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C.S. Lewis once remarked that when men are on the prowl and claim they “want a woman,” they actually do not want a woman at all. What they really want is the thing for which a woman is the appropriate appendage: “One does not keep the carton after one has smoked the cigarettes.” I was reminded of this in a recent discussion in which one man defined “being a guy” (as in “oh, he’s just being a guy”) as “only seeing body parts.”

He was congratulating himself because he wasn’t that type of guy. He liked girls for “the right reasons.” He liked their minds. He liked their souls.

But I think on some level this is mistaken. Even soldiers on shore leave for a mere five minutes of fun want more than just body parts… they want a real, live woman, and preferably one they’re not going to hate afterward. On some level, I think even rapists want to possess a woman mind, body, and soul. What on earth would be the point of dominating a cardboard cutout, even a really attractive one?

However, most guys still want to differentiate their attraction to their girlfriends or their next-door neighbors as somehow deeper than the average frat boy’s. And I’m guessing it is. If nothing else, it’s more longsuffering and more supportive. Instead of liking a woman because she has a mind, body, and soul, they like her for having this particular mind, body, and soul. And the drawbacks that come with the package, well, those are things you’ve just got to deal with. And you do deal with them. Because you’re not “just a guy.” You’re one man in love with one woman.

The tricky thing here is that girls want to be wanted for their mind/body/soul, and they keep getting told that assholes only care about their bodies. If a guy tells them he’s into all three, he’s got a good chance of scoring with them.* Naturally, as long as he does it right and as long as they’re attracted to him on some level. Of course, they really have no idea if he’s telling the truth, and they’re less focused on his mind/body/soul because they’re so intent on analyzing how sincere he is about theirs. If he moves too quickly, he’s probably “just being a guy” and “only seeing body parts.” But if he waits until the third date, and knows how to have a conversation with them, then maybe he’s actually The One!

So the nice guy who likes women for the “right reasons” is left asking why women make so many stupid decisions when it comes to men, not realizing that he may actually be part of the problem.

Here are some sample analyses, if we follow the logic of the nice guy:

Premise 1: only men who focus on my body are assholes
Premise 2: John doesn’t focus on my body
Conclusion: John isn’t an asshole

Premise 1: only men who focus on my body are assholes
Premise 2: I keep catching Will staring at my legs when I wear a short skirt
Conclusion: Will is an asshole

John may be an embezzling psychopath, but he doesn’t creep me out by noticing how amazing my thighs look, unlike that weirdo Will.

Result: ditch Will, date John.

*Nice guy response: “he never means it, you know.”
Me: “And hence, you don’t.”
Nice guy: “I’m not typical.”
Me: “Neither are they.”

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