Auntie Dote is HBI's answer to the usual, treacly, self-help advice columnists.

Disclaimer: This isn't an advice website. Yet from time to time we receive email asking for the Heartlessly Bitchy point of view. If you need serious medication, therapy or professional help, seek elsewhere. However, if you still insist on soliciting OUR advice, just remember...


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Ask Auntie Dote
The Auntie Dote for what ails you...

From: Matt
Date: Fri Dec 14, 2007

Dear A.D.,

{sorry if this is a duplicate, the HBI site doesn't give any verification that it received messages}

We got them. All of them.

Hi there! I did a Google query for "nice guys" recently and was referred to your site.

(I sent an email to you a couple of months ago; please consider THIS one a replacement for that earlier one; looking at it today, I am not pleased w/the way it was written at that time, ok? Thanks)

Got that one too. I'm hesitant to respond to someone like you because this is NOT a counseling website for people with real problems that require professional help such as heroin addiction and depression. Please don't consider this response the equivalent of qualified professional or medical advice! It's NOT. HBI disavows any responsibility for your medical care and outcome. We want to say first and foremost, in regard to these serious matters, PLEASE SEEK HELP ELSEWHERE.

Since you are particularly INSISTENT on talking to us, however, here's a response to your increasingly urgent communiques.

To put it succinctly, I would like your feedback: judging by the information I am giving here, do you think that I am a "nice guy", and do i need to " get a clue"?

First clue, Matt, is that I can't really diagnose you--not anything about you--via an email on the Internet. Oh sure, my intuition CAN be uncanny at times, and our collective insight here at HBI can hit the mark often enough. But, for something like this, what you require is SELF-diagnosis. Are you a Nice Guy? Really, only you can figure that one out and work on it. You seem awfully worried though--not to mention insistent on getting our feedback.

And/or, do you have any suggestions for me? I just turned 35,

You said that last time, and it had to have been several months ago (or is it longer? I really haven't kept track). So, I think this is a resend. In other words I didn't see any major differences from what you wrote the first time. Matt, you are very concerned about details and how you're perceived by others. This can be good but you have to direct this energy more adeptly toward things that are going to help you.

am hetero-sexual, a former heroin addict for about 6 years (clean for 16 months now),

Congratulations! (Not sarcastic, I hope that's obvious.) Hope you are still getting help from a support group or doctor? 16 months to be clean of any addiction is a major accomplishment, but in the span of your life to come that's a relatively small period of time, so as you know it's a long road ahead. I would recommend support so that you can continue to succeed with what you're doing.\ and...I have never dated or had a girlfriend or touched or kissed or caressed or held hands or experienced any kind of intimacy at all.....I am a complete "male virgin" if such an entity even exists.

"Virgin" can be of either sex. This is a very strange report, Matt. I really think you need counseling to get to whatever is at the bottom of this, whether or not it's related somehow to your history of substance abuse. I mean, a lack of intimacy, is that symptom or trigger of something else? Really impossible for me to diagnose. But I'd say you need help--from someone--working it out. And it's worth finding out, so you should.

Sometimes I feel sad and I cry at night but for the most part I can't seem to figure it out and am more confused and frustrated most of the time than actually depressed.

You really need to be clinically diagnosed for depression by a professional, but crying at night is definitely not warm fuzzies. Being confused and frustrated most of the time, and sad, could all point to a serious mental illness. Or, a dysphoria that can be ameliorated through something as simple as talking. I can't tell, and I don't think you can tell, so get help.

Lots of woman are more than willing and are happy to tell me how kind, considerate, conscientious, a good listener, friendly, etc. (I think a couple of women have actually used the word 'nice' to describe me, I have a faint memory of it)

There's nothing wrong with that.

Here are the responses I have received over the last oh roughly 20 years or so, since JR. Hi school..... if they don't like me, why don't they just say it straight out instead of giving this "nice" BS...??:

Whoa. Since Junior High School?! Dude, you are like, 35. This isn't the kind of thing you should still be carrying around with you. And, hey, we all get rejections, especially at that age (god knows). You were lucky to get the nice kind, I don't think it's grounds for complaining that life has been unfair to you.

Let me repeat that: WE ALL GET REJECTIONS. So in a sense, the message here is, quityerbellyachin' and find a way forward. Retrograde thinking will keep you trapped in the past.

Number 1: oh, honey, i'm so sorry i guess I misled you ; I am already deeply involved and committed in a long term relationship right now, ...sorry.

