It's the struggle that every single woman over the age of 25 has gone through, at one point or another: the inevitable soft curve of the nice guy in favor of the bad boy. It's not that women are crazy, in fact, there's scientific evidence to support why women are biologically attracted to f*ckboys. But before we get all scientific, I want to get clear on the word f*ckboy. If you've ever encountered one in real life, I'm sure you have concluded what that word means to you, but for those who have not, allow me to give you a brief description.
What Is a F*ckboy & Why am I Attracted to Them?
Urban Dictionary has many definitions of the word, but let's sum it up with the all-encompassing description of "a boy who plays with a girl's feelings and doesn't really like them but would do or say anything a girl wants to hear to have sex with them or to get something they want." I will also introduce three categories of f*ckboys: the Narcissist, the Machiavellian and the Psychopath, which make up a sector known as The Dark Triad.
I can point to a number of reasons for an attraction to this type of guy. For starters, there's the perceived thrill of the chase or the potential risk of dating a "forbidden fruit" which also seems thrilling. It's like when we want something we know we shouldn't want, it makes us want it even more. Nonetheless, for the intent of this article, I want to stick to the facts, the scientific proof, in order to answer the age-old question: why do we find people that we know are bad for us so damn attractive? The answer lies in a number of scientific studies:
Women are drawn toward men who possess desirable traits to pass on to their offspring.
If you've ever heard of the phrase "alpha male," it dates back to evolutionary theories of mate selection in which individuals observe the characteristics of a potential mate before engaging in a relationship. This idea supports the aptly named "good genes theory" which hypothesizes women as more likely to choose a mate with strong qualities, such as physical fitness, because they are more likely to increase the reproductive success of her offspring.
Hormonal changes cause women to be attracted to certain types of men, especially "bad boys."
Specifically, during certain times of a woman's cycle, typically when she is ovulating, she's more likely to be drawn to sexually attractive qualities, such as specific facial features and dominant behaviors, according to a 2012 study by Kristina Durante. There is, however, research to the contrary, thank the Lord. Martie Haselton, Ph.D, describes in her book that outside of ovulation, women are better judges of character and may opt for a man who's more responsible, nurturing and attentive to her needs. However, the temptation to satisfy our cravings still exists...and when given the options of a slice of cheese and a slice of cheese pizza, we tend to choose the one that will best satisfy our appetites.
The Thrill of the Chase
This metaphor refers to what psychologists and communication theorists call attachment theory. Attachment theory seeks to explain the link between behaviors in child-parent relationships and adult romantic relationships. While there are four "attachment styles," the anxious-avoidant combination best describes some women's attraction to bad boys. In these instances, the avoidant personality type sends mixed signals to their (anxious) partner. For example, he takes hours, even days, to respond to your text messages, even if it's something as simple as "Wyd".
Or, he enjoys spending time with you, as long as it's late at night and inside the house, but never out in public. Each time you engage in an interaction with him, your "attachment system" is activated and you are only comforted when your lover employs a mediocre act of affection to assure you that he cares and re-establishes your trust. However, this exercise is the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a war wound as this is only a quick fix. Over time, you become fixated on the burst of emotions associated with your partner's run-of-the-mill actions. Meanwhile, your brain equates these anxiety-induced feelings with chemistry, passion and love.
The Dark Triad of Personality: The Narcissist, the Machiavellian & the Psychopathic
I'm sure you've heard your fair share of narcissistic lovers, but have you heard of Machiavellianism and psychopathic traits? This charming cluster makes up what is known as the Dark Triad. In short, the Narcissist is known for their grandiose behavior, while Machiavellian personalities are considered to be master manipulators and psychopaths are characterized as being empathy-deficient.
Typically, individuals in this group prefer short-term flings rather than serious relationships, thus, their initial efforts to attract a mate may seem extremely attractive, as they'll pull out all the stops in the beginning. Additionally, and this may not even be fair, research maintains that individuals who possess dark triad personality traits also possess physical features that make them more attractive.
Most narcissists can be spotted by behavioral features such as grandiosity, a need for admiration and an inflated self-image. According to Dr. Gregory Carter, a psychologist who specializes in Narcissistic personality disorders, narcissists, in particular exhibit charisma, charm and tend to be well-dressed. Moreover, these individuals indulge in efforts to make themselves more appealing, using these strengths to the object of their affection's weaknesses. The good news is that our attraction to people with dark triad characteristics is often short-lived once the nature of their true identity is revealed.
