A few weeks ago, I compiled friends' and colleagues' (oh, alright then, and my own) thoughts on what annoys them/me about the men in their/my life, or men generally. One of the things that came up was the notion of men being 'too nice'.
It wasn't my comment, but I agreed with it. There is nothing worse than an overly nice man (well, there is, obviously, like the wire coming out of your bra and breaking the washing machine, or your dog getting run over) but in dating terms it is a turn off up there with mono-brows and public knacker adjustment.
The blight of Mr Nicey was under scrutiny again this week, when a friend phoned me to de-brief after a date. She had, she said 'endured' it. And the reason why? He was Too Nice.
"As soon as I saw him at the station with flowers my heart sank," she said with such disgust I could practically hear her lip curling down the phone. "And it just got worse from thereon in. Overt door opening, insisting on walking pavement side, pulling my seat out, and, get this, leaning over at dinner to WIPE SAUCE FROM MY MOUTH WITH HIS NAPKIN."
Then there were the compliments. Apparently he 'loved' 'liked' and 'adored' everything from her dress to her shoes to the way she pronounced 'remember'.
"In fact," she ranted, "I reckon if I'd told him I had hemorrhoids or genital warts he would have been sure they were 'lovely' too. Ugh."
I didn't bother asking if there would be a second date, but I did wonder at what point 'nice' becomes 'too nice' and then transcends into 'creepy'?
My own personal line would be drawn at too many compliments, especially if combined with pleading, puppy dog looks – you know, 'You look so lovely' delivered with a sorrowful, moist eyed 'please don't tell me you don't want to see me again' look. Wanting to hold my hand in the supermarket or doing that sickening nose rubbing thing would also have me running for the hills.
My friend Katie draws hers at the first sign of non-alpha-maleness: "I want a man who will sweep me off my feet, sure, but in a MANLY, masculine way. Sweep me up, show he can withhold my weight then swiftly put me back down again. The trouble is, we don't have men like that any more. I wouldn't hesitate in cutting a date short if it was obvious he was just going to be showering me with compliments and gazing into my eyes at the expense of passion and spontaneity and strength," she says.
Another friend, Laura, agrees:
"I like men to have a bit of a backbone and oomph. When they are too nice it's obsessive & suffocating."
Exactly. And there is something mildly emasculating about a man who goes out of his way to please and demonstrate his good-nature and romantic side. I remember one friend going MAD when a newish boyfriend turned up at her workplace with flowers, a teddy and chocolates.
"All my colleagues said 'aw, Isn't he nice' but I could tell they were thinking he was a total dope. I was SO embarrassed – it would have been better if he'd turned up half drunk and with a fag on the go rather than on the verge of tears declaring his love. I dumped him a week later."
But the true show of over-niceness is summed up by my friend Lorns - if you spot a potential suitor suffering from this affliction, turn on your heels girls and run like the wind:
"Heart shaped fried egg moulds," she says, "Enough said."
What do you think?
Does over-niceness put you off?
Or do you think there is no such thing as 'too nice'?