Do nice guys win?

An analysis of manipulation, the media's role in attraction, saviour complexes, and simp nation

We live in an era that thinks toxicity is sexy.
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Everyone has heard the saying “nice guys finish last” or “nice guys never win,” but why is that? Can anyone provide a straight answer without mumbling on until they settle on “because they just don’t”? Well, I have some ideas.

For background, the saying didn’t originate with relationships in mind. Rather, it came from something a professional sports coach said to the press.

While referring to the players of an opposing team, he said they were all nice guys but were going to finish last in the tournament. Thus, the saying “nice guys finish last” was born. Who knew Chad and Brad were going to adopt the saying to refer to women not wanting them?

In my opinion, nice guys finish first—every time.

This saying is a commentary on the fact “nice guys” aren’t actually nice guys.

Let me explain. You never hear a kind, well-intentioned, caring man walking around raving about how nice and pure he is. Not only would that be weird, but nice guys have a bit more humility than that.

Guys who believe nice guys never win are referring to the men who call themselves nice guys while putting on the nice act to get with the girl. Once their facade fades, manipulative, rude, disrespectful tendencies appear. Then, the girl stops showing interest, and the fake guy laments about how “nice guys finish last.” Nice guys don’t finish last; they just weren’t nice guys to begin with.

However, the media also plays a role in this discourse, creating damaging tropes that make lots of women interested in the not-so-nice guy.

Our society has endorsed the idea that liking toxic men is trendy.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard someone say, “I normally go for guys that are assholes”—mind-blown is an understatement. In what way is someone who treats you poorly, objectifies you, or simply disregards your feelings attractive?

Somehow, we’ve been taught to believe a rude guy is superior to a man who will treat you right. It’s completely toxic and extremely harmful. He’s not “hotter” for being a dick, Becky.

The media purports tropes and stereotypes of beautiful men treating women poorly, and those same women choosing them over the nice guy. TikTok and other social media apps blow up in support of bad boy characters, rather than characters who treat women properly.

Damon Salvatore or Klaus Michaelson from The Vampire Diaries are perfect examples.

Women—and the internet—rave about both these men as if they weren’t literally ripping people's heads off for 80 per cent of the show. They would be nice to one person—like Elena or Caroline—for 10 seconds and then become favoured over the kind, less bloodthirsty and problematic characters like Stefan and Elijah.

Damon and Klaus both have their vice: Elena and Caroline. The Vampire Diaries suggests there’s one woman that can completely change a man into a better person.

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the saviour complex. 

Movies, TV, and books tell us men with deep-rooted trauma who treat people poorly can be changed or fixed by a woman they care deeply about. However, the process of becoming that woman means staying with bad men in the hopes that, in some way, you can save them from the troubles and emotional turmoil they may be facing.

This process is not worth it: it’s toxic. You cannot jeopardize your wellness in the hopes of changing someone else for the better.

To make matters worse, when we finally stop entertaining the idea of toxic men, the nice men have been brainwashed with damaging explanations of what it means to be a “simp.”

The idea that caring about your girlfriend and treating her with respect means you aren’t manly or an ‘alpha’ is ridiculous. Men are teased by other men for being legitimate “nice guys,” which fuels the idea that you need to be disrespectful for women to like you.

Spoiler alert: caring for your girlfriend is actually a good thing!

The dialogue behind the word “simp” creates a feedback loop from hell. We’re back to rude guys claiming to be nice guys, arguing that nice guys never win, alongside women who believe toxic men are the best option because of the media. Look at what we’ve created.

We need to break free from this cycle of toxicity and leave it at what we all know: kindness, care, and respect always win.

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