Aubrey was my first bad boy. In 6th grade, he came to school mid-year, with shaggy hair and a bad attitude. He was bigger, taller and tougher than the other kids. He yielded power and respect. It was so seductive to my pre-teen mind. On one of our first dates, we went to the mall with his fake ID for my first foray into underage drinking. I held my pink wine cooler with my heart pounding in my chest. I was living on the edge and testing my own boundaries. It was dangerous and I was hooked.
I have known many bad boys; all the same arc of excitement, desire, danger, and disappointment. Why would I and so many others, go knowingly and repeatedly into bad situations and violate the most sacred of spaces- the heart? I am a smart, sexy woman with chutzpah and a backbone. However, the Bad Boy still leaves me weak in the knees and wanting more. Thankfully, I am learning and changing deep patterns by understanding the attraction.
Most women desire men who are courageous, charismatic and confident. These women also unconsciously test men to see if they will buckle or stand firm when sh*t hits the fan. We look for real life superheroes (or antiheroes) to make us feel secure in a world that has convinced many of us that it’s not safe. The Bad Boy’s fearlessness makes us feel protected. Bad Boys live by their own rules and do what they want regardless of the consequences. They are both the lone wolf and the alpha dog. That steely confidence is undeniably appealing to most women (and men). The nice guys just seem vanilla in comparison.
Perhaps it is some women’s desire to tame the wild. Women want to charm a man into reforming his rebellious, dangerous ways. It can be powerful to subdue a wild stallion. It feeds our delicate (damaged) egos. The irony is that once domesticated, those wild stallions can quickly turn into overweight donkeys. That is not what we want either. Many women crave the thrill.
Possibly women love the drama, unpredictability, and passion of a Bad Boy. They have swagger and use it. They wink at inappropriate moments to get exactly what they want. Their unavailability, while frustrating, is also exhilarating as it keeps us craving more. At our core, most of us foolishly want what we cannot have. It is either our human nature or our urgent need to practice self-love that will quell the bad boy (or bad girl) desire.
Maybe some women see the broken, wounded, painful parts and are aching to strap on their Mother Theresa cap and heal the Bad Boy’s wounds. These women get to play the role of the valiant Nurturer so that love, rather than their self-destruction shines through. Honestly, this is the category I fall into most often. I am a healer by trade and I unconsciously try to nurse Bad Boys back into wholeness and health. Through the years, it has also gotten me into all kinds of trouble.
Bad Boys have some kind of unstoppable allure. My hope is that when we love ourselves, we make the good, positive decisions over the inevitable destruction that comes with being with the Rebel, the Bad Boy, or the Unobtainable Aloof. They are seductive and ultimately destructive and thus the appeal.
Epilogue: After middle school, I didn’t see Aubrey again. I heard that he dropped out of high school and was rocking club land as a DJ. As fate would have it, I crossed paths with him years later in the oddest of ways. I was stationed in Cyprus while working as an International Journalist. One day, I noticed that his Bad Boy picture was plastered all over town. It was undeniably him. Aubrey was DJing at one of the big clubs and had deep promotion budgets behind him. I was simultaneously amused that my Bad Boy crush had done good and also horrified that his deep, intense gaze was looking out at me from every building and billboard. It was eerie. I was guest-listed to attend the show but sadly, I couldn’t attend due to work requirements.
In part 2 of this blog, I will discuss what guys can do to buck the curse of being a “Nice Guy” and thus relegated to the friend zone.