Volume 93, Issue 52

Wednesday, December 1, 1999


Awareness for women at large

Jerks are predators

Nice guys triumph in the end

Beliefs not appropriate

Looking back on an altered past

Homeless deserve our warmth

Jerks are predators

Re: "What's love but a second hand emotion?" Nov. 17

To the Editor:

The debate started by Michael Smith in The Gazette has been interesting. To some extent, he has a point – put a group of "nice guys" together and invariably the subject turns to why women prefer jerks.

Jerks seem to get the most dates, the most sex – the most women, basically. But women say they don't like jerks. Men and women are clearly very different – just take a look at their common social and sexual fantasies. But the root here seems to be not fantasies, but mating strategies. Many men (by no means all) prefer submissive, shy women and many women (by no means all) prefer aggressive, confident men. Why?

Some psychologists believe we're hard-wired biologically into seeking these qualities out in a mate for evolutionary purposes. Aggressive males were more likely to be able to protect their mates and children, bring food home and pass on genes to his children. So aggression can be attractive in men. But being aggressive doesn't mean being a jerk.

Far from it. Being aggressive means being confident and bold, self-assured and willing to make the first move that can be oh-so-frightening. Jerks are aggressive too, but what may be "bold and chivalrous" the first time can quickly become "stifling and controlling" by the 10th. It's hard to tell the distinction the first time around – especially if you're inexperienced or vulnerable. Eventually, the girls dating jerks wise up and break up. But that can be hard to do if you've invested in someone emotionally and harder to do when that someone is domineering and abusive.

Jerks are predators and naive women are their prey. It doesn't make them admirable, it makes them dangerous. But though the jerks may get a lot of dates, they rarely seem to have long-lasting, fulfilling relationships. Too often, they're seen complaining about their partners and then cheating on them, back on the prowl again.

Conversely, being sensitive to your partner's needs can help make it last while still being fulfilling. The nice guys may finish last, but they also last until the end. Think about that the next time you're talking about jerks.

Dave Harper
Special Student, Psychology

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Copyright The Gazette 1999