Throughout my time helping run mental health and drug rehab clinics, I’ve seen a lot of dysfunctional relationships. This is especially true among drug addicted women. In many cases, the ladies currently struggling with legal problems and drug addiction lived pretty normal lives until they got connected with a “bad boy” who took them down a bad path.
The other day a parent of a young lady was lamenting to me that her daughter was such a good girl all through high school. But, then she caught “bad boy syndrome” and all her troubles began. In other words, she fell for a charming, attractive jerk who led her down a path to ruin.
Back in my younger days, I considered myself a “nice guy” who was rejected by women for the jerk. I was constantly perplexed by this bad boy syndrome that seemed to afflict almost every woman. After all, as my mom and other adults constantly told me, I was a great guy that every girl would love. I was so nice!
I specifically recall a couple in junior high that would constantly make out (and more) in the back hallway of the school. She was a smart, A-student from a good family, while he was a bad boy who was in and out of juvenile detention centers. At the time, I lamented her choice in guys. Now, it doesn’t even faze me. I’m aware of human nature.
I realize now that girls want confident guys who are strong, powerful, and exciting. They don’t want boring, nice guys. They like edge, confidence, and brazenness, traits that show a guy can stand up for them if need be. And, they want guys who give them a bit of a thrill. They admire bad boy celebrities, not stable nerds.
I have no doubt the mother of the straight A student preferred me to the jerk who was dating her precious little one. That’s because, as a parent, she wanted only the best (and safest) for her daughter. The same was true for all the adults who told me how much their daughters (and other girls) should love me.
However, if I looked beyond the words of the mothers giving me advice, I’d have seen very different actions. Many of them were married to bad boys or reformed bad boys. And, I’d be willing to bet that even those who landed stellar guys, did, at one point date an absolute jerk. They would’ve rejected me at their daughter’s age too.
As David and I teach in our “jerk talk” women want a confident, charming, strong, assertive man. This stereotypical masculine guy is exemplified by successful, confident, excellent men (whether it’s CEOs, athletes, musicians, etc.). But, these guys are rare. That means women are left with two options: jerks and nice guys.
Which guy is the closest approximation to the confident, powerful leader they desire? Is it the obese, passive nice guy who lacks self confidence, but reliably goes into work and pays his bills on time? Or is it the cocky bad boy with broad shoulders, brash talk, and a motorcycle that is one missed payment from being repossessed?
While neither is ideal, the cocky jerk is much closer to the ideal than the nice guy. So, when having to pick between the nice guy and the jerk, most women, especially younger ones, pick the jerk. It goes down to science. Women are programmed by evolution to prefer bad boys.
Wouldn’t you? If you were a woman, wouldn’t you prefer riding a motorcycle and getting your adrenaline pumping rather than sitting around listening to a sweet guy vent about his problems with his overbearing boss and annoying mom? I’m pretty sure you know the answer.
While I felt sympathy for the parent who talked to me about her wayward daughter, my understanding of human nature made everything a lot clearer. It wasn’t just her daughter who was afflicted with bad boy syndrome. Most women, especially at a young age, get a bad case of it. Some just make it out more unscathed than others.
If you’re a “nice guy” then don’t get too worked up. Most women want to date good guys who treat them right. But, it’s not the most important thing in attraction. The most important thing is to actually be, you know, attractive. So, be confident, edgy, charming, powerful, and nice and you’ll have no problem dating. The vast majority of women prefer that to a reckless bad boy.