I've never been attracted to "nice" guys. From the time I started dating, all through my teens, college, 20's, and now into my early 30's, it's the bad boy I've always wanted. Granted, I have dated nice guys; I even married one. But for the majority of my dating years, there was always something special about the guy that wasn't so nice. I can't tell you what, because I don't know. I've always thought it might be some desire in me to "fix" him, to make him nice, because in my experiences, the bad guy was missing his nice qualities due to a rocky past or a family life that with some dark secrets. I wanted to save him; I wanted to save all the bad guys. You probably know what I'm talking about.
We've all heard time and time again that "nice guys finish last," and it appears to be true. The University of Rochester, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya in Israel each conducted studies to see if they could finally find the "possible mechanism" that makes women just so indifferent to nice men on first meetings, yet so gung-go about dudes who don't give them the time of day. What did they find? Not surprisingly, things are still inconclusive:
"While the studies shed some light on why men find responsive women more sexually desirable… researchers are still unsure why women are less sexually attracted to responsive strangers than men." Well then.
But what was reconfirmed was that while men found women who paid attention to them and responded to them to be attractive, women were actually turned off by such behavior from guys; their possible sexual desire was just killed right there on the spot. Pay attention to us, and we're all, "Meh… where's the dude who's going to ignore me?"
Lead researcher, Gurit Birnbaum, suggested that we might act this way because we perceive that niceness in a negative light, "as inappropriately nice and manipulative (i.e., trying to obtain sexual favors) or eager to please, perhaps even as desperate." Desperation is never attractive and if we feel that a man's kindness is just so he can get us into bed, then of course we’re going to snub, then eventually reject them. You can't blame a woman for wanting to protect herself.
I asked relationship expert Dina Colada, author of How to Stop Being a Doormat & Get the Love You Want, her take on the matter. From what Colada has witnessed in her profession, self-esteem plays a big part in why women may turn away from attentive, sweet guys.
"Everyone has low self-esteem to some degree, and in a woman's mind she might be saying to herself, 'I really want a great guy to hitch up with,' but the subconscious part of her brain is running the show. This old programming sabotages her actions and makes her think she's not worthy of a good relationship. When the conscious and subconscious parts of the brain aren't synced up she says she wants a good relationship, but doesn't believe she deserves a good relationship. Believing you are worthy of love is the first step to getting the love that you want," she says.
Laurel House, of Screwing the Rules, has found that for other women steering away from nice guys could be the confusion between their "needs" and "wants."
"At the beginning of the relationship while feelings are being formed, that open and complete generosity of self [from a nice guy] can feel needy, suffocating, and 'trying too hard.' Women have to get to a point when they realize that she will never be happy if she always gets what she wants, but if she starts focusing on her needs, she will also find that she gets what she wants. And that's when the good guy wins,” says House.
She also points out that women want masculine men, because it makes us feel more feminine and therefore more desirable. Birnbaum, too, suggested that this might be the case and that women may perceive a nice guy who's paying attention to them in a respectful way as being "vulnerable and less dominant." Sadly, these two traits don't bode well with a lot of women, according to research.
I think after this latest series of studies, we can finally conclude that we'll never really know what the hell goes on in a woman's brain, especially when it comes to love and lust. We're far too complicated and high-tech to be figured out, and isn't that a good thing? For us, it is anyway. Men, relationship experts, and scientists will always have their theories, but being the mysterious creature that is a woman is kinda fun. Let's keep the mystery alive, OK?