Girls Like the Bad Boys (the “Good Guys” say)

It is a common complaint. The idea is that girls are attracted to “dangerous” and violent guys, and ignore the “nice guys” who have all of these good qualities but the girl only sees the “nice guy” as a friend. (Guys, do not be the ones making this complaint; it does not make you sexy. It makes you look like a whiny jerk who expects his female friends to put out for him as payment for being nice.) Of course, these nice guys are so nice that they think if a woman is in an abusive relationship that she must like being abused. (They have clearly not heard of “the cycle of abuse” and “co-dependency.”)

On the other hand, there is a certain attraction to the tall darkly brooding type in fiction, as well as the charming rogue type, or the boy from the wrong side of the tracks types. (I myself have a strong preference for the short scruffy geek rogue types, but they are very rare and hard to catch.) Unfortunately, in real life, the charming rogue types are often really bad at being in relationships and the boy from the wrong side of the tracks and the darkly brooding types often have real problems that cannot be cured by true love. (Real life cures would involve lots of counseling, and in some cases, medication.)

So,here is a list of a few of my favorite “bad boy” types (in fiction) in no particular order.

Angel

Series/Book:Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel: the Series

Angel is a vampire cursed with a soul. At one point in time he was given the Very Important Task of playing mysterious sidekick to Buffy Summers, a young woman who had been given “Chosen One” type powers in order to slay vampires. It is a very good thing that Angel is the tall dark brooding variety of hero, because if he’s ever really and truly happy, he turns into his former self, Angelus (who is cheerfully homicidal and malevolent.) After being sent to Hell (shortly after being given his soul back) and then returning in an even more angst-ridden state he decides to head out on his own and forms a detective agency with sidekicks Cordelia Chase and a half-demon Seer named Doyle.

I did not actually like Angel very much at first, because his repentant and gloomy personality was too much like Nick Knight’s from Forever Knight. (Who is not included in this list for the same reason I did include Angel. More than one gloomy angst ridden vampire is enough.) Another problem was that I was introduced to Angel during his “Angelus” phase, and his creepy stalker-type evilness did not make for a good impression. I did however begin to like him during the course of his own show–he is very much the flawed hero who continuously makes the same mistakes ad nauseum.

Spike

Series/Book:Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Spike is a vampire who begins as an antagonist, and ends as a protagonist during the course of the series. Spike has a strange mentor-enemy relationship with Angel,and eventually becomes a rival for the affections of Buffy. If Angel is the brooding and gloomy hero, Spike is the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks combined with an extremely rogue-type personality. He is flashy, not entirely trustworthy, and extremely violent. On the other hand, he shows an almost Gomez Addams like adoration and reverence for Drusilla, the vampire who created him.

During the course of the series we learn that a great deal of his brash and unruly behavior is compensation for having been the shy, quiet type. In other words,we discover that he is actually a total and complete dork once with shiny punk façade is chipped away. He is still mad, bad and dangerous to know, but we know where he keeps his Dr. Who DVDs

Spike oddly enough, is an adversarial character I liked almost from the first. As an antagonist, he had lots of snappy repartee and his fight scenes with Buffy were terrific. Some of his best moments are his interactions with Buffy and Angel.While I liked his character arc for the most part, I extremely disliked hispart in the sixth season (along with everyone else’s part in the sixth season) and hated that he ended up with a soul.

Ronon Dex

Series/Book:StarGate:Atlantis

StarGate:Atlantis is the first spinoff of the StarGate franchise. The base story is that a bunch of people in the StarGate Program head off through the stargate for the Pegasus Galaxy and the Lost City of Atlantis. Unfortunately for the mission,they find that a) Atlantis is on the ocean floor and their presence has immediately put themselves in danger of drowning because their presence requires more power than Atlantis actually has. b) They accidentally wake up the Wraith, alien beings who have been feeding on the human populace of the Pegasus Galaxy ever since the Ancients fled from Pegasus thousands of years previous to the story.

Ronon is a former soldier from Sateda, a world with nineteenth century tech that had been defeated by the Wraith. Ronon had been captured, but since the Wraith could not eat him, they decided that it would be more entertaining to play their version of “The Most Dangerous Game,” implant him with a tracking device,and hunt him across the galaxy. He survived seven years of being hunted, and as a result, was somewhat feral when he first came into contact with the StarGate: Atlantis crew. After some misunderstandings, the Atlantis crew removed the Wraith tracking device and Ronon eventually joined SGA-1.

