Do Women Tame Men?

The Marriage Effect has some answers.

Carlyn Beccia
Heart Affairs
Published in
7 min readJun 4, 2024

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The Allure of the (Tameable) Bad Boy
Samson and Delilah, Peter Paul Reubens, 1650 | Public Domain

One of the most timeless storylines in art, literature, and Hollywood is the transformation of the bad boy through the love of a good woman. This plot device is so epic that it is even preserved in clay tablets in the oldest surviving literary work, The Epic of Gilgamesh.

In this ancient Mesopotamian makeover tale, the wild man, Enkidu, runs around with animals like he’s auditioning for Animal Planet. So, the favored temple priestess, Shamhat, is called upon to mend Enkidu’s frat boy ways.

She and Enkidu get busy for six days and seven nights in a marathon therapy session, but with less talking and more, well…you know. After their extended rendezvous, Enkidu trades his wanton roughhousing for bread, beer, domesticity, and basic human decency.

Once humans invented paper, they recycled this storyline. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet molds the aloof and prideful Mr. Darcy into a more vulnerable, sincere, and open-hearted gentleman. In Wuthering Heights, a brooding Heathcliff is softened (and broken) by his love for Catherine Earnshaw. In The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sir Percy Blakeney is a frivolous and foppish aristocrat until his wife, Marguerite, tempers his reckless tendencies.

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Carlyn Beccia
Heart Affairs

Author & illustrator. My latest books — 10 AT 10, MONSTROUS: THE LORE, GORE, & SCIENCE, and THEY LOST THEIR HEADS. Contact: CarlynBeccia.com