The Goose and Gander: “bad boys and girls”

By Gabby Rente and John Linderman

Lifestyle Editor and Elm Staff Writer

It is a trope that has existed since humans started looking for potential mates — the bad boy or girl. The “cool and confident” persona has a powerful lure, but is it necessarily a good thing to be attracted to someone who fits this image? The Goose and Gander have a few words to say.

Gabby says: First, let’s talk about what exactly a “bad boy/girl” is. When I hear the phrase, I think of someone who wears leather, smokes, and probably has a motorcycle —a stereotype essentially— however, none of these traits are actually “bad” or “illegal” if we are looking through a lawful or moral lens. Personally, I think smoking in any form is stupid, but I’m not going to dislike someone because they choose to do so.

So what if you are attracted to someone who falls into the first stereotype? Well, good for you then. There is something charming about white t-shirts and leather jackets. (Thank you, James Dean.) As long as that person treats you with respect and makes time for you, then go for it. There is probably more to that person beyond their “bad” facade.

When it comes to defining a “bad” person, it really depends on what your personal definition of the word is. What are your standards? Is “bad” someone who speaks their mind and doesn’t care what others think of them, or is it someone who does drugs and doesn’t care about other people?

We are naturally attracted to confidence and positivity. We like people who are sure of themselves and spread cheer. It is when your preferences dip below your standards into self-destructive behavior that you should really worry. If you find murder hot, then you have got a lot of soul-searching to do, pal.

“But I can change them!” No, you can’t and it’s not your job to do so. And if you don’t like a person the way they come, then they aren’t the right match for you. Move along.

John says: The trope of the bad boy is real in plenty of TV, movies, videos, and so on. Examples include the Driver from “Drive,” Tony Stark in “Iron Man,” and Dennis from “The Spongebob Movie” (2004). We all see the same guy, one who probably doesn’t speak a lot, but carries a powerful weight and won’t take judgement from anyone. It’s been one of the strongest and most bulletproof tropes since the 50s. Men see how charming and persuasive the bad boy is, and try to mimic it only to receive mixed results.

Acting confident is great, but not saying a lot in order to sound cool never really works out. If you don’t say much at all, then it may backfire, and you’ll look suspicious. On the contrary, we typically like communicative and expressive people. If you copy too much of the bad boy trope, people may tell and see you only as a mimic. In all of these instances, it’s important to both value and express yourself, because you shouldn’t act like a cardboard cutout from a movie.

Guys, we aren’t a victim of this trope, because we fall for the bad girl too. They have a lot of the same qualities withholding gender: assertive, confident, mysterious, alluring, and so on. It’s very real that these traits are generally attractive to both sexes, so it’s hypocritical for men to judge women for choosing bad boys.

Emotionally unavailable people seem attractive, so know what kind of risk that involves. You may be ignored, stood up, ghosted, or plain disrespected. The “bad” boy/girl may be acting this way because they’re dealing with their own issues, and it might be best you stay out of the way. It’s healthy to feel attracted to attractive people, but always carry a gauge on yourself and your values.

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