Bad Boys

My name is Lucy and sometimes I watch bad movies and sometimes I read bad books. (background murmuring "Hello Lucy")

Recently, I seem to be doing a lot of both. And, thus, I admit that I watched Skyhigh. You know, the movie with Kurt Russell as the super-hero dad and the son that goes to the highschool for junior super-heroes. I found myself rooting for the "bad boy", the guy with flame ability. I wondered what that said about me, and women in general, that we love the bad boys.

And the last three fiction books I read all featured relationships with "bad boys". Hard to define, definitely not "chick flick" kinda plots. More action-hero stuff with a significant dose of science-fiction. Kinda like X-men. And this seems like as good a time as any to admit that I like action-adventure movies. And Westerns. Yes, I will say it out loud "I like Louis Lamour books". And Zorro.

{Note to Gentle Readers: Lest you get the wrong idea, in high-school I captured the attention of one bad-boy lifeguard by confounding his assumption that all the girls at the pool read Harlequins when he noticed I was reading KingLear. For fun.}

When you get right down to brass tacks, what do all those different Bad Boys have in common? After giving this a lot of thought, I found the answer in a forgotten sliver of memory.

A very long time ago, in a land far away, I was dating my husband. After a particularly unfortunate day, we were sitting on the steps, just ... sitting. Not talking, not waiting, not moving. Just sitting. It felt SO good after the day, finally safe. Let me tell you, NO guy wants to hear his girlfriend say "You're so safe". The response is ... tense. Along the lines of "WHAT!?!" And I had to explain that what I meant was that he was dangerous enough to be able to keep me safe, and willing to do so because I was HIS girlfriend.

And another long-lost memory pops up: It used to annoy his friends' girlfriends to no end that his friends treated me better than they treated their own girlfriends. You know, opening doors, walking to the car in dark parking lots, pulling out my chair, etc. My husband only laughed quietly when I mentioned it to him. Without him ever saying a word, they knew he was the kind that Could and Would take care of HIS girlfriend. Period.

Wait, there's another memory! (I just LOVE memories). Pool party. I forgot my cover-up and borrowed his buttoned-down shirt. The look on his face was so ... seriously possessive ... that people noticed. Well, mostly other girls noticed. But they definitely pointed it out to their boyfriends on the way home. He still has the shirt.

And thats what the best Bad Boys have in common, both Ability and Willingness to take care of their own.

Admittedly, somtimes I forget things. I get lost in the everyday. Buried in mountains of peanutbutter sandwiches. Distracted by late nights at work. Trying to take care of things so he won't have to. Of course, I NEVER forget the Ability. But, occassionally, once in a while, I forget the Willingness.

He doesn't walk around announcing every day "I'll slay the dragon" which is understandable because there aren't that many dragons in my life. And thats fine as long as everything is Ok with me. But this week everything wasn't., for the first time in a long time. I saw some subtle unpleasent bullying going on at church about volunteering and I didn't say anything because it was two adults and I generally let adults manage their own lives, but also because I didn't want to cause a scene that would certainly have repercussions. I didn't want to embarrass him.

I mentioned it to him later, while he was trying to save my hard-drive, because I felt compelled to find a way to fix the injustice perpetrated. His response? Paraphrased, "You never have to pull your punches because of me and I'LL deal with it if they upset MY wife". And there was ... somthing ... in his eyes, a brief flicker of ... something ... that reminded me he's not such a good guy. Not where I'm concerned.

Some women ride rollercoasters for the thrill, or bungee jump, or hang-glide, or parachute, or climb Everest. Amateurs. The REAL thrill is taking the plunge, stepping into the flame hoping not to be consumed, marrying a Bad Boy.


I married a bad boy, too! I'm often amazed that he is so powerful - the man would die or kill for me. But isn't that just like Christ?

Sure, He's good, but He's not really safe. Powerful & Dangerous. That's why we like the bad boys.

(credit to C.S. Lewis)

Jennifer | 03/07/2006 - 02:59 AM

Very well explained. My dad was convinced Steve was a mobster when they met. It was just the look. He already did not like the way my dad treated me, and that really came through in "the look."

Stevie Ray Vaughn has a line in "Pride and Joy" that talks about "She's my sweet little Leni......mess with her, you'll see a man get mean...." That about sums it up.

I totally get what you mean. And I like that trait in my man, too.


Leni | 03/07/2006 - 04:31 AM

Lucy, thank you for writing this post. I linked to it as it reminds me of my husband...but...

Louis Lamour?

earth girl | 03/07/2006 - 02:09 PM

As weird as it sounds, Louis Lamour is a feminist. If you read enough of them, you realize that he has a healthy view of strong women, but readily acknowledges that women are just as likely as men to be villians. I'm especially fond of the Sackett series, although I prefer the ones from the middle of the series. How much does it scare you that I can actually tell a difference in the timeline of his writings!?!

And I love CS Lewis too! I immediately thought of my husband when I heard the line "He's not a tame lion, you know" Well. Let me amend that. I loved CS Lewis before I had to listen to the CD of The Chronicles eleventy-million times.

And my Dad was SO ticked when we announced we were engaged, because while they really adore my husband my Dad thought that he should have asked my Dad for my hand. My husband pointed out that he didn't ask because it didn't matter if my father said yes or no.

Lucy | 03/07/2006 - 03:39 PM

Ok, I've read enough of this "bad boy" stuff. Now ladies, over my 48 years, that's all I've been attracted to and vice versa (lots of therapy, and still went after "it", but knew why). What you label as a "bad boy" is NOT the sociopathic type of guy who lives by his own rules and believes that anything he does to others is just a.o.k.; your "bad boy' is a cool dude with an edge that, when needed, is called upon to show his fury for a good reason. That is a FAR CRY from the narcissistic creeps that I have unfortunately encountered due to lack of self love (there, I just saved you at least 10,000 in therapy :) I am sure envious of you all. It's a great combo- I've seen it, just never felt I deserved it- yet!

Lisa | 06/25/2006 - 11:35 PM
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