Explaining the female attraction to Bad Boys and why getting involved with one should never be ‘casual.’
Well, fuck me. Strap in.
First off, how are my babies? I’ve missed you. Truly, just want to hug you. I hope you’re well. Scary times at the moment! None of us are coping particularly well so I hope you are staying active, staying connected with the people you love and taking care of your brains. Remember, it’s not a productivity competition to see who can get the most done with all this ‘free time.’ Strictly self-care and being aware of your mental health is all you need to be focused on as the world goes through these changes.
If you could see me now, you’d see a girl in her favourite ripped up Tennessee football shirt, sitting on the kitchen floor, Gin & Tonic in hand (Hendricks with Cucumber of course) absolutely spinning. Believe me, when I say, I have severe whiplash. My love life went from 0 to 100 and back down to 0 in the time that’s passed since Easter Sunday. (By the way, hope you all enjoyed your holiday, however you celebrate it. If you don’t, hope you got appropriately buzzed and enjoyed the new Chicago Bulls doco or binged Tiger King – how good.)
I kind of started seeing somebody recently but the sparks just weren’t there. Plus, there was an incident with an absolute Karen (his mother, you know the kind.) If that wasn’t mind-boggling enough, the week ended with me being hit by the tornado that was a dreamy, awkward yet effortlessly cool, handsome stranger who knocked the absolute wind out of me. At the risk of sounding like a floozy who falls way too fast (we all know how hard it is for me to genuinely like anybody) it took less than 2 days with this man for me to be like “Fuck. I’m in real trouble here.” As Tay Swiz sang, it was like driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street and 7 days later it did, in fact, come to a heart-shattering, screeching halt. He took the money in the bag and he stole the keys and drove off in the getaway car. (Honestly, I could write a whole blog of Tay Swiz lyrics and how many of you would even know?) I don’t ask for any of this by the way. He found me. He just appeared in my life like the Universe placed him there. His timing was impeccable and his excitement for me, albeit short-lived, gave me butterflies. I couldn’t make this shit up, even if I wanted to. I just end up in these situations and even though it takes a great toll on my little heart, it’s great for my writing HA. *Cries laughing because it hurts but it’s also fucking hilarious at this point* I wrote the title of this blog 2 weeks ago and left it sitting in my drafts for a few days. Last week I sat down to write it and I did, I knew what I wanted to say and I really could have posted this earlier. I am so glad I didn’t. I’ve always been the sort of asshole who scoffs and rolls their eyes whenever people say “you attract what you put into the universe” or “you can speak it into existence” but yooooo I started writing this blog and boy did I end up getting exactly what I’m talking about here IN SPADES.
I have invested a lot of time in studying and understanding the psychology of how we form relationships with particular people. How attraction works and why we fall in love with ‘types.’ What traits do we, ourselves, possess and what experiences have we had that lead us to loving that kind of human being? In addition, with over 7 billion unique individuals roaming this earth, how do we cross paths with the people that we do and decide ‘that’s the one I want?’ Well, as per usual, I’ll be the guinea pig. I’m a sucker for embarrassment on such a mass scale like this, so I’ll dive into my ‘type’ – the man society has cast as the ‘bad boy.’ (NB: I hate the term bad boy, but I didn’t create it. Don’t hate me for it.)
Before I get into this, it’s really important for me to remind you there is actually nothing ‘bad’ about these men. There is a huge difference between a ‘bad boy’ and someone who is just a piece of shit. I trust you’re emotionally intelligent enough to identify the differences. A ‘bad boy’ is just what we have called them since the days of literary heartbreakers Heathcliffe and Mr Darcy, the archetype that has made women swoon for centuries. Romance novels and bad movies would have you believe that bad boys ride motorcycles, are covered in tattoos and wear leather. That’s true for some of them I suppose, at least the ones who are trying to achieve the bad boy ‘look.’ From personal experience, the kind of man I am talking about here, is not trying to look like a bad boy. It’s burned into his heart, in the way he carries himself and I’d bet he would absolutely hate being grouped into the category of ‘bad boy’ as if it were some trendy label or Gucci t-shirt that came into fashion. In fact, when I posted on my Instagram stories that I was writing this piece, my DMs were filled with men giving me suggestive face emojis as if they were the ‘type’ I was referring to. To those little boys, I’d like to say sit down. You are not a bad boy, you’re just a narcissistic cunt in a pair of overpriced combat boots. The men I know who are the type had no response at all. Because that’s standard bad-boy behaviour isn’t it? Being the centre of attention, to them, just stresses them out.
So, you’re thinking “Sara, if he doesn’t ride a Harley and wear leather, how is he a bad boy?” I’m going to tell you how.
The first and most obvious trait of a bad boy is his ongoing internal conflict. I have re-written this part of the blog 3 or 4 times now because I need to be loud and clear and very careful about how I explain this to you. A man’s pain – whether it be personal issues, depression, anxiety or even something temporary and less intense – is absolutely, 100%, real and frightening to him. His internal struggles are not for you to carelessly and flippantly refer to as ‘broodingly sexy’ nor should his demons be boiled down to something as inconsiderate and irresponsible as a ‘type.’ He does not choose to suffer in order to be attractive to you and it is ABSOLUTELY NOT appropriate for you to just romanticise and fangirl over fixing his wounds when he comes to you in his darkest moments. However, I understand the attraction. It is not for every woman, but for some of us, I’ll explain why this man sets our heart on fire.
