Thought Catalog
June 28, 2011

On Girls Who Only Like Jerks

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What is the issue?
The idea that ‘women only like assholes’, or ‘women don’t like nice guys’ is somewhat fallacious. As previously established here, most people who complain that they don’t get laid because they are ‘too nice’ have problems of their own. That a woman would somehow not like a man who was kind and treated her with respect is absurd on its face, and yet there is in fact a strain of female, that while much narrower than aggrieved supposed ‘nice guys’ believe, consistently prefers a man who treats her like shit.

For the purposes of this article, ‘treats her like shit’ is defined by any or all of the following: Imposes upon her for repeated favors including but not limited to financial loans, free meals and car rides which he does not reciprocate tangibly or otherwise and to which he feels categorically entitled; is evasive about the ‘terms’ of the relationship, eluding discussions about sexual loyalty or future prospects; is detached or disaffected, refusing to demonstrate warmth or affection (particularly in public); is perpetually ‘going through something’ that requires an indefinite period of unusual distance on the part of the woman while he ‘figures out his shit’ (where ‘shit’ usually involves an ex-girlfriend, one or more other women or a destructive habit), or is belittling/demeaning to her and/or others.

When women in such situations are prompted to discuss or define their relationship preferences, which is inevitable given they are liable to have frequently-unstable relationships, difficulty meeting men they think are ‘right’ or ‘good enough’, or friends who will ask them ‘what the fuck are you doing with that guy,’ the woman is likely to say something like ‘I don’t know, I don’t like nice guys’ or ‘I don’t like people who are too available’ or ‘I don’t know, I’m just attracted to assholes’, with one or more statements punctuated by a very particular breed of unsteady laughter that sounds like self-awareness or confidence punctuated by resignation or uncertainty.

When pressed, girls who like assholes often struggle to explain why they continually enter relationships defined by negative patterns or pursue men defined by their unavailability, proffering feeble definitions like ‘I can’t really explain it’ or ‘that’s just how I am’ or ‘he’s just so hot’. Still others have developed elaborate theories of self to enforce their perpetual preference for bad people in order to present a front of careful thought and self-knowledge that rationalizes their problematic choices.

The quintessential problem within this paradigm is that the woman claims she ‘likes’ a certain man or type of man, yet she usually appears troubled in her relationships, other areas of her personal life suffer in the pursuit of a confusing, unstable or unavailable individual, or she continually complains to her friends about her non-relationship relationships, her perpetual single status, the challenges of her ‘high standards’ or the mistreatment she is receiving at the hands of an asshole to whom she is nonetheless continually loyal. Therefore the qualitative evaluation ‘likes’ is inherently incorrect, as ‘likes’ implies ‘takes pleasure in’ and such women always appear to be miserable.

If you are a woman plagued by friends who are constantly annoyed by your relationship drama, who keeps choosing guys who lead you to wonder if you will ever have a stable partnership, or if you have ever said ‘I don’t like guys who are too nice’, you should perform the following steps:

Step One: As previously established, many people employ ‘too nice’ as a synonym for any of the following: a doormat, a pussy, a person with a void of self-assertiveness or social skills, a creepster who lingers around waiting on attention or recognition, or a person with poor self-esteem, none of which are attractive qualities. Nobody likes those people.  Ask yourself whether you are able to differentiate between those people and people who actually have an abundance of genuine kindness and interest in you. You may be rejecting men in the latter group based on the assumption that they are part of the first group. If you are, you may have limited exposure to actual kindness, making your ability to differentiate between people who genuinely care for you and people who are weak or have creeper agendas poor. Perform an honest self-evaluation to see whether you can actually define a person who is ‘nice’ against a person who is simply a creeper.

During your honest and thorough personal inventory, ask yourself the following questions: Have you found yourself in repeated situations wherein you rely fearlessly on your male friends only to feel disappointed and betrayed when they finally confess they have ‘developed feelings’, transforming the friendship into a confusing minefield of guilt and obligation? Is it easier to avoid this confusing minefield of guilt and obligation by choosing as romantic partners people who are immediately identifiable as ‘assholes’ so that ‘at least you know what you’re getting into?’

If so, your selection matrix for male friends is problematic. Be advised that when you choose male friends because they are ‘sooooo sweet’ and ‘would do anything for you’, your selection matrix is somewhat selfish and tends to attract people who are going to expect something in return. You may also be pre-judging people based on a bipolar matrix that prematurely relegates some men to ‘romance zone’ versus ‘friend zone’, an unfairly reductive way to evaluate people. Stop categorizing men upon first meeting them and evaluate each individual on their own traits and merits before determining the role they are going to play in your life.

However, if you have performed your truthful personal inventory and determined that you have no problem defining genuine kindness nor do your romantic choices particularly correlate to your friendship choices in any way, move onto Step Two.

Step Two: One commonly-held belief of women who find themselves accused of liking assholes is that it’s not that they prefer bad people, it’s that people who are ‘available’ are unattractive and that they prefer some ‘discovery process’. But ‘availability’ doesn’t mean ‘flossing teeth together in shitty pajamas on 2nd date’. You may be the sort of person who is attracted to the drama that comes from someone playing head games with you. Similar but related: You may be immature, in which case your solution is simple: Grow the fuck up.

You may also be conflating arrogance with confidence. If you have performed your honest personal evaluation and determined that you understand what the adjectives ‘available’ and ‘confident’ mean, and that you are not immature or that your immaturity is not the primary problem, move on to Step 3.

Step 3: Perform an honest personal evaluation to determine the role looks play in your selection of men to pursue or with whom to engage. Are you picking guys who are ‘really hot’? One problem with extremely attractive men is that society and other women have taught them what a commodity they are. As such, they are accustomed to earning the interest of a number of women simultaneously without having to apply any effort to the condition, and their skills at courtship, trust-earning and sex are likely to have atrophied as a result (if you find yourself saying things like ‘I don’t know why I put up with him, the sex isn’t even that good’, this may be the case for you).

Further, ‘really hot’ guys don’t often date women who would be considered to be as high on the hotness scale as they are. This is because their hotness has made them fundamentally insecure and in perpetual fear of being unworthy on the inside, so they ‘aim lower’ than they think they deserve.  This presents a twofold problem: First, you are likely to feel excited or special that this particularly good-looking male selected you and not, like, some model or something.

Second, your gratitude and subservience to his good looks and visible sexuality (you may only realize after the relationship ends that the sex was not nearly as good the partner’s exciting looks made you convince yourself it was) will lead you to forgive behavior that you would not tolerate from someone who was closer to your physical ‘level’. The asshole you are dating is well aware that you ‘feel lucky to be with him’ and may have even selected you in order to engineer a power dynamic whereby he is always dominant and/or in control.

Mutual attraction is essential to a healthful relationship, of course, but if you are placing inappropriate weight on looks you are simply setting yourself up for an unrewarding scenario on several levels. If you have performed your thorough and truthful personal inventory and determined that looks do not play an inappropriately-large role in your partner or potential partner selection, move onto Step 4.

Step 4: You are addicted to drama, want other people to control you, have bad self esteem, suffer from advanced ‘daddy issues’, any or all of the above. You should go to therapy, not only so you feel better, but because your friends aren’t being paid to keep hearing about all of your combustible relationships.

Disclaimer: Still not a therapist, and article is pretty much a joke. Because I totally love assholes, so I shouldn’t be talking. TC mark

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