Do Nice Guys Lose & Bad Boys Win?

by Danelle on May 26, 2011 · 6 comments

A recent study published by the American Psychological Association on Tuesday found that women are more attracted to men who look shameful, brooding or prideful and that men who smile are actually seen as less attractive:

Women find happy men less sexually attractive than those with expressions that show pride or hint that they have done wrong and know it, according to Canadian researchers….In a man, a big smile may make him appear too feminine or more desperate for sex.

Although the reasons for why this is true are disputed, one thing can be sure: many women are attracted to bad boys. Further, this is not a new phenomenon.  Going all the way back to nineteenth century literature, we can find examples of bad boys getting the girl. Lord Byron introduced the “Byronic Hero,” who has all the qualities the study mentions, and authors like Charlotte Bronte along with her sister, Emily, popularized the “attractive bad boy” in their fiction. Take Mr. Rochester from C. Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre.  Rochester is moody, demanding, has a big secret, and he is not  even the most handsome guy. He is brooding, passionate, and tortured. He is a beast, yet Jane Eyre falls madly for him and tries to tame his beastly nature. The same goes for Heathcliff in E. Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. He has a tortured past as an orphan, a predominant cruel streak, and is a loner, but is desperately in love with Catherine, the main character. Though the ending has a sad and unexpected twist, it is clear that Catherine loves Heathcliff despite his beastly behavior.

If you think about it, the thought of taming a beastly man is enchanting, and pop culture took that thought and ran with it. I could go on and on about the bad boys of today: James Dean, Edward Cullen from Twilight, Bender from The Breakfast Club, Danny from Grease, Spike from Buffy, and Fonzie from Happy Days are just a few of the many examples of beastly/tortured/bad boy/brooding men that attract women. (Also see: “Dude Watching with the Brontes”)

Nice guys, are you still reading this? I am sure all this talk of “bad boys” is a bit demoralizing, but I have an important piece of information for you:

Women may be attracted to bad boys, but women fall in love with men who smile, joke, are nice, well-mannered, and treat them well. Those are the relationships that last long term, says the study, and many women will attest to that from experience. No matter how enticing the bad boy is, the nice guy will get the girl in the real world.

See? Nice guys do win.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth May 26, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Danelle…great post!!! What an interesting study, and nice guys..I agree with danelle…you win!!

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Bryant May 26, 2011 at 7:57 pm

I agree with the behavioral analysis. I think that one of the problems that postmodernist feminism–as opposed to modernist feminism which was focused on some more legitimate issues such as voting, owning property, inheritance–brought in with its female chauvinism is the idea, and current status quo, that strong-willed men who stand for righteousness are male chauvinists and are socially unacceptable. The man has then two options: be a nice guy so as to remain just and good, or be the bad boy who lives life on the edge and does manly things but keeps his emotional distance from women (even if he doesn’t mind not keeping physical distance) so as to not appear to be socially participating as a male chauvinist. I despise both of these options and want to bring back the third option. The strong, masculine, daring and courageous man who must fight battles and yet participates socially by wedding himself to a beautiful woman and forming an unbreakable bond with her for life. This is the idea of the gentleman that is gaining significant rise in interest recently, from NeW’s Gentleman’s Showcase to popular websites/blogs like Art of Manliness (artofmanliness.com). I think this country is longing for that gentleman and is tired of the nice guy/bad boy dichotomy.

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Bob June 9, 2011 at 7:31 am

“Women may be attracted to bad boys, but women fall in love with men who smile, joke, are nice, well-mannered, and treat them well. Those are the relationships that last long term, says the study, and many women will attest to that from experience. No matter how enticing the bad boy is, the nice guy will get the girl in the real world.”

Danelle, the nice guy may get the girl in the real world only after the bad boys are through with her and she has been reduced to a man-hating soulless shell of her former self. A shell who will blame all men and particularly the nice guy she marries for her emotional state.

In the real world, nice guys do finish last. There is a reason why that statement is a cliche.

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David April 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

“Women may be attracted to bad boys, but women fall in love with men who smile, joke, arenice, well-mannered, and treat them well”- They dont fall in love. They pretend to fall in love so that the guy doesnt feel he is being used. In reality, women wish they could have married the bad boys if only they had money or didnt chuck them after sleeping with them or didnt chase after other girls.

“Those are the relationships that last long term, says the study, and many women will attest to that from experience.”- last? For how long? First they force them into marrying them. Then they change by nagging the life out of nice guys. Most them cheat or divorce their nice bf or hubby and screw them for alimony or child support (possibily for childrens that arent his in the first place).

Nice guys dont just finish last. They never win

I agree with Bob.

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David April 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

“Women may be attracted to bad boys, but women fall in love with men who smile, joke, arenice, well-mannered, and treat them well”- They dont fall in love. They pretend to fall in love so that the guy doesnt feel he is being used. In reality, women wish they could have married the bad boys if only they had money or didnt chuck them after sleeping with them or didnt chase after other girls.

“Those are the relationships that last long term, says the study, and many women will attest to that from experience.”- last? For how long? First they force them into marrying them. Then they change by nagging the life out of nice guys. Most them cheat or divorce their nice bf or hubby and screw them for alimony or child support (possibily for childrens that arent his in the first place).

Nice guys dont just finish last. They never win.

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brian October 29, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Nice guys? We are at the end of the list, unless a battery needs jumping, a ride is needed, or some other favor from a friend.
Bad ass boys win. Nice guys learn way too late about this.

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