Join Date: Nov 2002
The Jerk Appeal
There seems to be a mystery among the male species, besides their unending quest of trying to figure women out. Why is it that the nice guys always seem to be single while jerks are the ones whose little black books get filled with magical numbers? It seems to go backwards, doesn't it?
We know that AskMen.com readers, as well as all men around the world, think the same thing as one of our male correspondents touched on the same topic in his article, Nice Guys Finish Last. He was obviously trying to save men from the headaches females seem to cause. Although Curt Smith was right by saying that women like the excitement of the bad boy, he doesn't really explain why.
There must be more out there to justify why women are left crying their eyes out because their boyfriends hurt them once again. And of course, the girl goes back to the bad boy, while the sweet boy is left in the corner of the bar dipping his olives in and out of his martini. Yes Curt, you are right; in order for a man to develop a backbone and become more of a bad boy, in the hopes of attracting more women, he does have to be badly hurt once. However, there is a lot more to it than that. Observe.
It doesn't take a dozen self-help books and men's magazines to tell you how important self-esteem is when it comes to relationships and behavior. When it comes down to the enigma of the sweet girl and the bad boy, the man isn't the only one plagued by low self-esteem. The union of this couple can be blamed on lack of self-confidence where both parties are concerned.
There are many reasons why men are jerks to begin with. First, they can simply be born to fit the character and their loser behavior can be blamed purely on a genetic disaster and negative social environment. If we have a problem, we'll just have to take it up with his DNA. The second reason can be what Curt was referring to; the nice guy turns bad boy because of heartache. In this case, the guy becomes a jerk because he's been burned in the past and doesn't want this to happen again.
The third reason is the major one, partly related to reason number two; he simply has no self-esteem. This poor man needs to act like a jerk to cover up his lack of confidence. It's a sad, sad case. Ironically, most people would think that he is a jerk because he has too much confidence (this could also be the case), but this is where we are fooled most of the time. We can't imagine that this jerk actually has a low self-esteem because he is so insensitive towards everyone around him.
Not only is he a jerk, he is also a great actor. His bad boy demeanor is his shield; the weapon that gives the illusion of confidence. But most importantly, it ensures that he will never get hurt. His snide remarks and sarcasm are used as defense mechanisms, kind of how a skunk releases a stench to ward off those who may be a threat.
Don't worry; the woman doesn't get away from this one easily. The woman who falls for this poor excuse of a man suffers from the same lack of self-esteem. In essence, these two make a perfect match. This poor girl has no self-esteem of her own and probably doesn't believe she can do better than this man. He has literally become the cause for the loss of all her friends and those Ben & Jerry's binges when he stands her up once again on Saturday night to meet his boys instead.
I still stand by the fact that the woman who falls for the jerk is most likely to suffer from low self-esteem, but there could be another very important reason. In case men haven't noticed, women love playing the role of the relationship therapist. That's right, some women would do anything just to have the chance to get others to pour out their troubles, while they attribute most problems to an Oedipal pre-adolescent complex. Most women love to know that they're the ones who discovered the solution to their boyfriends' problems and, in turn, healed them (so to speak).
To do this, they need a troubled soul to lie down in that leather couch; the jerk boyfriend. Most girls love to know that they "fixed" their jerk boyfriend. He was once a bad boy, but now he is a sweetheart and he's a changed man, all thanks to her. Yes, this is the challenge most women enjoy seeking, an incredible feat where they claim to have turned a lost soul around. If a man was perfect to begin with, what would be so exciting in the relationship? Women would be bored and they would probably have to create non-existent problems in the relationship to spruce things up a little.
Curt Smith was right when he discussed that balance is a solution to this twisted phenomenon. A man should be able to act sweet and gentlemanly when dating a woman, all while maintaining some mystique. Simply find some sort of middle ground because no woman wants a pushover.
But here is the good news; a girl who constantly falls for jerks is probably not worth having in the first place. Just be yourself, because whoever said that nice guys finish last was never in a relationship with a great girl. In the long run, the jerks are left with little black books filled with phone numbers of insecure girls, while the sweethearts get the woman worth spending a lifetime with.
A wise man once told me, "As a man, you have to die once in order to live." I never fully appreciated his advice, nor did I understand it until I experienced it firsthand. From that time on, I understood the origins of the Jerk vs. Nice Guy battle.
Readers may be asking themselves, "What in the world is this guy talking about?" Well, I'm referring to the widely known fact that women habitually date men that are jerks while the "nice" guys are often left twiddling their thumbs in solitaire. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Figuratively speaking, in order for a man to enjoy the company of women and be able to seduce them, his inner nice guy must first die through heartache. It is at this point that his inner bad boy surfaces and goes on the prowl.
Any man that has experienced true love, only to have his heart crushed by the woman that he thought he would spend his life with, will understand what I am talking about. A man that has never experienced the heartache of being burned by the one person he really trusted probably won't understand my commentary. In any case, it is important to understand why nice guys finish last and why they probably always will.
Contrary to what most women think, men are interested in successful relationships. Most men will never pass up the chance to date the woman of their dreams. In fact, when a man does encounter this rarity of a woman, his passion gets the better of him. The thoughts that race through his mind are something along the lines of, "This woman is a keeper. I'm going to treat her right and do all I can to make her happy."
The only problem with being the nice guy is that you also become the boring, predictable guy. The excitement of the seduction process begins to fade for the woman because she has what she wants and doesn't have to do any chasing. Eventually the woman starts losing interest and before you know it, her eyes start to wander.
In the end, she'll look for a new man who will bring excitement back into her life by being the "new and improved" challenge. Pursuit and excitement usually stem from selfish attitudes, much like the bad boy who doesn't care about anyone but himself. The nice guy will be left heartbroken and will start wondering what in the world he did wrong.
It's at this point that men begin to realize that most women generally don't know what they want from us. Evidently, being the nice guy certainly doesn't help. The conclusion of the aforementioned scenario? The death of the nice guy persona. So that's the life and death of the nice guy and, as a result, "Mr. Nice" is resurrected into "Mr. Jerk".
As long as nice guys continue to get burned, there will always be a healthy supply of new jerks on the horizon to provide the dose of misery that women seem to yearn for. Eventually (often quite quickly), these nice guys will realize what type of man women actually want. The result is something that snaps inside of them as they begin to mimic the jerks that most women seem to pursue incessantly.
To become that kind of man, the charade must be taken to the extreme, which involves acting like a selfish person that has no regard for other people's feelings. This amounts to a jerk that will say anything to get a woman into bed. The jerk will furnish her with tons of roller coaster emotions and once he has sex with her, he'll dump her. Why? Because he feels vengeful and wants to burn women the same way he was burned. Remember; once you get burned, don't STOP playing with fire -- you TAME the flame.
So when women inadvertently give life to these jerks, they are really shooting themselves in the feet. That's the life and legacy of jerks everywhere.
If nice guys are what women really want, then why is it that most nice guys are single? Why is it that we constantly hear stories about women dating big jerks that took them for a ride -- literally?
The fact is that women generally don't want nice guys, or maybe they're too busy chasing after jerks to realize that they do. Why? Because women act on impulse and emotion rather than fact. Who do you suppose brings out these same irrepressible emotions in women? The jerks, of course.
So what does this all add up to? No one wants to get hurt, but in the same instance, no one wants to be perceived as a jerk either. That is why it's important to have a balanced attitude towards relationships. A man has to be able to court a woman, amuse her and excite her while continuously remaining a challenge.