who he is and has confidence in himself. Show us who you are.

Just like men want a good-looking woman, women want a man that presents himself with some pride (no matter his shape or size). Get a grooming routine together: Let some soap and water hit your body before you walk out the door for the day. Moisturize. Spritz on some cologne. Keep your nails clipped and your breath fresh. And don’t stop there! Develop a sense of style and put some effort into your look. You don’t have to walk out here looking like the 2018 version of Kyle Barker, but figure out the swag that works for you. If you’re still trying to define your personal style, start out with a clean look and build from there.

Most important, learn how to see women as people equal to yourself, who are deserving of the same respect that you demand for yourself. Then respect the choices that they make–and that choice may be that they still don’t want to date you. This may be one of the most important bits of advice when it comes to women and dating. Women are not rewards for good behavior, we’re people. Women do not owe you their time, their attention, their affection, or their interest. If you can learn to respect women as people who are capable of making their own decisions about the company that they keep, then you can relate to them in a whole different way that’s better for everyone. Perhaps even in a way that allows you to make the connections that could lead to the kind of relationship you want–or maybe it will just lead to a genuine friendship.

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