Christian Grey, Jude Law, Mr. Big, Damon in the Vampire Diaries … they all have two things in common.
1. They’re bad
2. They make us weak in the knees
Every girl has liked her fair share of bad boys, but dating one is a different story. There’s a change in the air. In this city, nice guys won’t finish last.
Urban dictionary defines a bad boy as something like this: “He does what he wants when he wants. He’s unapologetic. He’s independent. He’s a heartbreaker with 5 o’clock shadow. He’s a selfish, manipulative bastard who sees women as little more than sexual conquests to brag about or mere objects that are there for his pleasure.”
I mean, if I had to summarize the personality of the “baddest” guy I’ve ever dated, that nails it on the head, right down to the 5 o’clock shadow.
When I told a couple of guy friends that I was about to write a piece on bad boys, I was told that I should meet Bad Boy X. A mutual friend called him to propose the idea and Bad Boy X was down to chat about all things manipulative and reckless. As my friend was on the phone with him I made sure to yell, “I’m never going on a date with you – so don’t get any ideas!” We texted back and forth a bit, trying to decide on a time to meet up. I was having some mutual friends over for some drinks and then a skating rendezvous so I invited him.
I knew I might be in trouble when I got this message: “Are you going to be able to interview me while I’m skating circles around you?”
Shit! No! This is where it starts.
They sass you and you kind of like it.
They compliment you and you melt.
Even worse, they know the effect they can have on you. When a bad boy makes you feel good you feel really special. As if you’re somehow different than all of the other girls he’s jerked around over the years. For whatever reason, daddy issues maybe, the validation we get from these guys does wonders for our ego.
It’s a dangerous little game. When a nice guy compliments you? Eh. They’re nice to everyone aren’t they?
Here’s the honest truth about bad boys: Usually you can’t stay away from them. Usually they’re hot as f*ck. Usually they leave you heartbroken.
Honesty: The Ultimate Excuse
The thing is, some of them have qualities that women really like.
Personally, I love human beings who are unapologetically themselves. I’m attracted to them – as friends and as potential future boyfriends. I appreciate people who are brutally honest about who they are and what they want; it’s refreshing.
But this doesn’t excuse being an asshole in the name of honesty.
My old roommate was sleeping with a guy who prided himself in being “straight up” about what he wanted from women. He was everything your mother warned you about: A cheater, a liar, he expected an open relationship with his ex, he spoke crudely about other women, etc, etc.
After some horrible pillow talk about yet another one of his sexual conquests, my roommate called him out: “You know Paul, just because you’re honest about being an asshole doesn’t make it okay to be an asshole.”
Calgary based relationship expert Debra Macleod, and probably the most brutally honest woman you’ll ever meet, had a lot to say about this.
“These guys use honesty as a manipulative tool. They think it excuses their lack of compassion and tact.”
But actually, it just shows that you have no tact.
Talk is Cheap
In today’s dating world where finding a new prospect is as easy as a swipe of a finger, we’re treating each other as more disposable than ever. We say “Next” with little or no explanation to the poor soul waiting for a text back.
My best guy friend is probably considered a “bad boy” by a good chunk of girls in southern Alberta. Not exaggerating. Yet he tells me all of the time how much he misses sex that actually means something. This guy wants a great relationship. And I actually believe him.
But the thing is, how we’re treating each other says something different. If deep down we all want the same thing – a great connection, great sex, a drinking/Netflix buddy – we sure have a funny way of going about finding it.
We want to meet a “great guy” but we’ll indulge the behavior of jerks like Paul in the mean time. My best guy friend wants true love but he’ll take home a different girl every night.
To each their own – if what you want is all of the sex all of the time, go for it. But from what I can see in my own friend circle there’s a disconnect between what we want and how we’re acting.
I told Debra about my bestie and argued “But he really does want to meet a great girl.” She reminded me once again that talk is cheap. “When people show you who they are – listen.”
She has a point. Sure maybe deep down his intentions are good and one day I bet he’ll make some girl really happy, but I feel bad for the girls sticking around in the mean time hoping to be the one who changes him.
A tough pill to swallow:
Here’s something you might not want to admit to yourself.
Most likely, you knew what you were getting yourself into. Whether it was the tiniest of gut feelings that told you, or he did something that made it blatantly obvious, you knew he was “bad” from the start.
I chatted with some girls about their bad boy drama:
“I knew right away I was in trouble”
“The baddest guy I’ve dated is also the one I couldn’t resist”
“He mistreated me the DAY I met him; but I couldn’t stay away from him”
“UGH. What a waste of a handsome face he was!”
“I knew it on the first date. My gut said, this guy is going to hurt me.”
So why don’t we listen to ourselves?
Well aside from them being all alluring and shit, Debra bluntly tells me, “Our fear of being alone can be louder than that gut feeling.”
Ouch. That one stung. And I didn’t like it.
So, will the nice guys finish last?
But do not fret! It looks like true bad boys are losing their charm.
In her book ‘The Modest Minx’ Debra talks about the double-standard between the way we view promiscuous women versus men. We’ve all heard it. “She’s a whore” yet he’s a “ladies’ man”.
Ok I actually haven’t heard the term “ladies man” since 2002 but you know what I mean.
“More and more I see this double-standard loosening it’s grip, and rightly so” writes Debra. “The concept of the “playboy” has gone from glam to gross and I think the trend will only continue. Most women nowadays have a very low opinion of men they see as promiscuous.”
The allure of the bad boy might still be there, but we’re starting to really question a persons values, character, and self-restraint if how they’re treating the opposite sex is not much better than how they treat garbage.
I know a plethora of happy single women who will admit they love a good bad boy, but there’s no way in hell they’re going to settle for one when it comes to actually choosing which guy to take home for Christmas next year. Girls want a guy with strength of character, and vice versa.
You can still be hot as fuck, have a 5 o’clock shadow, be witty, honest, charming, masculine AND be a kind person.
At least I hope that’s possible or I’m in for a lifetime of girls nights and probably a second cat.
I never did meet up with Bad Boy X. He had too many dates that week and I was playing a little flaky. It’s probably for the best as he likely would have taken the brunt of my dating frustrations and I would have just gotten angry and mean.
Or, fallen stupidly in love with him.