Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Appeal of the Bad Boys

Why do we Love them?

Did you know American women have a strong preference for bad boys over any other culture? Why is that? The hot-looking bad boy has been glorified in American culture via the media. Think of James Dean, Elvis, even 50 Cent. We, American women, want it all. We want the hot guy who makes our hearts flutter who will also stick around and be a great dad. Just like the newly divorced fifty year old guy wants a hot twenty-year old babe to have endless sex with and who waxes his car while he naps. The truth is neither fantasy has a chance of happening.

Americans love Disneyworld because we like to believe dreams really do come true. That brings me back to the bad boy. He is candy for the eye. He definitely has the look, the swagger, and the sexuality. He enters the room and it is as if women are hit with a testosterone driven wave. Their heads swivel, their smiles grow wider and inviting. Men feel it too, but their instincts respond to a threat by becoming huffy or dismissive to the bad boy. This always makes them look bad in front of the females. If they were more in touch with their primitive side, they’d immediately attack the guy and push him out the door.

Besides plain good looks, what does the bad boy have that the nice guy doesn’t? Attitude and plenty of it. He knows every woman in the room wants him. Talk about self confidence! He has elevated cockiness to an art form. He doesn’t need to be nice to women because they are responding to him on an instinctual level. Strong alpha male enters the room, pheromones go on red alert informing women that prime mating material is in the area. This is reinforced by years of watching on the big screen women fall at the feet of bad boys and reading endless romances where the alpha male sweeps the woman off her feet. The sad fact is no matter how much women talk about wanting a kind, thoughtful man they will respond to a dominant alpha male every time, even if it is for a short time. Women are traditionally programmed to follow a strong male lead.

Ironically, the bad boy doesn’t get the girl by telling her she’s beautiful. Instead he gives her left handed compliments like “you could be hot if you did something about your clothes.” The woman is drawn in and immediately wants to know what she should do about her clothes because she wants to be hot for this man. The bad boy may hit on the girlfriend because women usually travel in pairs. In that case, the woman wants what she sees slipping away from her and tries even harder to catch the bad boy’s eye. Do you know they even have classes for men on how to act like a bad boy?

The only problem is if you’re an average guy and you try to act like a bad boy you just come off sounding rude. The bad boy has charisma, humor and loads of sex appeal. His words may be saying your dress is hideous, but his eyes are promising to peel that dress off you. He also has pacing down to a science. He knows when to pull back to leave a woman intrigued. Always keep in mind, a bad boy is always a short term venture. He knows he’s not staying around. Too bad most women seem to ignore this point. Instead they believe if he meets the right woman, i.e. her, that it will happen.

Some women believe that they can change the bad boy into a devoted family man. Remember this, the only person you can change is you. Bad boy is what he is. You respond to his obvious charm. Maybe he’s even yours for the night, but not for long. It isn’t in his nature to be a one woman man. He’s gone before you ever really know anything about him. It is just as well his irresponsible bad boy ways would eventually grate on you.

In other cultures, women don’t want bad boys because they want someone who is responsible. The dependable good guy with a steady job appeals to them. They know he’ll be around to raise the children. Why are American women obsessed with bad boys? The fact that most American women are supporting themselves is one factor. They aren’t necessarily considering bad boy for the breadwinner role. Instead they see him as an avenue for the mythical screaming monkey sex they’ve heard so much about, but never experienced. A brush with a bad boy allows a woman to walk on the wild side if only for thirty minutes. Another is the belief is we can have it all.

Newsflash: you can’t have it all. Choices have to be made. Most women who rode the roller coaster of having a relationship with a bad boy welcome the stability that comes with a nice man. Others become addicts and chase after bad boys despite friends’ warnings. Now your nice man might occasionally enjoy playing the bad boy role, but he’ll still be around to take the kids to soccer practice. So if he wants to don a leather jacket, mirrored sunglasses, and straddle a Harley, make sure you jump on behind him. It could be a memorable ride. Maybe you can have it all.

Give me your report on the state of bad boys. Did you marry a bad boy? Fall for one? Would you fall for one? I did my time in a month-long bad-boy relationship. It was intense. I felt like I’d been flatten by semi when he left suddenly, then I realized I knew almost nothing about him and that’s the way he wanted it.


  1. I think Americans are bi-polar where sex and allure is concerned. We obsess about sex. We advertise using sex. We decry wayward politicans. The French and Italians cut their politicians much more slack. Do French and Italian women love the power of a bad boy? Do the men?

  2. Ana Morgan,
    We forgive wars quicker than we do affairs.Why is that? Why can't a bad boy just be a bad boy?
    Thanks for commenting.

  3. Bad boys...yum.
    But you're right, they are what they are and not going to change. Trying to change one is like trying to stop the rain from falling.

  4. I don't think young bad boys necessarily stay that way. I dated a few bad boys when I was a girl and married a "hood" when I was 20, but they (particularly the one I married) outgrew it to a large degree. I'm still married to the hood and we're about as boring a couple as you could find, but we like each other a lot.

  5. Oh, and--I shouldn't visit blogs in the AM when I'm too chatty anyway--politicians don't present themselves as bad boys, and unfortunately we continue to believe them. We forgive the affairs, but I'm not sure we ever comnpletely forgive being lied to. By anyone.

  6. D'Ann,
    Well said. Do you ever consider we love the bad boys for what they are...and yet we complain about what they aren't.

  7. Liz,
    You represent the central premise of the romance novel. Your love turned a hood into a stable family man. Did you ever consider you're living the dream? My hat is off to you and your hubby.