“Women Like Jerks”

kristin-cavallari-justin-bobby

We all know by now that women supposedly only like the bad boys. This common saying spans cultures and time periods and take on variations to suit the situation such as “Women don’t like nice guys” and “Black women only like thugs”. What is the cause of this phenomenon, if it truly exists?

The sexes are divided on this topic: many women disagree with the statement, insisting that they don’t like men with bad behavior and can appreciate a kind and good guy. Meanwhile, men claim that women like this are in the minority; most women like their men tough and a little rough around the edges.

In my view, like with most things, the truth seems to lie somewhere in the middle. While a few women do like the bad-to-the-bone guys, most women wouldn’t go for an outright jerk. At the same time, most women may not be too fond of your stereotypical nice guy/wall flower. The ideal guy would strike a balance between tough and traditionally masculine, and gentle and receptive.

But why is the bad guy chosen over the Average Joe? Contrary to what may be assumed, the bad boy’s badness is not what is appealing to women, but his other traits that go along with it. The Jerk is the opposite of the Nice Guy, so what the Nice Guy lacks the Jerks has, in abundance. Characteristics such as:

  • Confidence — Bad boys come across as secure and confident in themselves. As I’ve written before, confidence, not arrogance, is attractive.
  • Assertiveness — Does the guy go for what he wants or does he wait for it to come along? Is he passive or does he stand his ground? The jerk does (sometimes to a fault).
  • Certainty — This lets the woman know that the man has his own life, his own opinions, and can deal with situations as they come.
  • Charisma — That certain something. Other guys may have it, the bad guy probably has it.
  • Ability — Most of all, the bad boy signals that he is capable and doesn’t rely on others to guide him on what to do.

All of these traits, and others, make the bad boy stand out in a sea of men and signal to a woman that he is interesting, different, and might be worthwhile. So while there is nothing wrong with your average guy, she’ll be more likely to notice and become interested in someone who dares to push the limits of what’s right and acceptable.

Agreed? Let me know your thoughts on why women are attracted (or not) to bad guys, below.

See also:

 

Advertisements

39 thoughts on ““Women Like Jerks”

  1. I find this article quite misleading, Alee, as the traits you presented as “bad boys” having an abundance of, are hardly traits that are negative. So this skews the real image of the “bad boy” which is arrogance, postering, INability, UNcertainty, aggressiveness, and the list goes on. Why (too many) women are (initially) attracted to such men could be BECAUSE we mistake all these negative traits as the positive ones, in that, eg, arrogance can come across at first meet as confidence, aggression as assertiveness etc. Personally, I like shy guys who are doers. The brash, postering, going no where fast smooth talker leaves me dry.

  2. I was never into bad boys. Seriously. I guess I knew they’d never be interested in me (same goes for the athletes) so I kind of ignored them. What I always liked is a bit of a nerdy attitude, naivety and someone who doesn’t play games (I don’t mean on video games here).

    Confidence and assertiveness are good, but turns out they aren’t crucial for me. I am ok with guys who lack confidence or who are even a bit passive as long as they fulfill me emotionally. I guess it’s what I was always interested in: emotional closeness and someone to be there for me in terms of emotional support. I never looked for someone who will take care of things for me or who’d financially support me or even who’d defend me.

    Charisma is a must, but it’s down to preferences. I can understand the appeal of a bad boy charisma, but there’s something sexy about aDORKable guys as well, so this factor can manifest itself in many different ways.

    What I can’t stand are men who are unable to see women as fully human and who are only playing the “nice guy” role in order to get a girl. Yuck.

  3. I like the things that both my sistahs said above. I like someone who is confident, takes care of business, and is tender with me. Bad boys typically are none of the above.

  4. foosrock,

    “I find this article quite misleading, Alee, as the traits you presented as “bad boys” having an abundance of, are hardly traits that are negative.”

    Oh, I wasn’t presenting these traits as negative. Just calling attention to the fact that the bad boy has traits which are neutral or even attractive.

    For sure, most bad boys can be arrogant and posers. But I thought everyone knew that. Ha. 🙂

    “Why (too many) women are (initially) attracted to such men could be BECAUSE we mistake all these negative traits as the positive ones, in that, eg, arrogance can come across at first meet as confidence, aggression as assertiveness etc.”

    That’s a good point as well.

    At the same time, confidence can be read as arrogance, assertiveness read as aggression, etc, if you’re not fond of the person or they rub you the wrong way. It’s pretty relative.

