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How I Learned to Captivate Like the Jerks

– Without Turning Into One!!

By Tom McKnight

It first happened when I was in High School.  I learned that I was a “nice guy”…and that being nice, in itself, was not enough to win the girl of my dreams.

My junior year in high school I had begun fantasizing about a particular girl who attended my church who was also in my class at school.  Ideally, I was everything she could ever want.  I held the same values, I was respected among our peers, and (I add modestly) I had plenty of girls I knew who had crushes on me from a distance.

But in spite of all this, she wasn’t interested in me, and at the time she was all that mattered to me.  She frankly informed my close friend: “Tom’s a really nice guy…but he’s not my type!”

Upon hearing this unsolicited news, I was crushed!  How could this be?  What had I ever done to deserve such a fate?  The true soul mate I had waited my whole 16 years of existence to come into my life had just summarily up and rejected me!

I had never even asked her out, but it was still a most bitter blow.  Somehow I staggered through it, though.  Still, my ego was crushed and my self-confidence took awhile to recover.

The worst part of it, though, was not knowing at the time what it was about me that was so unacceptable.  What’s wrong with being “a nice guy”, for Pete’s Sake? TOP

The Jerks


Meanwhile, I began to notice something.  Around school most of the guys who seemed to be doing quite well, thank you, with all the girls they wanted were…well, to put it bluntly…jerks!

The jerks were not nice guys, for the most part.  They were selfish. They were self-centered.  They were quite often rude and sarcastic and mean, and yet…they seemed to have the girls absolutely mesmerized.

I couldn’t understand it.  Here I was, someone who believed in treating people nice, who believed in the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”), who tried to always be considerate of others, and I was…unappealing to the girl of my dreams! TOP

For the next few years, as I finished up High School and started College, I noticed that the same patterns persisted.  It was a riddle to me, and as I encountered a series of rejections from girls I developed crushes on I began to wonder if it might not be hopeless.

The Learning Curve


Eventually I came to learn, though, that all was not lost after all.  There really is a God, and there really is justice in this universe.  But you’ve got to understand the rules and you’ve got to play by them.

The turning point in my understanding came finally, I think, with Jeri.  I had come to like her a lot, but though she never turned me down for a date, I felt the same old familiar frustration as I did everything I could to get her to fall in love with me and nothing seemed to be working.

To be honest, back in those early days a short time seemed like forever.  We’d probably only been out on 4 or 5 dates total over a period of a couple months, but I thought if there was any hope at all she should have fallen for me by now!  And she wasn’t falling!  In fact, I knew there was another guy she was interested in. TOP

So I did the typical idiotic human thing most people do in a relationship when things aren’t going the way they want them to:  I committed romantic suicide and dumped her before she had a chance to dump me.  I took her out one night (knowing full well my plan for the evening), had the most wonderful time I could muster. Then took her home and wished her well in her future with all the obvious implications that entails!

Then I went home and licked my wounds.

What happened next, though, was a pivotal experience in my learning how relationships really develop.  It changed my thinking completely.

A close friend of mine who knew I’d been dating Jeri ran into her one night when he was out on the town and started talking with her.  Curious to know for himself what had really gone on between the two of us, he prodded her a little bit.

Later, he confessed to me that she suddenly got this far away look in her eye and said, “Tom is truly a really nice guy!”  Teasingly, he said to her, “Oh, yeah…well if he’s such a nice guy how come things didn’t work out between you two?”

I was shocked when he told me her response.  She looked him right in the eye and with great solemnity said, “Well, maybe he just doesn’t try hard enough!”

How I Learned to Captivate Like the Jerks. Part 2




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