Why Girls Go For Jerks

In which the contributor attempts to explain why females respond to jerks in social settings. It does not address why females stay in relationships with jerks that treat them terribly — that’s for Oprah to handle — nor does it wish to maintain that what is written below is specific to all females.

The “What’s a Jerk?” Theory

Ask a girl why girls always go for jerks and she’ll say, “Hey! We do not!” Ask a guy and he’ll say, “Ugh, yeah, what’s with that?!

The first issue may be that some girls don’t know a jerk when they see one. Society (read: reality TV) has drawn a confusing line between what a man is supposed to be — successful, strong, commanding — and what a jerk usually is — a condescending chauvinist. So it sort of makes sense that in a one’s search for the manliest man she can find, pieces of jerk slip in. I’m reluctant to argue that an attraction to a dude burping the alphabet is rooted in an evolutionary belief that he’ll be a suitable provider, but apparently, that’s (part of) what’s up.

The Low Attention / No Attention Theory

For some, negative attention is better than no attention at all. If this is the case, insults and jerk-tendencies are translated into actual conversation and flirting.

Girls Like A Challenge (Fact, Not Theory)

Cliche as it is, there’s something about the whole thrill of the challenge. Weak girls go for jerks because they like attention. Strong girls go for jerks because they like the “game.” It’s fun to have to work for it — to take part in that delicate tango of wit and banter that signifies this person wants to play and is probably good in bed.

But as the saying goes, it’s all fun and games until fun and games outweigh logic. When that happens, girls end up wanting to win for winning’s sake and forget to consider what they’re winning.

The Only-I-Can-Break-Him Theory

Solving problems will make anyone feel good/ impressive/ worthwhile. Applied to dating jerks, the logic is as follows: if he’s a jerk, he needs reform. If I can help him reform, I’ll a) prove he really likes me (worth its weight in abuse) and b) make him indebted to me and my Dr. Drew-like ways. All I have to do is unlock his potential. And, even better, if he’s a jerk to everyone but me, I’ll have something no one else has ever had, meaning he really, really likes me.


One could make the argument that if girls stopped responding to jerks, then guys would stop behaving like jerks. Perhaps some kind of protest-style movement would do the trick? People Against Guys Who Are Jerks? Or maybe we should come to appreciate the silver lining in the girls + jerks mystery. Once all the idiots pair up with the jerks it’ll make it a lot easier for the sane, kind women and men to find each other. TC mark

image – My So-Called Life


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  • itsybliss

    “…girls end up wanting to win for winning’s sake and forget to consider what they’re winning.”

    I needed to hear that, thank you!

    • Guest

      I’m a girl, and this is true

  • Anonymous

    if everyone was a slut (men and women) we wouldn’t have these issues

  • kmn


    ^ but yes, to the comment above. Also really needed to hear that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    Being a jerk just isn’t in my nature.  I can’t help it.  That’s why I’m always just the lovable friend.  

  • SuperCollegian

    So when will the “Guys Like Bitches” Thesis debut?

  • hot boy

    Conclusion: Girls are utterly insane (no offence to all the loveable sprouters out there, you girls are alright, but I don’t know about the others).

  • http://tesslacoil.tumblr.com Tesslacoil

    Ugh, TC is getting shitty again. See you in a couple weeks.

    • Anonymous

      you must be one of those bitches that plays the game just to play the game

  • emma

    just to clarify, i like guys who burp the alphabet because it’s hilarious/all that i aspire to.  NOT because it means they are jerks. 

    • tombo

      the other night i was out with a couple of girls and we were talking about burping when one of them asked me to burp the abc’s for her.  two days later we had sex. i’d never met a girl who liked burping before. i hope to meet more.

  • notgabydunn

    but then why do i want to date/bang/marry josh gondelman so bad?

