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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 22, 2004

Nice guys are clueless about dating, author says

 •  Even smooth pickup lines can't help the lost cause

By Katya Cengel
Gannett News Service

People will go to great lengths to promote the latest gimmick in dating. Some will even be nice. John Fate is a good example.

From left, John Miller, Bill Ralston and Randy Wright talk about ways to meet women while they hang out at the Spring Street Bar & Grill in Louisville, Ky. Many men are hopeless at approaching women, say the folks at the Nice Guys' Institute in Tampa, Fla.

Gannett News Service

"The one, the only, the original Nice Guy" and founder of The Nice Guys' Institute in Tampa, Fla., Fate says he wants to help other nice guys attract women.

A 26-year-old native of Virginia Beach, Va., Fate says there are basically three types of men: jerks who get the girls; nice guys who are pathetic with women; and nice guys who get women. To increase the number of nice guys in the last category, Fate has published three books on the subject, launched a Web site and formed an institute.

The idea came about several years ago when Fate and friend Steve Reil figured out they were hopeless with women. So the two engineers — Fate is a computer-science major and Reil is a systems engineer — did what engineers do: They evaluated the situation.

"We take a very analytical approach to everything," Fate says. "We thought, here is a problem we have: We can't attract women. Let's sit here and analyze it."

So they did. For months. They befriended women and watched and listened to them. They put what they learned into three books, the second and third newly released.

Bradley Berryhill, 30, looked over some dating tips from one of the "Nice Guy" books. He says many of Fate's suggested questions for maintaining conversation struck him as pointless.

The Nice Guys' first book was followed by two more, all published by John Fate, founder of the Nice Guys' Institute. When nice guys try to be jerks, they don't get the girls, said Fate, who experimented with the tactic — and failed miserably.

"The Nice Guys' Guide to Getting Girls" includes tips on how to get a woman's attention.
The second book, "The Nice Guys' Guide to Getting Girls" (each book is $12.45) includes tips on "conveying interest in conversations" by facing a woman while talking to her, nodding your head in agreement and making eye contact, among other things.

There are 2 1/2 pages of suggested questions to ask a woman. Alongside the questions are tips advising subtlety and pacing when asking them. The advice reads like basic etiquette for a grade-school student.

Are guys really this dumb?

"Yes, we are," he says. "My gender is very, very clueless."

As an example, he offered a story about the first book he and Reil wrote, in which they stressed the importance of maintaining a good conversation with a woman for 10 to 15 minutes before asking her for her contact information.

"After the book came out, we got flooded with e-mails asking, 'How do you maintain the conversation?' " Fate says.

When nice guys try to be jerks, they don't get the girls either. At least, that's what Fate found when, like a good engineer, he experimented — with being a jerk.

"It failed miserably," he says. "We naturally nice guys can't be a jerk to pick up women."

That's why Fate and other "Nice Guys," his friends, decided to teach nice guys how to attract women without being jerks. For example, they offer three types of places to meet women: "Bothersome Environments," such as bars and coffee shops; "Moderately Inviting Environments," such as wine-tasting classes and coed sports teams; and "Naturally Inviting Environments," such as a party where a friend can introduce you to someone.

Fate's classification system intrigued Dwight Emerson, a 47-year-old construction worker. Emerson, who never has been married, says he found a lot of truth in the suggestions for places to meet women, the questions to ask them and the tips on how to behave. But he says it's easier to talk about those things than to remember them or do them.

Still, Emerson says, he thinks the book is a good idea. After all, he isn't a "Category 1 Guy" (really good looking), a "Category 2 Guy" (rich) or a "Category 3 Guy" (famous). He is a "Category 4 Guy" (a nice guy).

"That's all I got going for me."