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Do Women Like Jerks?

Posted July 19, 2012 6:56 AM by HUSH

Zach pulled his Ford into Kelly's driveway, flicked his lights off, and unbuckled his seat belt. Kelly opened her car door, and Zach was holding her coat while she looked for her keys in her purse. They had a nice evening; they ate a cliché dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, and then saw a movie: Harry Potter and I Can't Believe this Franchise is Still Going. Zach wanted to see Total Recall, but sacrificed his want to make Kelly happy.

Kelly jingled her keys, and looked at Zach blankly. Zach leaned forward, puckered his lips…and Kelly slouched away.

"Oh, no. Oh, jeez. I'm sorry Zach, I just don't see you that way. You're a great friend, but you're that, a friend." Kelly went inside, and didn't return Zach's phone call the next day.

A week later Zach learned that Kelly has been dating A.C. Slater. Slater wasn't nice, didn't take Kelly out on dates, and was arrogant. Slater was a jerk, and Kelly loved him.

...via NY Post


There is an underlying mythos in the dating world that women like jerks. Something about their cockiness or selfishness just makes women fascinated--or at least, allegedly so.

Is it true? Do women really want guys who walk all over them? It doesn't seem to make sense. People are drawn to people with similar interests, who are polite, and unlikely to misplace trust.

Let's see what some experts have to say on the matter, shall we?


Let's further define 'jerk' so we have a basis from which to compare. While Urban Dictionary lists it as, "The kind of guy most girls ACTUALLY want," I prefer Dictionary.com's version: "A contemptibly naive, fatuous, foolish, or inconsequential person." Other adjectives that may describe a jerk: stubborn, critical, aggressive, and disagreeable.

Physcologist Scott Barry Kaufman wrote that when analyzing how mating was related to certain character attributes, he noticed one glaring connection: The lower the level of agreeableness, the more sexual partners.

Similarly, this study indicates that the so-called "Dark Triad" traits (narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) are good indicators of short-term heterosexual relationships. Or, to be blunt, booty-calls and hook ups. While these were a predictor of sexual partners, they also predicted long-term relationships would be unsuccessful and mostly unhappy. Specifically, narcissists seek social environments in which to validate their ego, which only strengthens the personality qualities women find attractive. Those being: confidence, creativity, humor, charisma, and high energy. Essentially, if the male is more comfortable in a setting, he is more likely to find a sexual partner. The most comfortable of men are those who are unafraid of their social stature, hence the attractive qualities of narcissists.

Want to see where you stand in the Dark Triad?

...via Terra Incognita

Part of the allure of a jerk could be a little bit of conditioning as well. Jerky guys tend to be non-committal towards females. Jen Kim, of Psychology Today, wrote:

Women want some chase, some drama, some intrigue. If it's too easy to get the guy, then she might think, "Wait, he just fell into my lap. This is fishy. Maybe he thinks that I'm too good for him. Cool. I'm too good for him. Wait, if I'm too good for him, then that means I could do better. Next!" I hate to say this, but this thought has crossed my mind (and I'm sure others' as well) more than once.

There is one glaring conflict though: in Chelsey H's blog, "What Women Want," she mentions that women are attracted on a biological level. Aren't these traits exactly what women are trying to avoid? You know, further depreciation of her offspring's potential gene pool?

Matt Huston, former editor of Psychology Today, theorizes that being a jerk is actually an indicator of good genetics, and not bad genetics. These individuals essentially, can "put their money where their mouth is" by taking risks from being a bad boy, and are better emotionally developed (hardened?) to take the consequences of being a jerk and build upon them. A VERY similar concept has been put forth, but related to salary. Timothy A. Judge's study suggests that disagreeable men get further in the business world by taking risks, and though they are more likely to get fired than a 'yes man,' they're also more likely to get a new job at a better wage. In fact, disagreeable men make 18% more annually than agreeable men-averaging $10,000!

...via Atomic Movie Freak

While I've seemed to make a good case for treating your girlfriend horribly (which, for the record, I do not condone; I don't know why I need to make that clear …) there is one issue I need to circle back too: long term relationships. Just as the Dark Triad-or the jerk traits-tend to indicate a good number of sexual partners, they also indicate long-term relationship success. Or rather disaster. Higher scores of narcissism and psychopathy predict unhappy long term relationships-or more accurately, no long term relationships. These traits are in direct conflict with compromise and compassion, two highly-heralded pillars of relationship success .

Do women like jerks? Do nice guys finish last? It seems it depends on the race. In the sprint for sex, jerks will take the tape. But in the marathon setting of a long term relationship, jerks are left for dead with heat exhaustion .

