This Comment of the Day was from Joseph, on Veronica Grace’s article “Insights on Respect from a 13-year-old Boy“
Here’s the thing; you can’t change people’s tastes—well that’s not entirely true; you can to a certain extent; you can shift accepted norms through story-telling in films, dramas, songs etc. We can work on that!
However, being a jerk is sometimes taking a short-cut to achieve things. For example, if a girl wants to know if a guy genuinely wants her then the jerk has the advantage because he treats any attempt to get rid of him as a challenge—he treats the whole thing like a telesales rep turning all the “negatives into positives”—I don’t know if you’ve ever been trained in sales, but it is the most cringeworthy thing for anyone that has any kind of empathy for other human beings. But the point is that “forcing someone to actually be rude to you before you give up” is just the sort of jerk-waddy attitude that also happens to fulfil a girl’s need to know a guy is genuinely wants her, but unfortunately means he’s more likely to be a source of harassment. Bullying behaviours and things like “negging” give the jerk the advantage, not because girls are actually attracted to bullies but because they are attracted to men with status. So I think there’s a two step approach that needs to be gone through from a nice guys point of view—firstly work out all the ways jerks have an advantage and what needs that satisfies; and then work out strategies that satisfy those needs that don’t involve being a jerk. How can I demonstrate to a girl that I would go the extra mile for her, and still take her at her word when she says she just wants to be friends? How can I be a man of status without having to put other people down, particularly the girl herself, to achieve that?
And maybe in terms of self-esteem and self-worth there is an element of abuse behind why girl’s are particularly drawn to “jerks” – (there are of course other causes of low self-esteem and low self-worth other than abuse) but even if it doesn’t originate from abuse it can easily wind up there and then become a vicious circle.
Ultimately I want an R&D department working on that! And it’s not really for me anymore; it’s for my own sons who are both sensitive, caring and intelligent and will struggle and probably get their own self esteems knocked in exactly the same way I did.
Photo by Dave Catchpole / flickr