Nice Guys Finish ... Somewhere in the Middle

They're accused of being doormats, pushovers, spineless.

These are "nice guys" — a growing group in America according to a new book entitled No More Mr. Nice Guy.

"I can remember driving home from work. I was expected to be home at five o'clock," recovering nice guy Grant Walker confessed. "Come hell or high water, I was going to be home by five o'clock because I didn't want to make her angry."

But now Walker and thousands of other men are putting their feet down, following the advice in Robert Glover's new book. Glover estimates that one in four men is a nice guy, and the number has been growing since the feminist movement took off.

"What a lot of this is about is standing up and being a man and realizing it's OK to be a man," Glover said.

The author says that the "man as doormat" stereotype is reflected in popular culture, especially on the big screen.

Movies such as Disclosure, in which Michael Douglas gets sexually harassed by his female boss, and There's Something About Mary, which has hapless romantic Ben Stiller getting stuck with fishhooks and sent to prison as a reward for his nice-guy efforts, show men taking a beating for the affections of women.

So how do you know if you're too much of a Mr. Nice Guy?

Glover has a simple 12-question test. Examples: Do you often seek approval? Do you try to fix other people's problems? Do you avoid conflict? If your score is too high on the niceness scale, you're a wimp.

Some blame changing job roles for the change in men's attitudes — and their economic state. As more men go into fields like day care, nursing and hairdressing, Glover says nice guys don't finish last — they finish in middle management, afraid to take risks or rock the boat.

What happens when these former pussycats say goodbye to their inner nice guy? They stop being pushovers and start doing things for themselves first, said Glover.

Experts, however, say that might be a nice try, but they aren't buying it.

"I think women are stronger and have their act together more these days," psychologist Pepper Schwartz said. "But just because one sex is strong doesn't mean the other sex is weak."