Resources

Psychology Today - Do Girls Really Love A**holes?; Do A**holes Really Finish First?; Use Your Mating Intelligence

Personality and Individual Differences: ISSID - How the Dark Triad traits predict relationship choices (.pdf)

Ask Men - The Jerk Appeal

LoveScience - Why Do Women Love Jerks?

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology - Do Nice Guys - and Gals - Really Finish Last? The Joint Effects of Sex and Agreeableness on Income (.pdf)

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#1

Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/19/2012 4:51 PM

My wife loves just the way I am.

(Normally 'Just the way I am' was what worked best to keep people away from me though.)

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#2

Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/19/2012 5:10 PM

The modern female, whether 14 or 40, wants any relationship on her terms. She sees the "jerk" as not interested in a long term relationship. The jerk is interested in one thing only; how many females he can score. He hasn't even thought about a long term relationship. That suits the female just fine. Don't forget, it takes 2 to tango. She could also be considered opposite to a jerk in her own behavior. Some men may be jerks, but females aren't perfect either. Sex is the force that drives people to do strange things. It is a very powerful stimulus, known to bring down heads of state, religious leaders and power brokers. This is a force the female has in her possession and if she knows how to use it, she can get anything she wants. The woman is always in control. If things don't go her way, it's because she hasn't learned how to use her feminine wiles.

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/20/2012 7:26 AM

Interestingly enough, this was written by a man. I, too, am a man, but after 39 years of marriage (and looking forward to 39 more. 43 more, if we live to be a hundred!), this doesn't match MY experience at all.

I was looking for long-term, from the start. So was my wife (Obviously. She puts up with me for 39 years and DOESN'T want long term? And she told me she loved me again this morning, as I headed out the door to work. AND kissed me good bye as she handed me my lunch bag. Which SHE prepared. She's REALLY working at making this last! I am indeed MOST BLEST!) But I'd like to see what a woman's perspective on this is. In fact, I'd like to read a LOT of women's perspectives on this, just to see how they "sample" across the spectrum.

I suspect it would skew differently from their view. No?

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#3

Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/20/2012 5:28 AM

My long (?) experience on this field (and not as a jerk) makes me believe that this is kind of true. Unfortunately, women tend to be attracted by jerks: men who are rude, selfish, stupid, uneducated or even lazy. Here is my theory why this happens:

1) Many women like to be in a continuous struggle, trying to 'change' the jerks and improve their bad personality and behavior. And if they succeed this goal they feel really proud of themselves.

2) Most modern women like to have the control in their relationships. And it's easier to manipulate a stupid man than a clever one.

3) Probably, rude men 'awake' some primitive insticts to women (most in the sexual field).

4) Some women have low self-estimation, so they don't believe that they deserve something better than a jerk. Furthermore, such a man make them feel kind of 'superior' (compared with him).

Of course, it is more probable for a woman to have a long and happy relatioship (and, consequently, a happy marriage and a nice family) with a 'non jerk', i.e. a clever, gentle, nice guy. But, since they 'prefer' -in the first place- to make a relationship (probably a short one) with a jerk, it's difficult to reach the formentioned, happy end. First, they have to realize that their approach is wrong and decide to move on with a nice guy and not a jerk.

Well, I wish I would be a jerk... Probably, I could be more lucky on this field...

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#4

Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/20/2012 6:19 AM

Let me preface my comments by stating that I'm a 64 year old male, still quite socially active. I am out and about 4 nights a week in social settings. My comments do not apply to ALL women, but from my life experiences, to "feminists" in general. I'm sure there are still "real women" out there, but their numbers are rapidly going the way of the dinosaur.

My definition of a "real woman" is one who has christian morale values, who was raised in a setting that taught her self respect, honestly, and humility. That being said, I would use that same definition to describe a "real man" as well.

I still remember my mother's words when I was a youngster, "Treat all women as if they were ladies, until they prove themselves otherwise, then use your own discretion" So, in effect, the Jezabels have been around for quite some time, just not to the extent that they are in today's world.

IMHO, the feminist movement, in their demands to be equal, to be in control, demanding to be treated "AS" men in "ALL" aspects of life was the downfall of womanhood in America. In what they perceived as their "great freedom and equality", actually resulted in women "letting themselves be used". Much the same as the hippies of that era, who had all of the answers, moved to communes to set up free love and "the right way things should be done, man." Unfortunately, the same problems developed in the communes that they sought to escape from in society. They still have some who wanted what others had, jealousy, and a hierarchy. (or pecking order) Eventually, they had to come back to reality and "tune back in" (I think we still have some hippies in the California legislature to this day, they just never tuned back in!!!!)

