Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed something interesting about the way I tend to react to love triangles – or, more specifically, the “choices” involved in the love triangle. I’ve found that I gravitate towards the “bad boys” when presented with an option between them and the boy-next-door/childhood best friend archetype. If given the choice, I’d choose the Darkling over Mal, Morpheus over Jeb, and Warner over Adam every time. I wish I could say that this says a lot about my personality… but, in real life, I’m the exact opposite.
In fact, all of the guys I’ve dated have been close friends. No hate-to-love transformations here, even though I adore those types of relationships in books. Friends-first relationships have the security and stability that I crave, without needing any of the awkward first date questions. They’ve seen me at me best and worst, have listened to all of my random thoughts, and have seen my many, many obsessions. And, despite all that, they’re still there.
So, then, why don’t I like these relationships in the books that I read? It’s not a case of “saving” the “bad boys” through true love or any of that; it’s just that they’re more exciting. I view reading as a sort of escape, a way of living out many different lives and experiences without any of the real-world costs/potential dangers. As a result, I don’t want to read about people making the safe choices that I would make (unless it’s a contemporary romance, since Max in The Start of Me and You is 100% the type of guy I’d go for). With the “bad boys,” the stakes are higher; there’s a sense of danger, and you’re not sure if you should even trust this individual, and that’s what makes the story even more exciting.
More than that, though, they’re compelling. While the pure evil ones can be fun to read about for a little bit, complicated, morally ambiguous characters are much more interesting – especially when compared to the “good guy” who is inevitably going to be his foil. Maybe they’ve done some inexcusable things (looking at you, Darkling), but they’ve also shown potential for improvement, so it’s hard not to root for some kind of redemption. And, you know, the possibility of snarky banter is higher, and that’s one of my biggest weaknesses.
Although the “bad boy” is a trope, it’s one that I absolutely love. Fictional bad boys, you have my heart (real life ones, though, not so much).
Do you like bookish bad boys as much as I do? If so, who are some of your favourites?