What Women Want

I had a disturbing conversation with my mother the other day, during which she talked dreamily about a man who was not my father.

"Oh, he's so handsome," she cooed. "He's very smart. He's brilliant, in fact. And talented. And he's funny. And he's mean. He's very, very mean. But he has so many redeeming qualities that some people just don't see."

She was, of course, talking about Dr. Gregory House of the television show, House M.D. Let's please not mistake him for Hugh Laurie, who I assume is a kind, wonderful person. He has featured in such films as Stewart Little, Stewart Little II and soon, Stewart Little III. Sure he was a bad guy in 101 Dalmatians, but I'm sure that his role as Poirot in Spice World redeemed him. On second thought, I've never seen Spice World and never plan to, but I can only imagine.

As any good daughter would do, I started to investigate this man who my mother had feelings for. I rented the first disc of the first season of House. I knew that I'd like it right away---I'd seen a couple of episodes last year and had always planned on fitting a little House into my schedule, but something always came up on Tuesday nights. Finally, this weekend, between homework assignments, studying, and final projects, I made an appointment with Dr. House. Or, to be more precise, eight appointments.

What I have found is disturbing. I think, like so many other women out there, I am falling in love with House. House: the big, fat jerk. And I'm beginning to realize that when the nice guys whine about women always wanting the bad boys, never wanting the nice guys, they may just have a point.

What is wrong with women that makes us all love a man like House? I propose the following:

A. Good looks.
It is absolutely indisputable that women love only the good looking jerks. Believe me, if Willem Dafoe or Steve Buscemi had been cast as Dr. House, the season would have failed after one episode. No woman wants an ugly jerk. The handsome jerk must also have a rugged look as opposed to a smarmy look. Dr. House's unshavenness contributes to this look of ruggedness.

B. Pride
The jerk that women love is always proud. And he always has a lot to be proud of. His rugged good looks for one. His intelligence for two. The jerks that women really fall in love with always must have incredible intelligence. Much of the time, he is also proud of his money, which women also like. I may point out here that Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice is the stereotypical proud jerk. And women love him. (Also note that he has facial hair.)

C. Weakness
This is what separates the jerk that women hate from the jerk that women love. The jerk that women love always has a weakness. Most of the time, his weakness is being misunderstood by other people. He just doesn't communicate well with people. People don't understand his troubled past. People don't understand his tortured soul. In the case of Dr. House, they gave the poor man a cane of all things, and a pain killer addiction, which only serve to increase women's sympathy towards him. Not only do we feel that we can understand him although no one else does, but we also have that extra mothering instinct take over as we long to cater to his every crippled need.

D. Exclusivity
This one is the key. How does a jerk win women? He treats all other people like crap, but he treats one woman slightly better than crap. He confides in this one woman---but only very seldomly---and she is seduced by his sensitive side that is almost always hidden. She feels that she, above all other human beings, knows the real him. Sure, it is sad that the him that other people see is a big, fat jerk. The him that she sees---that real him---is a wonderful, but tortured soul. In the case of House, we women are allowed to see the real him. We see the camera linger on him for a few seconds after he's said something particularly biting to a friend. We see the look on his face that indicates he knows he's gone too far. He is confiding in us with his body language. We are (censored for Brother 2---highlight area if you want to read it)alone with him in the room when, without family or friends, he plays Happy Birthday to himself on the piano. He is confiding in us!

E. Good Quality/ies
Each jerk has at least one redeeming quality. The problem is, this only redeems him to the one exclusive person. All other people only get the jerk and never see any of the redeeming qualities.

So there it is. A summary of why women love jerks. I have to say, I quasi-dated someone a lot like House once. Well, like House but less good looking, less crippled, and less smart. But he was almost House's equal in the jerk department. To my mother's credit, she steered me far away from him. To Nemesis's credit (I have seen her allude to the allure of Hugh Laurie), she also steered me away from him. So women, I can tolerate (even enjoy) an on-screen jerk boyfriend. But in reality, let's all try to choose the snotty-nosed nice guy whiners, okay?

