Ambivalent bad boy vs. nice guy

With Julie Harris in East of Eden (1955)

James Dean, with Julie Harris in East of Eden (1955) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes it’s strange how thoughts occur to me, then again, if you knew how my A.D.D. brain works you’d more fully know what I mean!

Listening to a radio program the other day — I get to do that a lot as a truck driver (see what I mean!) — that almost discussed dating, marriage and the sorts, this thought occurred to me: What is it about the ambivalent bad boy that cause single Christian women to not see the nice guy in next pew?

I’ve seen it in church before: “nice guy” can’t get the time of day from “pretty girl,” who, after weeks of ignoring “nice guy,” eventually shows up proudly at church with “bad boy” in tow.

While “bad boy” does have those rugged good looks that has even some of the married women in the church fawning over “pretty girl” and her newfound love interest (and face it, some of the guys in church are even jealous), it’s quietly obvious to just about everyone else around the room that this just isn’t going to work out well for “pretty girl.” If she doesn’t wise up soon and break it off, “pretty girl” will wind up mirroring the message in a number of Casting Crowns songs.

And so it happens. Several weeks to a couple months later “pretty girl” shows up in church alone, obvious to the attentive that she was finally dumped by bad boy because she either A) wouldn’t sleep with him, or B) because she did and now she’s pregnant and doesn’t know what to do about the secret that will soon become the source of gossip by the self-righteous.

The fact that this isn’t a new phenomenon must suggest that as smart as we think we are: we really haven’t learned. As amazingly simple as some of the advice columnists try to make it, the fact remains that we apparently can’t communicate these differences between the planets effectively enough.

Meanwhile, for all the cool things our smart phones can do, they really haven’t made us any more intelligent; all they’ve managed to do is feed an attention deficit that causes us to not fully engage in the conversation and companionship that we claim desperately to want.



5 thoughts on “Ambivalent bad boy vs. nice guy

  1. Do you want a Woman’s Perspective!! I think this could be written about either MEN or WOMEN.
    As a single woman siting in the church pews, I wonder why men do the “missionary dating” ~ where they go for the bad girl, bring her to church, try to change her to what he expects her to be, and then ends up hurt because it didn’t work out. He easily could have looked in the pew chairs and found someone that was probably a better “match”. Is it pride, after all, they go to church together, he can’t date her!!
    Besides … a guy enjoys the “hunt” and when someone in church suggests you date someone, that just takes all the fun out of the guy’s search. Oh wait … maybe I just answered my own question … As singles, we don’t want to be told what to do, and especially who we should go out with, and we all know that every church has the “little old match maker in it”. LOL
    Another reason she may have shown up with “bad boy” is that he asked her out. Nice Guy may have been looking her way, but “bad boy” took the initial step and asked her out. Yes, I admit, I’ve been out with ‘bad boy’, but only because he asked. I won’t make a habit of going out with him, but occasionally a girl has to feel like someone is interested in her, and what better way to make her feel special than to spend time with her.
    As for the smart phone … it has accomplished taking the face to face contact out of daily life. We read what they do, so when we see them face to face, there is nothing left to talk about, because we’ve read it all on Facebook and twitter!! I know … I’m guilty of that to!!

  2. Dear Todd,

    I read Karen Ray’s comment and the article Dear Nice Guy and it dovetails nicely with your post. But here’s a question: Why aren’t the nice guys asking these nice girls out? Sometimes nice guy equals spineless wimp. Women want MEN. Decisive, masculine, MEN, and sometimes bad boys are much more masculine than nice wimps. Sometimes bad boys are leaders and nice guys are boring followers. Still, women should wait for God to direct their steps in selecting a mate or they will suffer the consequences of heartbreak or unplannd pregnancy, as your post mentions.

    Why don’t the nice guys of the world confront these bad boys about the poor way they treat women (or when they refuse to pay their child support or commit adultery). Maybe the nice guys are scared of the bad boys and don’t dare comment?

    On the dontmarry forum, a site that I have visited frequently, some of the frustrated men wish that the good women would tell the selfish women to shape up. I would definitely do that. I had a friend who wanted to divorce her faithful “nice” husband and I told her she was crazy to cast aside the father of her children for no good reason. My friend is still married today and her family remains intact. Sometimes people just need to be told that what they are doing is wrong and selfish. Sometimes that’s enough to wake them up to reality.

    • Guilty as charged!
      I read or heard some very similar thoughts as yours along the way: how women choose bad boy because he IS a leader, even if he’s headed in the wrong direction.
      The fear of rejection is a strong one and causes people to stand back and not take chances.
      I think men’s ministries could do well to tackle issues like you raise. I will bring this up with my pastor and others and see if something can’t be done about what you mention here. I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head!
      Best wishes to you Janelle.

  3. Pingback: Better to Be Ambitious Than Ambivalent « rsmithing

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