In comments the other day, Bill Q. brought up a topic that tends to slide its way into my family’s dinner conversation from time to time:
Unfortunately, what I recall in my high-school days is that many of the girls seemed to go for the good-looking guys who treated them like dirt.
Hmmm … yes, unfortunately, I remember that, too, Bill. And my 15-year-old son brings it up a lot.
My son considers himself one of the “nice guys.” He bemoans this sad truth and simply shakes his head at the fact that many of the girls he likes tend to gravitate, instead, toward the boys who are the troublemakers, the attention-getters. The boys who shrug off authority and any kind of … well … learning.
I told him that this won’t go on forever. I passed the salt and pepper shakers and said eventually girls will see “his type” as the more desirable. (I believe he gave me that “yeah, sure, Mom” look.)
But in the meantime I was faced with the question he posed to me and my tween daughter: Why do girls go for the “bad boys”? And why has that been true for generations?
At the time neither of us had an answer. (In fact, I think we both denied it.) But later, I thought about it again and remembered some discussions I’ve participated in on romance-writing blogs, where the “bad boy” is still alive and well in many a fiction setting (usually with boxing gloves, tatoos, a motorcycle and a mysterious past). Continue reading