In defense of “The Jerk”

Caitlin Duncan

You know him; you know exactly who he is. He sits across the room, looking careless and cool. He oozes overconfidence and reeks of arrogance. He looks your way and grins. You look away in annoyance and disgust. He’s not at all your type; he’s a jerk.

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You don’t even need to know him to tell. He has the look of a jerk. The way he walks with his head held high like he doesn’t see anyone beneath him. The way he surrounds himself with a group of friends at all times who never hesitate to laugh at his jokes, no matter how stupid they may be. The one who can get a girl with one measly look. Oh, you know he’s a grade A jerk, and one you’d never want to get to know.

You’ve spent your time avoiding him, never making eye contact, ducking your head any time you see him. That is, until one day. One day, he catches your eye, an attempt to pursue you. Your heart drops into your stomach in fear when you realize what’s happening. He’s made you his next victim. He’s ready to break your heart.

You fight tirelessly day and night, avoiding thinking of him, of his kind words, of those eyes, of that smile. Oh, that smile could break your heart alone. You stop to remind yourself who he is. He’s that stereotypical guy that everyone knows; involved in sports and Greek life and every other social event he can get into. He’s not even remotely close to your type. Although, maybe it’d be nice to try something new…

No, no. You know who this guy is. He breaks hearts for a living. If being a jerk were an extracurricular, he’d have 20 plus years of experience for his resume. But you lie in bed at night, staring at your phone, and a single strand of hope pings inside of you, hoping that he will text you or message you or contact you in some way. He does.

You’re flooded with relief and regret. He sure knows how to make a girl feel special. You know you’re in trouble now.

You promise yourself not to fall for him. There is no way you could be stupid enough to fall into his trap. He gets pleasure out of breaking girls’ hearts, girls just like you.

He continues to pursue you, and let’s be honest; you’re almost flattered that he thinks you’re special enough to pay attention to. So you let him try to win you over. Eventually, that wall you built so high and strong begins to crumble beneath his sweet sentiments and genuine compliments.

To your surprise, he might not be as big of a jerk as you’ve pegged him to be. Maybe he’s that misunderstood type; the guy who makes himself seem all tough. Perhaps this whole thing is an act to protect himself.

He intrigues you. You want to know more. You’re desperate to see who he really is. You talk to him until the sun nearly rises in the morning sky. Slowly, but surely, he begins opening up to you.

He tells you his hopes, his dreams, his fears. You tell him about your past. He teaches you things you’ve never known before, always being patient and kind.

You’ve fallen for him, for that heart of gold hidden under the rock hard exterior he hides beneath. He is not a jerk, not at all.

He is human. He’s been hurt many of times. He doesn’t mean to hurt anyone else, but in the vicious cycle of lust and love, sometimes it happens. He feels pain, remorse, and most of all, he feels love.

You realize how wrong you’ve had it from the start. You’re finally able to see past his act. He is an incredible guy who’s had it tough. You know how lucky you’d be to have him, but he’s scared. Underneath this tough guy act, he is still a scared little boy, afraid of getting his heart broken again.

You think back to before you knew who he was, before he knew you even existed. Maybe next time you’ll be more careful before determining if a guy is a jerk. Because who knows? Maybe he could be the best thing that’s happened to you.