We’ve been rewarding mediocrity from our cis male partners for far too long, and we only have the patriarchy to blame. The ghosting epidemic coupled with general bad behavior from cis men makes it easy to be bowled over when someone gives us his undivided attention. But it must be said: Just because a man isn’t a monster doesn’t give him the right to say he’s one of the “good guys” — a claim that frankly, ain’t shit.  

Not having a criminal record and calling yourself a feminist does not make a “good guy.” Understanding male privilege is not enough either, but we still end up giving cis men our stamp of approval without seeing any hard evidence that they practice what they preach.

Being a good guy is no more of an accomplishment than being on time — it’s not that hard, and it was already expected of you. To truly level the playing field in our hetero relationships, we must raise our expectations despite being conditioned to believe we don’t deserve more than what is rarely offered to us.

Our texts deserve to be answered, our bodies respected, and we most definitely deserve an explanation and not a disappearing act when someone isn’t that into us. When we stop celebrating these basic acts of kindness as good guy qualities, we may also stop being blindsided when guys turn into ghosts or assholes.

These are the things that barely deserve a thank you from the person you’re dating:  

1. Apologizing

I’ve realized that many men expect to receive some form of recognition after an apology — something I once thought was limited to my own black experience. Well, their time is better spent searching for the lost city of Atlantis than for any gratitude from me. An apology barely breaks even — it’s expected when it’s owed, and often there’s no further discussion needed after it has been accepted. I do not put adults on a pedestal for admitting when they’re wrong, and men do not get that extra privilege. Join me in sitting pretty, arms folded, with a simple response: “OK. I see you.”

2. Asking to pay for the first date

Chivalry is not dead because the patriarchy is alive and thriving. When my date asks me if it’s cool for him to pick up the tab, I let him know my answer and always say, “Thanks for asking.” For me, this creates a firm foundation for a relationship based on consent outside and eventually inside the bedroom, but that’s as far as my gratitude goes. If you’re cool with him paying, a simple thank you is more than enough after you’re settled up at the bar. Remember: You don’t owe him shit beyond your thanks — he made a choice to throw down his card, and guess what? There’s a pay gap that he is well aware of, I promise.

3. Asking if you want to have sex

Sadly, too many men wait for women to say no instead of just streamlining the whole game of just the tip by simply asking for consent — hence the reason we find ourselves planning our wedding whenever a man asks us if we want to have sex. I’m no longer accepting poor manners in the bedroom, and I’m no longer giving God-like status to men who ask for my consent. I let him know my answer, but I’m not shelling out any extra credit. Asking for consent doesn’t mean he’s only seeing you, that he’s the perfect gentlemen, or that he won’t ghost you immediately afterwards — it just means he’s following the law.

4. Confessing he cheated on you rather than lying about it

The amount of undeserved points guys get for owning up to an indiscretion is higher than the top score on Candy Crush. Being honest is the bare minimum of effort in a relationship, and fessing up after cheating should be a no-brainer: As a monogamist, I’m consenting to have sex with my partner each time with the clear understanding that there are no other sexual partners outside the relationship. After confessing, my man will not be walking away with any kudos for his honesty, but he may end up driving away with sand in his gas tank… from an unknown source, of course.

5. Cleaning up after himself

When you live together, you’re part of a team — no one is celebrating the load of laundry you did, and no one will be shook when you finally clean the inside of the stove. Give him the same privilege of indifference because he is an adult, not a small child. When my nephew cleans up his toys after boldly dumping them all over the floor, he is celebrating his success by himself. Correct — I do not engage in celebrating three-year-old mediocrity either. Sorry, lil bud, but cleaning up your own shit is not praiseworthy. You may think that’s harsh, but you’ll be thanking me in 20 years when there’s one less fuckboy in the world.