Yes, Chicks Dig Jerks

During a recent discussion of the Rihanna–Chris Brown case on NPR’s Tell Me More, Arsalan Iftikhar pronounced himself “bumfuzzled” that the singer would continue to associate with a man who, in his evocative description, “didn’t only hit Rihanna, he made her look like Buster Douglas.” I like Mr. Iftikhar, but his clutching at his pearls seemed to me insincere. It is possible that he was in this case unwilling to confront certain ugly truths about human realities, and also possible that he simply never has encountered this particular ugly truth, expressed eloquently by the late Bill Hicks: “Chicks Dig Jerks.

Normally, the NPR demographic is receptive to the wit and wisdom of Bill Hicks (another ugly and seldom-spoken truth: Bill Hicks had neither wit nor wisdom). Not so much in this case. When I shared Hicks’s observation, the host, Michel Martin, said my remark found her “trying to contain violent impulses” of her own. When I attempted to explain to her that there is a significant body of scholarly work on the subject of the relative sexual success of men with certain personality characteristics — aggression, narcissism, manipulativeness: jerkiness, in a word — she dismissed the assertion as being “based on, I don’t know, some novels that you read.”

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