    I’m also a fan of shy guys. I’m in no way saying that bad boys are great — not at all. Just that it isn’t because they’re bad that women like them.

  5. Mira,

    Passivity is a killer. Don’t do it, don’t do it! Unless by passive you mean apathetic.

    “I guess it’s what I was always interested in: emotional closeness and someone to be there for me in terms of emotional support. I never looked for someone who will take care of things for me or who’d financially support me”

    Same.

    LOL @ aDORKable.

    “What I can’t stand are men who are unable to see women as fully human and who are only playing the “nice guy” role in order to get a girl. Yuck.”

    Yes. I generally find men who focus too much on getting women/talking to women to be a bit yucky, but that may just be me.

    Sherry,

    What, bad boys don’t take care of business. I know some people who’d beg to differ. 😀

  6. Ladies look on any dating site and there are recurring themes. “A man who can make me laugh, a soul mate, someone decent and genuine who doesn’t play games.” You should be able to spot the guys who just want another notch on their bedpost, but you fall for it time and again. I will let you into a secret, that is find someone who will love you and treat you like a Princess. There are guys like that out there and they are proper men with decent values, not games players.

  7. By passive, I guess I meant letting me do the decision-making? I don’t know. My husband and I are good in different things so I sure appreciate that he doesn’t try to be dominant in things I know more about (and vice versa).

    And yes, I dislike men who only seek company/interaction with women for the mating purposes. If you’re “unbangable” in their eyes (be it because you’re too old or don’t fit their physical type, or for whatever reason), they will ignore you. Not just ignore you in a way that they won’t approach you. I mean they will literally ignore you. They won’t communicate with you, they’ll pass before you, they’ll rush to take a seat on the bus you approached, etc. (At least that’s what is happening here).

    I’d say this is a jerk behaviour, but get this – as much as the bad boys are prone to this, the self-proclaimed “nice guys” are more likely to do it. Seriously: I’ve met more bad boys who are at least polite with women they don’t find attractive. They will talk to you and they’d talk to that middle aged lady with three kids, and sometimes they will even try to be charming (which is another common thing bad boys do – they want to charm everybody around).

    But the self-proclaimed nice guys won’t even acknowledge your existence unless they want to chat you up in hopes of an affair. I say “affair”, because I don’t think they want sex only. Many of these guys do want dating and a relationship. Still, they only see women in these terms. God forbid they’d be honest friends with a woman or play video games with her, etc. It’s seen as a waste of time in their book.

    These are the guys that would approach a woman in the false pretense of “wanting to be friends” (a code word for affair) and then get angry and cry “friend zone!” when the woman in question actually do see them as friends. (Because being friends with a woman is just wasting time, right?)

  8. Billy,

    See, it’s not about sex, at least for me. I’m perfectly ok with sex-only relationships. At least this exchange is honest. The problem are men who don’t see women as fully human, so the only interaction they have with them is related to flirting, seducing, etc.

    Seriously, I’d take a guy who wants one night stand (but is able to respect his sexual partner) over a guy who wants a long term relationship, but is unable to see me as an equal.

    Also, I don’t want to be treated like a princess. I want to be treated as an equal and fully human. Putting women on pedestal is another way to dehumanize them.

    When it comes to bad boys, I guess what many woman like are the first things mentioned here: confidence and assertiveness. Not saying you have to be a bad boy to have it, but many bad boys present themselves as such. Personally, I think too much confidence is not cool and it can look fake, but some women like it.

  9. @Mira

    “I was never into bad boys. Seriously. I guess I knew they’d never be interested in me (same goes for the athletes) so I kind of ignored them.”

    Same here.

    Personally, I stay away from bad boys because they know who they are and can be very persuasive and/or dominant and if don’t stand up for yourself…you might end up joining the dark side or losing yourself…..or your Identity.

    e.g Bobby Brown’s relationship with Whitney.
    Blake and Amy Winehouse

    Bad boys tend to be self-destructive at times, hence I said If you don’t have a strong character then you are in trouble. They sometimes temper and fight authority and they live on the edge most of the time.

    I personally, don’t have a strong character and I live my life by the rules I wouldn’t be able to pull off this lifestyle let alone, date a bad boy.

    I’m quite comfortable and content with my average nice guy.

