Hurray, quiz time! First let me tell you that I failed this quiz, big-time. We’ll see if you do any better. Before we get started, I’m going to assume a couple things here: first, that you’re female, and second, that you’re in a steady relationship of some type.
Ready? Here goes.
1) Describe your guy. (As in husband/boyfriend/significant other)
2) Now describe the type of guy you enjoy reading about or watching on TV.
3) Are they the same?
Oooh. A sizzling question, isn’t it? This has been on my mind since I read an awesome blog post on the “bad boy” in YA lit (see it here: http://michellewittebooks.com/2012/04/danger-of-the-bad-boy-fantasy-in-ya/).
The truth is, I’m soooo beyond guilty here. I grew up reading about the dark, mysterious, and dangerous boyfriend that eventually got won over by the innocent and naive protagonist. Often, the guy could easily hurt her, or worse, but somehow she “tamed” him into the perfect boyfriend. Voila: dark, dangerous, and sexy, yet polite and sweet. (Yeah, right!) Can you think of any books that fit that description? A few? Like, half of the teen books in the bookstore? I know! How did this happen?
The scary thing is that love triangles are really common in teen lit right now, and they usually involve a girl trying to decide between a genuinely good, caring guy and a tall, dark, and dangerous one. Which one does she usually choose? And what does this mean for the poor guys who always finish last?
It took a rude awakening for me back then to realize that they types of guys I liked fantasizing about (and still do–I love YA lit) were the opposite of what I needed. In real life, guys like that end up in prison for attempted kidnapping or putting their girlfriends in the hospital. In real life, the type of guy you want is so incredibly, unbelievably different from the fantasy. It’s the reason my husband usually pauses the movie and says, “Do girls really go for guys like that?” (I try to keep a straight face and say, “Some do, hon. But definitely not me.” *Wink*)
Luckily I eventually came to my senses and snatched up my husband before another lucky lady could catch him. He’s not the type to wear black leather and whip out a machine gun longer than his arm, but he is still fiercely loyal and protective of me and our three kids. And at 5’7″, my hubby will never play pro basketball. But he can sure do a mean load of laundry. And let me tell ya–when he tells me to go lay down for awhile, and babysits the kids while he finishes up dishes–whoa, Nellie. There isn’t a fictional character in outer space that could top that (although at times, Han Solo could come close. Nah, I’m just kidding).
The other day I noticed that my seven year-old’s school notebook was littered sloppily with dozens of “I love Connor,” and when I strained to read it, she closed it quickly. Age seven, people! I guess it’s never too early to start emphasizing the qualities she should look for in a man (or first-grader?). And even if she falls into the fantasizing trap that I did, at least she should know that it is, indeed, just a fantasy–that there’s a huge cavernous cliff between the bad boy she will read about and the type of guy she wants.