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Can a 'bad boy' ever be tamed?

Depending on your viewpoint, Georgia Salpa is either the lucky recipient of Calum Best's ardent affections . . . or she's playing with fire.

Everyone appears to have an opinion on the pair's fledgling romance; that it's little more than an elaborate photo op, that they're the picture of happiness . . . or that a relationship with a known womaniser is a soap opera explosion waiting to happen.

Given that Calum is known for his, shall we say, ardent appreciation of the fairer sex, Calpa's romance has already hit a couple of rocky patches.

Their OK! magazine lovefest was barely out of the printers before it was alleged that Calum was still in text-touch with his Italian ex-girlfriend.

What's more, these glossy magazine photoshoots appear to be par for the course for Calum: he flew to Miami -- courtesy of the same glossy magazine -- with his then-girlfriend, model Simona Sofia just seven months ago. Alas, his relationship bit the dust before the ink was barely dry on the magazine's edition.

Last month, it was reported that Calum was vowing to take a paternity test to show that he is not the dad of a four-year-old love child. Model Laura Hogan claims that she became pregnant with her daughter Amelia during a one-night stand in 2006 -- hours before Calum attended a memorial service for his father George Best.

Calum's mum Angie has already acknowledged Amelia as her grand-daughter. But Calum has said: "It's not a known fact. It's somebody claiming something. I dispute it, but it's something I'm not comfortable talking about until I know it for a fact." Georgia, understandably, was said to be 'anxious' to draw a line under the episode, for better or worse.

Regardless, Calpa's union is still in rather rude health (as we go to press). Yet one question looms large: given that the odds are stacked so perilously against her favour, why would Georgia venture where countless others have seemingly tried, and failed?

Last year, novelist Emma Forrest wrote of her relationship in her memoir Your Voice In My Head. The revelations about her 'Gypsy Husband' -- largely thought to be Castleknock charmer Colin Farrell , although it is never clarified in the book -- are pretty delicious.

"I'd rather die than not knock you up," her 'GH' is quoted as saying, at the outset of their sizzling affair. One passage notes how he bought a pink bunny suit for Pearl, the baby he wanted to conceive with Forrest, but never did.

In 2008, Farrell and Forrest were spotted buying a pregnancy test, giving rise to further speculation that Farrell may well be the book's 'GH'.

"With life after heartache, especially as a woman, you pick over and over it and you need explanations," said Emma recently. "But years before, my doctor said to me, 'The only closure you're going to get is accepting that you will not have closure."

According to Lisa O'Hara from Relationships Ireland, anyone dealing with a lothario will experience a similar headrush before the crash back to earth.

"These guys are so well versed in the art of seduction that they have the patter off," explains Lisa. "It's hard not to fall for it. There's so much charm there, that it's hard not to project a hope that it will turn into something lasting."

So why would any sane woman put herself forward for such a relationship? For a start, most women genuinely believe themselves to be the exception to a man's habit of a lifetime.

"There's definitely the whole 'I can rescue you' element," admits Lisa. "Women are born caretakers and when they think a guy needs rescuing, it unleashes something primal in them. Unfortunately, they end up doing all the giving in the relationship.

And let's not underestimate the power of ego and the lure of the biggest prize of all: the knowledge that you can tame a bad boy.

"There's also that ego thing, 'I'll get you when no-one else can'," agrees Lisa. "If you're thinking that, you're in it for the wrong reasons. Sometimes if you're caught up by and attracted to this type of guy it can raise deeper issues around what a woman feels she really deserves."

Lisa advises that a woman who hooks up with a ladies' man can expect the romance to be short-lived, passionate and intense.

"Expect to give more than you get," says Lisa. "Ask yourself is this really the sort of relationship you want? If you're looking for a serious thing, probably not. The upside is that women end up with a greater appreciation for steady men who can give them what they need."

A technique favoured by a typical lothario is to shower his lover with attention and affection, and then leave them desperate for more.

"There will be lots of texting followed by a silence -- this is a classic move. It's very seductive and you become seduced and excited by the flurry of texts, and then they stop, leaving you thinking, 'what just happened?' Their intensity is exciting, alluring and flattering. They make you feel good, but back off when the heat gets too much for them. It's important to remember that a healthy love is not the same as yearning, or even chemistry. The anxiety that you feel during the latter is really addictive."

And so to the big question: can a bad boy ever be tamed? According to relationship counsellor Tony Moore, the adage 'once a cheater, always a cheater' doesn't necessarily hold weight. "This isn't always true, but like an alcoholic he is only one kiss away from cheating," he says.

However, that's not to say that there aren't warning signs a girl can look out for: "If he is almost 'too popular', always has people around him, especially girls, this should be noted," says Tony. "If he has lots of girl 'friends', has lots of things 'on', always lets you down, this is something to register."

Typically, the guy who loves and leaves has only one thing on his mind. . . himself.

"They believe they are God's gift, and you are so lucky to be with them. They are very well versed in making the girl feel rubbish and only for him the girl would be on her own," says Tony. "They play with the girl's head and she then becomes desperate for his attention, which in turn makes him feel great, and she grateful for his attention."