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On Finishing Last

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Written by Basil on 07/3/2003 7:04 PM. Filed under:

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Recently, I was thinking of an old classmate from my dorm in college. He was perhaps the most antisocial man I knew, with the exception of myself and my roommate. And we were not really antisocial; we were just introverts with a familiar cadre of friends. This man, I swear, had no friends. Except one.

In addition to being antisocial, he disrespected women at every opening. If an opening to be lewd, crass, and denigrating of women did not immediately present itself, he would twist the conversation around until it did, or else he would make an obscene interjection about his animal desires. It seemed he thought the only purpose of a woman was to fulfill his lusts.

For this reason, we all avoided him. Conversations with him were annoying and a waste of time, because he was so filthy and base. He would appear at your dorm room door, and you would steel yourself against the onslaught for the next few minutes; then, he would eventually realize you didn’t want to talk with him and leave. The sole difference between him and myself, it would appear, is that I always tried to have a deep and abiding respect for women, and he apparently had none.

In spite of all this, he had one friend. Somehow he managed to win the affection of a young girl, the daughter of missionaries. She was a very nice girl, too — kind, generous, friendly, in a shy sort of way; she was not at all the kind of girl that I thought would alone be attracted to such a person. They married — to the bewilderment of her friends and family. I probably would never have thought of him again after leaving college, except that this woman is best friends with a very close friend of mine who is a member of our parish. I remembered him recently, and it struck me as deeply ironic that he is married and I am not. He has a son, and I still sleep alone.

Nice guys, it seems, truly do finish last.

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8 Responses to “On Finishing Last”

  1. name Says:

    “The sole difference between him and myself, it would appear, is that I always tried to have a deep and abiding respect for women, and he apparently had none.”

    Ok, but do you really have a deep and abiding respect for ALL women or most or maybe just some? Is it only WOMEN you have this deep abiding respect for or ALL of human kind equally? Living beings are unique to themselves. I’m not certain but to me your deep abiding respect for women comes across as reverence and/or idealism.

    To respect someone still implies that you KNOW someone. By KNOW I mean that you have come to understand and appreciate a person’s beliefs or way of thinking.

    Is it women you respect or is it your perception of women that you respect?

  2. James Says:

    Wow, it would have been nice for whoever to say who he/she is. And, I don’t follow “name’s” logic.

  3. pete Says:

    in the spirit of Yogi Berra, i’d like to say that nice guys do finish first, it just takes them longer.

    in addition, you need to think about your definition of “finishing last”: being married is great (and i admit my bias as someone who is married), but being married is in no way superior to being single. you are a nice guy. this guy was not a nice guy. what about being a nice guy isn’t enough?

  4. basil Says:

    James, I think “name” is someone, possibly a woman, who knows me only through what I’ve written online — which is not always my best face.

    I could be wrong, though. I’m sure I come across poorly in person, too.

    It’s too bad none of the women in our parish read our pointless babbling. They might be able to correct or support this.

  5. Mystery Guest Says:


    What does my “name”, gender or being nice have to do with any of it? Do you run everything through such deep filters?

  6. Mystery Guest Says:


    Sorry to have hit and run but I’m sort of new to this blog thing. The truth is I was scanning different Philosophy Weblogs and came across yours. So you could say this is simply a random encounter. After reading more of your entries I too agree that it is possible that you really are a nice guy. But I don’t think that has anything to do with your being single.

    Your entry hit a nerve with me because too often I hear men blame being nice as the sole reason for not being able to find a significant other. However, I’ve found them to either have unrealistic expectations of women or not be all that nice. And, certainly you’re not implying that all men who do find someone early on are mean, are you?

    On a positive note I sincerely found your contemplation: “Why can’t God just make me want whatever it is that he wants for me?” to be truly profound. This leads me to believe that it is possible that the reason you may be having trouble finding a soul mate is because you are a deeply aware person and it is often times difficult to find others who can relate at that level.

    Best wishes in your search.

    P.S. I agree. Getting more women in your parish to participate in your blog may be a great way to get to know them better.

  7. basil Says:

    Mystery Guest, I see that you have been reading all of my angst-ridden posts. For that, I am truly sorry. All I can say is, I hope you didn’t get any on you, but it does wash off eventually.

  8. pete Says:

    Mystery Guest: I’m slightly confused by your remarks, though I would be happy to clarify. It was Basil who was wondering about who “name” is. All of the comments I was making were directed entirely at Basil. He is a nice guy, but the guy he was writing about wasn’t a nice guy. He seems to feel that he has somehow “finished last,” but being a nice person, I think, seems better than finishing last. Nothing whatsoever in my post was meant to refer to you, and I apologize for any ambiguity. And no, I do not “run everything through such deep filters.