Friday, August 3, 2012

Guest Post by Tracey Sinclair: Why Do We Love Bad Boys?

Why Do We Love Bad Boys?

There’s something about a bad boy…
From Stefan Salvatore to Eric Northman, what is it about those bad boys that sets our pulses racing? We might crave the happy ever after with the nice guy, but we all want to dabble in the dark side – who didn’t find Spike more fun than Angel, after all, with his peroxide hair, the leather coat and the sexy British snark? It was enough to make you overlook the terrible accent. It’s not exactly a new phenomenon – you just have to look at a book like Wuthering Heights, where Cathy’s safe marriage never makes up for the wild passion of her tortured, tempestuous relationship with the brooding and borderline-demonic Heathcliff. We even like our good guys with a hint of darkness – Angel going Angelus, Stefan turning Ripper; even Sam Winchester got sexier once he started guzzling demon blood.
Partly, of course, this is because the devil gets all the best lines: the good guys are often left with little but po-faced sincerity.  Undying love is all well and good, but sometimes a girl likes a laugh: and all too often writers seem to think that being a hero means being serious all the time. You only get to be sarcastic if you’re a loveable rogue, Han Solo-style , and then it’s proof of your roguishness. You could argue, of course, that there’s the world of difference between that ‘loveable rogue’ type – think Han Solo, Mal Reynolds or Dean Winchester and the genuine bad boy so prevalent in vampire fiction (let’s not forget, both Eric and Spike are stone cold killers, and Damon has not only casually killed a lot of women, he has also compelled plenty to have sex with him – which is basically rape). But deep down, the fantasy is the same: that under that rough exterior beats a heart of gold, and all they need to change them is the love of the right woman. That woman being, of course, us.
You can argue it’s a pernicious ideology – how many women have stayed in awful or abusive relationships because they think ‘he’ll change!”? Certainly it’s a terrible, terrible way to live. But who said fantasies have to be politically correct? If that were the case, nobody alive would have bought 50 Shades. The very point of a fantasy is that it allows you to explore your own limits, to vicariously indulge in behaviours that in life are beyond the pale: personally, I’m a woman who only travels first class on trains and stays in hotels with cable TV and great room service: I’d last about 5 minutes ‘roughing it’. Does that stop me fantasizing about Dean Winchester sweeping me off into the horizon in the Impala to live a life on the road? Hell, no.
Because the bad guys appeal to our own wild side – we might live by the rules, but who doesn’t dream about behaving as badly as we want to, damn society and the consequences? Bad boys don’t live by anyone’s rules but their own: often, we want them simply because we want to be them, to have that freedom ourselves. “Don’t do anything stupid,” Elena tells Damon, in The Vampires Diaries, and he replies, “But stupid is more fun.” And sometimes you can’t argue with that.
[You might wonder how I approached this when I wrote the love triangle in my own book, Dark Dates: how to avoid the boring hero? Simple: I made them both bad boys. Problem solved – and a LOT more fun to write….]

Tracey, thanks so much for this awesome post! You definitely know your bad boys!
About the Author:
Tracey Sinclair is a writer and editor. Her novel and collection of short stories (Doll and No Love Is This, respectively) have been published by independent publisher Kennedy & Boyd,and her new paranormal romance, Dark Dates, is now available.

Her work has appeared in magazines as diverse as Sky, Printer’s Devil, Yours and Woman’s Weekly, as well as having been performed on the radio . Her first play, Bystanders, was premiered as part of the New Writing Season at Baron’s Court Theatre earlier this year. She also a regular contributor to online theatre magazine Exeunt ( and writes the Fangirl Unleashed column for

Her blog was shortlisted for this year’s Cosmopolitan Blog Awards.
Her newest novel Dark Dates is available for purchase on Amazon.
(Click here for my review of Dark Dates)

1 comment:

Vegan YA Nerds said...

I think I'm in the minority because I usually love the good guys but I do see the appeal of bad boys! Fun post :)