  10. …another thought: Are there any surveys showing what kind of women fall for bad boys?. I’d venture to say it’s those needy, emotionally unstable, lacking self-confidence or can only find confidence through having a man type of girls/women. Also too their family situation surely plays a strong role. I’m thinking of two female examples I know of and they always go for men who treat them like dog doo doo. The thing is, after the first meeting, they do see what kind of characteristics these guys have, but they continue with their eyes wide open. I can understand why men think we like bad boys, but I don’t think MOST women do. I do think though MOST men like gold-digging barbie dolls. LOL!.

    Gosh, Mira’s use of the English language is sooo much better than mine!. I really have to practice more

  11. My issue with “Nice Guys” is that they’re really not nice. Also if you’re such as “Nice Guy” why the need to point it out so much? Also I’m curious as to why guys who are more assertive, confident, etc are labeled as “bad boys?” Or even “jerks?” I mean those aren’t bad characteristics. But at any rate, these so-called “Nice Guys” who complain that women only “bad boys” are just pathetic. Here is a cartoon that shows what “Nice Guy” actually is.

    The “Nice Guy”

  12. @mkhululie, I am, perhaps because I feel like this “liking bad boys” is used so often against us women- by men – as a tool to justify why we’re mistreated by men (not saying Alee’s article is doing this, mind), when it fact many men today are lacking in the etiquette needed to keep a successful relationship going with our awesome gender…..

  13. Billy,

    “I will let you into a secret, that is find someone who will love you and treat you like a Princess. There are guys like that out there and they are proper men with decent values, not games players.”

    This is your big secret? Lol. 🙂

    Sherry, yup, bizness as usual. 😀

    Mira,

    Passive for me would be letting you make the decisions on majority of things/letting you have your way, even when he disagrees. Apathetic is different because the person does not care either way.

    “…I’d say this is a jerk behaviour, but get this – as much as the bad boys are prone to this, the self-proclaimed “nice guys” are more likely to do it.’

    I guess it depends on your environment (You don’t make Serbian look too good, lol). IME, all guys who pay too much attention to “pretty women” are liable to do this. Some are nice, some are not so nice, and some are both. They’re all idiotic though, to me.

  14. mkhululie,

    “Personally, I stay away from bad boys because they know who they are and can be very persuasive and/or dominant and if don’t stand up for yourself…you might end up joining the dark side or losing yourself…..or your Identity.

    e.g Bobby Brown’s relationship with Whitney.
    Blake and Amy Winehouse”

    Ugh, don’t remind me! (Not that I ever forgot…)

    foosrock,

    “Are there any surveys showing what kind of women fall for bad boys?”

    I don’t know. I may look into that for a future post!

    “I do think though MOST men like gold-digging barbie dolls. LOL!”

    Many just want the physically ideal woman (as told to them by society, that is). But of course many of these women know their “worth” to men and are very inclined to get their piece out of this screwed up dynamic.

    “Gosh, Mira’s use of the English language is sooo much better than mine!. I really have to practice more”

    Both of you write fine English to me. And I thought English was your first language…

  15. Hi RenKiss,

    Love the cartoon. Lol.

    ‘Also I’m curious as to why guys who are more assertive, confident, etc are labeled as “bad boys?” Or even “jerks?” I mean those aren’t bad characteristics.’

    They aren’t, necessarily. It’s just that majority of bad boys are confident, assertive, etc.

    However, for example, Barack Obama I would say has most of these characteristics, but he is not labeled “bad”. Also note that he is loved by women (even before he became POTUS).

    ‘I feel like this “liking bad boys” is used so often against us women- by men – as a tool to justify why we’re mistreated by men (not saying Alee’s article is doing this, mind)’

    It is, and I’m not. I just like to explore commonly held ideas and interpersonal relations are a particular interest.

  16. Passive for me would be letting you make the decisions on majority of things/letting you have your way, even when he disagrees. Apathetic is different because the person does not care either way.

    No, I don’t want someone who can’t voice his opinion. If nothing else, that would mean we’re not close enough to share important things. That sucks. But I like when people are able to tell their strengths and weaknesses, and if I’m more competent in one thing, I prefer if a guy doesn’t force his ideas on it just because it might be something “guys should do”. Not sure if I’m making myself clear on this.

    Apathy is a bad thing, but yes, I can get it. It’s not a turn off, but it makes you sad to see a guy you like being apathetic.

    I guess it depends on your environment (You don’t make Serbian look too good, lol).

    Oh, well. I don’t want to sugarcoat it.

    IME, all guys who pay too much attention to “pretty women” are liable to do this. Some are nice, some are not so nice, and some are both. They’re all idiotic though, to me.

