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Why do women always fall for the bad boy?

Is the excitement and mystery of being with a bad boy worth the heartache? Or should you simply deem this phase as rebellious and move on?

Through time immemorial bad boys are known to leave a trail of teary-eyed women with broken hearts behind them. Remember Brad Pitt in Fight Club or Ryan Gosling in the more recent Crazy, Stupid Love? Truth be told, women dig jerks. Its true, right? Despite their actions, women cannot resist their charm. It’s a classic case of liking everything that is wrong for you. You know you desire that ecstasy and we’re all guilty of this fact.

Says psychiatrist Anita Peters, “Bad boys, as we like to call them, may or may not be involved in a number of things like drinking, smoking, excessive partying and women. Every woman would like to fill her life with excitement, and a man who keeps a girl on her toes gives her just that…and more. Ask a girl who’s slept with a ‘bad boy!’ However, a bad boy’s allure is limited. It might even end at just being a childish fantasy.”

According to a recent survey, the thrill of being with someone who lives on the wild side has a lot of women chasing after these bad boys. Breaking out of the mundane, monotonous life, women often go out looking for some drama to spice up their lives.

“I dated this amazing guy when I was 20. He’d buy me flowers and gifts, we’d have some amazing conversations, it was a very nice, relaxed relationship. I broke up with him because he was too nice. Everything was too easy with him. There was no thrill. I know I broke his heart but I wanted someone a little more exciting.” says Richa Tripathi, 23, economics graduate.

Be it the confident air that they exude or believing in living life on the edge, on their own terms and conditions, there is something dangerously desirable about these men. Says Corine Rao, psychologist who studies sexuality and behavior, “Sarcasm, unpredictability and jerk-like behavior all trigger strange emotions in women. It might be because of low self-esteem or a need for thrill and excitement or even some deep rooted issues since childhood.”

Converting a serial playboy into a loving, homely man is also a challenge most women look forward to. The risk of getting to know them, seeing what they can potentially do in bed and how their lives would pan out with them seems to have a strong pull on women.

However, the many elements of society, films and media as well as upbringing have ingrained a certain thought process in our heads. A ‘bad boy’ may not even consider himself a bad boy nor may he dress up like a douche bag, he may in fact be your friendly neighbor who is well groomed and charming. A bad boy, in most cases would think of himself as a regular guy. “A lot of characteristics of a bad boy are subjective. For me, a bad boy doesn’t have to be someone who wears skull tattoos or smokes and parties all night. The element of mystery and danger sets him apart for me.” Says Anshika Verma, 29.

Even though the charm and popularity of a bad boy is desirable, it may not be long lasting. Adds Anita “Despite their many attractions, women would eventually settle for someone more stable or at least a sweet mix of both. As cliche as this sounds, nice guys don’t finish last.”

‘Why is she with him? He’s bad news.’ Despite the constant refrain, the proclivity towards bad men has a strong hold on most women. Says psychologist Ananya Singh, who studies human behavior “Girls who go for bad boys tend to avoid deep emotion of any sort and often steer clear of any emotional connect whatsoever. For them it may just start and end with having a fun time.”

Experts believe that this affinity towards bad boys may often stem from childhood experiences. Verbal and emotional abuse may be one of the important reasons. The dark traits translate back to the need-for-thrill factor. “I don’t think many girls want a long term commitment from such relationships. Its more of a ‘let loose and have some fun’ or succumbing to one’s nurturing tendencies” says graphic designer Stella Paul.

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