Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Jennifer's boyfriend

It's a phenomenon I've observed and wondered about since high school: why some of the nicest people in the world choose to go out with complete assholes.

I am not referring to good-looking women who are with men who are only physically unattractive; this happens quite often and studies have indicated that a majority of women, when looking for a mate, value personality or financial success over looks. I am, instead, talking about guys who, regardless of their physical characteristics, have distinctly unattractive personalities: people so repugnant that they really don't deserve to be in a relationship at all, let alone one with a woman as cute and as nice as the one they're with. (In fact, I'm not even talking solely about men - I've come across several a relationship where an otherwise sensible guy was, for some reason, dating a woman who was a raving bitch. I imagine these types of relationships happen in the gay and lesbian community as well.)

Anyway, a particular case in point: I know someone who is one of the nicest people I've ever met. She is very intelligent and extremely attractive, with a pleasant personality and an infectious laugh to boot. Her significant other, on the other hand, is a creep. He is sullen, short-tempered, arrogant, aloof, rude and generally unpleasant to be around. I'm not the only person who feels this way about Jenn's boyfriend, either: a mutual acquiantance of ours once described him as a "dick."

Perhaps I could understand this relationship if the guy had any other redeeming qualities. But he doesn't - at least, not any that are readily apparent. He's not very handsome, he's not particularly wealthy and, worst of all, he really seems to treat Jennifer with the same distant and testy attitude that he uses with everyone else. I am simply at a loss to explain why she is with this jerk.

I want to ask Jennifer what exactly is it that she sees in this guy. I want to tell her that a person like her can do - and in fact, deserves - better. I don't, of course, because it would be rude on my part to do so and, besides, it's really none of my business. Obviously, she sees something in him that nobody else does and if she truly is happy with him then I guess that's all that matters.

Nevertheless, I've always found it to be a peculiar, and puzzling, phenomenon. Are some people simply attracted by such lousy and mean personalities? Do they, in spite of their outwardly-enjoyable nature, have some sort of inner guilt or lack of self-esteem that makes them think that they really deserve these kinds of people? Do they, perhaps, enter into relationships with these jerks because they feel sorry for them?

Love is not a rational emotion: it doesn't have to make sense. In relationships like these, it clearly does not.

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