Beating the Bad Boy Mystique
March 10, 2002
What is it about women and our magnetic attraction to the devastatingly dashing Bad Boy? My theory? Bad Boys are cotton candy in life's amusement park. They're fun and indulgent. They're sinfully empty calories, but women don't remember that until they go back to eating real food.
What makes a Bad Boy? He has a charming and commanding presence, swathed in a "take-no-prisoners' attitude. He tells you his flaws up front. You think he's cool, maybe even honest, though he may skip some pertinent details because you "didn't specifically ask" (recent wedding, felony parole, diseases that inhibit brain function, real age, etc.). He's the one who storms in, flips a woman's world upside down with an amazingly romantic roller-coaster thrill ride, then disappears without a trace.
Hmm ... smart women do this?
I know a little bit about this, from overseeing the metamorphosis of a mild-mannered Clark Kent into an Antonio Banderas-type desperado. "Brent" had just divorced his childhood sweetheart. Out in the world for the first time, he was sowing his wild oats. Apparently, he hadn't done a lot of grain experimentation before.
He was a successful working musician and hard not to drool over. With a nice profile to begin with, he came with the traditional musician's build - a bit thin and lanky. Then he discovered weights and found his inner V-shape. Encouraged by his results, he donned an earring and grew his hair (ah, the days of dating men with hair). These changes netted him 50 percent more phone numbers each night his band played a gig.
He added the leather jacket after I was out of the relationship, but that didn't stop me from nearly breaking a restaurant place setting the next time I saw him. His manly strut was just the icing on top of a seriously captivating cakewalk! Though my mom wanted me to marry Brent, I was just his rebound gal before he wed the next woman and started a family.
Another of my favorite past Bad Boys was a blind date, a James Bond-type gift from heaven. I watched this cool drink of water saunter into a nearby office building. Wow! I envied the lucky girlfriend he was there to sweep up for a fun Friday night.
Just then, the stallion with the long trench coat; shoulder-length, blond-streaked tresses; and see-me-back mirrored sunglasses walked over to my car. With a cop-like stance, he placed one hand over my door window. I thought he just needed directions. Instead, he suavely spoke my name, inquiring if I were her.
"I'm whoever you want me to be" was my only thought. Thankfully, that didn't escape my lips.
I followed his 007-mobile to dinner. I later learned the sleek car's door was held on by a coat hanger, but that night it seemed like a spy movie fantasy. We dated for several months, up until the time he slept with his ex-wife. Now he's out of state and remarried with kids, but surely he maintains that sexy baritone voice.
So what makes a Bad Boy fun to take out of the toy box? Ask a woman at a five-star restaurant who's just ordered a triple chocolate torte after starting a new diet. It's deliciously decadent and wickedly sinful. Guilt is rationalized with the thought that this is not an everyday indulgence. Brain waves will resume tomorrow to replace the immediate sweetness of today.
The good news for the nice guys out there: We do come down from our indulgent cliff dives. Women do get their brains back and realize that Bad Boy has an alias. It's "Mr. Handsome, But All Wrong." He always will be our fantasy ideal, a myth forever perpetuated by Hollywood movies.
But I've found that it's the sweet guy who wins in the end. He's the one who really does call back, who knows where the good flower shop is on the way home and genuinely cares about a woman's thoughts, emotions and soul. He is the man who gets the cherished spot in a lady's heart, brain and bed.