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Being a Jerk is Easy, Hence Popular

March 7, 2012

Chuck Rudd on women and assholes:

It’s not that women dig the jerkiness, per se; they just prefer the agency, the assertiveness.

I’d argue that women prefer positive agentic men, but often settle for negative agentic men – assholes – because the most desired group is in short supply and high demand.

I think this is about right. Though we should acknowledge that attraction can be focussed on the symbol rather than what it might be hoped to indicate (this is often how sexual attraction works—think of fake breasts), so I see no reason why jerkiness itself shouldn’t be attractive to at least some women.

But there are two further reasons for the popularity of the “chicks dig jerks” idea. First, if women don’t particularly like you, it’s nice to think that it’s because you’re such a great person. (“What will not a man be proud of when he cannot be rid of it?”)

Second, being a jerk is relatively easy. Women are interested in men who are special in some way. By definition, most men aren’t special. And you can’t become taller, or more charismatic, or smarter, or funnier. But you can pretend to be special by just being an ass. So-called ‘seduction artists’ love to give “be an asshole” advice because it’s a lot easier than turning their followers into actual men.

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