Tyler Durden: girls always love a badass!


Rant! swoons unashamedly over literature’s hottest hunks – and it’s all subjective of course.


Tyler Durden is the alpha male; the leader of the pack, the originator of Fight Club, the commander of Project Mayhem. He is testosterone epitomised, anarchy personified, defiance exemplified and carnal to the core. He looks, tastes, smells, shits and breathes Attitude.

The brain-child of author Chuck Palahniuk, Tyler Durden is described by his creator in novel “Fight Club” as:

…funny and forceful and independent, and men look up to him and expect him to change their world. Tyler is capable and free…

…An idea adapted by Jim Uhls, in David Fincher’s 1999 film adaptation, as follows:

I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not.


Tyler Durden IS badass.

Chuck Palahniuk is famed for his grotesque and exaggerated portraits of American society and in “Fight Club” Tyler Durden is the dregs of civilization. A projectionist, waiter and entrepreneur, Durden sabotages companies and abuses clients; he inserts subliminal porn into movies, pees in food and steals left-over drained human fat from liposuction clinics to supplement his income through soap making and create the ingredients for bomb manufacturing. A working class deadbeat, a terrorist and an extremist. Engaged in a war against consumerism, it is through guerilla activity that Durden actualises his principles:

Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.

A philosopher and a freedom fighter!? Even dregs can be heroes.

Durden argues:

Maybe self-improvement isn’t the answer, maybe self-destruction is the answer.

Not only is Fight Club a way to unify the masses, to forge a weapon to fuck with the system, but it is a symbol of Durden’s penchant for carnage. And Durden’s metaphoric hara-kiri is brutally erotic.

Women love him. Women crave him. Women want to have his babies (and Marla his abortion). Over and over again.

Not in spite of the fact that he is so utterly despicable but because of it.

The raw animalism invoked by bare-knuckle brawling seems to incite some sort of lust pheromone in women, and there is, in fact, a biological reason; an explanation why male barbarism – the act of bruise-and-battery – is so damn hot. Journal “Nature Communications” states that women rate guys with high levels of testosterone and stronger immune responses as more attractive. Research also suggests that women are not to blame for their bad boy lust; when ovulating a woman’s hormones influence who she sees as a good potential father, a woman will specifically pick ‘sexier’ (more badass) men over obviously more dependable men. Researcher Kristina Durante, of The University of Texas at San Antonio says, “When looking at the sexy cad through ovulation goggles, Mr Wrong looked exactly like Mr Right”. It goes back to the days of the cavemen; in modern society, proving one’s worth means getting a job and perhaps a house but in the days of the Neanderthal is was about strength – hunting mammoths and building the furniture.

Women are attracted to the alpha male; the man who reigns supreme over all others; the man who rules Fight Club. The proverbial Tyler Durden.


Here’s the catch; Tyler Durden is an alter ego; he’s only one half of a whole. Durden’s charisma is juxtaposed with the insipid vacuity of Palahniuk’s unnamed narrator, the protagonist in “Fight Club” who suffers a rather severe case of Dissociative Personality Disorder. Mr Unnamed exists as a zombie, drifting through life working a job he hates for shit he doesn’t need – neither a ‘Mr Right’ nor a ‘Mr Wrong’ but a Mr Boring. Fight Club, initiated by his alter ego, brings Mr Unnamed to life:

You aren’t alive anywhere like you’re alive at fight club. When it’s you and one other guy under that one light in the middle of all those watching. Fight club isn’t about winning or losing fights.  Fight club isn’t about words…There’s grunting and noise at fight club like at the gym, but fight club isn’t about looking good.  There’s hysterical shouting in tongues like at church, and when you wake up Sunday afternoon you feel saved. 

Fight Club is a religious experience. It’s a way to connect; lost souls without purpose congregate but with unifying intent, to fight. And the rules of the club forge a community. Fight Club undermines the notion of the mediocre and the mundane; it activates Life.

And women want to live! So although Mr Boring is also Mr Wrong, women gravitate to the Tyler Durden side of Mr Unnamed; the side that fights – for ideas, for life and for pleasure.

Neurologist and father of Psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud believed that sex and aggression were the two principle motives of human psychology. He referred to these drives as Eros (love) and Thanatos (death). Eros represents the life instinct, sex being the major driving force, and Thanatos represents the death instinct (characterised by aggression), which, according to Freud, allowed the human race to both procreate and eliminate its enemies. Although the nature of each instinct is somewhat paradoxical, Psychoanalytic theory suggests that life and death are symbiotic; the survival of the species is dependent on the enactment of both sex and aggression. Freud, in light of his personality theory, would not be surprised that women flock to men who exude the most primal of human impulses.


When Durden aka Mr Narrator beats and gets beaten on, he is engaged in the enactment of self-actualisation. He fights to feel, and so he fights for Life; if Freud is right, and life is synonymous with sex, then no wonder women want Tyler Durden. His sex-appeal emanates from his severely executed will to live. Yet also at play in Durden’s desire to fight is an unyielding instinct that gravitates toward death and compels him to exert himself on the world with a barrage of force; by imposing himself on his fellow man through violence – by undermining strength and annihilating ego – Tyler Durden fights for identity. Destruction initiates a revival of self.

Then the alter egos become one and the hero culled for the sake of sanity (a questionable sanity at that). And if there’s anything girls love more than a badass, it’s a martyr.

Blame it on the hormones… but when it comes to sex – the stuff made from pure pheromone – it matters not whether it’s with a banker or a builder (pack leader could be either!) as long as it’s with a FIGHTER; a man who will to kill to live…

…even if he’s insane. Even if IT’S insane.


Menshealth.com – “The Anatomy of an Alpha Male”
Livescience.com – “Why Women Choose bad Boys”
Cavetimes.com – “Meeting Cave Style”

Photo Credit:

“Tyler Durden! The Fight Club” by Vladrodriguez