I hate the way you talk to me
And the way you cut your hair
I hate the way you drive my car
I hate it when you stare
I hate your big dumb combat boots
And the way you read my mind
I hate you so much that it makes me sick
It even makes me rhyme
I hate the way you're always right
I hate it when you lie
I hate it when you make me laugh
Even worse when you make me cry
I hate the way you're not around
And the fact that you didn't call
But mostly I hate the way I don't hate you
Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.
-Kat, 10 Things I Hate About You
Do you remember that movie? My 1990’s self soaked that up like nothing. Angry girl bands. Cute guy with curly hair. Crop tops and sullen faces. Yes. I was all about it.
Explains a lot.
What is it about “the bad boys” that good girls like so much? Is it their danger? Why is it that every bad boy seems to have a twinkle in his eye? He knows he’s good-looking. My four-year-old has it. Thankfully, my son says he’s going to marry a mermaid who loves Jesus so I won’t have to worry about him. He’s going to be single forever!
In all seriousness though, how many of you have fallen in love with a bad boy? Be still my beating, rebellious heart! I don’t believe it’s because we want to change them. It’s a popular teaching, especially in addiction circles. They even have a name for it, “fixers”. Probably stems from the codependency teachings. If you’ve taken Breaking Up with Bad Boundaries, you know how I feel about that! If you haven’t, you can check out the video series here.
No, I don’t think it’s about being a fixer of men. I think it’s to fix ourselves.
My First Fall for the “Bad Boy”
When I was twelve, I fell in love with my first rebel. His name was Shane. If he was reading this, he would know exactly who he was- he was an eye twinkler. Dark eyes, dark hair, dark skin. Very short. I think part of why he liked me was because I was so short, too. It wasn’t as awkward to dance at school dances.
Anyway, I can distinctly remember a time he was sitting alone in the hallway because he’d gotten into trouble in class and he passed me a note he’d written out there. I thought it was so cute at the time. Now I think, “Of course he’s writing girls notes in the hallway, what else is he going to do?”. Or, “Why did I think his note was cute instead of thinking how stupid he was to have gotten kicked out of class?”. Or even worse, “Why was accepting a note from a boy in trouble every day not a giant red flag?”.
Where was the red flag?
Shortly after the note, I went to my best friend’s house, her name was Steph, and we told her mother we wanted to go to this girl Sarah’s house to study. Sarah was a friend of ours, and also a cousin of Shane. I have no idea how we got to Shane’s house, now that I’m thinking about it (did we walk?! It’s possible!).
When we got to the house, him and another boy were waiting for us. Steph and I went to hang out. The boys intended to get into trouble.
They had Peach Schnapps. I had never drank Peach Schnapps, I sipped it and thought it was disgusting (drinking was never my “thing”). That was the end of the Schnapps for me (for the rest of my life!). They put on music that was super offensive to my ears, to get Satan’s rhythm in the air no doubt. Then, they went out to the garden shed to smoke pot! I tried it, didn’t like it. The boys kept going.
By now, I was feeling all the red flags. Steph and I were both uncomfortable but not sure how to get out of the predicament we’d gotten ourselves into. We couldn’t call Steph’s mom, that would blow our cover. We couldn’t leave, that would make us look like losers and we would surely hear about it at school. So Steph and I tried to play along and bide our time to make up an excuse.
We were also waiting because at that point, no one had ever kissed me before and I was promised to have my very first kiss.
Again… in retrospect…
Long story short, I was kissed, which confirmed I was not going to grow up and become Julia Goolia (Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed). Steph’s mom called Sarah’s house to see what time she should pick us up and our cover was blown.
Somehow still, the feeling I was left with was that it had all been worth it. I was no longer a social outcast. In like Flynn.
It’s terrifying to think that could be my son in two years. He’s ten.
So why do good girls fall for bad boys? What was I trying to fix in myself that I didn’t like? Let’s make a list!
I was insecure. Very insecure. I had been bullied up until (and beyond) that point and needed reassurance I wasn’t what the bullies said I was.
He was one of the best looking guys in the class. In fact, most of the bad boys usually are. It’s generally the awkward or the late bloomers who become the real “catches” later on.