In the Feminist Movement, men were no longer required as husbands. One just has to look at the number of single mother homes, (and I'm not talking of the ones that were deserted by the husband) where the feeling seems to be, "once the seed is planted, I'll just throw away the envelope that the seeds came in". I don't need a man, I am woman, hear me roar. Unfortunately, all of us, as taxpayers, are now the empty envelope. (as a side note, I subscribe to Match.com. Many of the op's descriptions read: Female: 34 Looking for man: 18 to 80, [Blind Crippled or Crazy] Marital Status: Never married. Have Children: Yes Political Views: Liberal [Just kidding about the [Blind, Crippled or Crazy,~~ I think] My Personal Opinion: ~~~~You're not the one for me~~~~~~~)

While some women, and I dare say most, see the "jerk" as a liberated free spirit, bad boy, a sort of modern day Robin Hood. (it was completely beyond me what Sandra Bullock, a real sweetheart and fine actress that she is, saw in Jesse James. She had to have had full knowledge of his character and past, yet, still married him, and we ALL saw the public humiliation, devastation and great emotional price that she paid) Go figure!!!

Many of the women that I meet today, both my age as well as the younger generation, are bitter toward men, with resentment and feelings that they were "used". In their feminist demands to be equal to men (in their minds) at all costs, they "let themselves be used". Perhaps that is why there are so many lesbians today?

Most of the "feminist type" that I meet view sex as "getting off" rather than "making love". That's rather a turn off to me. I prefer emotions behind my actions, in all that I do.

The language that I hear being spoken by some females (notice I didn't say ladies) today embarrasses me. The public displays of open lesbianism, in which a man doing similar activities with a female would be arrested and jailed for public indecency is appalling. (I spent four years in the Navy, traveled the world and the seven seas, and thought I had heard and seen it all,~~~ but apparently ~~~I was wrong!!!)

Obviously, I don't have the answers, I can only offer my dumb opinions.

What I would offer to the "real men" out there: If you have a decent woman, who is trusting, caring, and devoted to you, you might want to treat her right, and hang on to her. The field out there is pretty void, and you COULD do a whole lot worse. Trust me, I see it on a weekly basis, there isn't much worthwhile out there. (IMHO) Occasionally, I run across a "decent widow woman".

I would say the same to the "real women", who is married to someone loyal, caring, loving, and comes home to you every night, quite possibly tired and grumpy, but still comes home to you from the days' turmoil. Stand by your man, or you just might meet "THE JERK"!!!

For the women, perhaps many, if not most would find greater happiness and security in being a man's "better half" than trying to be his competitor, but then again, who am I to say, I'm just a guy.

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#7
In reply to #4

Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/20/2012 9:13 AM

evaluator, you have spoken like a true gentleman, and I agree totally with you, I also was sailing the high seas for many years, then I met my wife who loves me so much, she cares for me as I care for her, even though she is now striken with MS and in a wheelchair, and at 67 years of age, like you I have experienced many different kinds of women, and the so-called modern feminist woman is destined to be left on the shelf, but some of us are lucky, we find the perfect woman, but to keep that woman we men have to nurture, care for and love that woman dearly..!

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#6

Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/20/2012 8:42 AM

I always figured that it was the old preservation / protection scenario. Some women want a protector. Knight and horse and all that. Jerks tend to act strong and be bold and loud. Remember "you don't know him like I do".

Me, I tend to be a wall flower. I lurk in the shadows and under the radar. Quite evenings at home writing G&M Code and looking at wood working mags. Going out to dinner. Volunteering with my sons little league and at church. First to show up at work in the morning. Admittedly that is so I can get done and leave.

From a 40 something none jerk, but occasional pain in the @ss, and soon to be "old fart" male.

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#8

Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/20/2012 9:31 AM

In short, I don't see how this article belongs in this forum, as it doesn't necessarily deal with engineering and related technologies. Truly, it belongs in some sort of women's magazine resting in the rack at the local supermarket checkout.

Men don't have an absolute corner on the "jerk" market. My X-wife TURNED INTO A JERK once that wedding band was placed on her finger. Over the years I have witness countless women jerks as well; some were worse then their Jerky Boy male brethren.

Sadly, there's jerks in both sides of the sex aisle, and not exclusive to a single sex, namely the male of the species.

Sorry HUSH, I rate this thread a "FAIL"!

