Disclaimer: I do not own The Mentalist, its characters or anything associated with it.
A Different Type of Danger
"You wouldn't understand."
"Sure she would. All women understand the appeal of a dangerous man."
Jane said it like he said almost everything, so matter-of-factly, like there could be no room for argument. All women were drawn in some way to dangerous men. End of discussion.
But did I really understand? Could I relate at all to this girl whose boyfriend was nothing more than a common thug?
Even in high school I never really understood the appeal of the so-called "bad boy." Skipping class to smoke anything and everything behind the school, in detention every other day, showed up to class late every other day. Why exactly is that attractive? Sure some of them had cool cars, devilish grins and looked good in their leather jackets, but even in high school I guess I figured that a person had to be more than a jacket. And I didn't see the point in doing things just because you weren't supposed to. Besides, dating a guy just to get back at my parents, well, that wasn't something that I had a whole lot of time to experience.
Besides, if any of my boyfriends had ever treated me like Hector treated Melanie they'd be gone so fast it's not even funny. Testing the boundaries or no, if any guy had tried to "tune me up" he would have very quickly found himself in a bit of pain of his own.
So, no Jane, not every woman understands the attraction of a thug. Not everyone wants to experience that danger, to risk everything in an all-consuming relationship that most likely won't last and when it does fall apart, probably won't end well. Not everyone's a stereotype.
But what about other types of danger? Like the danger associated with people you can't quite trust? People that have their own agendas? People who defy you at every turn, causing you to question your own abilities, your competence?
What about over-confident men? Over-confidence can breed arrogance. And that can lead to disaster. Men like that can be goal-oriented, always getting what they want to the point where they can't see anything else, and they might be blind to the consequences. But men confident in themselves and their own abilities are definitely attractive. You don't have to worry if appearing strong yourself will threaten them. There's no pandering, no worrying about intimidation, they can take it, which can be a refreshing change.
What about men who are overly charming? Smooth talking, handsome, funny. And when the charm is focused on you, you feel like the most important woman in the world. They can make you laugh, even if that's not something that you do a lot. You remember that everything doesn't always have to be serious, and you're allowed to have a little fun. If they're good enough you can get lost in the surface, and totally forget about the potential minefield lurking just underneath the polished exterior. Charm can mask all manner of sins.
And what about men who provoke you just to see how you'll react? Who purposely make you uncomfortable because it amuses them? Who will (completely inappropriately) call a restaurant in front of you and make it seem like they're setting up a romantic date for the two of you just to make you squirm? And then grin as they walk away like they've figured out all of your secrets.
Men like that could worm their way into your heart. And once they get there, well, even you might be tempted to risk it all, even though you know that there's a 99% chance that it will end in heartbreak, for one or both of you, if not worse.
So it turns out that there are different types of dangerous men, probably as many types as there are women. And the worst part about it? Jane was right; I do understand their appeal.