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Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015 12:01 am

You’ve got bail

 I am not attracted to “nice guys.” I’m in my early 30s and I don’t think I have low self-esteem. I don’t like to be mistreated, either. In fact, I want somebody loving and faithful but I find the guys I “should” be dating predictable and boring. (So cliche, I know.) I seem to end up dating guys who cheat on me and have problems with the law. Is there such a thing as a good man who’s also a bad boy? –Longing

When you date a “bad boy,” there are always adjustments to be made, like getting adjusted to how he’s sleeping with three of your friends.

It’s easy to go unrealistic in looking for love. On the gooier side of romantic unrealism are the people determined to find their “soulmate.” (No such perfect partner actually exists – just somebody they’re compatible with in essential ways.) You, on the other hand, seem to be drawn to a guy who’s had a cellmate. Women very often go for bad boys out of low self-esteem, but you insist this isn’t your problem. If not, maybe you aren’t ready for a relationship and are going for guys who’ll crash and burn what you have together before you get itchy to get out. But it seems more likely that you’re an excitement junkie, turning to bad boys because they’re reliable providers of it – the obvious downside being that they steal not only your heart but also your wall clock, which they sell to buy cigarettes.

Most people will tell you they like excitement, but chances are you have a strong aversion to the dull and routine and a craving for excitement and variety – to the point where your comfort zone is more the end of the bungee cord than the end of the couch. If you do feel this way, you’re likely a high scorer in a personality trait that researcher Marvin Zuckerman deemed “sensation seeking,” which involves a lust for novel, complex and intense sensations and experiences and a willingness to take physical and social risks to get them.

Sensation seeking appears to have a strong biological basis. So if this is part of your makeup it’s not like you can just decide to take up with the nearest accountant (that is, one who isn’t embezzling from the mob). What you can do is look for good guys who have some of the positive qualities bad boys do like confidence, charisma, creativity, spontaneity and a wicked sense of humor. They won’t be easy to find, but consider that every bad boy you’re with sets you back from getting together with a good guy who also meets your need for speed. To keep yourself from taking any further dips in the felon pool, figure out alternative ways to get your excitement needs met (skydiving, tsunami-surfing, regular shortcuts through dark alleys?). This should free you up to meet the sort of guy who figures he’s justified in using the carpool lane because he’s pulling you behind his car on rollerblades, not because he’s got a couple of bank tellers tied up in the trunk.

© 2015, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email ( Weekly radio show: Order Amy Alkon’s new book, “Good Manners For Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck” (St. Martin’s Press, June 3, 2014).


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