"Nice guys finish last" is a common theme in dating circles. Here are two variations that basically say the same thing:
Free Online Dating Tips: Why Nice Guys Finish Last
Heartless Bitches International's: "Nice guys" = Bleah!
Basically, after reading these, I'd say they are equating "Nice guys" to "Insecure guys." It appears that in the context of dating, the term "nice guys" has come to mean the socially awkward, spineless, passive guys who put the women they want to date up on pedestals and don't know how to think for themselves.
(For the record, I don't think we should abuse the adjective "nice" this way. Nice is nice. It's not insecure. A guy CAN be both confident and nice... but I digress.)
What about "kind guys?" Since "kind" and "nice" are pretty darn similar adjectives, are "kind guys" also considered undesirable low-lifes that don't have a back-bone?
I checked one of my favorite blog sites about dating, Hooking Up Smart. (Susan Walsh, the author at this site, practically does a dissertation with every well-researched blog post.)
In The Nice Guy Dilemma, Susan covers not only "nice" but "kind." From the post:
Research also demonstrates that women prize kindness in men. Last month the British Journal of Psychology published a Canadian study (link here) that showed online dating profiles to 300 volunteers. Some of the profiles were altered to demonstrate kindness and altruistic interests. The women showed a strong preference for those profiles, even where the clues were fairly subtle. Dr. Pat Barclay, author of the study says:This suggests that women are attuned to generosity, and that altruism serves a purpose in mate selection. If a man is kind and generous towards others – even strangers – then there’s a good chance that he’d make a good and generous parent.
Dr Viren Swami, a specialist in interpersonal attraction from the Department of Psychology at the University of Westminster had a similar take:Our research has found ‘agreeableness’ to be particularly important to whether people are attracted to each other. Altruism could be regarded as one component of agreeableness.
It’s been suggested that men deliberately play up their altruistic tendencies as a way of demonstrating that they’re not just after sex. I think that sounds like a good strategy as long as it’s not completely fabricated. A man’s being eager to reassure women about this is probably a tip-off that he is a man of good character, and wants that to come across in his profile.
Interestingly, while men valued signals of kindness when looking for a LTR, they found it off-putting when looking for something short-term. One researcher hypothesized that men don’t want their hookups distracted by other interests, but I’d venture a different idea. I think it’s much harder to f*ck over a woman when you know from the start that she is kind. It feels just a bit crappier if you can’t pretend she’s a cold-hearted wench.
Susan also makes reference to the Sexademic blog post: Kindness and Hot Sex are Not Mutually Exclusive. In this post, once again, kindness seems to come out OK. You can still be kind and good in bed. (Phew!)
I guess bottom line here is that "kindness" seems to be a desirable trait, particularly if you're seeking a long-term-relationship. Being "kind" doesn't seem to get the same negative connotation that being "nice" does. (This is a relief since I instructed those participating in The Love Project to Be Kind this week. I'm thinking I should stay away from a "Nice" theme...)
And what about "bad boys?" Is it true that in order to get the girl, you have to be a jerk? While it's true that there are jerks that get women, I don't think it's the jerk behavior that gets her, I think it's the confidence. Jerk, nice, or kind, if you don't have confidence, you're gonna strike out... or more likely, you'll never even get up to bat because you'll be sitting on the sidelines.
Of course, we all look for certain traits in a romantic partner. Positive traits, in my opinion would include kindness, confidence, and yes...even niceness. Negative traits would be jerks (or disrespectful behavior) and insecurity.
So, in answer to the question, no, it doesn't look like kind guys finish last. In fact, if they're confident, they'll finish first -- at least in my book.