Vaginal Fantasy Book Club discussion

198 views
Book Discussion & Recommendation > Science ftw! Or why the hell do women choose obvious a-holes

Comments Showing 1-50 of 67 (67 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery Sargent (thesarge) | 169 comments It's puzzled me for years: I could never understand why women went for what seemed like OBVIOUS a-holes, and were surprised when things didn't work out. Now we know.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/...


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

one should also study why men fall for obviously greedy, selfish bitches who're gonna rob them off every penny during a divorce.

that is the second thing I never understood.


message 3: by Alex (new)

Alex (trienco) | 80 comments Good point, but I don't think it requires psychological studies to figure that out. Prospect of sex trumps rational thought. It's the price we pay for not having to go through giving birth and everything related to it.


message 4: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery Sargent (thesarge) | 169 comments J4n3 wrote: "one should also study why men fall for obviously greedy, selfish bitches who're gonna rob them off every penny during a divorce.

that is the second thing I never understood."


I'm with you there - I've managed to dodge that bullet, but it's equally as valid. I might put forward that the guy actually creates the greedy, selfish, bitch. We're awfully skilled at inverse relationship alchemy: turning a golden relationship into lead.


message 5: by Coral (new)

Coral (coralm) | 58 comments I've always thought it was relatively easy to explain evolutionarily. The perception is the jerk will protect you and your offspring better than a nice guy will. Now, I don't agree that it's true, some a-holes make the worst protectors, but I believe that's the driving force behind the poor choices some women make.


message 6: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 89 comments I'm always really wary of ev-psych studies like this, especially because there aren't any numbers cited. Were the women 2% more likely to be attracted to a 'cad'? 12%? 20%? Because some women *do* go for assholes. But as for me and the women of my acquaintance, we generally try to avoid 'bad boys'.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

another funny thing: not all obviously bad guys are actually bad. and not all apparently super nice guys are actually nice which one sometimes doesn't find out until much later in a relationship.


message 8: by Alex (new)

Alex (trienco) | 80 comments Hm, I can see how being a jerk could be perceived as strength. Somebody who shows no need to be liked might seem independent. Making people hate your guts suggests you're not afraid of them.

Of course in modern society being a dick might just mean relying on everybody around you being either easily impressed or too civilized to bash in your skull.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

maybe it's just my own perception but it's usually a certain type of woman who seeks this kind of bad guy.


message 10: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery Sargent (thesarge) | 169 comments @ Rachel I should have put "Caveat Emptor" in the heading. I wasn't actually particularly convinced either... just a talking point. It's inconclusive: all it does is draw a link between the two without actually pinpointing a direct cause. Psych tires to create concrete definitions in relation to human behavior, which is dicey given the sheer number of contributing factors in any behavior.

The world is full of shades of grey, except when it's not. And we often don't know where those lines are drawn till long after we've crossed them.


message 11: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 89 comments I also don't get the distinction the study made between the 'sexy cad' and the 'reliable dad'. Men who take care of their children can't be sexy? And there are only these two 'types' of men, and never any greater variation than the nice guy/bad boy?


message 12: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 89 comments So went and looked up the study. You can read the actual report here: http://www.mysmu.edu/faculty/normanli....

Here are my arguments:

1) The person conducting the study is in marketing, not psychology, sociology, biology or some other field which seems more relevant to a study about sexual choice. The study also relies on stereoytpes and has been poorly constructed.

2) The 'reliable' man in the first study came off as boring. The 'sexy' man is an award-winning skier, the reliable man seemed to have nothing going on in his life except his career. Yes, of course women are going to be more attracted to a person who seems to be more well-rounded. Same thing with the script used in the second study - the 'reliable' man was just boring. No hobbies, no outside interests, no demonstration that he was a fun and interesting person to hang out with. Just a socially awkward pizza delivery guy.

3) They purposefully chose average-looking men for their 'reliable' character. Women were not given an option for an attractive-yet-reliable man, nor an unattractive cad.

4) The sample size was very small in the first two studies - 20-30 women in each study, all undergraduate students. For this to be a credible study, the sample size would need to be much larger and include a much larger cross-section of age, race, class and ethnic backgrounds. What a women wants from a potential partner at 18 is generally different from what she wants at 28 or 38 or 48.

5) The first two studies excluded women on birth control. Since a majority of single American women use birth control, they just cut out a large percentage of women who are actively dating and pursuing romantic relationships.

