Why do girls like jerks? The age-old question nice guys have been asking for years has finally turned full circle. In a time when chivalry is a novelty and feminism is commonplace, women have begun to examine their own dominant role in relationships, begging the question for which Sherry Argov has titled her book, â€œWhy [do] Men Love Bitches?â€
Thatâ€™s not to say the tables have turned completely; itâ€™s just that theyâ€™ve shifted to a position where both genders can feel free to dish out the oppression.
Recently, a friend of mine named Sean invited me to eat dinner with him and his girlfriend. The dinner was as nice as a pizza joint on a Saturday night can be, but all I could think about was how he treated his girlfriend, a skinny blonde of the usual forgettable variety. Girlfriend hardly spoke unless Sean barked instructions to her from across the table. Without a secondâ€™s hesitation, he shamelessly revealed her eating disorder to me as explanation for her lack of appetite.Â
When I asked her in private why she would date someone so rude when she was obviously attractive and nice enough to date anyone she wanted, she had no response.
Seanâ€™s behavior was surely not due to sexism; he had always been more than nice to me and previous, if less attractive, girlfriends. It was simply that their relationship had formed around his dominance over her. â€œShe likes it,â€ was his reply when I commented on his treatment of Girlfriend.
Basic psychology says that men and women who repeatedly date abusive people have low self-esteem. But is domination in relationships truly a self-esteem issue? A quick look around Del Playa Drive on a weekend can prove that even the most scantily-clad women exuding a certain alcohol-induced confidence always have their own personal boy toy in tow.Â
Meanwhile the most self-centered tool preening before the keg is never without his trophy girl standing beside him, waiting patiently to be mounted. While both these types have archives of self-esteem issues hidden just behind the booze cabinet, I doubt the cause for this disparity of power lies solely with the ever-popular self-esteem diagnosis.Â Â
Thereâ€™s a reason itâ€™s called the game. Nice guys and girls are pawns on the chess board hoping to survive all the way until checkmate, while conniving men and women jump ahead like knights and queens. Everyone wants to be royalty and nobody wants to be stepped on, but unfortunately we, the young and datable, have created this chessboard of mind games where no one wins. Stalemate.
It all comes down to the perfect balance. No one person wears the pants; that archaic saying, stemming from whatever sexist 1950s Neanderthal invented it, has been sabotaging otherwise healthy relationships for years. It seems that after decades of extraneous bullshit, i.e. â€œMean Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,â€ â€œHeâ€™s Just Not That Into Youâ€ and other self-propagating date books, people have forgotten that dating someone is about liking the person. Not playing the person.