There’s a movie opening today with the captioned title, based on a slight advice book published some years ago. Despite very lukewarm reviews, I’ll probably go see it tonight.
I never read the book, and I haven’t seen the movie yet. But the preview shows a scene where a little boy is mean and says horrendous things to a little girl at the playground. The girl runs to her mother crying, and asks why the boy is so mean. The mother, sitting on a bench with other mothers, laughs and says something like, “Oh, honey, that boy is saying mean things to you because he likes you.” The other moms all nod sagely, and the little girl gets a great expression on her face, like she’s received illumination of the mysteries that are little boys. One of the themes of the movie appears to be that one reason women are so screwed up as adults is that they were socialized to like boys that were mean to them, or at least to interpret meanness as an expression of affection.
This is a cinematic expression of the common meme in our culture that girls like bad boys, not nice guys. And I’m curious what you think about this notion. Some questions I have:
Is this a real phenomenon, or is it an overblown myth? Is it just a high school thing, or does it persist into adulthood?
When a guy writes into an advice columnist that he can’t get a date because he’s a nice guy and all the women want are bad boys, do you get the feeling that his problem isn’t really that he is a nice guy after all?
How does all of this play out in the Mormon context? Mormon girls are socialized hard to look to RMs for their early twenties amour. Of course, RMs aren’t necessarily nice guys. But have all those standards nights succeeded in selecting out from Mormon girls the desire for bad boys (assuming that that is a real phenomenon in the first place)? Or do they also prefer bad boys and just end up settling for nice RM-type guys?
The whole thing is so counterintuitive to me that I’m uncertain as to how real this phenomenon is, and to the extent it does exist I can’t really grasp it. Is there some evolutionary biological reason underlying it?
In short, what are your thoughts and experiences on the topic of women preferring bad boys over nice guys?