Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why Nice Guys Finish Last

ABC News recently ran a story offering a biological explanation for why women often choose "bad boys" over "nice guys."
Why Nice Guys Finish Last

New Research Points to Biological Reason Why Girls Like Bad Boys

ABC News Medical Unit

Ricky Menezes, a 22-year-old from Marlborough, Mass., says he knows he will hook up with "about 20 girls" in the next month.

nice guy
New research suggests that bad boys may indeed beat nice guys when it comes to getting female attention.
(Getty/ABC News)

How does he know this, you ask? Ricky knows this because he's what we call a "bad boy" -- the type of guy who knows exactly how to act, what to say and how to manipulate women into giving him what he wants.

"It all started in high school," Ricky said. "I started being the outgoing, crazy, funny kid that everyone thought was fun and wanted to hang out with."

After being validated by his peers in high school, Ricky said he has more or less mastered the art of being a bad boy, and has done so with one overriding goal in mind -- sexual conquest.

"I don't pretend to be anything I'm not," Ricky said. "I'm honest and outspoken. I say that I'm just looking to hook up. ... I'm not afraid to go for it, and I rarely get rejected.

"Oh, and I'm in a band. You have to be in a band. Girls love guys in bands," he added.

Most everyone knows -- or at least knows of -- a stereotypical "bad boy" like Ricky. The guy with such high self-esteem he could aptly be called a narcissist. The guy who wins women over with deceit, callousness and impulsive behavior. Basically, the type of guy who resembles a real-life version of Hugh Grant's character in "Bridget Jones' Diary."

The success of Ricky and so many other "bad boys" with women seems to add weight to the popular saying "good guys finish last."

And there might be more than just a grain of truth in these mantras about bad boys; new research suggests they might actually be attracting more women than their "nicer" counterparts.

The Positive Side of Negative Traits

Researchers at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces gave 200 college students personality tests to see how many of what psychologists call "dark triad traits" they possessed. These traits include callousness, impulsive behavior, extroversion, narcissism and various other anti-social traits for which "bad boys" are known.

The researchers also asked about the student's sex lives, their feelings about sexual relationships, their number of sexual partners, and what they are seeking in sexual or romantic relationships.

According to Peter Jonason, lead study investigator, although society tends to look down upon these "negative" dark triad personality traits, there seems to be quite an upside to being a bad boy.

"We would traditionally consider these dark triad traits to be adverse personality traits, and we think women would avoid these kinds of men, but what we show is counterintuitive -- that women are attracted to these bad boys and they do pretty well in terms of sheer numbers of sexual partners," Jonason explained. "They're taking quantity over quality as their sexual agenda, being serially monogamous and having multiple partners or one-night stands."

Jonason compared the type of "dark triad bad boy" that the study refers to as a modern-day James Bond figure -- a man with little empathy for others, a penchant for fast cars and even faster women, and a seeker of short-term rather than long-term goals -- especially concerning the opposite sex.

And because these characters appear in this study to be successful at achieving their short-term goals -- which, in this case, is a short-term sexual relationship -- Jonason believes such character traits have persevered in so many people because they seem to be evolutionarily successful.

"Dark triad traits are useful in pursuing our agendas at any given time," Jonason explained. "If you like someone and want to meet them and date them, people who have the dark triad traits appear to be more successful at facilitating short-term mating."

Jonason validated this point with a comparison to the popular VH1 show "The Pick-Up Artist," wherein nerdy, nice guys meet with a typical bad boy to learn how to pick up more of these dark triad traits -- and also more women.

Read the rest of this article.

The article goes on to point out that nice guys often win out in the end.

From my perspective, there is no reason men can't embody self-confidence, assertiveness, and a fierce sense of living and still be compassionate, empathic, and emotionally intelligent. Why should it be either/or?


Danny Fisher said...

From my perspective, there is no reason men can't embpody self-confidence, assertiveness, and a fierce sense of living and still be compassionate, empathic, and emotionally intelligent. Why should it be either/or?

Hear, hear!

Anonymous said...

I second what Danny said!

Anonymous said...

I think I always fell for the bad boys, part if it was, looking back, I didn't know the nice guys were interested....there is something to be said for assertiveness. I am really happy to have a nice guy now, I couldn't settle down with a bad boy, I couldn't trust him.