Last week my post was about bad boys in fiction and why we love them. I gave my two cents. Now I’d like to look at the flip side of the coin. Women fall over themselves for the bad boys in the fiction, often it’s a foregone conclusion that the women are a happy to be the object of their interest. We don’t stop and ask ourselves about the girls feelings.
A really important question to ponder, one that tends to get lost in wanting to see these men get what they want is; What does the girl they have their sites set on, want? Is their pursuit, their advances that at times can be pushy, overbearing even, appreciated? Are they simply winning her over or are they forcing their own will on her? Where is the line?
I have personally been on the receiving end of unwanted attention from a boy who would probably fall into the category of some of the men above. It wasn’t beautiful or pleasant even. It was frightening and still leaves me looking over my shoulder when I hear footsteps behind me in a parking lot.
Things did not end so well for the boy. For terrifying reasons, ones I’ll pray had nothing to do with me, he ended up behind bars. But if someone were to write our story, it would be easy to paint him in a sympathetic light. He had a terrible, frightening childhood filled with abuse. Enter me, one of the few people who was truly kind to him and you have a recipe for trouble.
His life was heartbreaking and I still feel a great measure of empathy for him. Maybe one day I’ll write a story in which his character gets the happy ending he deserves, but I deserve my happy ending also and though he never hurt me or forced himself on me or was even unkind, his tactic certainly left me uncomfortable and sometimes frightened. I’m not sure anything healthy could ever grow out of that.
My point in sharing this difficult part of my past is that I could write a story in which even I would probably root for this damaged, broken boy who only wanted to capture and hold onto the kindness he’d found in me. But though he never did hurt me physically, I am scarred be the experience, afraid my kindness will be taken wrong again and turned against me.
So, when I'm reading books packed with brooding, damaged men who are trying to ensnare the girl. For a moment, I’m going to try and put myself in her shoes and ask myself is this what she wants, even if his affections are true. Though I can’t promise not to fall for and root for the boy anyway. I guess that is the beauty of fiction, we can fall for the bad boy and no one ends up getting hurt.