Dating Nice Guys When the Bad Boys Turn Me On

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Oh, how I have heard the wailing and gnashing of teeth from men. In a nasal, whiny voice, "Why do women always go for the assholes who treat them like shit? Huh?! I guess women like being treated bad, even though they say they want a sweet, sensitive guy, cause they always go for the dickhead every time and then come crying on the shoulder of the nice guy."

True or False: Women are drawn to macho, arrogant, dangerous men, aka "bad boys." True.

True or False: Bad boys treat women like shit. Almost always true.

Therefore women must like being treated like shit. False.

This is rather hard to explain because I don't think I really understand it that well myself. But I must stand up for women like me who go back to the bad boys time and time again. Someone recently said to me "Maybe you should give the nice fella a go once in a while," and that someone was TONY, yes you, Tony, you gigantic pain in the ass and melodramatic wanker boy (you knows I luvs ya).

When you are attracted to someone, there are qualities about that person you are really drawn to, things you really dig about him. When you have a certain "type" that you're usually attracted to, it makes sense that the "type" is defined by some of these characteristics that you're attracted to, shared by all men of this certain type. Lots of women (most women, in fact) are drawn to certain characteristics shared by men of the "bad boy" type.

Do you imagine that one of those characteristics we love about those bad boys is the fact that he disrespects women? Don't be silly. You know me better than that. I'm a rabid feminist ball-busting bitch at times, nothing turns me off more than a man who disrespects women.

And yet, it can't be denied that one characteristic common to men of the bad boy type is disrespecting women. This is not what draws us to him, but it is there almost universally. Why? I'll address that in a minute. Sometimes a woman may react to being hurt by one or more of these bad boys by deciding that their attractive macho qualities do not outweigh this unattractive quality, and she will be the woman who "decides" she's no longer attracted to that type, but wants a nice guy instead.

Power to her. I'm not able to do it, at least not yet in my life. Perhaps it's a quirk of my personality, but I'm not able to "decide" who I'm attracted to and who I'm not. It's simply there or it isn't. Tone, you suggested maybe it's time for me to give the nice guys a shot, well really, do you imagine that I haven't done so? Do you really imagine that I have not gone out on countless dates with nice guys who wanted nothing more than to treat me like a queen but who produced not so much as a spark of romantic interest in me?

Truly, I've not only gone on dates with them, but I've given them a shot in longer-term dating relationships, thinking I just needed to give them a chance. Hell I even married one! They were very good to me. They were good looking, successful, intelligent, sensitive men. And when they touched me, I felt nothing. And when they kissed me I cringed. And when a bad boy would smile and wink at me, my heart leaped and I wept for it, because that was what I wanted. It is what I want. That little stomach lurch. The heart flutter. I don't get to decide which man gives it to me. Some men do, some don't. It so happens that the ones who do are usually assholes. But back to the nice guys. I've tried being with the "nice guys," Tone. If I'm going to feel nothing, I'd rather it be because I'm alone than because I'm with a guy I'm not really attracted to.

I can't simply decide to want another kind of man than I want. The best I can do is be wary of the bad boys and try to teach them how to treat me with respect. It doesn't work, of course, a bad boy doesn't want to be taught anything--he simply moves on to the next woman.

Which brings me to the question of why? What causes bad boys to treat women like shit? I don't know, but here are some thoughts.

  • They do it because they can. They have no need to treat women well because they have an endless supply. They are gifted with qualities that women admire, so they're never without a woman, no matter how bad they treat them. Nice guys usually don't have the charisma women flock to with a snap like Fonzie, so they value and appreciate them more.
  • Still, why doesn't their own internal sense of right and wrong tell them it's wrong to treat women this way? Or why didn't their mother teach them? They probably are aware on some level that it's wrong, but the rewards they get from it outweigh any twinge of conscience they feel.
  • What are the rewards then? For men, having beautiful women is a status symbol. Men admire and respect the man who not only has lots of women but who manipulates them and controls them and disregards them. To have a cavalier attitude toward your trophy only makes men admire and envy you more. Like Jack Nicholson carelessly tossing away a thousand-dollar pair of designer gloves because he doesn't like the color, men admire the man who tosses away beautiful women right and left because he can replace them so easily. He seems "rich" in their eyes.
  • So the bad boy's reward for being a dick to women is the respect and admiration of other men. And women reward his behavior too by flocking him and forgiving him and ignoring his bad behavior and making excuses for him.

So the conclusion I've come to is this: we women can help change this. We don't have to give up our bad boy addiction, but we have to stop accepting their bad behavior. We have to be willing to be alone rather than put up with it. We all have to do this because it won't work if there's just another woman waiting behind who is willing to put up with it. We have to teach our daughters how to set boundaries and demand respect.

Guess what. Men can help change this too. Stop glorifying women as trophies and start thinking of them as people who deserve your respect just as much as men. If your buddy is an asshole to his lady, don't give him a high five--make it clear you do not approve.


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Tess's Room

A lovely tempest, not easily understood, but worth the effort. Sort of like dark bitter chocolate surrounding the sweetest cherry...

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