Archetype – The Bad Boy

We love them so much, don’t we? Especially women. When offered a choice between a bad boy and a nice guy, it’s axiomatic that we go for the bad boys every time. Why is it?

It seems they always have a Heart of Gold. Or at least, good qualities that can be brought out of them and developed by the Love of a Good Woman. I think that’s really the appeal. We women (okay, most of us–it’s meant to be a generalization, not a stereotype) want to believe in their own mystical ability to change men, to rescue them, to fix them where they’re broken and make them over into what’s really wanted: a nice guy. Now is that logic?

And the fact of the matter is, we can’t change anybody. We can support the effort, but people really have to change themselves. It’s just the laws of nature, immutable. The reward for trying to change someone who doesn’t want to change is heartbreak, and heartbreak only.

Nevertheless, as a fiction archetype, the bad boy is a staple. And, like love at first sight, love being all we need to keep us together, stormy romances that last forever, and unicorns, we like to believe in love making true and lasting changes in a person’s nature. He’s dangerous, he’s attractive, he’s sexy, he’s the epitome of romance without logic or hope. We love that!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Miss Fix It
    Jul 03, 2008 @ 11:21:42

    He’s also one-dimensional if you don’t do him right. No pun intended.

    Miss Fix It

  2. asherose
    Jul 03, 2008 @ 15:14:20

    Heh heh… well, true! That’s the thing about archetypes. They can so easily tip over the edge and become stereotypes, cardboard characters.

    Definitely better to do him right. 🙂

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