Old sports:

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while probably know that while I can be quite giddy and impulsive at times--even downright silly--I also have a bit of a "dark streak." I'm not saying I'm anywhere near evil--I don't mean "dark" like that. But I can occasionally get a little too fixated on gloomy ideas. (Like: Life has no meaning. And I have no power over anything. And Some day, my favorite cactus plant will die.) As far as I can tell, that dark streak has never done me one bit of good--it seems to have hurt me more than helped when it comes to dating and relationships. All the same, in the last few months, a strange preponderance of my male friends have claimed that they're only attracted to chicks who have "a dark side"--that if a chick doesn't have one, they're not interested.

Why, exactly? And what do they mean by that?

I tracked down a few of the men in question, and demanded that they pony up with some explanations. Here's what they had to say:

WOMEN WITH A DARK SIDE
... SEEM HARDER TO GET
One friend of mine, 38-year-old Bear Cummings*--a hipster hiding out in a corporate job--says the appeal of women who wear midnight-colored glasses is that they seem harder to get than your average female. He presents a very interesting reason why that might be so: "Women with a dark side bring out some protective paternalistic instinct--which leads me to pursuing them in a way that borders on the obsessive--which inevitably causes them to reject me. That, in turn, leads to mania on my part."
Here's 25-year-old Charlie Dupont on the topic: "Part of the appeal with chicks who seem to think deeply about things is you have to work harder to penetrate the surface--no pun intended. It adds to the feeling that you're on the chase."
... SEEM MORE INTERESTING
A 29-year-old copywriter I know had this wisdom to impart: "Girls with a dark side are more exciting. They're the opposite of the docile, passive, 'good girl' who may be a great mother someday but is a boring girlfriend or fling. Plus, their interest in us suggests we, too, have some intriguing contours."
... MAKE MEN THINK THEY'RE BEING USED
The copywriter had another detail to add: "They give us the feeling that we're being objectified somehow, or 'used'--which is a rarity for men, and can be an ego trip."
... SEEM MORE WORDLY AND WISE
31-year-old Rico Miniver has this to say: "I want to point out that when I say 'dark,' I don't necessarily mean a woman who wears a lot of black leather and has tattoos. But I do prefer women who are capable of skepticism, even cynicism, because that signals they don't accept the obvious, superficial "truths" we are taught to believe. They question conventional wisdom. They aren't so much negative as authentic in the way they choose to approach cultural and political ideals.
... INSPIRE RESCUE FANTASTIES
Bear had some more insight: "If we can win the bad girl over, then we get to enact our fantasies of being the one to rescue her from the cruel world. This kind of fantasy is more commonly associated with women--it's fairly common that you hear about a female who is trying to save a screwed-up man--but certain men are into that kind of thing too."
... SEEM MORE PROMISCUOUS
And Bear continues: "I assume that girls who have experienced existential angst are going to be sluttier, and more into some of the same unhealthy lifestyle choices I make at times: drinking too much, doing drugs, that kind of thing."

Lovelies: What do you think? Ladies--do you have dark sides? Do you think they help or hurt you, dating-wise? Do you find the reasons outlined above outrageous? Or understandable?

And men: Are you into women with dark sides? Or ... not so much? Why or why not?

xxx

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*All pseudonyms are porn-star names.

What Do You Think?