What Is It About Bad Girls?

Yesterday, we said goodbye to all of our guests after another one of our very successful dinner parties here at the Heatley Cliff (in reality I made dinner for my mom and three children, who polished it off in five minutes and left me with the dishes). Then I climbed our exceptionally clean staircase that had nary a dust bunny (ha!) up to my bedroom.

I lit a candle. I put on a silk nightie (t-shirt and sweats) and decided to watch This Means War on TV. I’m not sure what I was expecting. I knew the premise – two hot CIA agents fight over Reese Witherspoon. I didn’t think it would be so funny. It was funny. But honestly, I just didn’t buy it. I could easily suspend disbelief long enough to buy that two gorgeous super hero like men would fight over a woman. But Reese Witherspoon? No. She is lovely. And I get why she would do this role, to try and break out of that “girl next door” category. But if I’m going to believe that these two men would go to such extreme measures for a lady, then I’m thinking Angelina Jolie or even Megan Fox. I’m thinking sexy. Like, super sexual napalm sexy, and Reese? I couldn’t go there.

But then I thought about it.  Why not? Girls next door can be naughty. In fact, what’s that saying? It’s always the quiet ones? I mean, there is nothing wrong with dating two men at once or even three or four, as long as you aren’t lying to anyone. But maybe that’s the catch. I don’t think a girl like Reese would say yeah no, I’m not going to commit to anyone. Why? Because I want them all. Granted, she was trying to choose in the movie, but that belies the point. There’s an aura, a vibe, that a woman throws off when she specifically doesn’t care if that guy calls her back or not. Reese doesn’t own it, but Angelina Jolie does.

Oh sure, women say all the time that they don’t care. That it will happen when it happens – so what if he’s not the one? I’ve said it. And I so, so badly wanted to believe it. But very few women are built to not care. I’m not saying the ones that don’t are lucky or any better off. What I’m saying is that men find it totally and completely irresistible.  I’m almost 40. I’ve been around long enough, I think, to be able to say with a fair amount of confidence that most men believe, deep down in a place maybe they even aren’t aware of, that a woman’s bed is (no pun intended) booby trapped or rigged somehow to catch and ensnare them. Many men want to be caught. Maybe eventually all men want to be caught – but no one likes to feel beguiled. So if a man believes that a woman really, without any games, has no agenda, then that’s the one he wants. Bad. And so, perhaps that’s why they are called Bad Girls.

I’ve wanted to be a Bad Girl at different points in my life. Mostly I failed at it. I couldn’t stop thinking, what is it about me? Am I not pretty enough? Thin enough? Smart or funny enough for him to be head over heels about me? CALL ME. The Bad Girl doesn’t give two stinks what he thinks about her. She knows who she is – the good, the bad and the ugly. If he’s not into it, so what? There’ll be another one sniffing around soon enough. The Bad Girl doesn’t make it about her. She makes it about taste or timing or life in general. Mostly she just doesn’t care. The Bad Girl isn’t always the Happy Girl but she certainly isn’t the Mean Girl either. Chelsea Handler is not a Bad Girl. She might want you to think she is, but she cares very, very much. That’s why she’s likely to verbally punch you in the face just in case you had any thoughts on attacking her first.

When I said I mostly failed at being a Bad Girl, I should mention the one time when I didn’t. After my divorce, I felt super confident and super womanly. But I was totally not the lady who wanted to get married and have kids. I was married, I had kids. I wanted something…different.  Let’s just say I had a couple Bad Girl moments but I was never a VERY Bad Girl. It only lasted 4 months. Then I reconnected with a high school flame and here we are five years later, still very much in love. Was Matt attracted to the Bad Girl, though? TOTALLY. He moved heaven and earth to be with me because he was sure that any second some man was going to snatch me up and take me away. Me. 33. Two kids. Living in a different country. So there you go.

This week at the Heatley Cliff, we are talking about some notorious Bad Girls and one Mean Girl, too. History is full of them and their stories are don’t always have the happy ending that mine did, but they sure are fun to talk about.