My phone lit up with a text from my sister.
She’d been talking to a sweet guy she’s friends with, and he’d wondered: “Do you think all girls want a bad boy? Or just a hint of bad?”
“I have a really long opinion on this one,” she told me. “But what is your opinion? Thought it would be fun to ask. :-)”
It turns out, we both have rather long opinions that go beyond a “yes” or “no,” and they’re basically the same – we’re sisters, after all! But before I get into that, I want to clarify something: What, exactly, do we mean by “bad boy”?
First, I want to be clear that in this particular post, I’m not talking about the people out there who might actually want to hurt you physically or emotionally. If you are ever in a situation where someone is manipulating you or seriously hurting you, or where you feel threatened, get out, and get help. I’m also not talking about those who are out breaking laws – that’s a situation you really don’t want to get into.
Here, I’m talking about something milder, yet somehow much more enticing. When you hear the words “bad boy,” you get a certain picture in your mind, right? The idea of “bad boy” might vary from girl to girl, but in general, I think he’s something like this: He’s not the kind of guy who’s going to go break in and rob anyone, but he probably likes to break curfew. There’s something charming about him, but he’s not the kind of guy you want to invite home for dinner with your parents. He’s super attractive, but if your big sister dated someone like him, you might worry about her. He’s a lot of fun, but you probably wouldn’t trust him to babysit your little brother. Everyone at school knows who he is – but his reputation’s not exactly the best.
He’s independent, rebellious … and there’s just something irresistible about him! You wonder how he could ever possibly like you, so you try to be “cool” enough for him. But … well, it seems like for all his good qualities, there’s a “but” to go with it.
Can you picture him? Good – now let’s get back to the question. Do all girls want a bad boy?
The easy answer would be something like this: “Of course not ALL girls do – it depends on the girl!” That’s true, I supposed, but I’d like to take the answer deeper than that.
Here’s what I told my sister, with some edits and expansions, of course.
I think some girls like the idea of dating a bad boy, because there is something that sounds adventurous, wild, rebellious, and even romantic. Think of Sandy and Danny in Grease! (I do love that movie, by the way – but remember, it’s a movie, not real life.)
The bad boy might be fun to think about, but not to actually date. Or, he might be fun to go out with once or twice, but he’s not who you’d want for a steady boyfriend. Or maybe he is boyfriend material – but just for a little while, because you can’t really imagine a long-term relationship with him.
But when it comes down to it, most girls don’t think of marrying the bad boy.
Picture yourself, years from now, on your wedding day. You’ve never felt so beautiful. You’re in a white dress that fits you perfectly, and your shoes feel as magical as Cinderella’s glass slippers. You walk down the aisle and see the man you’re about to spend the rest of your life with. The man who’s going to be the father of your children. As you walk, your mind fills with all the reasons you love him.
In your imagination, your dream of your someday-self, what are the qualities you hope that man has?
They’re probably not the qualities of the bad boy.
The bad boy might sound fun, or even be fun for a little while. But he’s not really the kind of person you want to be with long-term. So if that’s the case, then what’s the point of even getting started? Why start something when you know you’ll have to end it? Why begin, if you know it’s not good for you, and that it’ll only get harder and hurt deeper to tear yourself away?
The bad boy might seem like a good idea at the time, but he’s just that – an idea. It’s the idea of him, not the reality of his character, that seems so enticing.
Think about Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You were Trouble.” It’s about knowing someone is trouble, yet falling for them anyway. The beginning says it all: “Once upon a time, a few mistakes ago.” That’s right – a few mistakes ago. It seemed like a good idea, but looking back, it was all wrong.
For those who are into action and comic book movies, let’s look at another example. In X2, the second X-Men movie, Logan (more popularly known as Wolverine) is in love with Dr. Jean Grey. She cares for him, too, but ultimately, she chooses someone else – someone she can trust to be there for her when she needs him.
“Girls flirt with the dangerous guy, they don’t bring him home,” she tells Wolverine. “They marry the good guy.”
“I can be the good guy,” Wolverine says.
“Logan,” she says, “The good guy sticks around.”
You can see the chemistry between them, but she knows that she’s better off with the other guy. (Her character goes through some crazy changes later, but still, that scene says a lot. I should also add that Wolverine is one of my favorite characters – but again, it’s a movie, not reality!)
Let’s picture your someday-wedding again. You’re walking down the aisle, and you see the most wonderful man you’ve ever known. You were so excited the first time he met your parents, and now, your family is with you, watching you join your lives together as one. You feel so safe with him. You trust him. You know he’ll encourage you when you’re sad, and he’ll inspire you to pursue your dreams. You respect him for his honesty and integrity, and you love that you can totally be yourself with him.
You help each other to grow in faith, in hope, and in love – love that is patient and kind, and doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 for more).
When you think about the Fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) – you see them growing in him, and he encourages you in your walk with God, so those same qualities may continue to grow in you.
When you think about that, and the beauty of it all, even the idea of the bad boy starts to sound way less glamourous!
To all the sweet good guys out there, don’t worry. Don’t ever think you have to be a “bad boy” to get the attention of the girls. Be the good guy you really are, deep down inside. And for all you girls out there, the bad boy might be fun to think about. But at the end of the day, it’s the good guys who are really going to be the best. Tired of waiting for them? I promise you, the good guys are out there. But that’s a subject for another day!
. . .
P.S. Thanks to my sister for texting me that day – it was that conversation that led to “A Good Girl’s Guide to Life” being created!