It’s always interested me to note that girls like nice guys but rarely seriously date or marry them. A nice guy is easy to control. He’s safe, makes a great friend, can always play or laugh right along with the girls, never asserts himself in the uncomfortable role of leader or head, avoids those often embarrassing shows of male dominance and aggression, always is a good listener, and even offers a shoulder to cry on. Who wouldn’t want a friend like this? Nice Ned is quick to roll over, shake, and play dead in order to keep the waters from being stirred up and generally offers very little resistance to the every whim of Girly Gretchen. He might think he impresses her by being so easy-going; he might even see marriage on the horizon. Unfortunately, he’s the only one; and he’s usually bewildered when Gretchen starts going out with Macho Mike—who is a whole lot tougher, cruder, and rougher than he is.
Seems like Gretchen didn’t want to date someone who was identical to her girlfriends after all. She throws her easily conquered Ned to the winds and binds herself to Mike despite his inability to listen well, his insensitivity, and his macho antics intended to impress that only embarrass. Why does she do this? I offer to possible reasons.
The thrill of the chase: Perhaps Gretchen is bored with guys like Nice Ned who she already has wrapped around her little finger. More than Ned’s listening ear, his eternal laugh, and his caring heart, Gretchen wants a challenge and would sacrifice all those things for the chance to tame Macho Mike and bend him to her will. Of course, once Mike is under her control, she’ll begin looking elsewhere for a bigger thrill, a harder hunt, and a more glorious trophy.
The desire to be mastered: It may be that Gretchen really wants more than a friend. She wants a lover who seeks her out, woos and wins her, and makes her his own. To be sought in this manner appeals to her vanity as she is made to feel immensely valuable, being the end of the pursuit of the man who will stop at nothing to have her for a wife. Nice Ned only offers as much as her other girlfriends, while Macho Mike appeals to entirely different part of her psyche.
It seems that the wife of Bath nearly got it right when she stated that “women desire to have dominion over their husbands, and their lovers too; they want to have mastery over them.” However, she goes wrong in implying that women desire to have dominion over their husbands because they are control freaks. If this were the case, the large number of women who also desire to be valued, led, protected, and cared for would have to be written off as anomalies.
My own conclusion is that indeed women desire to have dominion over their husbands only because in the struggle for control they are assured, so long as there is a struggle, that their husband is a man and not just a girlfriend with different plumbing.
But I could be wrong…I am, after all, still very single.