I remember years ago being entertained when I read where famed old school rapper Ice-T said that most men usually have three women in their lives: A "girlfriend / wifey" type, a "bitch" or "mistress" type, and a "ho-on-the-side / jump off" type. Ice-T went on to say that a man pursues one woman for stability and peace of mind (i.e., the "girlfriend / wifey" type), he pursues another woman to provide excitement and entertaining 'drama' (i.e., the 'bitch' and mistress type), and he pursues yet another woman who he knows he can have his way with whenever he wants to relieve stress (i.e., the obedient, submissive casual sex lover-on-the-side type).
Even more recently, I read where Chicago-bred comedian Corey Holcomb went two steps further and said that many men interact with FIVE types of women: 1) a girlfriend/wife type, 2) a woman who has the physical appearance of a girlfriend or wife type, but not the pleasing personality and/or stable behavior of one, 3) an ex-girlfriend who is really good in bed, but full of personality issues unfit for a long-term relationship, 4) a woman who is not too attractive or is much older than him, but has good credit and is willing to be a 'Sugar Mama' to him and offer financial favors to him, and 5) a woman who is obedient and erotically submissive that a man will keep around strictly for spontaneous "booty calls."
As you could expect, many of my female friends and acquaintances frowned on these attempts by Ice-T and Corey to compartmentalize their romantic partners and casual sex lovers. Many women think these types of categorizations are shallow, disrespectful and inappropriate. What is interesting though is that very few of the women I conversed with thought these categories were totally invalid and not representative of real-life interactions (in essence, the women just hate that this is "publicly" talked about).
Even though I think Ice-T and Corey were both being very lighthearted to a degree with their categorizations, there is a lot of truth in what they expressed. And the key thing is, this is not just a male-oriented phenomenon. I have known a good number of women in my life who have maintained relationships with multiple men who served different purposes for them and satisfied very specific needs in their life at a given point in time.
I will take everything that Ice-T and Corey said and reduce it down to two simple preferences that I have found that many men and women want in their social life and personal life:
1) At least one member of the opposite sex who exhibits behavior that is responsible, stable, predictable, and dependable;
2) At least one member of the opposite sex who exhibits behavior that is adventurous, spontaneous, free-spirited, and a challenge to their ego.
I have witnessed this relationship dynamic in the lives of many of my male friends and acquaintances, as well as the lives of many of my female friends and acquaintances.
Let's start with the women. Many men ask me, "Alan, do women love 'nice guys' or 'bad boys'?" Realistically, that is not really an "either, or" question. The vast majority of women love having both types in their life. I have known many women who had a man who was the prototypical "nice guy" type as a boyfriend or husband, and then this same woman would cheat on that guy with a man who was more of an "edgy bad boy" type. Or, in some cases, I have known women to be in a long-term relationship with a 'bad boy,' but have another well-mannered 'gentleman' type as either a close male platonic friend and/or an occasional 'Sugar Daddy' type who would offer financial favors to them on a regular or semi-regular basis.
Very rarely, if ever, will you find a situation where a woman is dating a 'bad boy,' and cheating on him with another 'bad boy.' One man with very selfish, rebellious, and ego-driven motivations is usually enough to provide adequate relationship drama for any one woman. Same with a woman's relationship with 'nice guy' types. You will rarely find a woman who is married to a 'nice guy,' and cheating on him with another man who is also a conservative, loving, flattering and fawning nice guy.
Generally speaking, women want one guy in their life whose behavior is stable and predictable. That is their "security." Then, many of these same women want another man who plays the role of "Mr. Excitement." Figuratively speaking, one guy represents "home" and the other guy represents an "island vacation" or "trip to the amusement park with a roller coaster." With most women, usually the first guy is a Beta male and the latter guy is an Alpha male.
The same dynamic is present with men. Rarely will you find a man who is married or in a relationship with a woman who is conservative, loving, loyal, and accommodating, and cheating on her with another woman with almost the exact same personality traits and attributes. You might find that maybe 1% or 2% of the time, but rarely. Usually, if a man is in a relationship with a woman who is quiet, he is going to cheat on her with a woman who is talkative. If his girlfriend or spouse is prudish, he is going to cheat on her with a woman who is ultra-kinky. If his girlfriend or wife is materialistic, his mistress will be non-materialistic. If his wife is domineering, independent, and defiant, his secret lover-on-the-side will be obedient, clingy, and submissive. The list of contrasting qualities and characteristics goes on.
One psychological factor that I find to be equally irresistible to both many men and women is that one person who we perceive as a challenge to our ego. Just about everyone loves a challenge. This is why many of us love to engage in athletic competition. Sports provides an athlete with a number of challenges to their ego. The question becomes, "do you want 'Mr. Challenge' or 'Ms. Challenge' to be your steady partner? or occasional partner?"
