"Adults Only" – Dirty or Boring?

This post has no timely relevance at all; it’s just an old anecdote. When I was about 7 or 8, my family went to London to stay with my uncle, who was living there for a couple of years. One of the days we were there, my parents went to Bath and left us behind, saying this trip was just for adults. My imagination was immediately filled with all kinds of mysterious and arcane sexual practices that must be going on in Bath, to warrant a “just for adults” rating. And keep in mind, I was a very naive 7 or 8, so these imaginings were incredibly vague and therefore loomed even larger in the “sexual naughtiness” part of my brain than if I were capable of imagining specific practices.

Then in my mid-teens, I started reading trashy romance novels and also Jane Austen, learned what Bath actually was (just a resort town around some still-working Roman baths) and was forced to conclude that “just for adults” meant they thought it would bore my sister and me. Which was probably true, and heavily disappointing.

Nice Guys

I ran across this while strolling* the internet, and I enjoyed it very much, but I have a codicil. I have blamed this for a long time on the Dawson’s Creek syndrome. Y’all remember how Dawson was allegedly the nice guy and Pacey was allegedly the jerk? I remember having these conversations in mixed-sex groups, and the “nice guys” I was usually friends with would bemoan the fact that we all loved Pacey far more than Dawson because Pacey was the jerk, and this all mirrored the actual discussions had on the show, wherein Dawson would whine that he was such a nice guy, he never got the girl, and Pacey was such an asshole but he did.

So I think Dawson’s Creek effectively convinced guys my age that the traits that Dawson displayed were nice-guy traits and the traits that Pacey displayed were jerk traits. And what were these traits that the show claimed made Dawson nice and Pacey not? Well, Dawson wanted a relationship with lots of snuggles and Pacey thought about, and talked about, sex.

That was really it. Go back and watch the show, if you can stomach it, or need an excuse to drink a lot.

And the thing was, Dawson would whine and whine about how he was such a non-sex-worrying, relationshipy guy, so how come he wasn’t getting any? And Pacey, yes, joked about sex a lot, but was also a loyal friend and actually generally really sweet, whereas Dawson was completely self-absorbed and pissy all the time.

I think guys have somehow gotten the idea that “wanting a relationship instead of just one-night stands” makes you “nice.” But fellas, it’s not enough. “Nice” means respectful of people, regardless of what they want from you. “Nice” means paying attention to other people’s wants and needs, and treating those wants and needs as if they are important. You can be nice and not want a relationship at all. You can want a relationship and be a total dick about it, like stomping on the ground when the girl you want a relationship goes to a dance you didn’t ask her to with somebody else. (Dawson’s Creek, Season 1, possibly episode 2 or 3. And shut up, like you don’t remember, too.)

I’m married to a guy who’s mostly nice on both counts (wanting a relationship, and actually being nice). But we have gotten into arguments where he thinks that waking me up at 6:30 in the morning to snuggle is nice because don’t girls like snuggling? Don’t nice guys give them snuggling? I once got so mad about this, I cleaned the bathroom and kitchen, at which point he unfortunately noticed how productive I am when I’m angry.

I know this post is a little rambling. I apologize to my audience of two.