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The appeal of 'the bad boy'

Van Zandt:  With the O.J. Simpson circus back, many people are asking how and why his current, live-in girlfriend could be attracted to him.  It's an age-old question: why do women go for “bad boys” ?  Outlaws have always attracted women, from Jesse James to James Dean. Even Scott Peterson gets love letters in jail.

With the O.J. Simpson circus back, many people are asking how and why his current live-in girlfriend could be attracted to him.

It's an age-old question: why do women go for “bad boys” ?

Outlaws have always attracted women, from Jesse James to James Dean. Even Scott Peterson gets love letters in jail.

O.J.’s girlfriend Christie Prody, 32-year-old, allegedly met the former football player outside his Brentwood home. Then, she was a 20-year-old cocktail waitress from North Dakota looking for adventure in Los Angeles. She and O.J. reportedly traded phone numbers. The relationship is now in its second decade, not withstanding the 23-year age difference between the two.

Some have remarked of the resemblance between Prody and Simpson’s estranged and murdered wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.  Both are striking blonds who developed a long-lasting, and somewhat abusive   with a famous sports, movie and media figure — a man who was able to transcend racial lines before being accused of brutally murdering his wife and her friend Ron Goldman. During his murder trial, Simpson was eventually found not guilty of the double murder, a decision that over 80 percent of the U.S. still disagrees with.

When Prody’s mother discussed the DNA evidence pointed to Simpson as his ex-wife’s killer, she told her daughter, “DNA doesn’t lie.” Christie countered in pointing out her belief of his innocence, stating “they (the police) planted the blood.”  “He has convinced her he didn’t do it,” Prody’s mother has stated.

What do women like bad boys?
We see someone like Pamela Anderson dating famous bad boys Tommy Lee and Kid Rock. While some women know in their hearts that dating a bad boy can be self-destructive, they do it anyway. It probably gives women a high. Athletes, rock stars and other media personalities write tell-all books than include details about rolls in the hay with literally thousands of women.

Good boys cry out, “Why not me?” 

Because women don’t view them as cool, that’s why.

While the hardworking, nose-to-the grindstone guy may be the foundation of a stable relationship, he may unfortunately also bring little excitement to the table.  Many women see the bad guy as someone with a high degree of self-confidence, self-assured, and independent man, possesing great energy and an aura of power around him. He "glows in the dark." This type of guy comes off as an adventurous risk-taker, an on-the-edge person who acts with authority and gets respect from others. Better yet, he's interesting because he sometimes functions outside the sometimes boring rules of society.

Women can draw power, energy and even social status from their association with a bad boy who constantly lives on the edge. In this world, you either have your own identity or you share that of another. For some women, their identity is probably associated with dating or being married to a well-known figure. For others, being associated with a locally or nationally-known political figure can be personally rewarding, even is he is many years older or many inches shorter. Some women have learned to live vicariously through their partner, finding the other person's life far more interesting and exciting than their own.

And then there are women with low self-esteem and a challenged personal image, who believe that any man is better than no man. This can be hard to believe in a world where women can find success and happiness whether or not they're in a relationship.

Risks from co-dependency to abuse
The police have been called to the Simpson/Prody Florida household a half dozen times for complaints of domestic abuse. Once O.J. complained that Christie was doing drugs and needed to go to a clinic. Yet the relationship continues.

My guess is that this relationship, like others, meets individual needs. Theirs may be a co-dependency, one where he needs her because he always needs to have a woman— someone to cook for him and tell him that he’s not a murderer or a mere shadow of his former athletic self. He may need someone who looks at him like he's a superman.

He, meanwhile, brings her status and a different kind of security. While she was initially attracted to the glamour of his glow, she has probably now grown to both view and accept their relationship in a more mature manner. It is what it is.

The bottom line in most cases is that a woman should probably never enter into a relationship with a bad guy or an outlaw whom she is attracted to— and by that, I mean men who are real law breakers, and just those that can be emotionally destructive.

A woman shouldn't enter into the relationship thinking this man will change. Any woman that tries to do just that will likely get hurt. Outlaws like to dominate and control their women, treating them like a possession rather than a partner. Some outlaws are just drug store cowboys; passing themselves off as someone other than who they really are (like creating a new persona in an Internet chatroom). Others are true sociopaths who will use, manipulate, lie, and take what they want because they believe they are entitled to it. Such men are not in the relationship to meet the woman’s needs, and will walk all over his partner emotionally — and sometimes physically.

Worse yet, a woman can try in vain to make the relationship work, believing "if she only tried harder," she could change him. 

Remember this: Bad guys equal bad relationships.

Someone who brings out the best in you
Many women who date "outlaws" eventually realize a solid, somewhat boring guy can provide relational stability. A good guy can be a wonderful partner in life and a good role model for future children. 

The key in any relationship is to find someone who brings out the best in you; someone who you can trust and be secure and safe with.  Life may not always be wild and crazy, but it will make sense.

At least in the end, when the fun (and the outlaw) have long since left, one won’t be saying to one's self, “Why did I ever get involved with that guy anyway?”

Clint Van Zandt is a former FBI Agent, behavioral profiler and hostage negotiator as well as an MSNBC Analyst. His web site provides readers with security related information.