The Steve Urkel Factor (Why Nice Guys Don't Always Get the Girl) / by Shanelle Gabriel

Stefan… Oh Stefannnnn Ur-quelllllle. Something about the way Jaleel White looked when he simply took off his coke bottle glasses, put on a blazer, and gave a side smirk made us all swoon in front of the TV during the highly popular 90s sitcom Family Matters. It was a simple concept: the nice guy who'll do everything in his power to make you happy can't compete with the smooth fella who's velvet compliments cause you to forget your good sensibilities (and chastity). Ignoring the far-fetched 9th season when Laura finally gives in to Steve's quirky, clumsy love, many of my guy friends have argued that Laura's initial response was typical.

"Y'all only want dudes that will go up-side your head."

"I'ma start treating women bad; I bet they'll want me then."

"I can't get a date because I'm not thugged out. That's what y'all like."

"I've tried to do everything to make her happy but it's never enough. I'm done."

"We have no choice but to date outside our race. The sisters don't want a good Black man."

Many nice guys swear that their singleness is solely due to the inner issues that lie in women, particularly Black women. Like Steve Urkel who constantly demonstrated the depths of his love but repeatedly dealt with rejection, there are some great guys out there who are trying to do everything right but keep getting the wrong response. After watching several reruns on cable, I see that nice guys have some lessons they can learn from the high-water pants and suspenders wearing, overly nasal character from the long running ABC/CBS American sitcom.

1) "DID I DO THAT??"

Stop blaming others for not wanting to love you back. To want to be with someone is a personal decision, one that must be respected even if it's not understood. Just because you did everything perfect doesn't make you compatible with someone. Flowers, opening doors, pulling out chairs, a Build-A-Bear with your voice programmed into it doesn't automatically make you a great boyfriend candidate. She may very well think you are a great guy, but you cannot get pissed if the things you DO don't make her fall in love with WHO YOU ARE. 


While Steve Urkel was pining away for a woman that didn't want him, he had a gorgeous (and rather busty) young lady named Myra (R.I.P.) who thought he was the cats meow…or more like the mouse's cheese. With her quirkiness and love for all things nerdy, the two of them would have been much more compatible than Steve and Laura, but OF COURSE, he preferred the one who didn't want him. For every girl that tells you no, I want to bet there's one that is right there hoping you'd pay her some attention. But no. Your sights are set on the females who don't want or couldn't appreciate a guy like you. Call it 'wanting what you can't have' but your silly self is at the club hollering at the hood basketball-wives-in-training and wondering why they're rejecting your sweet approach. The person you SHOULD be with might just be getting ignored by you the same way you're getting blown off by the unattainable diva.  You need to check who it is you choose to holler at. Maybe you need to set your eyes a little lower or just look right next to you. 

3) "LAURA, MY LOVE..."

Whoa. He was professing his love LONG before she even considered him in any type of romantic sense. A lot of nice guys fall extremely quick for even the slightest bit of interest from a person. They make long-term plans on the first date, go all googly-eyed when she says she MIGHT be interested in a hobby they're interested in, ask about meeting parents, and offer/give strange permanent gifts like iPads and tinted car windows. Slow the heck down. Love without reason is another four-letter word: Dumb. Acting like you're already in a relationship or like you have confirmation that you'll eventually be in one with this person will set you on the road to heartbreak, resentment, as well as regret and debt for all the gifts you brought this woman who wasn't even wifey.


Nice guy does not equal pushover. Steve got kicked out of the Winslow house on a regular basis, especially by Laura and her father Carl Winslow. In the same episodes where Steve was the one who saved the day, best believe he got dissed at least once during the 30 minutes of showtime. You would think he'd stand up for himself or at least find a new set of neighbors to hang with. No. He kept coming back for more licks (as my Trinidadian mom would say). There is something in our psyche as human beings that makes us oppress someone that seems to want to be oppressed. Punks get punked. When you let someone walk all over you, best believe they'll keep on doing it. No matter how much you like someone, know your limits. Don't let anyone disrespect you or make you feel like less of a person...unless you think being stepped on is sexy. Hey, some people like that ish.


As cliche as it is, it just may not have been your time to meet THE ONE. For Steve, his persistence and sincerity eventually got him the woman he loved right before he ends up getting lost in outer space (I know, crazy script writing). So often we believe we are ready for the next step when we still have a few more things to work on before then. Through getting to know good people and gaining new experiences, we get closer to figuring out what it is we want.  Don't think by becoming a bad guy you'll get a good woman. (Remember, Laura ended up choosing Steve over Stefon.) You will never get the right results doing the wrong thing. You can reevaluate your methods on finding love but never lose the Nice Guy in you that truly believes in love.