    It’s not really about “pretty women”. It’s about the inability to see female humans in any other role than a mother or a “female”. Mother (can also be a sister, grandma, aunt, etc.) is your female relative you respect. Every single woman in the world is “female”. Some of them you want to bang, some of them you don’t want to bang. You’d date some of them and you wouldn’t date others. But at the end of the day, even if you choose to marry her, she’s still a “female”. Not a fellow human being. Not sure how to explain it.

    I don’t think most men have this attitude, but I’ve encountered it more with the self-proclaimed nice guys than the “bad boys”. Perhaps it’s because bad boys date more so they are not so desperate for female attention? Not sure. In any case, a man who doesn’t see me as fully human and who doesn’t respect me as such is not worth my time.

  17. Alee, English is my first language, but I’ve been living and speaking (Swiss) german longer, so perhaps hence why my usage got simpler. I normally use mostly business English (bullish, bearish…….)

  18. Wow Mira….I keep on reading the stuff you said over and over and it’s like you are reading my life from a book [lol :)]

    “Confidence and assertiveness are good, but turns out they aren’t crucial for me. I am ok with guys who lack confidence or who are even a bit passive as long as they fulfill me emotionally. I guess it’s what I was always interested in: emotional closeness and someone to be there for me in terms of emotional support”

  19. mkhululie,

    Well, I she my experience/thoughts. Glad to know I’m not the only one who feels this way!

    As we all know, attraction is not a simple natural thing. In a great deal, it’s cultural. So I can’t tell if I’m simply not attracted to this type of a man or if those guys were the ones who were mean to me/ignoring me in my early teen years, so I developed a dislike for this “type”. Does it even matter? The bottom line is that I don’t like bad boys.

    That being said, I’ve dated a bad boy once. Not just dated; we were in a relationship (I was 18). He broke my heart and it took me years to get better. So I guess my initial instinct about the bad boys was right, but we all make mistakes.

  20. The type of man a woman selects is a direct reflection of how she feels about herself. If you constantly attract losers, you have to look at yourself to figure out why. I wanted someone older and more mature than myself, so I ended up with someone very much like my Dad. There are positives and negatives to this, but you have to really know what you want and what you don’t want in a man. It takes some women a long time and a series of bad relationships to figure it out. What you want and what you really need are two different things.

  21. madamesiamese,

    Oh no, the daddy partner. 😉

    “It takes some women a long time and a series of bad relationships to figure it out.”

    Yes, most women will have to date a jerk or two to understand what types to avoid and certain red flags.

  22. Also, let’s not pretend that there isn’t a bit of a “wild phase” some women go through. You know the guy is not a long term relationship material, but you’re just attracted to him and his wild ways and you want to enjoy the ride while it lasts. Noting wrong about that.

    Actually, I believe it’s best to do all those silly things and date “wrong” people before you decide to settle down. Much better than marrying your high school sweetheart at the age of 18 then waking up on your 30th birthday miserable, wondering what happened to your life.

    (Obviously, not all people who marry their high school sweethearts experience this, but it’s another reason why you should know yourself).

  23. Yep Alee it is my big secret. Have you managed to find a decent man who treats you properly?
    In my experience most women are attracted to the bad boy but then the clever girls chicken out and leave them to the girls with lots of hormones but no brains.
    I was in my younger years what could be described as a bad boy and took full advantage but luckily I did eventually grow up and realise that women were worth taking notice of and treating as an equal. Yes you can treat a woman as both an equal and a Princess it’s all about respect and valuing what the other brings to the party.
    I’m still seeing my beautiful AVOIDANT so I must be doing something right!!!

  24. Billy,

    “Yep Alee it is my big secret. Have you managed to find a decent man who treats you properly?”

    Why yes, I have, thanks for asking.

    There are lots of jerks, but there are perfectly fine guys out there. A lot of times it’s just a matter of time, and place, to whether you will find them or not.

    “I’m still seeing my beautiful AVOIDANT so I must be doing something right!!!”

    Or you’re doing something wrong! Lol.

  25. I have a theory on that. It’s not that women like “bad boys” so much, as they look at man who has confidence and swagger, yet is “bad” — behavior, attitude, whatever. Very flawed. And they look at him like a “fixer-upper project.” I think this is a very female sort of attitude. As if we were a human version of “This Old House.”