31 comments:

vk said...

just surfing...funny post, but proves my theory completely, women are nuts.

The Divine Miss A said...

So, oh my stars! That is the truest (and most hilarious) post that I have ever read.

My mom and I are the same way about House. There really is that effect of the lovable jerk that you and only you understand. Have you seen any other episodes, or still just the first eight? It only gets better!

Cicada said...

I've only seen the first eight episodes and one episode kindof in the middle of all of them. But give me a little time and I'll have the whole first season finished. I go weak in the knees every time I open my blog page now and see his picture...

Stupidramblings said...

I don't understand it.

I am happily married (to a woman and I can't believe I even have to make that distinction) and straight. I also am noticeably silent every time you mention men. Mostly because I can't relate even though I am entertained.

What I don't get though is the 'looks' y'all are always talking about. I mean, I'm no judge of male beauties--thank my lucky lone-stars--but I would think that the ladies would rather dig George Eads of CSI (Nick) or maybe even his co-star [insert name here] who plays Warrick.

Nevertheless, I can see how the character of certain individuals is what makes them attractive in the first place.

I don't get it with Hugh (Laurie OR Grant) Either. And there you have it.

A funny note: I read some of this post and I had already decided what I would respond with. I skimmed parts of the column as I was formulating my comment and I was almost, ALMOST thinking you had said Steve Buscemi and Willem Dafoe were attractive.

*WHEW*

On a side note: I don't think the lack of laughter on your Christmas poem was due to the performer OR the material. The audience was just--how you say--Stupid. I couldn't concentrate with all the audience's jibber-jabber.

Freaking concert uninitiated...

photogenic said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
photogenic said...

Don't forget Hugh Laurie in the ageless Jeeves and Wooster. I say ageless because I find it just as funny now as when I was eight. I highly recommend it.

Miss Hass said...

My mom has the hots for Jon Bon Jovi. I'm serious.

JB said...

I don't think I've even heard of House (I don't watch much tv), but this Dr. House guy reminds me of the head doctor guy from Scrubs. He was hilarious, though unattractive and therefore completely uncrushable.

Also, I agree with you: crush on the tv jerks all you want, but let's not give the actual ones any chance to hope that they'll find someone nice. Stick to the nice guys--it pays off.

metamorphose said...

Miss Hass, you do realize how sexy Jon Bon Jovi, is right?

I've always crushed on House. Nothing like a genius cripple to get my heart to pitter patter. Keep in mind, in real life he has that English accent! Even sexier! And also, he's Sense and Sensibility. He doesn't say much in that movie, but he continues on with his sexy jerk-off looks.

I have yet to date a real life jerk. Someday, maybe. Someday.

metamorphose said...

I meant he's IN Sense and Sensibility. Um, yeah.

metamorphose said...

And by the way, I totally wanted House to get it on with Cameron...still do. Could care less where things go with Sela Ward. Boo.

Savvymom said...

He's also in that flight of the phoenix movie or whatever it's called with Dennis Quaid. And is attractive in that as well. You should do a doctoral study on this subject about jerky men with facial hair cic. I think you're really onto something.

Nemesis said...

Mmmm . . . House. So fine. I've loved Hugh Laurie ever since he played Mr Palmer in S&S. ("If only you would stop.")

Whew. Ahem. So yeah, House = Good thing. And I've about thisclose to becoming a House/Cuddy shipper.

But yes, House is only good as a TV character. We wouldn't want to actually actually date someone like him. Much.

Mary said...

I think all I would want from the guy is one torrid passionate smooch. Now that would be ....oh my.

I agree with the rest. Relationship? Ick. He's a child growing older.

Limon said...

Okay, so I really was confused why my mom also watched House. My only thought: this guy's a jerk. So, I guess my mom should read this.

Mandi said...

Did you ever get to see the one and only (very short) season of Eyes with Tim Daly? He was exactly what you've outlined here too.I nearly cried when the show wasn't picked up...

Being the mom of a 5 yr old, I have seen 101 Dalmations too many times to see Hugh Laurie as anything other than a bumbling puppy-napper!

Tolkien Boy said...

