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The Allure of Bad Boys

cartoon-bad_boy_navy1-300x289Why do women fall for bad boys?

My students ask that question all the time.

Michael Kimmel, who studies men, asked his women students to choose between the charming rouge, Rhett Butler and dependable Ashley Wilkes.

Do I have to choose?

They groaned.

Are those my only choices?

They pled.

Because the women liked — and disliked — characteristics of both.

Forced to choose Read the rest of this entry

Bad Boy Allure

bad-boy-clubI don’t understand the girls here. They say they want men to be emotionally responsive and sensitive, that they want us to be good listeners and really caring. So I’ve become all that. I’m a really good friend, a good listener, sensitive, and all the rest. And they all want to go out with these macho assholes! I don’t get it! What do women want?

Sociologist, Michael Kimmel, is an expert on men and masculinity. He says this is the question guys ask him most often.

Turns out, certain negative traits are associated with a rise in both men’s and women’s popularity. Remember the “mean girls” who top the high school pecking order?

Luckily, what makes “bad boys” and “mean girls” appealing isn’t their badass-ness. Good guys and gals can actually copy a few benign “bad boy” traits and become both desired and pleasant.

Social research, as reported by The Good Men Project, finds that personality traits named the “dark triad” are correlated with physical attractiveness.

  1. Narcissism – defined as an overly developed sense of self-worth and entitlement matched with intense egotism.
  2. Machiavellianism – defined by the person’s reliance on manipulation to get what he or she desires without regard to others as well as a cynical dismissal of morality as “for other people.”
  3. Psychopathy – a loaded term; it doesn’t refer to a violent maniac, but to someone defined by reckless thrill-seeking, selfishness, lack of remorse and affect and a certain level of superficial charm.

makeup_differenceTurns out, narcissism is most associated with being found beautiful. But it’s not the narcissism that matters. Rather, ego-centric folks just carry themselves with confidence and adorn themselves in the latest styles.

Researchers took pictures of a few “dark triad” types along with pics of a few “normal” folks. In one picture everyone dressed in their usual clothing. In another everyone wore plain clothing and hairstyles, and no makeup.

Narcissists were deemed more attractive than others when dressed in their usual fashionable ways. But in the “plain” photos they seemed no more alluring than anyone else.

Looks like all you need is confidence and decent fashion sense – or someone who can help you with fashion sense — to come across as more appealing. And in fact, you’ll have an edge over the bad boys and mean girls because the “Dark Triad” make great first impressions but most people run away once they get to know them.

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