6) The study relies on the stereotype of women always wanting a relationship, and treats it as a biological fact. It's my belief that this is a result of culture and not any inherent biological drive which women have that men don't. It also assumes that people always have sex with reproduction in mind, which I think is also fallacious. The overall human sex drive is far more pronounced than it needs to be for evolution to ensure basic reproduction. Humans, I think, are driven to have sex for a wider variety of reasons than 'baby!' We have sex because it feels good and because it cements social bonds as well.

7) The study said that women pursue relationships with 'cads' when they're ovulating - but that is only 1-3 days a month, and for women who are not on hormonal birth control. 1-3 days a month is really not much time to pursue anything. The study can't even make this claim, since it did not monitor women's dating and sexual behavior in the real world.

8) The shifts are small. A non-ovulating women predicts that the reliable dad will assume about 45% of the responsibility for raising a child; an ovulating women predicts that the 'sexy cad' will assume about 51% of the responsibility. Coupled with the small sample size for this study, I don't think that's a significant enough number to bear discussion.

So this really isn't anything except a poorly executed study, done by someone researching out of her field. And the media is taking this as Gospel Truth that women prefer 'bad boys', without bothering to actually evaluate and interpret the data.


message 13: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I find it interesting socially that the picture associated with the "bad boy" is a guy wearing a hoodie. Have we learned nothing from recent events?


message 14: by Felicia, Grand Duchess (new)

Felicia (feliciaday) | 740 comments Mod
Stephanie wrote: "I find it interesting socially that the picture associated with the "bad boy" is a guy wearing a hoodie. Have we learned nothing from recent events?"

HAHAHAHA!


message 15: by Alex (new)

Alex (trienco) | 80 comments Rachel wrote: "And there are only these two 'types' of men, and ne..."

Didn't you know? When we turn 12, we have to chose if we want to be a sexy bad boy or a boring nice guy. Oh no, wait.. that was picking French or Latin at school.

Though I wouldn't be surprised if some kind of social pressure thing going on is what pushes many of us into one of those roles. Keyword is "role".

I am actually pretty sure there are layers. Sometimes. Maybe some fascination with bad boys is hoping to uncover the nice guy inside (and getting the best of both).

At the same time, I am often worrying if somewhere inside me is a repressed jerk, just waiting for his chance to come out. In fact, I'm way too cynical for him not to be there... lurking.

Also, thank you for that detailed analysis. Sounds like it's nothing to be taken too seriously... and I can continue trying to keep the lid on my inner jerk.


message 16: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 89 comments No problem! Ev-psych is one of my pet peeves. If you're creative enough, you can explain how practically any behavior is adaptive or maladaptive. For instance: Women have a high sex drive because they want sleep with as many men as possible so they can be exposed to the strongest sperm and have the healthiest babies. Men want a relationship because they have no other way to protect the mother of their offspring. You can point to pretty much any human behavior and explain it in terms of ev-psych, and you can do the same for the exact opposite behavior. And the results in an ev-psych test are usually touted as 'BIOLOGY, YO!' when I don't think there's been enough work done for us to really be able to understand where the boundary is between nurture and nature.


message 17: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments Stephanie wrote: "I find it interesting socially that the picture associated with the "bad boy" is a guy wearing a hoodie. Have we learned nothing from recent events?"

sooo... since i like to wear hoodie and leather jacket i should be a public enemy, right? nope!


message 18: by Emy (new)

Emy (emypt) | 67 comments I am actually pretty sure there are layers. Sometimes. Maybe some fascination with bad boys is hoping to uncover the nice guy inside (and getting the best of both).

I totally agree with this, and I think it may also link to the popularity in historial (and other) romances of the "Reforming a Rake" theme. Not 100% sold that this is a good thing to want as shouldn't you want the person they are, not the person that you turn them into?


message 19: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments but we mustn't forget that no one is born an a-hole, but becomes one due to an emotional injury


message 20: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin Kamil wrote: "sooo... since i like to wear hoodie and leather jacket i should be a public enemy, right? nope! "

I wear a hoodie every day to my work as an engineer. Apparently I'm setting myself up to get shot because my lack of fashion sense is such a menace to society.


message 21: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin Kamil wrote: "but we mustn't forget that no one is born an a-hole, but becomes one due to an emotional injury"

I recommend you read We Need to Talk About Kevin. It's related to your comment.


message 23: by Alex (new)

Alex (trienco) | 80 comments Rachel, you seem to have much more interesting and complex pet peeves than me. I actually have to admit that I usually tended to just accept the "it's biology" explanation.