Melyngoch once said to me, "You have the sort of angst that it's fun to watch on a movie screen but no fun to live with."

Gosh darn it, she was right.

Squirrel Boy said...

So all we need to do is make Tolkien Boy: The Movie and you'll have all the women you could ever want. But only on screen.

Cicada said...

Oooo, good idea, SB. TB, can I script your life? The Vera Hinckley Mayhew Contest has a screenplay writing award. I've never written one, but how hard can it be?

[The camera zooms in on Tolkien Boy's ruggedly handsome face. His eyes betray his tortured soul.]

TB: Fie! Fie on goodness! Fie!

Etc.

Cicada said...

Nem,

Yeah, when I realized that he was Mr. Palmer (I looked on IMDB), I just started laughing. I was surprised to find out that I'd seen Hugh Laurie already in a few things. And, of course, I love Mr. Palmer. Especially when he's in his night clothes...

bawb said...

I really like that show.

kelly said...

does mr. darcy really have facial hair? i know he has chops, but i don't remember him having anything else. either way, you're absolutely right about the scruffy thing. it's completely necessary for the attractive jerk to be scruffy.

White said...

wow, i feel enlightened. best explanation i've seen on the 'jerk phenomenom'

Anonymous said...

He has those blue eyes that grab you. Who cares what's coming out of his mouth. I just like to look at him.

christovich79 said...

I've done some jerk vs. less-jerk experiments in my own life. Here, if you're interested, are my conclusions, and they come with a twist.

I'm not that great looking or super intelligent, but the more jerky and bossy I behave, the more girls seem to fall head-over-heels for me (which is still a pretty small number, but increased nonetheless).

So you'd think that I'd obviously want to act jerky all the time, right? (Maximize the honey I can get, right?)

The twist is that as I act jerky, I get lower quality honey. I want delicious honey--not the generic stuff.

I know that by being my very best--emotionally, spriritually, physically, socially; by following Christian principles I am led to a better honey result.

Any thoughts?

marriedin said...

For more information on how to win women by being a big jerk see "The Tao of Steve". Great movie. And it works too. The benefit to this plan is you don't have to be hot.

AzĂșcar said...

I was going to bring up Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, but someone else already did. I have to say, although I've been crushing on Hugh since Bertie, I don't watch House. I tried the first episode and gave up.
I can't stand that he has to talk in a fakey American accent. Oh why oh why couldn't they have let him speak in his normal voice.

persephia said...

cicada, i think that you may just be a genius. really. i mean, to disect and analyze such a challenging issue in the way that you did is a truly amazing, not to mention helpfull (to me, at least) accomplishment. anyway, i watch house every tuesday and always find myself giddy when laurie (house) is speaking, or even just on the set. desptie the major age gap (about 30 yrs.), there is something just plain charming about house's charecter that until now i had not fully understood. thanks.

Anonymous said...

I never date jerks, and I don't care if they treat ME well - someone who is cruel to other people is not someone I can fall in love with.

But this House guy is a TV character. It's not like anyone has to marry him.

The fact that women like jerks is a myth. They DO like a guy with PERSONALITY. Unfortunately, the guys who are kind, sweet and still have personality are often snapped up right away...

so what you are left with guys who are nice but have no sense of humor, or guys who are jerks but entertaining. That's why it SEEMS like girls fall for jerks, but if a guy who is nice can at least work a little to develop a sense of humor, he'll be snapped right up.

Cicada said...

Anonymous,

I think you're brilliant.

I did have a roommate whose theory was that all girls had to date a jerk at least once in their lives. Dating the jerk increases a girl's appreciation of the nice guys. It's worked for me, but still---a nice guy without a sense of humor? You're right. I'm not interested.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I think we agree. Guys just have to understand that we are not rejecting them for being nice, but we may be rejecting them for being boring.

And to become interesting, that doesn't mean they have to act like an asshole, be rude, talk about sex constantly, pressure us into the bedroom, or all the things that they incorrectly think having a personality means.

It means, get a sense of humor, get hobbies, ask us silly questions, tease us, tell us your feelings (yes, really), etc...