In regards to attachment styles, the Machiavellian scores high on the dismissive-avoidant scale. Studies have revealed these individuals as skilled liars, egocentric lovers and very successful in manipulative behaviors. As far as romantic relationships go, these individuals score low in emotional attachments, thus making it hard for them to invest in their partners.
OK, moment of transparency, here. In my mind, whenever I thought of the word "psychopath", I heard full-on background music from The Twilight Zone, but that's far from the reality of what it means to be diagnosed as a psychopath. While I am not a medical doctor or licensed to diagnose or treat anyone with a mental or medical illness, I hold a Master's degree in Applied Communication and my educational pursuits have led me to research characteristics of these individuals at great length. And what I can tell you is that people on this spectrum lack the ability to care about others. They react favorably to high impulses, being in control and are thrill-seekers, according to studies I've read. This can be equated to risky behavior when it comes to "dating and mating", as these individuals often behave erratically in sexual matters.
The Reason You're Attracting & Attracted to F*ckboys
The irony in dating a bad boy is the perception that he'll be strong enough to keep us safe. We've seen this idea of the "tough guy" in movies or adopted this fantasy from our favorite music artists and we hope it will apply to us. The sad reality is that these men aren't equipped to protect us because they are the ones causing us harm. Perhaps the most damning reason for our flawed attraction to f*ckboys is that our picker needs a tuneup. Say what now?
Hear me out…
I'm suggesting you may be more interested in a project than a partner. If I'm correct, then this would explain why we continue to carry on with men when we know they are bad for us...even when we know how it's going to end, we still hold out hope.
Sometimes, even when we see the bright red flags, we proceed, granted with caution, down a dangerous road in hopes that it will be a smooth ride. I once saw a meme that said, "She was the type of woman that makes an unprepared man ask God to prepare him", and I think that's an unrealistic idea to begin with.
At the same time, I believe that some women secretly hold on to this notion. When dating these emotionally unavailable men, we realize that the odds are against us, but we feel like if we can get them to commit, it feels rewarding to us. Moreover, if we can get them to change their f*ckboys ways, it in some way validates the power of our womanhood. The tragic end to this idea is how it substantiates our worst fears when he doesn't choose us and we end up feeling like we are not enough.
How to Break the Cycle of Attracting F*ckboys
Learning to curb this attraction is going to take time. Remember when I mentioned that your attachment system becomes activated by the drama of going back and forth with your lover? This happens over the course of weeks, months and in some cases, years, so don't expect your desires to disappear overnight. One of the first things you'll need to do is recognize when your attachment triggers are at play. Get clear about what it is you're feeling. Oftentimes, we get so accustomed to dysfunction in relationships that it seems normal. It's not. And might I interject that we should NOT normalize this behavior.
In the same way that certain activities activate your attachment system, there are also deactivating strategies that can help turn your attention away from a person. Instead of focusing on how good the sex is, replace those thoughts with how bad the communication is. When you're tempted to meet up for a "Netflix & Chill" session, remember how bad you felt the last time they ghosted you for days after you hooked up. Learn to employ these strategies so that you can outgrow your attraction to boys and finally get a man.
Be advised, the same way you're learning to break the cycle of this relationship, the f*ckboy is also taking notes, learning which strategies are most effective to lure you back in and continue with his f*ckboy behavior, so stay woke.
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Also known as The Real Black Carrie Bradshaw for her relentless love of shoes and emotionally unavailable men, DeJa K. Johnson is unapologetic in her pursuits to find love, happiness, and orgasms. A graduate of UA Little Rock, DeJa earned a Master's degree in Applied Communication with an emphasis on Interpersonal & Romantic relationships. She is also the founder of TheBreakupSpace.com, a safe space for men and women who need help getting over the loss of a romantic relationship. To connect, you can find her on all social media @TheRealBlackCarrieBradshaw or send her an email to love@TheRealBlackCarrieBradshaw.com.
Three Influencers Show Off Their 2022 Holiday Hair Looks Using Their SheaMoisture Faves
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
For Black women, there’s one compliment that will boost our confidence like none other: “Come through hair!” You know the vibe! Walking into a room with folks acknowledging that your hair is laid for the gawds, and the effort that it took to get it there, is a top five feeling. And with the holiday season just weeks away, you’ll be hearing that quite often. Between Thanksgiving gatherings with the family, Friendsgiving, company parties, and Christmas get-togethers, the opportunities to let your hair show up and show out aren’t too far away.