I'm also curious what it would look like if you used ev-psych to explain why apparently the majority of women prefers to be submissive. What would be the evolutionary downside? Except maybe scaring away some of the males...


Emy, is it really about changing them? Or just bringing out something they believe is already there? Somehow hoping they can make them feel secure enough to "drop the act" and let out the nice guy.

Though in both cases I have to wonder, why not just go with the nice guy in the first place? Not enough of a challenge?


message 24: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 89 comments 1) Women naturally prefer to be submissive because men are generally stronger and meaner, so it's a survival mechanism to appease them.

2) Women tend to be dominant because it was usually the woman who was tasked with providing for her offpsring and if she was submissive and accommodating, her children would starve.

The fact is - we can't take things we do because of our *culture* and claim it's biology. Not when bajillions of people all over the globe have had markedly different cultural values and haven't had our same models of family/courtship/etc.


message 25: by Keith (new)

Keith (keithatc) Rachel wrote: "I also don't get the distinction the study made between the 'sexy cad' and the 'reliable dad'. Men who take care of their children can't be sexy? And there are only these two 'types' of men, and ne..."

...and I like to think of myself as a caring cad. That's one of the founding principals of my socio-religion, the Anarcho-Dandyist Libertine.

Most of my close friends are women. Most of them like nice guys who do interesting things. And most of those nice guys are not risk averse. They stay active, have hobbies both physical and intellectual. Some are handsome. Some are modest in looks. One woman likes douchebaggy types.

So thus, my study -- about as scientific as the one cited here -- proves the opposite. It's almost as if these "studies" are done purely so the 24 hour news cycle has something to blather about in their down.


message 26: by Alex (new)

Alex (trienco) | 80 comments Rachel, I admit I had to giggle about 1) and hope you really did have your tongue firmly in cheek. Besides, a womans smile can be more devastating than a guy with a club (mostly because it lets her control the guy with the club).

So to rule out culture, we would need to keep a few hundred woman in complete isolation until their mid-20s and then repeat the study. Except they would be too screwed up by the experience, which is kind of "nurture" too.

Is it at all possible to tell the difference, except if you can find behavior that is literally the same in every person that ever lived?


message 27: by Necrophidian (new)

Necrophidian | 74 comments Rachel, you are crazy-awesome.

The article got me so annoyed.

Then I read your rundown on the study. You hit every point I would've made and then some.

So I'm all better now! Thanks! :)


message 28: by Emy (new)

Emy (emypt) | 67 comments Alex: Emy, is it really about changing them? Or just bringing out something they believe is already there? Somehow hoping they can make them feel secure enough to "drop the act" and let out the nice guy.

Though in both cases I have to wonder, why not just go with the nice guy in the first place? Not enough of a challenge?


WRT the romance sub-genre, I think that the changing vs bringing out the hidden qualities is the thing that makes the difference between a good and mediocre story (with the changing I always wonder how long before they stop acting 'nice' ;P)

I also feel that there is a certain kind of person (male and female) who goes for 'bad boys' partly because of a rose-tinted / naive outlook. A kind of 'oh but there MUST be something good inside'. For some I think it is due to a HUGE need to nurture or care for another. Sometimes that caring gets you an awesome person, sometimes it burns hard.

Personally, no, love the person they ARE, not the person you think they should be. Focus things in constructive ways - my husband shouting and breaking things at home is bad, my husband shouting on a rugby pitch and scoring tries is good... If I ever tried to make him into a domesticated pussycat, I'd have a powder keg in the home :D Bad idea! ;) I guess that's the other side though - loving is accepting imperfection.


message 29: by Alex (last edited Jun 01, 2012 07:52AM) (new)

Alex (trienco) | 80 comments Emy, you just said something that gave me a new point of view to examine. Isn't acting nice what you would expect from any person looking for a relationship?

So with a nice guy you always have to wonder, if he's just pretending and how long before he shows his true colors. You probably won't be worried about that too much, if he already starts out bad. No big surprises to be expected.

My knee jerk reaction to a strong desire to "nurture and care" would probably be "get a pet". At least they are unlikely to abuse and exploit you. Did I mention that annoying cynic living inside of me?

