Some general observations from old age. (Of course.)
FOR THE MEN:
Never whine or even wonder why some women choose bad boys. (We'll get that in a minute.) You are asking this question because some girl you fancy has chosen someone else. Men rarely ask this question when they are in a good relationship with a woman.
So dude. You say the girls go for the motorcycle, tattoos and gruff, dismissive behavior? Well if that is the kind of girl you want then get tattoos, a motorcycle and treat your dates with the bluff and bravado that you are envying right about now. Perhaps you can't or won't do it because you give a shit about the girl who brought this on but, trust me, the bad boy doesn't. There are plenty of ships passing in the night and he is just looking to rub a few barnacles off of his hull anyway.
Another thing dude. You are the smart, caring and sensitive type. You hook up with a bottom feeder and you may get some great sex for awhile but she is going to come off the hook really soon. You are not going to change her and, oh by the way, if you are looking for a girl to rehabilitate you are seriously cruising for a big disappointment. You are not a knight in armor and she is not a lady in a tower. She may be a consultant by day and a biker bitch by night but do you really want to bet the farm which one is a pose? Or worse. Do you really want a woman who would fight you with one tit hanging out in front of the cops?
If you are as smart as you think you are you will go where the girls you want are. And it probably is not a bar. If it is make it a really nice one. One you actually have to dress up for. It is probably a volunteer project, an environmental group or a church. These girls will quickly see who and what you are. If they choose you? You get the brass ring.
Finally guys. Really attractive women know they are really attractive. That means that they can get a date (and a great many men) by snapping their fingers. The fact that they are available at all tells you, without a shadow of a doubt, that they don't want the ones they can get that way. So take your best shot. And that is not a pickup line but rather giving them the opportunity to see you at your best doing important stuff that is important to her too.
I know why you like the bad boys. They are fucking easy. That is to say they make it easy for you. You don't have to do anything more than look at them and they will take it from there. After all. They want two things. They want to have sex and they want arm candy. In that order. And maybe someday someone to do what they want you to do and have and care for babies. But you don't have to work for them. This bullshit about natural selection is just a way to make yourself look smarter. (And it is an excuse for men to not feel rejected.) But you are really just lazy. Pop a beer, hop on the Harley and blow them every once and awhile and that is all they demand. You can even convince yourself that frantic humping is good sex. Maybe it is for awhile. Sure is for them. It is the most important five minutes of their day.
But the smart, kind and sensitive guys are hard. They care about your feelings and that sucks. Why? Because you have spent a lifetime learning that you should cover those pesky feelings up. So you two are in a Mexican standoff. He doesn't want to lose your respect by behaving like a neanderthal and you are as risk averse as bunny.
And smart guys know what is good for them. They are man enough to hold out for something good. What seems like a lack of romance is exactly the opposite. For them the whole point is to search for romance. They want the "L" word. THEY want the whole banana frankly. Just like you. So you have to work for them. BOTH OF YOU need to put some emotional
skin in the game.
Kind and intelligent men don't play fair. When you get in the car or sit down at the restaurant they turn down the radio and want you to talk!
The bastards! The easy bad boys plop you on the back of the bike or in the right seat, turn up their favorite metal band and take you to a place where you couldn't talk if the police were shining a light in your eyes. Too easy. And if the bad boy gets away? Well you are not going to spend two weeks locked in your apartment listening to Alanis Morissette albums over that dick.
No you two. If you want the big payoff you have to work for it. It might fall into your lap but don't count on it. So the question is wrong. It should not be "why do women choose assholes over "nice guys". It should be "why do two assholes get together?"