Why Do Girls Go for ‘Bad Boys’?

In comments the other day, Bill Q. brought up a topic that tends to slide its way into my family’s dinner conversation from time to time:

Unfortunately, what I recall in my high-school days is that many of the girls seemed to go for the good-looking guys who treated them like dirt.

Hmmm … yes, unfortunately, I remember that, too, Bill. And my 15-year-old son brings it up a lot.

My son considers himself one of the “nice guys.” He bemoans this sad truth and simply shakes his head at the fact that many of the girls he likes tend to gravitate, instead, toward the boys who are the troublemakers, the attention-getters. The boys who shrug off authority and any kind of … well … learning.

I told him that this won’t go on forever. I passed the salt and pepper shakers and said eventually girls will see “his type” as the more desirable. (I believe he gave me that “yeah, sure, Mom” look.)

But in the meantime I was faced with the question he posed to me and my tween daughter: Why do girls go for the “bad boys”? And why has that been true for generations?

At the time neither of us had an answer. (In fact, I think we both denied it.) But later, I thought about it again and remembered some discussions I’ve participated in on romance-writing blogs, where the “bad boy” is still alive and well in many a fiction setting (usually with boxing gloves, tatoos, a motorcycle and a mysterious past).  Continue reading

A Hero Protagonist with Some Energy

So last weekend we had our book club – The Namesake.

I really love Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing – all those long, lyrical sentences with clause after clause to string your thoughts along. But I was a bit disappointed in the plot. I felt the hero, Gogol, never really did anything. He simply waited for life to … well, happen.

His “goal” was to find his identity. Which isn’t a very creative goal, of course – I mean, that’s a basic coming-of-age story. But I’ll give Lahiri credit for throwing in the added complications of finding identity when you’re in a cross-cultural family and having a name that you never feel fits you properly in the first place. That was creative, and interesting. But the way Gogol goes about achieving his “goal” is to basically do … well … nothing. He just lets life happen and hopes for the best.

Yes, he changes and begins to find his identity, but not by any actions on his part. His awareness simply comes by way of circumstance (family death, etc.). I liked the book, but I wish the protagonist had some energy. I guess I like my protagonists to be heroes, and Gogol really wasn’t. I like heroes with courage. I like heroes who have to make excruciating choices. I think of Atticus Finch here. I think of Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler’s Wife). I think of Jake Barnes (The Son Also Rises). In romance novels, I think of Kenny Traveler (Lady Be Good) and any of Laura Kinsdale’s fight-to-the-death-when-you’re-already-kicked-to-the-curb heroes (gosh, Jervaulx anyone?). I like my heroes with some “bite,” I guess.

How about you? What type of hero do you like? Who stands out in your mind?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...