Who is the bad man?

Published on 14 June 2023 at 00:35

Following our writing contest on the theme of The Wrong or Bad Man, I was confronted with a wide variety of ideas about such a man. In short, it came down to the fact that he is an attractive charmer, who knows how to hide his unreliable and sometimes criminal behavior well. In my opinion, this is a too rosy, perhaps somewhat romantic image. I am reminded of James Bond, who can certainly be called a wrong guy, but also a fighter against Evil. His work as a secret agent gives 007 an excuse for his wrong behavior and women forgive him for this.
What then defines a bad man? Curious, I googled its characteristics.
First I came across the site of Roos Vonk (https://www.psychologiemagazine.nl/artikel/fout/) who succinctly proclaims that there are actually no wrong men. Well, silly women who cling to such a man and blame him when they become unhappy.
According to  Roos Vonk, there are no studies into bad men. How could you possibly get a random sample of bad men? From a scientific point of view, therefore, no classifications of these men can be given. However, there are characteristics that partners can suffer so much from that they see the man as 'bad'. Roos Vonk mentions:
1. Narcissism
2. The man is bound
3. Fear of intimacy
Each of these characteristics causes the "bad" man to keep his distance and not engage with the person, usually a woman, who craves him.
Searching further I ended up on the site of Mannenbrein (https://www.mannenbrein.nl/player-foute-man-recognizing-signals/). Laurens, women's coach at Mannenbrein, dares to distinguish three types of 'bad men':
1. The player. He pleases women, is extremely vain and has smooth talk.
2. The man who is only out for sex
3. The cheater. This is a great man in the eyes of many women, but he acts kind of sketchy. Often it turns out that he is bound.
Laurens also gives 21 signals to recognize a bad man. Number 21 is the most dangerous: the man is "a world class manipulator". He twists the truth to his advantage and often in such a way that the woman who criticizes him for his behavior feels guilty. It's her fault that things aren't going smoothly...
If we compare Roos Vonk's descriptions with those of Laurens, the player seems to agree with the narcissist and the bound man with the cheater. Perhaps the man who only wants sex is the prototype of the man with fear of commitment?
The question is why it is that women fall in love with these kinds of 'bad men' and lose themselves in an often year-long yearning for the love of just such a man.
Besides the fact that personality traits and developmental history can play a role in this, it is probably also important that the word love definitely does not have the same meaning for both sexes and is therefore a source of serious misunderstandings. Thus Simone de Beauvoir (The Second Sex). That this statement also applies to herself in her relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre, a womanizer par excellence, is mentioned by her biographers.
Apart from the fact that the word love can be judged differently by both sexes, this also applies to the sexual act. According to Vivian Gornick (interviewed by Marja Pruis (https://www.groen.nl/artikel/vallen-voor-fout)) a lot of misery stems from the confusion of sexual attraction with love. Men, unlike women, take their brains seriously, perhaps even more than their genitals. Women like to lose themselves in a bottomless desire, hang the meaning of their existence on that one irrational passion that often heralds their downfall. In fact, the impending doom gives that passion its true passionate character.

That this passion is a source for romantic love and inspiration for the literature in this field, can be guessed. I will come back to this in my next blog.


Jean-Paul Sartre

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