Ben: I tried to make clear in my post that, Willoughby notwithstanding, I was not writing about falling for bad or evil or brooding men. The "bad boy syndrome". That's not what I was talking about.
I was speaking personally - from having gone through heartache, and having had a wonderful love affair in the past which satisfied me on many levels - is it possible to accept a little bit less? Because I recognize that the connection I had with that dude was quite rare, and on a plane I have never yet experienced with another.
And no, he wasn't a bad boy, or a motorcycle wacko, or a cigarette-smoking weirdo. He was a nice guy from the Midwest, who just happened to "get" me on this CRAZY intimate intellectual level.
That's what I can't reconcile - and that is what I don't want to do without.
I don't think there's one answer for everybody, and I don't think this is a gender issue either. I know plenty of guys who have that "woulda coulda shoulda" woman in their pasts.
I believe it is a question of temperament - which is what Jane Austen attempts to describe in her book. One sister is temperamentally more sensible, one is temperamentally more passionate. To go all in one way is not healthy, she suggests. Marianne could use a little bit of Elinor's common sense and Elinor could loosen up a little bit.
This is true for everybody, not just women.
I just want to make it clear that I was most definitely not talking about women who consistently fall in love with asswipes, and make terrible choices, and then bemoan the fact that there are "no nice guys" out there.
Your point is certainly taken. I must apologize for not making clear in my post the core argument which you made in your essay; a sloppy mistake on my part. In rereading things, I would have to say that I focused far far too much on the MEN in question, the example characters, as opposed to the QUESTION which you and the others had brought up. Hence my screwing things up.
It would appear this subject may truly and completely be beyond my ken after all.
Was just reading this over because I found it amusing and this time noticed Sheila's comment. If it helps, I was in fact talking about being attracted to assholes. You weren't off base in my case.
Thanks very much for your kind words, and I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I am also glad that I was not entirely and completely wrong. That said, however, I certainly erred in not making clear the key differences between Sheila's essay and yours. Had I been more careful I would have seen I needed to do that -- and I am mortified that I made the mistake. As I'm very much a stickler for accuracy in my work, such things are always of great concern to me.