If you do a quick straw poll of a group of women and ask them what they prefer, it’s likely to be a Bad Boy. Ask them what they want to marry and it’s likely to be a Nice Guy. Ask them who they pursue and fall in love with, it’s a Bad Boy. Ask them who bores them; it’s a Nice Guy. Over on Tangomag, there is an interesting article and interview about our love of Bad Boys.
Like it or not, most women are conditioned to chase the elusive Bad Boy. He’s dangerous, exciting, charming, edgy, sexy and very likely to screw around with your head, heart and emotions as he only really cares about himself. The more he behaves like an asshole, the more a woman likes him. The trick with the Bad Boy, is that like a Mr Unavailable, he is clever enough to throw just enough crumbs to give the woman the impression that with a bit more time and effort, he can be just the man that she wants. He won’t be, because most Bad Boys, stay Bad Boys. They can get married, they just might not be faithful or treat you that well. They’re woeful for our self esteem as they have a way of making you feel that you should be grateful for feeling so sh*t!
According to Pat Love at Tangomag, “We are programmed by our culture to think that chemistry is love. We are constantly stimulated by work, television, shopping and we tend to move on if we’re not excited. Also, some women’s brains are wired to interpret anger and petulance as love because of their early negative experiences with men.”
In writing Baggage Reclaim, I’ve learned that alarmingly, most women don’t like guys for good reasons. Emotional unavailability and the anger and petulance mentioned above, plus complete ambiguity, disinterest and the act of being used are the driving forces of attraction these days. It’s not good enough to meet an attentive, ‘nice’ guy, who may not be shattering the world but has the good characteristics that have the potential to contribute into a relationship. He needs to be an asshole, often fronting as something better by throwing the crumbs.
Some of it is down to a father who displayed these traits and some of it is down to that one guy you dated at school or in college that messed you around and broke your heart. Rather than learn from it and choose better, there is a tendency for women that have this experience, to seek out the very things that hurt them in the first place. Often we are so used to this pattern of behaviour from men, that we truly don’t recognise our own bad love habits.
We just don’t seem to have any standards, or when we do, they are below par. We take abusive men, angry men, men with girlfriends and wives, men that sleep with us and then don’t call until they want to sleep with us again. The more a guy ignores us, the more emotionally distant he is, the more of a connection we feel. We have a terrible habit of believing that we’re different to the other women and play modern day Florence Nightingales afflicted with ‘I Can Change Him’ syndrome. Instead of having a false self confidence about how much we can change a guy and be different to all the other women, we should instead be having confidence in the value of ourselves and not accepting their behaviour.
Just like Mr Unavailables, Bad Boys have the freedom to be Bad Boys because there are a hell of a lot of women out there that will entertain their crap. Where one woman won’t go, plenty of others will. Whilst we very clearly can’t recondition these guys, the way we can bring about change is by changing our behaviour. The less women these Bad Boys have to turn to, the less opportunity they have for their behaviour, the sooner they have to shape up or ship out.
Pat love says that when it comes to breaking our habit of loving Bad Boys “There’s this illusion, especially for young women, that there will always be men available. And the problem is, the more you go through the revolving door of infatuation, the less powerful it is. You build up a tolerance to it. If you’re going to get a good guy, then you better be watching earlier in life. Don’t waste your eggs! Because it’s easy to overlook someone when you’re wired to be attracted to bad boys. And if you sit around, waiting for someone to knock your socks off like that first love, then you’re going to wait a long time.”
Basically, if you’re a woman that loves Bad Boys, I’d wake up and smell the coffee unless you want a lifetime of misery ahead. Stop expecting all of the excitement to be generated by him. Stop expecting that excitement should be generated by typical negative Bad Boy behaviour. Start to be excited about being treated and feeling good. We make our own excitement.
It’s taken Whitney Houston 14 years to file for divorce from Bobby Brown and if the idea of looking jacked up and accused of being a crackhead with a husband that walks all over you and takes the best of you isn’t a prospect that turns you off, I don’t know what will be.