A week ago Robert posted about Bad Boys and Girls and why we love them. This got me thinking about the appeal of bad boys and why I like to read and watch them so much.
I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for a bad boy, but it’s not often that I think about the reasoning behind it. In fact, it rankles the feminist in me when I try to examine the inclination too closely. The intellectual side of me wants to say that I hate alpha males and all they stand for, but I don’t. Why is that? I’ve got a few theories.
First, there’s the evolutionary reason. Though it’s wildly outdated, something in me looks at a leather-jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding badass and says, “He’ll definitely be able to protect me and my future offspring. Look at how mean he is!” This is the undercurrent beneath a lot of the bad boy’s allure, for me at least.
Next, there’s the devil-may-care attitude. There’s something appealing about a person (man or woman) who bucks convention and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of them. I wish I could be that carefree and self-confident. I crave that sense of being beyond societal norms to such a degree that they cease to matter.
The third point is more emotional in scope. My favorite bad boy characters have a softer side that only their significant other gets to see. This is what really draws me in, as a reader and viewer. Being able to see the vulnerability under all the armor gets me right in the gut, every time. When a bad boy is gentle with the one he loves, I melt.
Lastly, there’s the power. Bad boys have physical power and presence. They take up space and affect the world around them. Power is attractive, especially when combined with the nonchalant attitude that embodies the very best bad boys.
In my search for inspiration this month I stumbled on a list of Bad Boy Book Lists on Goodreads that I thought I’d share. If you've got the same craving for alphas that I do, check out my werewolf series Broods of Fenrir that is filled with bad boys and a few bad girls.
Photos from the James Dean and Fright Night wikipedia pages.