Is it bad to instead accept loving imperfection? I might need professional help with that, but often the little imperfections just make me like someone even more. But then, I prefer women with glasses instead of make up and dressing for comfort rather than looks. I'm weird. I also believe that nature doesn't do perfection...


message 30: by PointyEars42 (new)

PointyEars42 | 476 comments Alex wrote: "Did I mention that annoying cynic living inside of me?"

The internal cynic stops you in your tracks when you meet an a*hole. It asks "why would you try to turn this a*hole into a long term problem when you could just have fun tonight and not call him in the morning, because, hello, hotness alert"?

The same internal cynic reads the Vaginal Fantasy Hangout threads and sees people forgive all manner of literary a*hole behaviour because, as the reader, you have a view into their internal motivations. The cynic then wonders if anyone cares that the other characters DON'T see that motivation, so it is only said reader who can forgive a*hole behavior because you know the alpha male or spoilt princess really has a heart of gold. The characters who can only see the a*hole behaviour should pitch them over the side of the ship into a city full of zombies.

The inner cynic then starts having a panic attack at the possibility that, in the real world, you're supposed to assume that real a*holes have deep motivation for it too, just like their fictional counterparts, and you're just supposed to allow yourself to be treated like sh%t until the a*hole reveals that he/she has "good" reason for it.

I just wish I could get my friends to bring their inner cynic online to guard against hoping an a*hole is just a non-a*hole waiting to happen. Saying "I told you so" is soooo exhausting.


message 31: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments PointyEars42 wrote: "Alex wrote: "Did I mention that annoying cynic living inside of me?"

The internal cynic stops you in your tracks when you meet an a*hole. It asks "why would you try to turn this a*hole into a long..."


real life a-holes made a choice. They could live a normal life. They didn't have to get thougher to survive, they just prefered to let they frustration hit those that did them no harm.
A " friend of mine" once got a date whith a girl he had a crush for four years, but she stood him up, he realised it after he stood for 3 hours under a heavy rain and when he met her the next day she just said << did you really believe anyone would go on a date whith you?>>. The guy had all the reasons to have a bad opinion on women but i don't recall him being disrespectfull to any.
So to sum up my theory; a-holes had the choice ( jedi or sith) but they choosed the darkside


message 32: by Michele (new)

Michele (nerdmichele) | 74 comments We've all been assholes for a specific situation (stress, trigger points, etc). A good person admits it and tries to atone. Real Assholes don't even know that they've done anything wrong--or don't care. Then they repeat the offense and the attitude.

Yes, this is why I forgave Rhys from The Iron Duke: he's a total situational asshole who knows he's an idiot. But we only know this because we can see in his head. Mina does the only thing she can: she shoots his ass. I love Mina.


message 33: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 89 comments @26: I don't think we'd need to raise women in isolation. But we would need to study dating and sexual relationships in a variety of cultures before we could even hope to see a commonality. We'd also need to do our best to become paleo-sociologists, and try and figure out how it worked in vanished cultures (like Rome or Imperial China, say). Then we might be able to understand where the line is between nurture and nature. The behavior wouldn't need to be in every person who ever lived, ever - just widely common.

@27: Thanks! Like I said, ev-psych is one of my pet peeves, so I've gotten pretty good at taking down badly designed ev-psych studies :) It strikes me as slightly odd that nearly every 'ev-psych' study which comes out seems to reinforce 1950s-era gender roles.


message 34: by Alex (new)

Alex (trienco) | 80 comments That still sounds like a whole lot of trouble and interdisciplinary research. It sounds easier to just continue making broad and generalized statements based on our idea of caveman society (which would still be culture more than biology).

Still, in retrospect I hope I sprinkled any statements blaming biology with plenty of "maybe" and a good dose of "I guess". I can't even claim to be completely familiar with the entire history of my own culture, leave alone any ancient ones.

So, back to square one on that whole bad boy appeal issue...

Well, back to translating S5 for now.


message 35: by Jordanmcgrory (new)

Jordanmcgrory | 7 comments Bit of an aside but if you're interested in this kind of evolutionary science you should check out http://www.bababrinkman.com/.

He raps about all of this kind of thing, but instead of relying on lazy culturally-based generalisations each of his sounds comes with academic references.


message 36: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments Rachel wrote: "@26: I don't think we'd need to raise women in isolation. But we would need to study dating and sexual relationships in a variety of cultures before we could even hope to see a commonality. We'd al..."

actually isolating the sample of population would make it impossible for external factors to influece the tastes of the women taking part in the research. And this would give a false reading.


message 37: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Chapman | 83 comments Rachel wrote: "So went and looked up the study. You can read the actual report here:

I'm fairly new to these boards but declare myself a fan of Rachel now. Booyeah for a thorough skeptic reading of mediocre science!