Apart from the holiday stuntin’, the end-of-year slow down is also the perfect opportunity to reevaluate the year your hair has had. Whether you kept it cute with protective braids, went big with blowouts, or let loose with textured twist-outs, this is the perfect time to give your hair the gift of TLC - tender lovin’ curls. Like the weather, our hair goes through seasons and has different needs depending on what we’ve put it through. Perhaps the transition into fall/winter has left your curls a bit parched and in need of some serious hydration. Or maybe your strands could use some restorative conditioning after taking it down from a convenient protective style. No matter what category you fall into, SheaMoisture has hundreds of ways that you can clean, treat and refresh your hair for a healthy shine that will bring you into the new year right. Bring your curls back to life with the nourishing and fragrant Coconut & Hibiscus line. Boosted with natural ingredients such as coconut oil, neem oil, carrot oil, and shea butter, this line is the antidote to reviving thirsty, dehydrated hair. Even better - with SheaMoisture’s custom quiz, you can get a hair analysis that will lead you to the right products for your hair needs. Say hello to sleek edges, and moisturized, stronger strands.
In need of a little hair-spiration? We got you covered! xoNecole and SheaMoisture have teamed up with three natural hair influencers to debut their holiday hair looks. Meet Ambrosia Malbrough, Jasmin Moses, and Daye Covington - beauty bawses who’ve created some incredible holiday looks that are stylish and easy to achieve. They also gave us the scoop on the SheaMoisture products they’re loving right now, as well as their 2023 hair goals.
Read on for more:
Daye Covington Kicks Her Twist Out Up A Notch With A Voluminous Updo
“I wanted to create a style that was super cute but also easy to pull together, so I went with a puff and tendril combo! It's a style that can be done on freshly washed curls or one that can be done on old hair. [It’s perfect for] when we're short for time but want to add a little razzle-dazzle to our hair before a special occasion. It's very versatile!”
“My favorite Shea Moisture product hand's down is the Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie! That is definitely a #TeamNaturalHair staple. Coconut is one of the ingredients that my hair favors. I also find that medium/light creams absorb best in my hair, so it's no surprise that I get amazing definition and moisture when I use the Curl Enhancing Smoothie. I love it for twist-outs, braid-outs, and rod set styles. Any product that can give me versatility when it comes to styling plus added moisture, that's what a staple is for me!”
“I would love to dye my hair back to blue! It was my favorite hair color, but unfortunately, my 9-5 now prohibits unnatural hair colors. I'm pushing it with this dark plum color, but I look forward to the day where I can transition into a new stage of life and go back to blue. In the meantime, I'm focusing on length retention. I've been doing well for 2022 and have had no major cuts so I'm hoping to stay consistent with my routine in 2023.”
Follow Daye on Instagram @dayelasoul
Ambrosia Malbrough Made Magic With Poppin’ And Defined Finger Coils
“[Finger coils] is a style that I don’t do often, it takes much more time than my usual wash and go. But that extra time put in makes it extra special and so worth it. The results are beautiful. It’s a style that offers many days of wear, too!”
“[Earlier this year] I did my 4th big chop. This time around hit different as a mom of two. I don’t always have the extra time on my hands to put into my hair, so the short ‘do has been convenient. I’ve realized that not all wash days are created equal even if I use the same products. However, my 4c coils are loving the products I'm using now”
“Since I’ve been having my hair dyed, I’m looking forward to trying Shea Moisture’s new Mongongo and Jojoba Oils High Porosity Moisture Replenish Hair Masque. I am currently growing my hair out and plan on having fun with more highlights and a new shape - possibly a shag cut in 2023!”
Follow Ambrosia on Instagram at @brosiaaa
Jasmin Moses Shows The Secrets To Her Jaw-Dropping Curly Ponytail
“I love doing a sleek ponytail with my baby hairs laid to a T! It helps so my hair isn't in the way when I am cooking and running errands, but it's still snatched to provoke anyone in the room to stop me to say 'girllll your hair is laid!'. I like to add a little razzle dazzle by adding my cute, naturally curly ponytail extensions. It elevates the look perfectly for the holidays.”
“It took me from my freshman year of college to now, almost seven whole years, to know what works for my hair. I love protective styles like wigs and braids because my hair thrives when I don't mess with it. When I leave my hair alone, it grows the best, so I love taking off my wig when I get home, oiling my scalp and putting my bonnet on for bed! When I do wear my natural hair out, what helps me maintain the health of my hair is to get in a rhythm with my hair. [I do] my wash days on Sunday, wear it in a wash n’ go all week, and repeat the next Sunday.”
