Why do the good girls always take the sexy bad boys bait? What’s the secret, and why are good guys still finishing last?
When I was in eighth grade, my English teacher moved the class “bad boy” next to me hoping that my good manners would rub off on him. Unfortunately for her, the plan backfired as I quickly developed a huge crush on him. I became disruptive in class, so she had to put us in opposite corners of the classroom.
So why is it that we like the bad boys?
5. Danger is sexy.
Surviving danger is even sexier. Know what else is sexy? Being unavailable. A bad boy has lots of female admirers, which means no one has to be vulnerable because it will never lead to a relationship. So bad boys offer that intriguing concoction of safe danger.
4. The chase is exciting.
We ladies love to chase the bad boy because catching him is a perpetually unobtainable goal. What would we do with him anyway? He’s never going to be long-term relationship material, so it’s an exhilarating ride that gives us a taste of adventure.
3. We get a thrill out of the “tame game.”
Tame a crazy puppy—check. Tame a feral kitten—check. But tame a bad boy? That’s a game no one can win. But, it’s sure fun to play, especially if we have our own commitment issues because bad boys don’t settle down.
2. Bad boys are tough guys and tough guys take charge.
They aren’t pushovers. They take care of business—and pleasure. To spend an evening with a man in charge means we can take a break from our normal roles as planners and organizers. It’s like a mini-vacation.
But are these reasons really enough to keep us going after bad boys over and over again?
Thinking back, Duran Duran’s single “Wild Boys” was released at the same time my 8th grade teacher was reconsidering our seating arrangements. The song was gold because it put the wild boy on a pedestal, reeling us young ladies in. Then it went one step further by bringing out our wild sides; it enabled us to rebel against our parents and our teachers (which is why the Duran Duran tour that same year was total pandemonium).
So how did that craziness turn into mass hysteria and mayhem on an international level?
Ask your eighth grade science teacher.
1. The real reason we love bad boys is biology.
According to Joe Quirk’s It’s Not You It’s Biology, women want one night stands with the hot, bad guys for their genes. You read that right—genes not jeans. Subconsciously, women want the strongest, hottest genes to make healthy babies. It’s basic human instinct to go after sexy bad boys as a breeding strategy. What woman doesn’t want her kid to be powered by tough guy genes? We may no longer be cave men and women, but we’re still about the survival of the fittest.
So don’t beat yourself up if you’re longing for a date with a bad boy. Blame it on science. But, if you’re looking for an authentic, committed relationship with a bad boy, science can’t help you. Only you can help you. It’s taken me 40 years to learn this.
On my 40th birthday, I was deep in the South African bush when I realized the reason I was attracting bad boys: it’s all that I was putting out there. I wasn’t presenting lies, but I was presenting surface-level material in my online dating profile and in my real-life interactions. How could I expect anything more than a bad boy hook-up when I wasn’t even being authentic to myself?
That trip opened my eyes to so many things—especially myself. I decided to give myself the gift of authenticity in the form of redoing my online dating profile. This time I spoke from the heart. The day I did, a note came to me from a fellow traveler who ended up becoming my husband exactly one year later.
Is he a bad boy? Of course not! Truthfully, most of us probably won’t; and if we do, we might face the harsh reality of our own expectations.
To this day, I’m still drawn to bad boys, but in a fantasy kind of way—I usually think of Jon Bon Jovi. This works out well, I can check out a few minutes of Jon whenever the mood hits, but my real-life husband brings the commitment and security of a loving partnership that’s present each and every day.
Maybe this ‘fantasy versus reality’ way of dealing with the situation science gave us will work for you too; and if, by chance, you have an eighth grade daughter, please share what you’ve learned as it will make high school a whole lot easier to navigate.
[photo: via ElizaPeyton on flickr]
Amy Angelilli married the love of her life on the anniversary of their first communication on a dating website. Now that she’s no longer busy online dating, she has more time for other projects. Her latest creation is The Adventure Project, which offers relationship, travel and life adventures for the Every Person. One of her favorite adventures is the theater experience she created and produced 3 Blind Dates—Denver’s only unscripted romantic comedy that showcases the phenomenon of modern dating. Follow her or 3 Blind Dates on Twitter or visit The Adventure Project to read her essays about mindful living.