What is it about bad boys?

posted in: Various Musings | 0

Ah, the bad boy.  Who doesn’t love one?

Hubby and I were talking about the iconic bad boy recently.  He couldn’t quite understand the appeal—and I couldn’t expect him to.  I can barely explain it myself.  But it’s a thing.  And that’s part of why I love to write about them.

I remember my first bad boy crush.  I was in high school—and he wasn’t a total bad boy, but he had those vibes.  I also remember my first movie bad boy crush.  If you’ve seen The Breakfast Club…then you know the bad boy I’m talking about.  I have a soft spot in my hearts for bad boys, and that’s why a good many of my books have a bad boy hero.

So I’ve tried to analyze why some of us love the bad boy.  Is it because he’s troubled deep down and we think we can save him?  Is it because we know he’s a rebel at heart, ready to do whatever it takes?  Is it because we get a thrill that a man like that might be a little dangerous—and we like living on the edge?

After pondering on the idea, I’ve come up with a theory.  The bad boy in romantic literature represents the thrill of danger, excitement, and rebellion that we respect and admire.  But that doesn’t mean we would ever be “bad” ourselves or that we’d ever really want to marry the bad boy.  What he represents, however, makes for exciting reading.  You or I might not be able to do some of the things a bad boy does—or, perhaps more likely, we don’t have a desire to engage in some of those questionable activities.  That could be due to social mores, personal hangups, religious beliefs, family ties, etc.

Think of it this way:  it might be fun to “watch” a bad boy in a book beat the ever-living sh*t out of someone—but I don’t really want to see another person get beaten up.  It might also be fun watching a bad boy vandalizing something or stealing or even worse—but most of us don’t want to actually engage in criminal activity.  It’s fun to put yourself in Bonnie’s shoes, but not many of us really want to be Clyde’s girlfriend.

Or maybe I’m wrong.  You tell me.  What do you think?  Do you want a real bad boy—or do you prefer reading about them?

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