My own father was not overly affectionate and I was probably needing some kind of Freudian psychobabble reassurance from males.
Their danger is a drug in itself. The bad boys are their own adventure. It is a chance for the good girl to be bad, without having to actually break the rules.
I think somewhere it goes right back to the Garden of Eden. Eve disobeyed God. She had no reason to rebel against Him, her life was perfect. Maybe this is a generational curse we need to pray against (you better believe I will be praying over my daughter tonight, BRING ON THE HOLY WATER, JESUS!).
I was naive. I didn’t realize the kind of danger that drugs and drinking led to.
I think I’m a little bit O.C.D. (obsessive compulsive disorder) and I don’t mean that as a saying. Like “Hey, I’m so OCD”. No, I think I really am. I have everything in my home in its place. If someone moves it, I go move it exactly back the way it was. It gives me anxiety when it’s not in it’s spot, positioned in the correct way. I’m not like What About Bob or anything, but I do have to fight the urge to have my home perfect. I think I obsessed about this boy. All the boys. It was too much.
Lastly, I was trying to find out who I was. Did this boy fit into my idea of who I thought I was?
As you can see, it had little to do with him. It’s also why I repeated my behaviour over and over again from one bad boy to the next.
But there’s more, falling for bad boys goes far beyond our own misgivings. Its science.
The Science of Attraction
We are primal beings at our core and there is a natural process of selection occurring when it comes time to choose a mate.
Parenting tip #1- delay the mating as long as humanly possible. Provide other activities. Lock them up in the basement. Feed them ice cream and bribe them with cakes. Anything to make sure they never go out into the wild!
When women meet kind, sweet, docile men, we don’t believe they’re going to be strong enough mates. Most “bad boys” exude masculinity. Testosterone oozes out of them and into their questionable activities. Their rebellious, risk-taking, charismatic behaviour makes them more than likely to hunt, kill and feed our baby chickens.
In this article from Elite Daily, they call it responding to the “male and female energy”.
“All humans have certain levels of both masculine energy and feminine energy flowing through them. Most men have more masculine energy, which centers on logic, reasoning and long-term goals.
Most females have more feminine energy, which responds less to logic and more to the emotions of the present moment.
The inner feminine is naturally drawn to situations that stimulate the emotions. It could be joy, pleasure, drama or dilemmas — the bigger range of emotions, the better.
This is why women tend to be better at expressing their emotions, and it’s one of the reasons why their moods swing from moment to moment.
It’s also why women don’t crave the "sweet gentleman." The caring guy who gives compliments and buys gifts is clearly a great catch, but he’s too one-dimensional to even stroke the surface of the inner feminine.
Conversely, the cocksure Casanova who creates drama, doesn’t care for anyone and should be undesirable always gets the girl.
He interests the inner feminine far more by unleashing the full range of female emotions.
It’s a natural attraction, which is a far stronger feeling than logic for the majority of ladies.”
What Does the Bible Say?
The Bible is full of examples of rebellious men. Rebelling against God is dangerous business and falling in love with a rebel, well, the Bible warns against that, too!
“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.”
(Psalm 146:3-5 NIV)
The best way, the only way, is to submit ourselves to God.
Parenting Tip #2- teach your children to submit to God and you will have done the very best you can! I make no promises. Those bad apples, they’re very attractive. Its science.
How about you? Are you guilty of chasing after handsome rebels?
Pick one guy from your past. An easy one, not the one who brings up all the feels. Make a list of the reasons why you think you fell for him and what you were trying to fix in yourself. I’ll bet you’ll see yourself repeating the same mistake more than once.
Once you’ve identified it, you can now go to God and tell Him where you were struggling. Ask for forgiveness. Ask Him to fix those things in you (if they aren’t already). Strengthen your spirit and submit to Him and by doing so, you’ll break the spell of the rebellious heart.
And don’t forget to pray over your kiddos tonight (if you have them) that they don’t repeat the same mistakes their ridiculous parents did!
If you’d like more of my parenting advice, formed mainly by mistakes not by infallible expertise, check out my book, “We’re Not Okay”.