I’ve never been one of those girls who categorically falls for the bad boy, but I can’t deny that no matter how hard we may try, there’s always some sort of appeal there. I don’t know if it’s the challenge they present to us, that desire to “tame the wild beast” and that feeling of pride that comes along with it knowing that you and only you have him wrapped around your finger. I don’t know if it’s the sex appeal in knowing that he’s someone you can’t have or the danger in knowing you shouldn’t have him. There’s just something about bad boys that us good girls cannot for the lives of us resist. So although I may not be one of those girls who constantly falls for the bad boy, I am one who does something quite similar: I fall for the good guy who insists he’s a bad boy.
This guy I had a fling with way back in the eighth grade spent plenty of time trying to convince me that he wasn’t a “nice guy.” He’d play it cool and act unaffected, disinterested, and somewhat boorish. But the kicker was that I knew it was all an act. What attracted me to him is that I was one of the lucky few who was able to get underneath his skin and see the real person he was on the inside, who was not remotely any of those things I previously mentioned. And I think part of what attracted him to me was that he knew I could see through him, and not only could I see through him, but I was persistent in my insistence that he was not the bad boy he was making himself out to be.
I was reminded of this long-lost fling the other night when I was at work passing a long shift with one of my male co-workers who I happen to particularly like. One of my other female co-workers commented on how the diaper aisle is her favorite. “You can’t walk into it angry and then walk out of it angry after looking at all of those happy, smiling babies,” she explained when I asked her why a young lady without any reason to shop in that aisle would favor it. “I can,” the male co-worker piped up, “because I’m a heartless b*****d,” fixing us both with a mischievously joking smile.
Nonetheless, his comment was very reminiscent of things my eighth grade-fling used to say about himself to play up the bad boy he wanted to be perceived as and downplay the nice guy he really was. And I really think that this is a function of the way that our society defines gender roles and relationship norms. Men are supposed to be the macho breadwinners while women are needy baby-makers. Both of these guys that I’ve fallen for, four years apart from one another I might add, exhibit the symptoms of a man trying to bulk himself up in the “macho” department so as to appear more attractive to women, who, as previously stated, have a curious predisposition toward so-called bad boys.
And here’s the real rub: women perpetuate this by continuously allowing the nice guys to finish last. Society’s view of the bad boy versus the nice guy would start to shift if only more bad boy jerks were left out on the curb. Instead, women engage in a constant chase for what they either can’t obtain or they know they shouldn’t, leaving them in tears while he adds another trophy to his collection. Women complain all of the time about not being able to find a nice guy when really they are encouraging all of the nice guys to hide their nice-guy selves in order to get a date. And what happens if all of the nice guys pretend to be bad boys? Guess what, ladies, there’s no more nice guys left! In a lot of ways, we have the power to bring out the nice guys.
Which, unfortunately, isn’t going to be as easy as it sounds. Bad boys make good chemistry. They know how to flirt and how to make you feel special. They know how to make you fall for them. And that makes everything fun and exciting… even when you know it’ll probably end in disaster. But I think that’s really why I fall for nice guys who insist they’re bad boys; they flirt like a bad boy but love like a nice guy. It’s like having the best of both worlds: you have the fun and exhilaration of the chase that you’d get with a bad boy, but when it comes down to it, you know he’ll treat you right like a nice guy. And, of course, there’s that extra added bonus of knowing that you knew all along, even when no one else could see through his bullshit, that he really was the nice guy you were looking for.
Bad boys make good chemistry, but nice guys make the grade. Find a man who can make both. And a good sandwich ;).
(Calm down, guys! I was kidding about the sandwich! See how it feels to be told to make a sandwich or rated on your sandwich-making abilities all the time?)