Why do we like Bad Boys?
The bad boys. You know the type: tattoos and piercings, a certain air of superiority or anti-social tendencies, a motorcycle, or a general apathy toward you. They are broken and dangerous; and, somehow, we can't help but want them.
It turns out that pining for the bad boys, however unavailable they may be, has deeper roots than merely a dark sex appeal. Read further to get to the bottom of our obsession with the mysterious and the brooding.
Who is He?Bad boys can come in many shapes and sizes, and they don't all have the same personalities or the same appeals. The general types:
The Elusive Bad Boy
This boy is a forbidden fruit. He barely knows you exist and doesn't make an appearance in your social scene. With an exciting life you know nothing about and a rough-around-the-edges look, this bad boy is intriguing, although unavailable to you. You want to break the rules to know him.
The Guarded Bad Boy
The guarded bad boy is more withdrawn than merely elusive. A mysterious guy, he's picky about who he associates with, and you probably aren't one of the lucky few. He might be moody or allergic to smiling, but the unknown is intoxicating.
The Non-Committal Bad Boy
An eternal bachelor, this guy doesn't want to settle down anytime soon -- if ever. He wants to play the field and live his own life, and you probably won't be a constant in it.
The Fixer-Upper Bad Boy
This bad boy is apathetic toward a number of issues. He is damaged goods, probably with issues haunting him from his past that are inhibiting his future. His main concern is having a good time, and he takes pride in doing whatever the heck he wants. He has a lot of work to do before he would be suitable for a long-term relationship.
Why Do We Do It?We know these guys are bad news and have great potential to break our hearts, so why do we chase after them with the intent to win their affection? Aside from the excitement of something different and the thrill of the chase, our reasons for wanting them may stem from deeper desires or experiences.
Women have an inherent desire to nurture. Part of our role in humanity is to take care of others (to an extent), so we are often gratified when we feel we have done our job. If we can affect change in someone or earn some sort of dependence, this makes us feel needed. This is one reason women are attracted to bad boys, boys they think they can change, and if they do, will feel a sense of accomplishment and reward.
A common justification for going after the bad boys is "daddy issues." While the title is sad and somewhat insulting, the concept holds true. Dr. Thomas Miller, a health and behavioural psychologist, told that women who have experienced verbal, emotional or physical abuse from males during their childhood or adolescent years can form a distorted perception of relationships. It's a cycle, not that women will necessarily go after violent men (and I'm not saying most bad boys are violent, don't get me wrong), but it is not uncommon for them to subconsciously look for relationships that are either unattainable or unfulfilling because that is what they have been conditioned for.
Not every woman wants to tame a man and settle down. Some women go after bad boys because they themselves are afraid of deep emotions and commitment, according to Peter Jonason, a researcher at New Mexico State University. They know that these bad boys won't push for a relationship, so they, too, can avoid the idea.
Does it ever Work Out?Sure, there are girls who have been successful in transforming their bad boys or at least softening them up; but Dr. Miller warns that not all bad boys can be saved. I wonder if even most of them can be, at least not without sacrificing your own emotional and psychological well-being. Trying to change someone is a difficult and trying task, and the negative effect it has on you can actually be more significant than the positive effect you are able to make on the man. I think that while a woman can be the push a man needs to get his act together, the change has to come from his own personal desire to alter the course of his life and his relationships.
The desire to tame the beast seems to be a pattern among the young. Anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher told that younger women are more experimental and less experienced, giving them the audacity to chase the bad boys and possibly blinding them to the difficulty of such a male. They also may not have the capacity to identify a bad boy as actually being harmful or connect the dots that chasing him will probably end badly. As women get older, they tend to learn from mistakes and realize that bad boys aren't worth the trouble.
What do you think? Have you changed a bad boy? Do you think we all just need to grow up?