Uh huh. And your problem is...? When you put your cards on the table, you have to be ready to play that hand, win OR lose. Shouldn't you just be proud of yourself that had the guts to make your feelings known? And if they aren't reciprocated, can't you say to yourself, at least I won't have to wonder, 'what if'? And can't you then move on? I really don't see what the hell you are complaining about except yes, some little sissy-ass NICE GUY whining. But, Matt, I think you can get over that.

Number 2: Oh, Matthew, you are SO sweet; but I just don't think of you THAT way. You deserve someone better than me...You seem like a really nice guy; I like you and all, I just don't LIKE-like you, do you understand"

Well; do you? I get what she's saying. The point is to accept it and MOVE ON.

Number 3: "Oh, Matt, you're such a NICE friend. I don't think that we should jeopardize our friendship, do you think? ALSO "Let's not jeopardize our relationship with THAT can of worms!"

Well, say what you feel, Matt. You need to call these like you see them. If that sounds like fairy tale bull to you, say so, and say, "if you're going to feed me that line, I don't think there's much between us to jeopardize!" Or, if you think you're so damn nice, be glad that your character is valued. If someone doesn't think of you in "that" way, what are they supposed to say? Put yourself in HER shoes. Either YOU want her as a friend, OR you don't. You decide. But whatever fucking way you move with this Matt, just MOVE. FORWARD. There's nothing wrong with what other people are telling you, just what you are saying and not saying for yourself.

Number 4: "Are you kidding? When was the last time you looked in a mirror?" (this is at a semi-dark bar/dance club, she saying this while opening her mouth and pointing her finger down her throat, or alternately, giving her friend sitting next to her an "ewwwww, icky, gross" facial expression, then they both giggle together)

Well, again, no context. I really can't judge if these were unkind immature remarks (and in response to what? You don't say) but then, if so, why publish them, dwell on them, and rehash them again and again? You've really got to...ahem...put these behind you and move on. Frankly, I can't see what you've missed out on in this instance, except the company of some immature brats. If you want that I feel no pity for your situation.

I wonder if you're trying to tell me something else here. Are your problems merely cosmetic? I mean, do you shun human contact, or do they shun you? What is really underneath all this? Do you feel you need to tackle some self-improvement, maybe go to a gym, see a dentist, wash your hair occasionally and take some continuing ed classes? Hell, if that's all it is, then get off your ass and do something about it. At the very least YOU'LL get something out of it; and you'll always have you.

and last, but not least, Number 5: "Sorry, I am just not interested at this time, OK? I don't think we are a good match......Good luck to you. I just KNOW that there is someone out there for you, just perfect for you, don't give up, and you will find her and be happy someday soon..."

What is wrong with that? Geezus...sounds like you want to be kicked with a pointy-toed jackboot or something. And you need to learn that being rejected is like, probably 80% of the game. Don't bang your head against the wall, just move on to the next one. That is what successful guys do, even, dare I say it, pick-up artists. They see coolly that it's a numbers game. If you hit on 25 ladies in the room, probably 2 or 3 of them will give you their number. I'm not saying be a cold-hearted bastard, just realize that not being welcome in all quarters is NORMAL. Giving up on life because you've been rejected a few times since junior high is not.

One more thing, which is heroin took 6 years of your life, right? I don't know how that affected your sex drive but from what I hear, it's kind of a downer in that department. So, maybe you were medicating this whole rejected virgin syndrome, and/or, you were also further debilitating your social skills and your libido (hence it's a self-fulfilling prophecy), and maybe also giving your own internal seal of approval to all the external rejections you remembered from (ah) cruel youth. So look there with a therapist and see if you come up with any insight. I'm just guessing. It's highlighted to me because of how you mentioned it right away, there must be some link in your mind.

Do you need more information?

Totally. That is to say, YOU have all the info YOU need to figure this out, Matt, plus all the motivation. I really have neither. It sounds like you've enshrined your rejections, as if they say something about YOU. Well, they don't. Or you don't have to let them. You need to get in the driver's seat with your life.

Sometimes I feel that perhaps I would be better off alone, and like someone told me once, "If it wasn't meant to be, then it just wasn't meant to is HER loss, not yours."

Don't use it as an excuse to fall into self-pity, though. If you want to be alone, then hey. Being alone and learning to be self-sufficient can be very enabling of positive feelings. There are worse places to start. Don't judge your self worth by whether you're with someone or not. That's poison.


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