GUEST POST: This enlightening guest post is by Kathy Batesel who so eloquently teaches us to clearly see the characteristics of a bad boy and a good-boy. Read on so can choose more wisely and be nurtured in your relationship not frustrated.
The common perception that women crave bad boys isn’t entirely inaccurate. Women, like men, are drawn to confident men who reflect values portrayed in popular media: Power, courage, competence, excitement, and sensitivity top Hollywood’s list of leading man character traits. Storylines expose young women to tales of men who suddenly realize some minor flaw is preventing their happiness, and in an over-the-top moment, completely reverse their world-view and sweep the heroine away to a happy-ever-after ending.
Given high divorce rates, few young people have exemplary role models in their lives to demonstrate how to evaluate and navigate relationships, but the movie version coaches them from their televisions screens throughout their lives to expect smooth sailing after the major conflicts are resolved.
Even smart girls may not understand the difference between the scripted version of the “ideal” man and the real thing. This handy comparison will prove valuable to women who wonder why they’ve found themselves with men who let them down but who want to guide themselves to a happier ending in their own lives.
Hollywood version: He single-handedly disarms multiple attackers at once. He wields great influence over others through his charm, wealth, or reputation. Emblems of his power may include attractive women, flashy cars, expensive clothing, or a $30 million home. Alternately, the powerful ne’er-do-well is the one who starts off down on his luck, but persuades others to align with him despite overwhelming odds.
Bad boy version: Lacking vast criminal networks who are out to defeat him, the bad boy will settle for a bar fight instead, assuming he can hold his own. If he can’t, he’ll use his words and sometimes his hands to demonstrate his power against the people in his daily life – like his lover, wife, children, or family dog. He rehearses for major performances by flinging insults and criticism. Like his famous counterpart, he may proudly displays symbols to convince the world of his success using substitute emblems. He has a big truck (even if he works as a busboy), may pursue attractive women (even when he’s in a relationship), and wear clothing to fit in with the crowd he hopes will accept him. Though he doesn’t have a great deal of power in his life, he works very, very hard to create the illusion that he does.
Good guy version: His power is limited to a select few, most of whom work for him, are related to him, or just plain like him. When he exercises his power, it’s rarely an attempt to control other people. Instead, he retains control of his environment by acting upon non-animate objects, like acquiring an insurance policy for his family or fixing that porch step so his wife won’t hurt herself when she leaves in the morning. He doesn’t mind status symbols, but his sense of self isn’t invested in them. Even though he avoids power plays whenever possible, he manages to have more control of his life than his bad boy counterpart.
Hollywood version: He’s willing to surrender his life for his ideals, which can range from saving the world to rescuing a treed cat. He’ll face gunshots, martial arts experts, and the depths of his psyche before he’ll dishonor himself or betray his values.
Bad boy version: Ditto. Except for facing his frailties. That would violate his ideals. He may be willing to go to jail, get in fights, and turn his back on people who care about him, but he will never, ever admit that he was wrong without a good excuse. That would require him to be vulnerable.
Good guy version: Quality men don’t like being vulnerable either, but once in a while, they’ll let it happen. This typically takes place with the woman they love, because they have allowed themselves to trust her not to hurt them, something that takes real courage.
Hollywood version: He knows the answers just in time. He may occasionally get it wrong, but not before it can be fixed, usually in two hours or less.
Bad boy version: He knows the answers, and if they’re wrong, he’ll blame someone else. He finds that it just works better that way. If he happens not to have a solution, he’ll simply ignore the problem until it disappears. He includes women in his list of problems.
Good guy version: He likes having answers too, but accepts that nobody has them all. He’ll actively seek information to figure out solutions for elusive problems. If his attempt doesn’t succeed, he’ll look for another action that does. Phrases like, “I don’t know,” “I misjudged,” and “What do you think?” are part of his vocabulary and he’s not afraid to use them.
Hollywood version: Car chases, spontaneous or extravagant gestures, and sudden revelations are hallmarks of star quality excitement. So are cataclysmic explosions.
Bad boy version: Since car chases and wanton destruction tend to be too impractical, he’ll settle for dramatic romantic gestures alternating with verbal explosions or forays into bad behavior. Alcohol, drugs, infidelity, or crime may liven things up for him (and create plenty of excitability) in his relationship, too.
Good guy version: Good guys find excitement in having great mental rapport with their family and friends. For that extra burst of adrenaline, they turn off the television and spend time on their hobbies or exercising their power (see above.)
Hollywood version: He knows when to shape up and pay attention. He listens when he needs to, even if he ignored what should have been obvious. He does this because he happens to be very good at recognizing subtle cues, and might have a penchant for mind-reading.
Bad boy version: He’s highly alert to others’ perceived wrongdoings, but his inability to be vulnerable prevents him from accurately seeing his own. In other words, he’s a moody SOB who is sensitive to his needs, but not his partner’s. He appears to listen when he needs to, which is usually right after his girlfriend has stomped out the door, maybe never to return. In his case, listening translates into change for as much as two or three weeks, if she’s lucky.
Good guy version: He pays attention to his partner’s needs almost as much as his own. (Sorry, ladies, but we all have a bit of self-interest that will never go away!) It doesn’t mean he will do things her way, but he’ll have a clear understanding of what she says she wants, and will accommodate her whenever practical to do so. When he thinks she’s being unreasonable, he’ll offer a solution that he hopes will meet both of their needs well enough to call it good.
For star quality love, women can learn to distinguish between genuinely good men who will treat them well and bad ones who fake these desirable characteristics and will never be able fully commit to a nurturing, loving relationship that grows closer over time.
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Category: Men & Dating