“I don’t know if I wanted to slap him or sex him,” a frustrated friend once said to me about a new man in her life who simultaneously excited and annoyed her.
He showed up late for dates, badmouthed his ex, monopolized the conversation, showed zero interest in her hobbies, career or friends, and seemed okay with things staying that way. He also kind of had that dark, dangerous look which turned her on, so she slept with him, repeatedly, then chastised herself.
“Hey are you listening to me?” she asked in a follow-up question that came from faraway and I shook off the reel of Bad Boys that had been running through my head, from the larger-than-life Johnny Depp and Kanye West to the dirt bag my friend keeps sexing. All with one common denominator: Their cocky, edgy, emotionally elusive, machismo ways make them more desirable to women, and because they are more desirable, they get away with more shit.
“Well, what should I do? I mean, isn’t this wrong, shouldn’t I be taking the highroad or something, showing some self respect or holding out for Mr. Right or Mr. Close Enough, or whatever?” my friend rambled so unconvincingly that I took it as a sign that she didn’t really want me to agree.
“He’s your cheat meal,” I said in language I knew she’d understand because she’s working on a weight loss goal.
She high-fived me, although I’m not sure why since we both knew she wasn’t done with him yet. In general though, I think cravings fade if you don’t engage them, but who’s got the willpower to go cold turkey on everything. I also doubt that Bad boys, however pulse-racing, are sustainable anyway if you’re trying to get Somewhere Good. They wear on your nerves, self esteem and peace of mind, so it’s better to wean yourself over time.
Getting into Nice Guys, however, can be tricky if you’ve been a Bad Boy junkie. For one, it can mean developing a taste for geeky, NPR-listening or metro-sexual men and forgoing the rugged, electric, He-man energy of the Bad Boy—the confidence, the swag, the constant POV, all of it. But, it’s a trade-off with worthwhile benefits.
The good thing about Nice Guys is that, well, they’re nice. They’re also responsible, reliable, polite, thoughtful, committed, have-your-back people, and they may be more willing to step up their game to make up for the absence of sought-after Bad Boy traits.
You have to meet the Nice Guy half-way, it seems, and hunt around for acceptable substitutions to make up for the raw, organic spark ever-present with Bad Boys. Might be his smile, voice, sense of humor, intelligence, romantic nature, or even the way he chews into drumstick. He may not be able to pull off a smoldering Bad-Book look or effortlessly say cool things a lot, but there has to be SOMETHING. If you can’t unearth or manufacture the chemistry that flips on the sexual attraction switch, do everybody a favor and stay in the friendship lane, or it might come back to bite you in the ass in the form of an affair with a Bad Boy.
If you can find one or two attractive features and hype them for all they’re worth until the chemistry shows up to keep you in there long enough to get to know his heart, you may have a chance with a Nice Guy, especially if you are fed up with ALL THE DAMN DRAMA BAD BOYS BRING.
This is not to say you should give every Nice Guy a shot or that an occasional Bad Boy booster is anything to be ashamed of (or mention to anyone). A few Nice Guy buddies who I felt absolutely no sexual chemistry with surprised me by trying to flip our relationship and we subsequently drifted apart because it was just too weird not to.
Sometimes you just can’t make the leap and that big splat is too hard to clean up.
On the other hand, I have not been successful converting Bad Boy exes to friends either for entirely different reasons. One of them correctly pointed out that we were never friends in the first place. We just jumped right into relationship stuff, so how could we go back to something we never had when we’d clearly had the other thing? Maybe it’s easier to start a flame than it is to extinguish one.
We broke-up-to-make-up and got together again a few times after the “final” break up. It was monumental, then tumultuous and CRAZY, then I wanted more of him, and, come to think of it, aren’t these the sort of things crack addicts say about their habits too? We had such a supernatural chemistry that I can’t swear that if I ran into him, I wouldn’t try again because I was that into his energy and eccentricity, and the way he said my name. Still, for now, I’m off that Bad Boy stuff and seeking a Nice Guy…with a little edge.