It’s no secret that girls go for the bad boys, and nice guys finish last. We often attribute this magnetism to the most obvious thing these villains have in common: villainy. But are women really drawn to evil doings and nefarious deeds? Not usually. As it turns out, everything women find attractive about bad boys can also be achieved by nice guys without losing any niceness.
1. Women are attracted to power. While you can inherit money, estate, and even position, true power is something you have to earn. A man with true power is a man people follow, fear, and respect. When the hero wins in the end, it’s not usually because he overpowers his opponent. He usually wins by luck, strategy, with the help of his plucky underdog friends, or because the villain’s lack of human compassion caused him to forget something very important. Until his demise, a proper villain holds the balance of power.
2. Villains are unpredictable. A plan laid by a villain is layered, twisted, with lots of surprises. A hero’s plan is usually “this is something I have to do alone.” Life with a villain might be unstable, but it’s always exciting.
3. Villains are old fashioned woman-chasers. While the protagonist is out there in the friendzone demurely wishing his lady love would notice what a great guy he is, the bad guy is out there making his intentions very clear. There’s no beating around the bush or polite stand-offish childhood friends here!
4. Villains are mysterious. The hero of a story usually has a secret identity, but that’s the end of the mystery. But someone who’s willing to destroy cities for revenge on a single person has a pretty dark past. A hero will probably reveal all of his secrets if you wear him down with acceptance and understanding, but a villain will always keep you guessing. It’s a paradox, really; as much as women want men to be honest, secrets are sexy.
5. Villains are often very rich. Sometimes stupidly rich. You need a lot of capital to bring a large population to its knees. Many of our most famous superheroes are pizza delivery boys and struggling newspaper reporters. Of course there are a couple of wealthy superheroes, but name me one poverty-stricken super villain. Go on, I dare ya!
6. While men are out saving lives, women are out saving hearts. Surely underneath that gruff exterior and those angry glances is a wounded soul that could be loved into redemption. Women are nurturers who also love a challenge. With occasional glimpses of the man beneath the mask, villains keep their ladies coming back for more. Of course, good guys often have past trauma and dark childhoods, but they’re often too noble to let their ladies in, often shunning their potential lovers in the name of “keeping them safe.”
7. Villains know who they are and what they want. You don’t ever see them acting conflicted over what to do, or how they should use their power, or if they’ll rise to their great responsibility. They never go crying to their elderly manservant, or their elderly great aunt, or their elderly mentor, (don’t these people have any friends their own age?) they know what they want so they are not stopped until they obtain their desires. Or they die.