    Then when they are in good and deep and realize that people (men or women) can’t be “fixed”, then they find out they are with a jerk. Or a bad person. Or whatever. And then they bemoan him. Or men in general.

    When in reality, he is who he has always been. I think men are surprisingly honest with women up front. All you have to do is listen. We will generally tell you and show you exactly who we are pretty quick.

  26. Recovering Wayward,

    You do have a good point that some people (not just women!) will get into a relationship with a “broken” person thinking they can fix them and turn them into a viable partner, but of course they can not.

    “I think men are surprisingly honest with women up front. All you have to do is listen. We will generally tell you…”

    In guyspeak? 🙂

    I don’t think men are upfront and honest…actually, many men are deliberately not straightforward and dishonest, and others just don’t how to be upfront.

  27. well, I’ll have to disagree. I think men are more honest, but women don’t pay attention. It’s usually right there and up front.

  28. I have to agree with Recovering Wayward

    Guys are generally honest. Guys are direct(they say what they feel and show you how they feel) but women ignore those traits. They only choose what they want to hear or choose what they want to see…and then they turn around and play the victim, even though the signs have been there along….

    A “Jerk” is something that doesn’t happen over night, it’s a process…..He would have shown some sings of his “Jerkness” somewhere along the line but we chose to be blind and then we feel like we woke up one day and the guy just became a “jerk”……

  29. I don’t know about you guys, but seriously, I never observed this. I don’t think any gender is more honest. Not just in romantic relationships; in any way. It’s not gender specific. What might be gender specific is the way people tell lies or the ways they’re dishonest.

    For example, women often tend to be very polite, which confuses some people into thinking they’re nice or good people. But as someone who was never impressed by politeness/niceness, it doesn’t work for me so I’m able to tell if it’s fake.

    Men can fake this sort of politeness, too, but they also tell straight out lies. I don’t think they’re more open; no way. They might seem to be more direct, but you can tell lies in a direct tone as much as you can tell them in sugar coated, fake politeness.

    So no, I don’t think women are more dishonest.

  30. Uh, what is up with the blanket statement “[All] men are _____”? Clearly, there is variation in people, in and between gender. In posts I always use the words “many or “some” to make it clear that I’m not talking about ALL of a gender.

    I mean, PUA shows that many men are not honest. And that is just one example.

    “They only choose what they want to hear or choose what they want to see…and then they turn around and play the victim, even though the signs have been there along…”

    Or men tell women what they want to hear…that is also a possibility. Or a reality in the case of players, Casanovas, and the like. And “nice guys”.

    “Men can fake this sort of politeness, too, but they also tell straight out lies. I don’t think they’re more open; no way. They might seem to be more direct, but you can tell lies in a direct tone as much as you can tell them in sugar coated, fake politeness.”

    “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

    😀

  31. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

    😀

    lol Something like that. However, it doesn’t need to go that far. People tell lies: small lies, white lies, bad lies. They lie out of fear, politeness, embarrassment or because they are scared to face the consequences. There are many other reasons. None of this is gender related.

    Obviously, if you’re hurt by a partner of a specific gender, or by friends of specific gender you might project this sort of behavior to the whole gender. But I wouldn’t say one gender is more honest.

  32. While I agree that being honest is not gender related, I have experienced that men are ways more honest with women about what they want from us and like another commenter stated, we chose to be selected about this honesty, try to change men, end up being hurt and blame the men. Have seen it ways too many times and it’s horribly fustrating to deal with such women who are your friends without hurting them, because, again, they refuse to hear the truth which is usually slapping them in the face. Too many men are superficial simple jerks, but they’re generally pretty straightforward with what they want from women and we should learn to accept this for what it is, not for what we WANT it to be.

    PS: As much as I love living in Switzerland, I find men here to be ways ways more complex than women. Almost like DIVAS!.

  33. Truth time: “Girls date jerks” is uttered by bitter single men who think that every guy more fortunate than him is a jerk.

    “Nice guys finish last” is a phrase filled with double standards. Guys who utter this are not concerned that EVERY girl will value a guy’s superficial qualities over his “niceness”, but just the girls THEY find attractive. It is used to guilt-trip girls into pitying men they genuinely aren’t attracted to. Don’t fall for it.

  34. allofthedots while that maybe true at times I don’t deal in absolutes, Some of those guys are bitter some are not and double standard works both ways it implies that woman can not make a a bad decision in a mate and it all the guys fault.

    To me to absolute thinking just reinforces the view of who ever hold them and really solves nothing and answers nothing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s