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/20/2012 4:51 PM

CaptMoosie: Personally, I enjoy the philosophy of the discussion. (Am I really that dumb/mis-guided/out of touch, or do other people actually have the same views on life sort of deal) Then again, I enjoyed the humor of the critter tales. Simple things for simple minds I guess, and I have a very simple mind!!!

Sounds like we may have been married to the same woman!!!!!! In youth and love eternal, both male and female hormones are at full tilt. As we get a little older and gain a little more experience in life, our eyes seem to lose a little of that haze of perpetual bliss that we thought we were entering into.

Our expectations are more realistic at our age than they were at 20 something. That's not to say ALL people, because some people are more mature, both male and female, at earlier stages of life than others and both are striving for that "common" goal. (although I've known a few whose primary reason was financial security, which for one party and possibly both, might be considered borderline prostitution) There has to be a commitment by both parties, or they're sailing on the ill fated Titanic toward the iceberg. People do change in life, some for the better, some for the worse.

My advice to either a son or daughter contemplating marriage: Get to know their perspective in-laws (father or mother) very, very well. Get into their heads and their thought processes, because in all likely hood, that is what the person they are about to enter into a lifelong relationship WILL become, and ask themselves "is that what I am really looking for, and is this how I want to spend the rest of my life". (easy for me to say because I don't have the raging hormones!!)

I too, as another op stated, would like to see what the women have to say. I believe the general population of this blog is pretty stable, marriage wise, the posts would be very similar to what has been posted. If the question were asked of the female population in general, I'd bet hard cash that most responses would be, "ALL MEN ARE PIGS". Could that be because of the "JERKS", or could it simply be a "REFLECTION"???

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#13
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Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/26/2012 1:43 AM

GA! Psst: Just for the Jerk record, comments on this blog relating to engineering are Off-Topic. Uh oh, gotta run. There's a gaggle of scantily-clad, white-hot, Venusian nymphopaths at my door, just pleading to rip off these leather tights. "Oh, who do I do, girls! Midnight rodeo time again?" :-))))

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#9

Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/20/2012 11:06 AM

Women that like jerks are women that have had their a** kissed by guys all too often that turn out not to be the sweet guy they made themselves to be. They don't trust the nice guys.

The Jerks on the other hand, they are being themselves, women know what to expect because at least the guy is honest about himself and women think they can fix them. Trying to fix people doesn't work, the relationships don't last very long.

Men are the pursuers and women are the choosers.

The #1 Reason for DIVORCE is MEN taking their women for GRANTED. That is why Divorces get to be so ugly and the women seem to HATE their husbands. It is because they feel they've wasted their time on somebody that never really appreciated them and turned out not to be the man they married.

Keep the ROMANCE alive and your woman will remain in your court no matter what issues you face. Someone might come up and tell me they divorced because they were experiencing financial troubles and she couldn't handle it blah blah blah, NO! WRONG ANSWER! They dropped the ball first and was taking their woman for granted and she no longer felt the need to stand by him.

I'm talking about between two normal people, I'm not talking about damaged individuals.

She is the PRIZE guys. She chose you to be her man, it is your responsibilty to show her that you appreciate her for choosing you. When you loose sight of that, then you no longer deserve her.

If you want to reduce the possibility of having another failed relationship, don't blame her, you look at yourselves and figure out what did you do wrong and work at making sure you don't make the same mistakes again. I see a lot of divorced men blaming their exwives and you know what? Those men are sentencing themselves to repeating the same mistakes and getting the same results.

I just led you all to water.

You can disagree with me, that's fine too.

I suggest you get your wives and/or girlfriends to read this and get their opinion on it, their opinions count more than mine does.

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#14
In reply to #9

Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/26/2012 1:58 AM

BS

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#10

Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/20/2012 11:22 AM

As a 42 with only 4 years marriage behind (and hopefully many more to come), I see a point in Capt Moosie comment. In Spain is said that "A man marries a woman expecting she will never change, and a woman marries a man expecting to change him".

If the changes come as a natural development of the adaptation of each other to the life in common, It could be called a positive evolution, to better.

If the changes come as a list of "defects" to be corrected from A to B, where A holds the truth and the wisdom, and B is poor children that need A advise badly to be able to grow up, not being shy to some public condescent remarks about it... we may have a jerk at hand.

And some people like it... or does not notice it till it is too late.

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#12

Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/20/2012 9:53 PM

Do women like jerks?.....

Who cares?

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#15

Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/26/2012 2:28 AM

[receptionist, fawning] "Mr. Udall! Oh, Mr. Udall, how do you know women so well?"

[Morris Udall, pulp novelist] "I think of a man, take away reason and accountability."

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Re: Do Women Like Jerks?

07/16/2019 3:12 AM

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