Thursday, April 29, 2010

Good Girls and Bad Boys


If you hang around men long enough -- I've been doing this all my life, by the way -- one question that almost inevitably comes up is, why do some women date guys the rest of us guys wouldn't have as a friend if we were paid for it. Another way of putting it is, why do really nice women seem to end up dating first class jerks (and being miserable) when they could have someone like us (and be happy)? Something tells me if I really knew the definitive answer, I could write a book and finally afford that condo in Aspen. As it is, I have a couple of ideas, and fool that I am, I figure why not give it a go?

First of all, I don't think most women set out, consciously and deliberately, to land a jerk. Instead, they'd like someone who, among other things, is interesting, relatively nice looking, and comfortable with himself. In short, he exudes confidence and seems interested in them. At this, bad boys excel, at first. The trouble is, arrogance can be very good at masquerading as confidence and the attention these types offer lasts only as long as it takes to turn the conversation toward themselves. By then, however, a woman may have convinced herself the fellow she was initially attracted to is hiding, shyly, beneath the bravado and all she has to do is uncover him.

It's possible to spend a long time -- perhaps a lifetime -- digging. Wedding bells ring and children come along, while she's gone through spade after spade and keeps coming up empty-handed. Meanwhile, all the good guys she could have dated have either moved on or, if any are still footloose and fancy-free, she's wondering why they couldn't nab her attention. We wonder that, too.

Partly, it's due to the fact that nice guys don't generally present much of a challenge. Because they're nice, they're approachable, genuine, and considerate. Us guys like them because they're easy to get along with. Women also find them easy, though in a different way, and this is one reason why they say nice guys finish last. Women generally prefer men who are worthy of them, and since they don't wish to appear overly-eager, they don't want a man who's standing next to the boat with the net in one hand, placing the hook in his own mouth with the other. Too-easy-to-catch looks too much like too-fearful-to-stand-up-for-yourself, and if a man can't do that for himself, a woman doubts his ability to do it for her. Women like courage.

A "bad" guy is a wild horse waiting to be tamed for the woman who finds the idea of being the "horse whisperer" an ego boost. Others enjoy basking in the radiance of his manliness, on the odd assumption that manliness is demonstrated by being a butthead. It's really not, but it fits a certain stereotype. There is also the stereotyped nice guy with a raging bull underneath all his respectability. Neither one would most of us men want for a friend -- they just aren't trustworthy.

So, where does this leave us? Not too far from where we started, actually. It's a real dilemma. It helps a great deal if a guy can develop some confidence and learn how to use it to his advantage. One way is to practice not being desperate. I'd suggest a guy work on his "I find you attractive but that doesn't mean I need you" skills. A woman who's got to have a bad boy won't be satisfied with anything else, so don't waste your time or hers. The one you want is the one who wouldn't mind at all being with a good guy -- just so long as you don't have to lean on her in order to stand on your own two feet.


(Creative Commons image by
Toni Verd via Flickr)
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