The Do's and Don't of Love

Why women love assholes: Nice guys aren't really that nice

Why women love assholes: Nice guys aren't really that nice

Belle de Jour
Belle de Jour knows the real score.
What's the harm if he goes through my messages? Courtesy of Samsung
Williams Sonoma
After all, we do have a great Williams-Sonoma set together.
Belle de Jour
Williams Sonoma

Nice guys become especially vocal this time of year as couples pair off in preparation for Valentine's Day.

My exasperated "nice guy" guy friends whine, "Why do women love assholes?"

Author and former high-class call girl, Belle de Jour, attacked this myth in a twofold answer. First, women don't purposely seek out assholes. We try to pick alright guys (or at least we'd like to think so). Secondly, the type of man to describe himself as a Nice Guy and voice the women-loving-assholes complaint is often a creepy asshole himself; he just doesn't realize it.

De Jour gave the example that a Nice Guy will nobly save a drunk girl from driving home but after he gives her a ride he'll get sleazy and try to invite himself in. Then he's all, "But I'm so nice!"

While I agree with her for the most part, I have to admit that unfortunately sometimes women do like assholes. Explanations for this phenomenon abound.

Of course there's the simple answer that some women think they deserve to be treated like shit. They don't respect themselves and can't be with anyone who does. Sad cases, yes. Then there's the idea that women want to (and believe they can) change assholes into good guys. Others say that it's about wanting what you can't have — if a guy is being a jerk and not calling a girl, then she longs for him more because he's less attainable.

I offer a slightly different take on it:

We like asshole guys not because they're assholes but despite it.

See, when you're smitten with a man then you're willing to put up with all kinds of bullshit. In my experience I'm too busy falling in love with a guy's good qualities to heed red flags like that I've caught him snooping through my text messages and e-mail. "But I have nothing to hide!" I'll tell myself. "Besides, we're, like, so in love!"

Then months later — surprise! — he turns out to be a controlling dipshit.

Also, realize that ending things with an asshole means admitting that our judgment isn't as keen as we think it is. It's no fun admitting that we didn't pick the winning horse, especially if we really really like having sex with that horse.

Sometimes we wonder if these "nice guys" waiting on the sidelines actually want to date-date us or just sleep with us. (Actually dating a girl isn't all fun. You hold her hair back when she's puking up tainted sushi, accompany her to her great uncle's funeral, listen to her "crazy" dreams in the morning, etc.)

Other times we're faced with the compelling urge to stick it out with the asshole because, hey, we've already invested so much in the relationship. We can't call it quits now, not after all this. That could be embarrassing — people on Facebook would see! We might even have to move, and moving is such a drag.

So we'll exclaim things like, "But we have a cat together!" or "We have such a nice Williams-Sonoma cutlery set! And I just bought a salad spinner! We couldn't split that up!"

When it comes down to it, it's easier to stay than go. Think Newton: An object in motion tends to stay in motion. And a person in a relationship tends to stay in that relationship.