Every woman has her own perception of a "bad boy."
Maybe he has tattoos or piercings. Maybe he does weird drugs. Maybe he resists authority and prefers to come up with his own ideas about the world instead of listening to what other people tell him to do.
Whoever he is, every woman has come in contact with her own Bender from "The Breakfast Club," her own Shawn from "Boy Meets World" or her own Tyga -- a guy who unexpectedly comes along, sweeps her off her feet and makes her realize just how damn angelic and naive she really is.
I'm self-aware enough to know the good girl/bad boy is definitely an overused media trope. But, like other tropes, I've definitely fallen for it.
I hate to admit it because it's so cliché, but I secretly love guys who are rebellious, have reckless confidence and march to the beat of their own drum.
These so-called bad boys are the female version of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl -- they're always looking to loosen us up and to get us to appreciate the finer (read: riskier) things in life.
They're charming. They encourage us to go on adventures and make us question things we'd known our whole lives.
Conformity is everywhere, so it feels good to be with someone who's proud of exactly who he is, no matter how "wrong" of a lifestyle he may lead.
As appealing as he is, though, you can't date a bad boy without experiencing some harrowing struggles.
1. You realize he may not be your forever.
At the end of the day, he might just be an interesting experience that you'll tell your grandchildren about one day.
2. You know you don't have a hold on him.
He does whatever he wants, and he sure as hell isn't going to stop just because you want him to.
3. You try to fit into a world you don't necessarily fit into.
Do you really like smoking weed and staying up until 5 AM, or are you just doing it for his approval?
4. You can't introduce him to your family.
Your mother would nod disapprovingly, and your father would kill him, so you know to keep him away.
5. You rationalize his behavior to yourself, your friends and family.
Underneath the drugs, the tattoos, the crimes and the anarchy, he's a good guy... right? Right. Yes. Exactly.
6. You question your own perception of what's right and wrong.
Maybe the 2.5 children, white picket fence thing really isn't all that ideal.
7. You constantly debate whether your morals are worth changing for him or not.
DRUGS ARE BAD. COMMITTING CRIMES ISN'T FUNNY. BREAKING THE RULES IS DANGEROUS. REPEAT.
8. You start to mold your preferences to his.
You really loved this cheesy rom-com, but he thought it was lame, so now you think it's lame.
9. Your friends always ask you what the hell you're doing.
You either get defensive about it or say you don't know. Both answers are bad.
10. You feel lame when you don't want to keep up with his reckless lifestyle.
He's about to do drugs, to go steal something or to trespass somewhere, and he obviously wants you, his new partner in crime, to come with him. Time to panic!
11. You fear that he thinks you're judging him.
You guys are such opposites that whenever you talk about something you disagree on, you fear that he thinks you're being holier-than-thou.
12. You realize you're not the only person he's ever dated.
You aren't his princess. If he's a bad boy, he's probably charmed other women and been around the block.
13. You compare yourself to everyone else he's had sex with.
Were they as "bad" as him and thus more rebellious and risky in bed? You can't help but feel inadequate.
14. Your friends and family start to notice changes in you.
They tell you that you've been acting differently.
15. You put yourself in real danger.
Sure, HE may be good at sneaking around and avoiding authority, but you don't have as much experience in that department.
16. You question how far you're straying from your true self.
Are you changing because of this guy, or would you have grown up and realized your naïveté regardless?
17. You realize there's no such thing as a bad boy or a good girl, and you've been putting him and yourself in terribly limiting boxes.
The truth is that we've all got a little good and bad in us. And if you look at people as just "people," you can learn from them and grow with them without straying too far from who you really are deep down.