An athlete such as Kobe Bryant wants his teammates to be responsible, predictable, and dependable. This is the only way a player of Kobe's stature can function as the leader and star of the team. Does he want his opponents to be predictable? No. That would take away the 'challenge to his ego' dynamic. Star athletes like Kobe live for monumental challenges. LeBron, Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett are Kobe's "challenges." He wants those men to be "unpredictable" in what they are going to do on the court, so he can experience the challenge of trying to figure out their next move on offense and defense.
(Warning: Movie spoiler below)
If you watched the movie Red Shoe Diaries, starring David Duchovny, Brigitte Bako, and Billy Wirth, you saw this relationship triangle I describe fully at work (this film was written by one of my all-time favorite screenwriters, Zalman King, and later turned into a long-running television series on Showtime). Alex (Bako) is a woman who is married to Jake Winters (Duchovny), a man who is your proverbial "nice guy" type. Then, Alex crosses paths with this very 'rough-around-the-edges bad boy' type named Thomas (Wirth). By their second or third interaction, Thomas has Alex's panties off, and they are doing the nasty in hot, kinky fashion.
In addition to Alex blatantly committing adultery, the bigger problem that develops is that Alex does not really want to "choose" between Jake and Thomas. Alex finds that she wants the companionship of both the "nice guy" and the "bad boy." Alex does not want to select one over the other. Alex feels like both men offer her behavioral attributes that she enjoys.
This scenario is not at all a purely fictional one. Again, I have seen women in real life respond just like Alex. Why? Because both types of men have pros and cons.
The benefits of the "nice guy": If you are a woman reading this, the 'nice guy' is going to generally adhere to your "program." He is going to frequently say things to boost your self-esteem. If you have children, he is probably going to be a great father to your kids. He is going to remain employed, and pay his (and your) bills on time. He is very monogamy-minded, so there is a low-chance of him cheating on you.
The drawbacks to the "nice guy": Plain and simple, the nice guy does not provide a challenge to your ego. His behavior is so predictable, that it can become excruciatingly boring. His ability to satisfy your sexual desires, needs and fantasies are average, at best. You can manipulate him at will. He is known to exhibit behavior that is "passive-aggressive" when he gets frustrated.
The benefits of the "bad boy": You cannot get this man to act the way you want him to, which causes your mind to perceive him as a major challenge to your ego. This man does what he wants, when he wants, and does not care if you have nitpicky criticisms and complaints against any aspect of his personality or behavior. He speaks his mind, even if it means hurting your feelings or bruising your ego. On the surface, you hate this about him. Deep-down, you love this about him. His behavior provides excitement and the type of 'drama' that you crave at your core. All of this combined makes you want to jump his bones, and he knows you like to reveal your more "raw and nasty" side in bed.
The drawbacks of the "bad boy": Many 'bad boy' types do not make good long-term boyfriends or husbands. They are usually promiscuous, and even if they try to be monogamous indefinitely, they tend to be erratically employed and financially irresponsible. If you decide to engage in a long-term monogamous relationship with a bad boy type, be warned that you will more-than-likely be cheated on, and you will be taking care of most of the finances.
If you want to read the same type of analysis for men's choices in companions, please read this article and this article. Basically, there are the same sort of 'benefits' and 'drawbacks' for men's choices in women as women's choices in men.
Have I had women in my life that fell into Ice-T's categories and/or Corey's categories? At different times in my life, yes. I am not a "cheater" type when I am in relationship, but when I have been single, I have definitely been known to maintain relationships with two or more women who possessed varied traits and attributes.
Some men and women, as they mature and evolve, tend to grow out of the need for a "challenge to their ego." This is why many women who have profiles with online matchmaking services such as Match.com will often say, "I am in my mid-thirties, and I have had fun with my share of 'bad boys'. Now, I am looking for a 'good man' who is husband material. One I can depend on, and who will make me feel secure."
Translation: I'm tired of being treated like a 'booty call' by 'bad boy' types, and now I want to be treated like 'wifey' material by a 'nice guy' type.
The question is ... are you truly "wifey" material? If you are, that can be a good thing . . .
. . . unless you run into a 'bad boy' who is good at presenting himself as a 'nice guy' (i.e., the classic "wolf in sheep's clothing" scenario). Then, let the game-playing begin.
Alan Roger Currie is the author of three paperbacks that help men overcome the fears and egotistical insecurities that prevent them from approaching women with confidence, and encourages single heterosexual men to express their romantic and sexual desires, interests and intentions to single women in a more highly self-assured, upfront, and straightforwardly honest manner. For more information, visit http://www.modeone.net.