The Nice Guy Vs. The Bad Boy

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Most everyone knows — or at least knows of — a stereotypical “bad boy.” He’s the guy with high self-esteem who wins over women with his charm and impulsive behavior. Many girls also know a “nice guy,” someone’s who is always there for them and can make them feel special. Women typically say they want a nice guy, yet usually end up dating a bad boy. While it wouldn't be right to completely stereotype and classify each guy between the two categories, there are certain traits that girls look for, which often times can be assumed, in that "bad boy" image.

The Nice Guy

Predictable: Most college students want a life of adventure amid their monotonous class schedules and weekday routines, so they are attracted to people who are exciting and a bit unpredictable. Bad boys offer a taste of the wild side and are always a challenge, while nice guys rarely have the edge that bad boys do.

Flattering: In his article “Nice Guys Finish Last,” dating coach Steven James writes that nice guys tend to compliment girls too much on their appearance. He suggests that instead of only complimenting a woman on her looks, a man should also compliment her on aspects of her personality that make her attractive. “I don’t like guys who are too nice because I don’t want to be put on a pedestal; I want to be treated as another person,” agreed Katie Fry, a senior at Chapman University. “It makes me uncomfortable when a guy compliments me too much.”

Sensitive: Girls tend to prefer a guy who is assertive over one who is sensitive because when a guy is emotional, he seems too soft and the idea of security flies out the window. Hence, the nice guy can be seen as more friend-material than boyfriend material. Bad boys have feelings too and may be been more sensitive than nice guys, but the difference is that bad boys can squelch their emotions to maintain their bada** image.

Too Nice: No one respects a doormat. Sometimes nice guys do not set boundaries or make any real demands. Most girls cannot respect a man they can control, and no respect can lead to no attraction. Lauren Stewart, a sophomore at San Diego State University, said that she finds bad boys more attractive because of their ruggedness and ruthless attitude. “I really like a challenge so I prefer boys who can keep me on my toes,” she explained.

Bad to the Bone

Protective: Bad boys give the illusion of being able to protect women and most girls want a guy who will make them feel secure. Quintessential bad boy Steve Santagati, of and the best-selling author of The Manual, believes it is in women’s nature to be attracted to bad boys. “We represent alpha males and women are programmed to like the strongest male. That’s evolution; it’s nature, it’s science…We just make girls feel safe,” said Santagati.

Adventurous/Sexy: Some college women like the excitement, thrills and sense of danger that bad boys bring. This is especially true for those who have been “good girls” all their lives. Now that they are away from home, they want to take a walk on the wild side and are intrigued by guys who break the rules and shrug off responsibility. “Our game is intuitive and intrinsic; we don’t think, we just do,” said Santagati. “The real bad boys are those who are unapologetically male and bring out women’s naughty side.”

Senior > Communications and Chicano Studies > UC Santa Barbara

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