  • http://twitter.com/Nadiaaa87 Nadia

    ok most “nice guys” have all it wrong. for one, they likely have low self esteem and its draining feeding someone’s ego 24/7. secondly, they are usually just “nice” to US and how genuine is someone who is just nice to the girl they are pursuing? most girls want someone who is a nice person all around, meaning they are nice to their family, their friends, to the random waiter at the restaurant, etc. Find us one of those and we won’t pick the jerks. 

    • http://twitter.com/mung_beans Mung Beans

      yeah, most dudes who bitch about how nice they are and how women want jerks are just jerks who don’t know it

  • Anonymous

    Amen to the last sentence.

  • ohplease

    Jordan Catalano can’t read. 

    • Vienne H

      But he’s so dreamyyyyy!

  • kgb kgbb

    There seem to be 2 types of guys: Jerks who are bitter and treat everyone like crap, and nice guys who want to get married if you even talk to them.  I’ve yet to find a middle ground in them.

  • Anonymous


  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    Seems like the options are limited to either “straight up jerks” or “nice guys with twee quirks”. Both are  depressing.

    • a girl

      i found the middle ground…and he’s great :)

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity


  • Guest

    Wu Tang is for the children.

  • http://twitter.com/mung_beans Mung Beans

    I’ve only dated super nice dudes

  • Anonymous

    Wait, did we really need another one of these dangerously-close-to-self-subjugating essays? It makes everyone involved with this look like an ass.

  • Katherine Speller

    This is a really interesting way of blaming a woman for their being treated poorly by the men in their lives. 

    How about this? Girls (guys too!) will date whomever they are physically and emotionally attracted to at the time and the rest of the world will stop trying to tell them that they are dating the wrong person (or god forbid the wrong “type” of person).  She is going to figure it out for herself eventually, or not; that’s sort of how the whole dating thing works. 

    Jump off the self-righteous “nice-guy” ship now. It doesn’t work that way. Life doesn’t work that way. Whoever came up with this “girls only like jerks and ignore nice guys” shtick was a raging misogynist and deserves a lifetime of nights alone with his hand.

    • Jaksldfjlksadfjkl

      this is a fabulous comment!

  • Guest

    Girls go for guys who are hot. But when a hot guy notices that he’s getting a lot of girls, he gets an ego the size of Texas, and therefore becomes a jerk. Girls still go for him ’cause he’s hot. Simple as that.

  • Guest

    I’m a girl; this does not apply.

  • Aghlksfjlkasdfjlkasfd

    how about “why I go for jerks,” or “why I go for [insert your favorite characteristics of guy here],” instead of a title that generalizes across all girls? 

    sorry but it needed to be said……….many people around me don’t know and understand themselves, so they find it hard to know and understand others. this piece is quite an example. there are no “nice guys,” there are no “sluts,” just people who feel the need to generalize and label others….. I did it when I was young….. it comes with maturity

    .02 ……..just sayn………….hopefully this sparks introspection within someone reading this blog. 

    • Dsklasdjfklsajdklfagain

      I meant “it comes with immaturity,” not “maturity.” my bad

    • Ali

      Did you even bother to read the subheading/intro??  It specifically states this is not meant to apply to all females.

      • Blahfuckityblahblah

        did you even read the first sentence of my comment? It specifically referenced the title.

        so… stop it. <3

      • Nonymouse

        It seems to me a bit chauvinistic in itself that the author uses either the word ‘girl’ or ‘female’ (as in the subhead) but never woman, while men are always men (never ‘males’ or ‘boys.’) So women are to either be infantalized or animalized?
        While we’re making blanket generalizations: all ‘nice guys’ who complain about ‘jerks’ are in fact closet misogynists.*
        *but the author does not wish to maintain that what is written above is specific to all males.

  • Guest

    How about the jerks are more successful financially nice guys are stuck in middle management theory?

  • Carle_mae

    While there are definite all out jerks out there, most men are “nice guys” that all think each other are jerks because they’re with a girl the other likes and any single act of normal human negativity means that person is the scum of the Earth…

  • ladylovindyke

    I’m a girl who dates girls and my opinion is girls are jerks too. 

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