You know how you're attracted to rebels? Turns out men have a similar problem.
- Justin DeMarco, BettyConfidential.comPete is the guy women should want to marry. He's well-educated, handsome, funny and has made the world his playground, with the stamps on his passport to prove it. But the longest relationship on this 37-year-old bachelor's resume is one year. The native New Yorker somehow manages to find all of the wrong women in all the right places.
"I've dated lots of girls who are trouble," Pete says. "And 'trouble' can mean she's still married or going through a divorce that's not quite over… I've had it all. One girl had a violent, estranged boyfriend who was still paying for the apartment she lived in. That was just bad news. I don't know how I meet these girls."
Pete's dating life is the equivalent of the movie Groundhog Day. He meets a bad girl, dates her, breaks up with her, and then starts the cycle all over again. "Maybe I cause this to happen because I keep dating the same type of person over and over," he says.
The bad girls in Pete's life aren't the street-corner types Donna Summer sang about way back when. The bad girls Pete has come to know so well seem to be normal. They're attractive, intelligent, etc. but then all of a sudden - after a few months or maybe even a couple of dates - they open up like Pandora's Box and let their personal problems and intimacy issues ruin the relationship.
The other defining characteristic of bad girls is that they're inconsistent. Flirty one minute and distant the next. The type of girl who talks all week about how excited she is to have dinner with a guy but then sends him a text message at 7:50 p.m. saying she can't make an 8 o'clock dinner. Ouch.
But if that girl knows how to play the game - when to seduce her man and when to let him long for her - she's got it made. She'll have whatever she wants from the guy whenever she wants. It's the reason guys rip on this type of girl to their guy friends, but secretly wish they were with her instead.
As David, a 24-year-old producer, points out, men like to work for a woman's affection and respect independent, self-sufficient woman. "Some guys want a challenge," he says. "It's like a video game. The more a girl flakes or the guy feels like he's failing, the more he keeps coming back. There may be lots of obstacles along the way, but there's lots of satisfaction in the end if it works out."
The "if it works out," is the key part of David's theory - since all too often it doesn't. As much as bad girls keep us on our toes, they also seem to need us in a way that women who have their act together don't. They let us be rebellious and prove that we can make our own decisions and draw our own conclusions. But when the thrill of the chase wears off, and we're caught in a continuous cycle of pursue-and-rescue, we're left with someone who probably isn't really longterm-relationship material - and even more likely, a broken heart. Sound familiar, ladies?
Drew, who's tried being nice and naughty when it comes to bad girls (and has still ended up getting his fingers burned and his self-respect crushed), claims he has the solution for all the Petes out there when it comes to finding Miss Right.
"The key is to find a girl in the middle," the 23-year-old says. "To quote the rapper Ludacris, 'You want a lady in the streets and a freak in the bed.'"
That is, unless, she's sharing that bed with lots of other men. Then just bolt.
Tell us: Do you date bad boys?
Justin DeMarco is a New York City-based writer. He co-wrote Hockey: The Musical with Rick Wilson, which premiered at the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2008.
To read more from BettyConfidential:
Your Dating Toolkit
Should Women Settle for Mr. Good Enough?
- What We Learned From Men's Magazines in February