“My 2023 hair goal is to get back to my 2021 hair length! Recently, a hairstyle damaged my hair causing me to lose 4 inches in length, which was not fun. So I’m working on getting [my hair] back to its original health and keep growing from there! I am also looking forward to trying the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie as a one-product wash n’ go! I hear such great things about it and I think it will give me hold while also keeping my hair lightweight and voluminous. I’m also excited about the Coconut & Hibiscus Defining Styling Gel and Edge Gel.”
Follow Jasmin on Instagram @slimreshae
Exclusive: Teyana Taylor And Director A.V Rockwell Explore Black Motherhood In New Film, 'A Thousand And One'
“This was a match made in denim and door-knocker heaven!” Actress Teyana Taylor jokingly said after letting out a laugh. She was referring to her relationship with the main character Inez De La Paz, in the film A Thousand and One, approaching theaters nationwide this Friday.
Set against the backdrop of 90s - early 2000s Harlem at the inception of gentrification, A Thousand and One chronicles the life of a 20-something-year-old mother of color raising her son. The film captures the realness and relatability of motherhood, family, and marriage. The movie stars multi-talented actress/entertainer Teyana Taylor, William Cartlett, Aaron Kingsley, Josiah Cross, Aven Courtney, and Terri Abney. It was executive produced by Lena Waithe and was written and directed by A.V. Rockwell.
This film was written through the lens of the often complicated relationship between mothers and sons. However, it isn't your typical movie about urban Black motherhood. No one gets shot, has a drug addiction, and if you ask me, Inez De La Paz (Teyana Taylor’s character) is a ‘shero’; she saves the day, or at least Terry’s life (her son).
This multilayered film touches on the challenges faced while establishing a life following a prison sentence, the flawed NYC foster care system, motherhood, marriage, love, the relationship between a father and son, and Black NYC neighborhoods at the onset of gentrification.
"There's a lot of pain in it, and in order to express pain, there has to be a love that comes with it. So I felt like the movie was a love letter to Black women but a heartbreak letter to New York City…. We contributed so much to the city and made it the special place that it is," said Rockwell. I asked myself, 'How do I reconcile the fact that this place that I love and that is home to me never loved me?'
Teyana Taylor and Aaron Kingsley Adetola.
Photo courtesy of Focus Feature Films
Both Rockwell and Taylor are New York natives, Rockwell is from Queens, and Taylor is from Harlem. The pair agreed they directly related to the lead character, Inez. During our conversation, Taylor explained how we could all connect with Inez. "Inez is within us from being judged or considered difficult for your strength, for your voice, for your tone, no matter how right you are, you're wrong because you're too loud… When you minimize yourself, it's an issue. You're not enough, and when you maximize yourself, it's too much," she said.
According to Rockwell, Taylor auditioned for the role and earned it fair and square, "Nobody can take away from the fact that she earned this role in all the right ways. I think it's great to have that cherry on top. The fact that she's a Harlem girl and that this is a movie about protecting her neighborhood not only what it means to us New Yorkers but what it means to black identity and history in general," she said. "Not only are we honoring Harlem, [but] she is [also] a part of that history that we are trying to protect. I'm really proud of that as well. This person who is a part of this historic neighborhood gets to be the one leading the torch of this role."
We all know Taylor as the uber-talented singer, dancer, actress, fashionista, entrepreneur, artist, wife, and mother. She seems to do it all so effortlessly, but Taylor described the role as therapeutic. It allowed her to put down that superwoman persona while filming on set. "The easy part about this role was that I'm already a mom, so I'm naturally nurturing… In some ways, Inez became very therapeutic for me because it was the only time that I could actually be weak and turn off my strength, and cry and let out all of the things I was battling," the "Rose in Harlem" singer revealed.
Director A.V. Rockwell
Photo courtesy of Focus Feature Films
After watching Taylor master the leading role of this complicated story, it's not absurd to think she may be awarded extensively for her portrayal of Inez. Taylor told me she's ready for everything to come but isn't looking to get too comfortable while soaking up the likely inflow of accolades, "I'm ready. I think it's everything that I prayed for. I think this is God saying ok, here you go… I'm blessed, and I'm grateful, and I just want to continue to just keep working hard and not get too comfortable. Stay hungry, stay the hustler that I am…this is really only just the beginning."
It's not every day we get to see a film with a Black woman starring in a leading role. Furthermore, it's not common to see a Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize-winning movie directed by a Black woman. It's no secret that diversity in Hollywood is uncommon, and the aforementioned are all the more reasons we should visit theaters this Friday to see A Thousand and One.
Not only is this film amazing storytelling, but the production of this film helps to move the needle of diversifying Hollywood and creating spaces for Black women in the film industry forward.
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Feature image by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Focus Features