This classic work in the literary corpus of men’s literature addresses a huge issue with far reaching psychological implications.
The world is not a stroll through paradise, and any paradise you wish to achieve in this life must come from deep wells within, from the internal satisfaction that comes when you’re mature enough to accept the world as it is, and from being aware of your place within it.
The truth be told there is not much place in the real world for ‘Nice Guys’. The forces within society which seek to foster this caricature have at their core an insidious agenda, and like any adept predator softening up its prey, skilfully manipulates the men of our society to buy into an image of masculinity which is both repulsive and ineffective.
Let’s face it ‘Nice Guys’ come last. I’m not talking here about decent people, and I’m certainly not talking about individuals whose gender is male but who have a predominant feminine energy. I’m talking about those amongst us who have a predominant masculine energy, but who have been persuaded of the invalidity of their masculinity. Gender male or female.
The issues of course are the scores of examples of toxic masculinity which we’ve all encountered and been adversely impacted by.
Learning to wield as opposed to brandish an energy with the potency, potential and power of masculinity requires skill, perseverance, patience and practice. Just as one who wishes to wield as opposed to brandish the potent, powerful energy of femininity.
No more Mr Nice Guy address these issues, starting from the beginning. Dr Glover, a clinical psychologist with a counselling practice, like any well trained counsellor takes the reader back to their childhood where early tropes of behaviour are established. He then helps us to see how ‘Nice Guys’ are formed in response to their environment and how this impacts their lives, their relationships and their entire approach to being a man.
When I first read this book not long after reading; ‘The Way of the Superior Man’ I remember becoming aware for the first time of the tremendous pressure my mother was under as a Caribbean woman in the North East of England in the 80’s when I was growing up. I pictured myself at nursery, and remembered being a boisterous young man and I realised how unacceptable my behaviour was. How I was presenting far too many opportunities for embarrassment, and that that was simply unacceptable. As a result, and I’m partly at a loss as to how the magic was performed, (I know however that religion and guilt played a large part), but between nursery and my first years at school, I was turned into a shy, compliant young man, ready to be picked on as so much carrion by the vultures of English school bully culture.
I carried on much in this vain, for most of my life till I came across this book. If I’m honest ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’ has been a part of my personal transformation. It is not about teaching you to be a dick or a horrible person, just to drop the naiveté and learnt helplessness, that comes from perambulating in the primordial soup of societal immaturity.
Often the loudest voices are the ones still stuck in the sand boxes of their childhood, throwing tantrums because their playmate of the opposite sex stole their favourite toy. As a result, the rest of humanity is getting sucked in to futile arguments and ‘the war of the sexes’ while not actually waking up and growing up to the responsibility we need to take for our own lives; ‘the responsibility of getting what you want out of this game of life, responsibly’. That’s what Dr Robert A. Glovers book is all about.