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Stats & Data

November 20, 2011

A mathematical analysis of women's cliche attraction to assholes

If you’re not already listening to “Stronger” by Kanye West, you should be. The words will put you in the right frame of mind for the message of this column, and the artist is a great example of the type of guy you need to avoid.

It’s not a fact women will admit readily, but it’s true. Women love men who are assholes. (For the purposes of this column, asshole will be defined as a man who cares more about himself than he does about you. Scratch that. An asshole is a man for whom your needs and well being don’t even make the top 5 list of things he cares about. Most popular things placed above your happiness: new lift kit for his truck, the shine on his BMW, his stock portfolio, STD test results, and how his hair looks.) It’s a cliché, but there are few things more certain than good girls liking bad boys. It’s a story line in 90% of all romantic comedies. If we think of all romantic comedies as PSAs, then I’d say the “Ditch the Jerk, Get with the Nice Guy” campaign has been as big a failure as the war on drugs. It is the most illogical of all female behavior. You enter into a relationship with a jerk, knowing you’re gonna get hurt. How do you know? Because a lifetime of movies, TV, and hysterically crying friends have told you this over and over again. But you convince yourself, that it won’t happen to you. Then it does, and you’re dumbfounded. (For the purposes of this sentence, relationship can be everything from marriage to “Hello, I’m Mary and now you’re inside me.”)

Well I have studied this phenomenon extensively, and I can tell you with absolute certainty, it’s not your fault. This behavior is an extension of the best quality of women, the ability to see the best in people and give them second chances.

Don’t understand? I’ll lay it out mathematically. (Ladies, do not worry. I will keep the ‘Girls are bad at Math and Science’ jokes to a minimum.)

Let’s say you’re at a party. Because you’re a woman, you’ve come to this party with several things: lip gloss, a cell phone, your ID, debit card, at least one friend of equal or lesser attractiveness, and a plan. And what I mean by plan is you know what you’re looking for. This applies not only to what type of guy you want to meet, but also what you want to do with said guy. On any given night, this can be playfully chatting (and enjoying your God given right to free drinks), giving him your phone number, or taking him home. Whatever your plan for the evening is, you subconsciously assign it a point value. Before this turns into a word problem, let’s set this value at a nice, round, easy to divide/multiply/subtract/add 10 points. 10 is the amount of points a guy needs to score with you before he gets your phone number or goes home or whatever.

Points can be scored in any of the following ways:

· Handsomeness (Probably not a real word, but who cares.)

· Manners

· Good introduction/ice breaker

· Making you laugh

· Eye contact

· Keeping the conversation going

· Appropriate physical contact such as touching the knee if sitting or the small of the back if standing.

Author’s Note: Hand on the small of the back or knee is an advanced maneuver and should not be attempted by amateurs, as it can cost you far more points than it can earn you if performed without permission. Do not touch women you just met!


Points can also be lost in the following ways:

· Excessive metrosexuality

· Overtly masculine clothing (read: Ed Hardy or Affliction)

· Overly sexual pickup lines

· Any pickup line your Dad or Uncle might tell you to use

· Any pickup line other than “Hi my name is _____”

· Excessive talking about himself, his car, his job, or salary

· Eye-Boob contact as opposed to Eye-Eye contact

· Bad Jokes (This can range from bigoted, homophobic, grossly sexual, or Dane Cook-ian jokes.)

· Excessive drunkenness or desire to get you drunk

· Staring at the TV

· Flirting with your friend or other women in your eyeline

· Straight up ignoring you


So now we understand the scoring system. Let’s discuss how assholes exploit it for their benefit. Let’s say an asshole sees you at the party and is interested. He knows that you are looking for 10 points. He also knows, that being the asshole he is, he can really only put up 5. So what does he do? He comes on like a jerk and quickly puts himself in a 5 point hole (-5 points overall). It’s not hard for him. He’s a jerk, that’s what they do. Maybe he makes a joke at your expense, ignores you after being introduced, or flirts with your friend. Ladies, some of you are slowly nodding your heads right now. You’ve met guys with indiscriminately dickish first impressions. It’s not a fluke; it’s a strategy. (Consequently, Indiscriminately Dickish is my new Fantasy Football team name.) Now comes phase two of his diabolical plan. He will come up to you and be a human as opposed to an asshole. He’s not scoring points, but he’s not being a jerk any more either. This is where female nature comes in. Because he is acting so differently from your first impression, you decide you made up your mind too quickly or were too harsh on your first impression, and give him those 5 points back like he earned them. (Remember, he did nothing to score any points. He was just human.)

Now in the rational world, that would bring his score back to zero, but in your head, he’s at +5 points. Now he lays on whatever meager charm he has and represses his asshole nature long enough to score the 5 points he was capable of (+5 points overall, +10 points in your head).

And now he’s hit your magic number. He’s getting your phone number or going home with you. It’s the start of a relationship that will only end in sadness and regret. (Cookie Dough Time!) And to think, this could have been prevented if you’d only known how math actually works. Don’t despair ladies, I'm here to save you from assholes with some helpful tips.

  1. Stop looking at any potential romantic candidate (or gentleman caller if you learned about love from Jane Austen) in terms of their absolute value. If he’s a dick, he’s a dick. Non-dicks NEVER start off like a dick. They start off nicely. Don’t be afraid to just write somebody off. (Freakin’ romantic comedies. Seriously, how many times is “My first impression of you was wrong” a major plot point in one of these movies? Dating is just like a standardized test, go with your first instinct.)
  2. Realize that excessive handsomeness, nice cars, money, etc are jerk red flags. It’s not that all men with these characteristics are assholes; it’s that these characteristics allow men to be jerks and still get laid. An ugly, poor asshole is a lonely asshole. (One of the things they taught the boys in school while you ladies were learning about tampons.)
  3. Understand that assholes are calculating. They know what they are doing. They may not grasp the elegant mathematical proof written above, but you don’t have to know why something works to use it.
  4. Find a guy who has something going on in his life more important than finding his next one night stand. This will help weed out the guys with schemes.
  5. He’s just not that into you. A terrible movie but something that happens none the less. There are some men in the world who aren’t attracted to you at all. That’s OK! It is not the end of the world, and it shouldn’t be treated like rejection. Rejection is being dumped. A guy who’s not into you is not rejecting you, he’s just passing. You do the same thing with all the guys in your life, so adjust your definition and reap the benefits.
  6. Time is NOT running out on your life. Take a deep breath. Take another one for crying out loud. Slow the hell down. You will find a guy who loves you for you. You will. I’m not saying tomorrow, or the next day, or next year even. But you will find that person. As long as an asshole doesn’t knock you up first. (Asshole sperm is extra potent. Just look at John Gosselin.)
  7. And finally, have some freaking self-esteem. I cannot possibly drive home this point better than the immortal philosopher Katt Williams. His words on “self-esteem” will never be topped. Don’t believe me? YouTube it. The message in short: you don’t need a guy to validate yourself. Once you figure that out, you’ll be surprised how many nice guys you meet. Self pity is jerk chum. Self-Esteem is your own killer whale, killing assholes like they were trainers at Sea World.

In conclusion all I can say is, “Ladies, I love you.” I hate to see this happen to you time and time again. But even more than that, I hate listening to you bitch about it. It’s truly painful to watch and listen to all your jerk related shenanigans, so please fix your math. Fix your self-esteem. And next time you spot an asshole, palm him in the face as you walk on by.