The Lure of the Bad Boy: a Counter Argument

I was called out in Alex Stargazer’s recent blog post about the appeal of the bad boy archetype. He called me out because I rant about how much I loathe this character and will never use one as a hero in one of my novels.

Click here forĀ  a link to Alex’s original blog post. He’s one smart cookie and makes some good points, but…I have my counter points. I replied to him in an email but we decided that I should post it and see if others want to join us in this debate. Here’s my take on “the bad boy.”

You make some good points, the “bad boy” does seem to have more sexual appeal in that he would likely be wilder/kinkier than a “good boy.” And I can see how some people get off on the idea of saving someone from the selves. It’s a power- trip kind of thing.

I will argue from my advanced age (I’m a few decades older than Alex), that neither of these is a selling point. Most of the bad boy characters I’ve read are narcissistic and therefore, by definition, would be a horrible, selfish lover–never noticing or caring that the other person didn’t enjoy it. I was listening to a podcast where women were discussing the men they had been with and they all agreed that their worst lovers were the best looking guys because they are narcissistic. It makes sense, they don’t have to try. Women (and men) throw themselves at them so they don’t feel the need to work hard and make it a great experience. Same goes for really rich men too. Come to think of it it’s probably true of gorgeous women. It’s the guy who doesn’t have a ton of women after him that will put some effort in (hence them much more interesting character, IMHO).

The opposite doesn’t have to be the blonde-haired good boy (too white/black, two-dimensional). In both of my burnout novels there are male protagonists who are sexual but emotional and caring. It is possible (and I would argue) much more interesting to be both. The male lead in the second book is a drug-using guy who has slept with almost all his female friends, but he is the opposite of a narcissist. He loves women and gets off on giving pleasure, so women pursue him. (At least the smart ones do.) His drugs are a bad habit from a rough start that he needs to deal with before he is ready for a relationship.

As for “saving” bad boys…it’s waaaaay too much unnecessary drama, in life and in fiction. I like real drama, the things that really happen and challenge us to grow. Bad boys are drama mamas. It’s part of the narcissism. “It’s all about me, always. If it’s not I’ll stir things up and make it about me.” I run from this type in life and in books.

My female characters are too busy living their own lives to want to deal with a drama-loving baby.

As you can see I feel strongly about this. Part of it is my age. When you get to be in your 50’s you don’t have time for “bad boys.” You’ve got shit to do and only so many functioning years to do it. By now you’ve also had relationships with “bad boys” and realized what a complete waste of time they are. They are an albatros around the neck of a woman who is doing something with her life. I can’t write a story that supports this idea that he will change as soon as he meets the right girl. It’s BS. He will change when life kicks him in the teeth and wakes him up, if it happens. There are definitely guys still trying to live out this “bad boy” thing at my age.

I also can’t get behind the argument that the guy is only bad to one woman. No one I know is that way. They are either generally nice or generally an a-hole. We all have moments when our worst side comes out, but that’s more about us than the person we are dealing with.

I really do like your post. I love having someone who cares enough about this topic to discuss it. Feel free to counter point my points.

Does anyone else want to jump in on our “bad boy” debate?


How To Free Sample Thousands of Books

I’ve always been a voracious reader. Ever since my first job part of my money has always been budgeted to books (sometimes more than I could really afford to spend). Then came Amazon and one-clicking…I was in big trouble. Thank god Kindle Unlimited came along in 2014 to help me get my book budget under control. If you’re a reader and you haven’t tried this incredible program yet, let me explain why I’m loving it.

It’s ten dollars a month. So, yeah, its not free in the true sense of the word, but when I divide the number of books I’ve been reading by ten I’m now spending a dollar or less per book. Before KU each book I read was at least $2.99, some much more. I cringe when I look back at how much I spent on some of my big reading months last year.

It’s a great way to discover new authors. All authors don’t have books on KU, but more and more are seeing the benefit. It’s a great way to let readers sample their work. This has been one of my favorite parts of being in KU. Anytime someone suggests a book or an author that looks good, I check to see if they have any books in KU first, then downloaded that book. If I like it I can buy others. If I don’t I just return it and pick another book.

Quick and steamy reads. KU is really popular with erotic authors. There are tons of short, sexy reads available for times when you want your mind to go somewhere besides your massive to-do list and you also don’t want to get involved in a complex, long story. For this reason alone couples should be signing up for KU. It’s like a sex toy for your biggest sex organ–your brain.

As an author I’m also completely sold on Kindle Unlimited. Both of my current books and the book I’ll be releasing later this month will be on KU (You can read the 1st chapter here). I’m still new to the game. I want people to find me and get a chance to check out my writing. I’m betting on more sticking around for more than not. If you sign up for KU follow the links below and give one of my first two books a try.

The other benefit to me as an author is that I can see if someone only reads part of a book. If lots of readers are stopping after one or two chapters, my statistics will tell me that. What that tells me is there is something amiss in those two chapters, that I need to work on making my writing stronger there. It’s great feedback that can only help me improve.

And finally…your first month is free! So you can get a free sample of KU to get as many free samples of books as you want in one month. For someone who loves to read a deal like that could take some planning to get the most out of it… call in sick to work, send kids to grandma’s, stock up on wine and take out…charge my kindle.

Follow these links to read both my books for free on KU:

Suburban Love Song >

Catch You If You Fall >