And in fact, the birth control pill matters big-time. There have been previous studies suggesting that being on the pill can vary a woman's preferences relative to her not being on it.

I suspect the whole "bad boy" thing is largely a social construct pushed in myriad ways by a highly gendered media system.

I've long said that if I was a zillionaire, I'd buy billboards to say, "Hey Girls! Ditch the bad boys and find yourself a nice nerd! They come with less baggage, you can teach them how to do everything the way you want it done, and they see your Os as badges of pride, not something to work around!"


message 38: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments Kimberly wrote: "Rachel wrote: "So went and looked up the study. You can read the actual report here:

I'm fairly new to these boards but declare myself a fan of Rachel now. Booyeah for a thorough skeptic reading ..."


Os stands for operating system?


message 39: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Chapman | 83 comments I meant orgasms but figured it'd have to be filtered to be on a public billboard. :)


message 40: by PointyEars42 (new)

PointyEars42 | 476 comments Kamil wrote: "Os stands for operating system? "

Adorkable :)


message 41: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 89 comments Thank you, Kimberly! :)

I agree about the pill - not only are there indications it influences who women are attracted it, a vast majority of American women are using it, have used it, or will use it at some point during their lives. You can't exclude such a huge demographic and yet claim your study is universally applicable.


message 42: by Tangled (new)

Tangled  Speculation (TangledSpec) | 55 comments Rachel wrote: "So went and looked up the study. You can read the actual report here: http://www.mysmu.edu/faculty/normanli....

Here are my arguments:

1) The person condu..."



Thanks you! I agree with all of your observations.


message 43: by Tangled (last edited Jun 08, 2012 02:04PM) (new)

Tangled  Speculation (TangledSpec) | 55 comments Kimberly wrote: "Rachel wrote: "So went and looked up the study. You can read the actual report here:

I'm fairly new to these boards but declare myself a fan of Rachel now. Booyeah for a thorough skeptic reading ..."


Clearly you've never met an "evil nerd". Not that some evil nerds are not sexy, but there are also the likes of Anonymous. I find "nerdy" a turn on too, but not all are so very sweet and helpful as TV images may indicate.


message 44: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery Sargent (thesarge) | 169 comments Kimberly wrote: "I've long said that if I was a zillionaire, I'd buy billboards to say, "Hey Girls! Ditch the bad boys and find yourself a nice nerd! They come with less baggage, you can teach them how to do everything the way you want it done, and they see your Os as badges of pride, not something to work around!" "

Ya know, when I recounted a story about a male coworker who wanted a virgin so that he could be the one who taught her what he wanted in sex, folks agreed that was pretty vile...

Shutting up - obviously in the wrong place.


message 45: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 89 comments In all fairness, I have met some nerds who were bitterly misogynistic Nice Guys.


message 46: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Chapman | 83 comments Rachel wrote: "In all fairness, I have met some nerds who were bitterly misogynistic Nice Guys."

True, I just have found more nice guys amongst the nerdy than the non-nerdy. Which is why I phrased it "nice nerd" and not just "nerd".


message 47: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments Rachel wrote: "Thank you, Kimberly! :)

I agree about the pill - not only are there indications it influences who women are attracted it, a vast majority of American women are using it, have used it, or will use ..."


don't forget that some women on the pill might have a lose of libido


message 48: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments Kimberly wrote: "Rachel wrote: "So went and looked up the study. You can read the actual report here:

I'm fairly new to these boards but declare myself a fan of Rachel now. Booyeah for a thorough skeptic reading ..."


but the Os you mentioned is more like opening a booster pack for magic the gathering and finding an Alpha Black Lotus card


message 49: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 89 comments but the Os you mentioned is more like opening a booster pack for magic the gathering and finding an Alpha Black Lotus card

Lady Os are actually far more easy to find than that, I promise.


message 50: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 938 comments Rachel wrote: "but the Os you mentioned is more like opening a booster pack for magic the gathering and finding an Alpha Black Lotus card

Lady Os are actually far more easy to find than that, I promise."


but as twice pleasing when found


« previous 1
back to top