There are women who say they love the bad boy type and what they are really referring to is an unfulfilled desire to be ‘needed.’ If you’re the type of woman who looks at this man as if he were a project, hear me when I say – fuck you. He doesn’t need changing. He doesn’t need to be made to feel as though he has to be ‘good’ for you. What he needs is someone who is willing to stand right next to him as an equal and hold his hand in the dark times, as you would be in his shining moments of success and love him for exactly who he is the light and the dark. Just the way you’d expect a partner in any kind of relationship to ride out your highs and lows too, it’s about being that solid unit of trust and acceptance. He protects you and keeps you safe and you are his safe place to land. If you can’t soothe his mind and talk him down without being frustrated with that fact he’s at war with himself again, stay away. He is always going to be his own worst enemy and you have to be on the right side. For the rest of us, this is how I can best explain the attraction. The first bad boy type I liked in my early 20s, flipped my world upside down and held my face in his hands one day. He told me “You are such a beautiful and fun girl.” Cute right? Except he followed that up with “but there is an intense darkness to you.” That has stayed with me since that day. I can still hear the thickness in his voice and smell the cigarette smoke on his lips when he said it. That’s it. When I write about a guy having this air about him, knowing whether or not he has that indescribable vibe I am looking for? That’s it – darkness. When I try to describe the ‘bad boy’ type women are so attracted to, I am talking about a dark streak that runs through him that is part a mystery, part danger and both of those things equate to thrilling. I think that is the reason I fall for these ‘bad boys’ because in those moments this rare kind of man crosses my path, he has ignited that flame inside me that is a reflection of his own. Your lives mirror each other in a way that almost seems a bit scary. As the famous Emily Brontë quote goes “He is more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” I love a giggle, I make sick, messed up jokes and I do my best to make each day that little bit more fun. But I’m certain the dark streak he was referring to comes from the fact I am a deeply empathetic human being with a heightened ability to feel more heavily than the average person I come across. I find dangerous things exciting. I find sad things beautiful. Right now you’re thinking “God. She’s out of her mind for thinking anything about this kind of guy would be attractive. Sounds like a hassle.” No… I, like the man I am attempting to describe to you, am just emotionally wired a bit differently and that is why I love him. A man who feels that deeply, loves and makes love, better than any regular Joe you’ve met before and this is the second most obvious trait in a bad boy. Stay with me.
“Some have said his heart’s too hard to hold. And it takes a little time, but you should see him when he shines ’cause you never want to let that feeling go.” – ‘Who You Love’ by John Mayer ft. Katy Perry.
Patience, love. Be patient. Pushing him to let you in will only land you further away from him. A lesson I so brutally learned just recently. He will block. He will play defence for the whole game, his heart being his end zone. No man, no matter what ‘type’ you think he fits best, enjoys looking weak and vulnerable. So many go to great lengths to not only avoid looking inferior but will act out in outlandish ways in an attempt to assert strength and power because we have failed our men in conditioning them to believe that is what we value the most. He’ll push back. He’ll be terrified to let somebody in and give them that power to hurt him. A feeling familiar to us all and it’s scary as fuck. Oh, but when he does… what a feeling. I truly believe that once you start to be involved with the ‘type’ you have a choice to make. Cut and run or dive in. There is no in-between. Is the ‘bad boy’ capable of casual? Of course he is. But he is not capable of being authentically himself and casual. If you want more, you have to want all of it and he needs to know that. No matter his unwillingness to oblige and let go, he’ll come around the more present and stable you are in his life. Have you ever stood in the doorway of a room and just watched the man you love? Do it. Without him knowing. He could be sat at his laptop working, he could be boxing. He could be bashing on the drums or writing a new song on his guitar. He could just be sitting there with a cigarette in his hand, his old hoodie on, cuddling the dog. Just watch him, for everything else that he is in those moments that makes you swoon, he is in his purest form. You’ll understand me when you do. As for the way he looks at you? If you have managed to be his calm and his quiet; if you have managed to talk him down in those chaotic moments and soothed his runaway mind… then the desert will always see his rain. And when he does, watch the love only a man like that is capable of giving completely and utterly consume you. A man like that isn’t orderly, methodical or planned. He is chaotic and impulsive. He’s emotionally intuitive and passionate and for as long as his hands are exploring your body, your minds have both stopped. He is right there with you at that moment, channelling everything into loving you. That is the only kind of sex I want to be having. Do you think Chad the professional playboy is ever going to lay you down and love you like that? The ‘bad boy’ type is so expressive when he feels comfortable to be because he carries enough emotion, he knows he feels things deeply and has the capacity to do so. That’s what makes him the sexiest. The most attractive. Perhaps it also explains why they gravitate towards music, art & literature or the like. Comedy, literature, art, music – the best pieces you’ve seen and heard come from very emotional places. Anger, happiness, love, sadness, anxiety, confidence. Ever heard a Steve from accounting being a bad boy? I didn’t think so.
It’s a tough thing to do… to portray the ‘bad boy’ in a good light. I would hate to think I make them sound like lost causes or unnecessarily stressful. He is good. Every part of him – including the dark parts. The parts that might scare you, let them excite you instead. Find things that seem dangerous, thrilling. Find things that are sad, beautiful. All of it makes you human and I think the ‘bad boy’ is as human as a man can be. That is why I’m attracted to him. Nobody could love you better or in a more truthful way. Nobody could sweep you up in their chaos and create as much excitement as he can. Embrace the adventures & love on each other at every opportunity. Make each other feel safe and watch connections form that are deeper than anything you thought possible. Emotionally intelligent human beings are hard to come by in a world of autonomy and make-believe. Love him for everything that he is, exactly the way he is when he comes on by. This kind of ‘bad boy’ is dying out and I don’t want to see our world without such a beautiful, kind-hearted and emotional man.
I’ll keep you warm, beneath the sheets, the weight of the world’s got nothing on me. – Maren Morris.