Originally posted June 20, 2008.
Abbey O'Reilly at The F Word wrote Do you love a bad boy? in response to an article in the Daily Mail about why women love so-called bad boys. She begins with a hypothetical situation: you walk into a bar. At one end, sitting alone doing a crossword puzzle (so he appears interesting and smart, rather than a boring loner), who seems polite but isn't exactly going to spark up any conversations in order to prove that one way or the other. At the other end of the bar is your typical James Bond type, with his arm around one girl and his eyes around another, but as soon as any other female comes near him it is his prerogative to rape her with his eyes. He's a schmuck, but completely surrounded by women because they feel special around him, flattered, and don't mind that he's going to try to "fuck and chuck" each and every one of them, all in the same night if he can.
After giving this hypothetical, O'Reilly asks, "If you had to, which one would you choose?"
Uh. Neither. Professors of psychology, experts in all fields, any given heterosexual man, and just about everyone on earth likes to hypothesize about what (heterosexual) women want -- because lesbians are no mystery: lesbians want other lesbians, mystery solved; but straight girls are to be analyzed and tested to see to which stereotype of the heterosexual man they react to the strongest. Nevermind that the author of the study cited in the Daily Mail article did this by asking 200 male college students how many women they had slept with. (Because obviously the best way to assess what kind of straight guy women like is to ask the straight guys. I guarantee you almost every single one of those guys said "women love me, just look how many I've fucked". That is air-tight logic right there.)
Let me tell you "what women want". Speaking as a woman who is more human than stereotype: I like a man who is more human than stereotype. Sure, the guy at the asshole end of the Straight Guy Archetype Spectrum may be pretty, but he's an asshole, and I guarantee you that assholes are resistible. Meanwhile, the guy at the emo-loner end of the Straight Guy Archetype Spectrum (hereafter to be known as the SGAS), is equally as resistible, because all told: he's an asshole too.
The emo-loner archetype is constantly underestimated for his asshattery, because women fail to understand that this guy sees you as an object too: the fulfiller of his every childish need until you become the breaker of his poor widdle hearwt. If he writes a song about you, it'll be more about him. He is just as self-centered as the guy who will try to take your clothes off the minute the two of you are alone: that's why he's sitting ALONE in a bar doing a fucking crossword puzzle. He doesn't have a friends because the degree of his self-centeredness is fucking annoying and no one wants to be around him.
The kind of guy who always wins the dating game is the kind who doesn't fit comfortably into any one archetype because he's mature enough to understand that there are many aspects of the self, and neither he, nor you, is an archetype or stereotype, but a person. What a concept! That's the kind of man women want! The funny thing is that any guy who fits an archetype from Prince Charming (riding to save the day and protect you from everything, because you're a precious object not a person), to James Bond (you're fucking gorgeous, wants to shag you all night and then never call you because you're a trophy not a person), to Emo-Loner (loves you so much, you're his everything, not a person; will write sad poetry about how you broke his heart and trampled all over him because now you're an evil bitch, not a person, but that poetry can get him laid cause it makes him seem "sensitive"), to Mr. Big (rich and independent, terrified of commitment, but knows that you can save him because you're a savior not a person), to any other archetype you might be able to think of; any of these archetypal guys can fake their way into the kind of guy who is more human than stereotype, but after a while it's really easy to see through his bullshit. (These things can go for all people, all genders, and all sexual orientations -- we're all disaffected to some degree and all have different ways of coping. People aren't stereotypes though, they're people. It's just that some of them are a lot more comfortable in their stereotypes.)
The point of all of this is two fold. First of all, if you want to know what a woman wants in a man: fucking ask her! Don't go ask all the guys she's slept with what kind of guy they are and then assume that if you act like those guys she'll want to be with you. There's a reason people break up. There's a reason for one-night-stands. People are as flawed as they are diverse, and just because I have a history of dating assholes doesn't mean I want my current boyfriend to become one!
Secondly, the kind of person a genuine person wants to be with is another genuine person. We don't force ourselves into societal archetypes because we're not comfortable with them, and so the kind of person who does force him or herself into an archetype is not the kind of person we want to be with. Maybe the James Bond guy does get a lot of ass, but I am willing to bet that the kinds of guys who exhibit this type of behavior have never had a truly emotionally fulfilling relationship. I'm also willing to put money on the guy who worships his girlfriend so hard she eventually feels like he's stalking her, never having had an emotionally fulfilling relationship either -- that's why all his songs are about pain and agony and how he cuts himself he's so destroyed over the elusive her.
So, back to the bar analogy. There's a third guy in the bar. He's talking and laughing with his friends, and doesn't appear to be there with anyone. He sees you at the same time the guy mobbed by Barbie dolls is trying to master telekinesis in order to take your clothes off, and crossword puzzle guy tries to look really interested in his puzzle while secretly hoping you'll be the next person to break his heart. Assuming you came to this bar to meet someone new, possible to get a date or get laid, which of these three guys are you going to talk to, offer to buy a drink for, or accept a drink from?
I know my answer. I know that if I wasn't already nailing the third guy, I would totally want to.