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Women Love Bad Boys: The Psychology Behind Why Women Go For The Assh*les

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Lilliana De Ciantis

Maybe Tucker Max isn’t your specific type, but let’s face it — girls (on some level) are into bad boys. We love the chase, the challenge and the excitement that that they offer. Tucker Max is the epitome of an assh*le; he embraces his personality and leverages it to get girls. But why are we wired to be attracted to the bad boys, and more importantly, do nice guys really always finish last?

Apparently, bad boys “are a potent mix of confidence, indifference, mystery, intrigue and most importantly, excitement.” Dr. Kanan Khatau Chikhal, a clinical and health psychologist, believes that this attraction resonates with a certain kind of woman.

“Most of these women who fall for these kind of men are intimidated by the outside world,” Dr. Chikhal said. “They are shy by nature and are instantly attracted to someone who can take on the world, protect them and take care of them.”

Maybe she has a point, but many women also love the idea of being the potential force who can tame a bad boy. Obviously, this rarely happens, but hey, a girl can dream (and many do).

The University of British Columbia released a study that reported facial expressions to be the biggest indicator of one’s attractiveness. The study found that women are least attracted to men who wear happy expressions and prefer men who look proud and powerful, or moody and ashamed. For men however, the study showed completely different results. “Male participants were most sexually attracted to women who looked happy, and least attracted to women who appeared proud and confident,” it reported.

Also —a la the grass always being greener — studies have suggested that women find married men to be more attractive and more desirable than men who are available. Does this notion of unavailability transcend to the Tucker Max archetype since no woman can ever truly “have” him?

Researchers at the University of Louisville, Kentucky found that women engage in “mate copying,” which is when females copy their peers’ preferences. The research suggested that the interest in married men is related to their wedding bands. A man who wears a wedding band broadcasts to the world that he is a suitable mate, as he has been pre-filtered by someone else.

In one study, researchers surveyed 166 undergraduate college women on a fictitious potential mate named “Chris.” The women rated Chris on his level of attractiveness and were asked whether or not they would date him. Then, the women read reports from five other, fictitious women who also ranked and reported Chris on his attractiveness and whether or not they would date him.

The report found that, “a high attractiveness rating raised the women’s interest by just over a point on average compared with a low rating. But peer attention had a stronger effect, raising the average dating interest by one-and-a-half points.” Conclusively, this means that women are more interested in a man if another woman is also interested.

The researchers also measured whether or not wealth played into Chris’ level of attractiveness — they found that it had a very small effect. Half of the women were told that Chris only had the potential to earn $20,000 per year and the other half were told that Chris’s parents won $10 million and would pay him $500,000 a year. The disparity in the results was insignificant, probably because the spike in money did not affect Chris’s abilities. Women want men with a wedding band because of his marriageable qualities — skills and ambition are attractive. Inheritance isn’t impressive enough to boost raw sex appeal.

So, the belief that nice guys finish last may not always be the case. I used to deny that I fell for the bad boys, and it took me several “mistakes” to realize what I’m really looking for in a partner. Ultimately, a Tucker Max type isn’t my prince charming and it’s time for Generation-Y to defy science and wake up and realize why the Tucker Max type shouldn’t be their prince charming either.

Photo credit: 10 Things I Hate About You

Lilliana De Ciantis

Lilliana De Ciantis

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