I have an old friend that some of you may have heard of before. His name is Steve Santagati and he has had a brand for quite awhile called “Bad Boys Finish First.” Steve regularly appears on many television shows as a relationship expert and is also a New York Times Bestseller.
Steve and I get along great, but there is one obviously noticeable difference between the two of us. He says bad boys finish first, and I say the gentleman is the new bad boy – taking the place of what women want, because they are tired of the inconsistency and lack of substance that (often, not always) comes along with the bad boy type.
So when you really break it down and look at the real world, which one of us is right?
The truth is: Both of us are right.
Too often we get caught up in definitions and categories and think people have to fit into a certain mold. You “are” this, therefore you must act in this way. How limiting, though. I, for one, would never want to have my behavior restricted by the walls of a definition, would you? I understand we all have our personality types and can generally fit some pretty accurate descriptions, but we are all unique and have our own nuances to take into consideration.
That being said, the terms bad boy and nice guy are often used to describe people who are expected to act a certain way based on their definition. Bad boys are ‘supposed to be’ kind of jerks who never really treat you right, and nice guys are ‘supposed to be’ guys who are silly putty in the hands of the woman in their life, obeying her every beck and call.
Women don’t want someone who sways too far in either direction. Women want a man who is adventurous but also stable. They want a man who is going to challenge her but also support her. Who is going to empower her but also protect her. Who is going to seduce her but also respect her. A man who is going to provide for her but also not take away her independence to do so herself. A man who is going to make her feel sexy, but also make her feel safe.
The problems arise when men hear “gentleman” which leads them to think “nice guy,” which eventually for some, prompts them to act like a doormat and never gain a woman’s respect. They think being chivalrous and romantic is about dropping everything to cater to their woman’s needs, which is just not the case.
Then there are other men who take the bad boy thing too far, and are just generally apathetic towards a woman’s feelings or the relationship in general, and in all reality are just jerks. The things these people all have in common is that they are trying to fit the mold they think is what a woman wants, rather than creating their own identity based on real life experiences and their own personalities.
No woman wants a man without his own identity that she will be able to order around like a servant, she will never be able to take him seriously. Conversely, no woman wants a man who is going to be emotionally cold, harsh, and mistreat her. She will never be able to truly feel loved or appreciated.
As men, we need to keep our edge but still always remain loving and respectful. The truth is, a man who is too nice will never keep her attention in the beginning, and a man who is not nice enough will never keep her attention in the long term.
A lot of men are probably reading this thinking about how complicated it sounds – but I don’t really think it is. I think it’s relatively straightforward: Don’t be a pushover, and don’t be a jerk. Find a middle ground. Keep your pride as a man and also do what it takes to make the woman in your life happy. You are not her servant, and you are not her boss. You are her equal, her teammate, her partner in a relationship; and she needs to be able to see you that way.
You don’t have to be a bad boy or a nice guy, you can be both. Challenge her, seduce her, empower her. But also love, honor, and value her. That is what she wants.