Why Men Seek Beauty and Women Seek 'Bad Boys'
Successful relationships mean understanding what we really need
Jessica is a smart, able, and grounded woman who has come to me seeking a match. She has her life well ordered, a strong sense of self, and a clear vision of what she wants from her career. She has approached me with the dilemmas that are all too common today: lack of time, lack of opportunity, and a small scope of potential mates. I am eager to assist. I immediately think of Alan, a kind and compassionate soul, who reads books and visits his mother twice a week. I tell Jessica of Alan. "Well, Shmuley, let's see. Kind and giving and visits his mother. Hmmm...Wednesday I really need to exfoliate the soles of my feet, but I think maybe I'm free on Thursday. Of the year 2057."
Cut to two weeks later. I have learned from my previous experience and tracked down a man with piercing in six extremities, a little black book that needs its own computerized cataloguing system, and knowledge of every dark and secret bar in the East Village and Soho. I call Jessica up and give her the run-down. "Well, I was planning to redeem that all-expenses-paid trip I won to the Bahamas--but I bet I can change the date. Can he meet me tomorrow?"
It doesn't take a relationship expert to spot the trend. It's no wonder Catherine could never give up Heathcliff. It is why Rhett would inevitably win out over Ashley. It is why Dr. Ross (George Clooney) must fight off his female patients' advances, while Dr. Green (Anthony Edwards) takes the El train home to eat Chinese takeout on a Friday night. Women like bad boys. Women have always liked bad boys. Sure, they also enjoy the company of the good guys--when they need to move boxes on a Sunday afternoon.
Conversely, I tell a man about a woman I have in mind for him. "What does she look like?" "Well, she has the heart of Mother Teresa and the mind of Marie Curie. She spent the last year building wells for children in Africa, but I wouldn't call her a beauty. Hey, where are you going?"
There is simply no denying it: Women love bad boys and men worship beauty. But why? Certainly there are numerous factors that motivate men and women in their choices of a relationship, but inevitably there is one main ingredient that makes the whole experience worthwhile. To identify this element, it is essential to look at that which men and women lack most in their individual lives.
What men lack most in life is peace. They engage in endless battles in any numbers of arenas; the gladiator pits, the stock market, the ice hockey rink, all aim to prove that a man has earned his place in the masculinity hall of fame. Studies show that male conversation always revolves around five topics: women, gadgets, sports, politics, and money. It should come as no surprise that all incorporate the three C's: conquest, competition, and conjugality.
This is not a fun thing for a guy. And indeed, it can lead to a lifetime of pain should he feel like a constant "loser" at the endless trials of manhood. Thus men seek an end to this pain, this constant pressure, the relentless evaluation. Deep down, all they really want is to be at peace.
The rate of any drug and alcohol abuse among men is nearly eight times that of women. Is it any wonder? What better way to achieve numbness, often mistaken for peace, than through drugs or alcohol? That's also why so many wives complain that when their husbands watch TV, they are "dead to the world." They want to lose themselves in the basketball game to avoid the constant pain of having to prove something.