When I had first heard about the Aurora shooting and found out who was responsible, my reaction was, “Oh my F- God!” I used to see him around! He lived next door to my friend! They would study for physics together and he’d let them borrow his solutions manual. I’d hear he’d often lie on his bed and stare at the ceiling, politely turning down invitations to go out with his roommates. I’ve never actually met him officially; these personal details I’ve learned after the fact from mutual friends. In any case, I don’t think I gave him much pity upon learning of the incident. In other words… I didn’t think he was “crazy” or that he was unaware of the consequences. Nonetheless, I do now feel bad for him for a variety of other reasons. So many men in society today aren’t given much credit for being “nice”. Many that I’ve encountered were ridden with self-doubts and a poor self-image that would get in the way of building and sustaining healthy relationships. Now, there is a difference between being “shy and anxious” and “kind-hearted”—Neuroticism vs. Agreeableness—but I will put them all under the same umbrella for the sake of this assertion, due to the way the community treats them. Ultimately, I think that if our society has its priorities straight on what should be rewarded socially and emotionally, it would bring more balance to our permanently chaotic world.

My personal experience is highlighted with one individual I’ve met about three years ago. It was the end of my relationship with my jock-like boyfriend (who has redeeming qualities), and I wanted to look for a strong partnership with a decent, stable guy. But these “nice” guys weren’t necessarily “good.” They were distrustful, emotionally-crippled and self-conscious. The guy in particular that I liked couldn’t get himself to directly tell me how he felt. To make a long story short: he went into hiding while his “friend” contacted me (I’m still not even sure how many people were involved). I was told that he “cared deeply” but didn’t know how to express himself… that he was “just shy” and if I’d wait, he’d “come around”. I was told that his friends were worried about him because he wasn’t being his normal self; he was shutting everybody out in spurts. I just couldn’t get out of my mind the way he looked at me when we made eye contact in a group setting with mutual friends. It wasn’t the “hey, baby girl” vibe that often makes me wanna puke; it was a gaze that conveyed that he not only fancied, but respected me. Although that turned out to be a bit of a mess… since then, I’ve been wanting to find an intelligent, kind-hearted guy who isn’t tainted by current trends.