Ronon is the typical “dark brooding type” who doesn’t say much unless he absolutelyhas to. He has a great deal of loyalty for those he considers friends, and is ruthless toward those he considers enemies. I liked Ronon from the first and particularly liked the friendship he had with John Sheppard.

Seamus Z. Harper

Series/Book:Andromeda

The Andromeda series was about an ancient warship found by a motley band of feral smugglers. The original owner of the ship is still alive, is from the nearly mythical Golden Age, and has an earnest desire to restore Civilization to the Universe. The motley band of feral smugglers says “okay!” and joins Captain Dylan Hunt on the Grand Quest. One of the members of the smuggling crew is Seamus Z. Harper.

What you need to know about the Harper, is that the Harper is Good. No, really, the Harper is Very Good. He’s a genius engineer with a snarky, sarcastic sense of humor that hides a great deal of pain and angst. He’s sharp, sneaky, slightly feral, extremely hyper and comes from a background that can only be described(fairly accurately) as a post-apocalyptic hell. His part in the romance department during the course of the series unfortunately has been “the butt of the universe’s jokes” despite being a cute, extremely bouncy geek.

I always go for the sidekick over the hero, so it is no surprise that I fell pretty hard for him. His persona is mostly “boy from wrong side of tracks,” and“hyper super dork.”

Chrono

Series/Book:Chrono Crusade

Chrono has two distinctive personae. One is a supportive and occasionally sarcastic “caretaker”type partner for the series (tomboy hellion) heroine, and the other is “brooding angst ridden warrior.” Chrono slides from one to the other during the series as more of his past is revealed, which makes for an interesting and “three dimensional” type of character that I don’t often get to see.

The point where I fell in love with him is from the very beginning. In the opening of the manga we’re introduced to Chrono and his partner after one of their missions. Both of them are sleeping in their car when there’s a telephone call.(It’s set in the 1920s, yet there’s a portable phone. Just work with me here.) They’ve just been sent on another mission, but Chrono is tired, and wants to sleep a little longer. Rosette wants to know how much longer, and Chrono says, “About ten hours.” Of course, he doesn’t get to sleep at all, but that’s what he wanted. There is immediately a sense of camaraderie and (exasperated)friendship between the two characters, and it’s that more than anything that drew me right in.

Rayek

Series/Book:ElfQuest

ElfQuest is about a small band of elves that are fleeing the destruction of their home.After crossing an immense wasteland they reach a small oasis inhabited by people they at first don’t realize are elves because they are dark skinned. Their leader Cutter decides to raid the little village and during the sequence of events he “Recognizes” one of the villagers, a young woman named Leetah who has a powerful healing gift. Leetah is not happy about this, and neither is her boyfriend Rayek.

Rayek…is a jerk. He is domineering and brooding and has an ego the size of a mountain.He is horribly arrogant, and since Leetah is also very proud and strong willed I’m kind of amazed they had a relationship to begin with. Later on he ends up in a relationship with one of the series’ villains, and then the poor jerk has to cart her spirit around forever. (I might not like Rayek, but no one deserves to have Winnowill in their head.)

I don’t like Rayek. I’ve never really liked Rayek because even when he means well, he is a complete arrogant jerk. He is the capable arrogant jerk I love to hate.

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1 Comment

Filed under book, comics, fantasy, manga/anime, Meta, science fiction

One response to “Girls Like the Bad Boys (the “Good Guys” say)

  1. I think something that feeds into this notion that 'girls like bad boys' is confusing violent/abusive with odd, angsty, or socially deviant. Those really aren't the same things at all. I had someone refer to an acquaintance of mine as a 'bad boy' by taking one glance at him. It was the purple mohawk and the anarchist symbol on the t-shirt, I am assuming. He stands out in a way that makes many uncomfortable, but he wouldn't hurt a fly. Literally, this boy ran the campus animal rights group and was a vegan as well as a pacifist. But if I had been seen dating a boy like him, a mohawk sporting anarchist, I would be said to be going for the 'bad boys', but if I dated a boy who looked like the one who beat up a friend of mine, clean cut and upper class, I wouldn't. The latter is the abuser, not the former. Most abusers look like 'normal' guys, in fact, a socially acceptable behavior pattern actually allows them to get away with perpetrating abuse far more easily.

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