The debate of bad boys vs nice guys, and which kind of men are better when it comes to serious relationships, just doesn’t seem to end, does it?
One of the more tedious ideas in dating advice is the idea of “nice guys finish last” and “girls love bad boys”.
It’s a truism that never seems to fully go away – the idea that women love assholes and will pick them over the self-described “nice guy”.
The idea of assholes and bad boys underpins the PUA and Red Pill philosophies of learning how to be an asshole so women will love you. The whole “alpha fucks, beta bucks” mentality, dread game, negging women in order to prove your value and so on are all ways to try to dress up in bad boy drag and convince women that you’re “alpha”
Frustrated nice guys will point to the success of the rape-tastic 50 Shades series, articles proclaiming that studies of dubious provenance have proven the high-octane sexiness of bad boys, women of their acquaintance who say they want nice men but go for scoundrels and of course, the asshole who got to their crush before they did. “I’m doing everything right and I’m still single, so what does he have that I don’t?” demanded the lonely Nice Guys.
But the key to attraction isn’t about treating women like shit, it’s about understanding the underpinnings of why women seem to go for bad boys – even when they say they want someone nice.
The Zen of Douchebags, Assholes and Bad Boys
One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming that it’s asshole behavior that makes bad boys appealing. Despite what RooshV and his compatriots may tell you, women aren’t looking for a partner who will gaslight them, neglect them, and generally treat them like shit.
Rating high on the dark triad of personality traits doesn’t magically make you look like a clone of Stephen Amell who also smells like freshly baked cookies.
Now to be fair, it is an understandable mistake to make. Guys who are frustrated by their lack of dating success often look to some singular cause for their failure – especially when it feels as though they’ve been following the path that society and pop-culture have told them to follow.
However, in trying to reduce their lack into a single cause – women like assholes, not nice guys – they end up missing the forest for the trees.
It ends up being a case of the illusion of validity, assuming that they’ve correctly understood why women seem to like douchebags and sticking to that interpretation no matter what.
All other evidence gets folded into the idea, regardless of whether it actually works or not.
“Look, It Makes Sense If You Squint.”
Take the stratospheric sales of the 50 Shades series. Men committed to the idea that women want assholes will point to Anastasia Steele as “proof” that women want to be dominated by “alphas”; after all, look at how many women got the screaming thigh-sweats over Christian Grey and his floggers.
Of course, for this to work, one has to ignore that what works as fantasy isn’t necessarily something you would want to do in the real world. Horror movie fans aren’t secretly hoping to be eviscerated by Jason or impregnated by a face-hugger after all.
Nor is it a case that asshole behavior triggers Evo-psych mating instincts in women. In fact, altruistic behavior is much more successful as a mating strategy – prosocial behavior benefits the group overall. While some aspects of the dark triad help with an initial impression, the advantages disappear with familiarity and become a net negative.
Instead, what makes bad boys more attractive is the behavior that tends to exist alongside the more negative traits. It’s not the asshole behavior that makes bad boys attractive, it’s what they do that nice guys don’t.
Make Your Move
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a shy nice guy has a crush on an attractive woman.
He spends weeks trying to tell if she likes him back. Then… after days of building up his courage, he makes his move.
That, of course, is when he discovers that she’s dating someone else.