Dear female otakus (that are not me),
Why the facination with “bad boys?” Honestly. Pretty much every chick flick, pitifully written YA book and even most anime and manga plays to this card. Two guys. One treats the heroine with respect and decency. The other is an absolute jerk. She always goes for the jerk. And somehow, in some magical way, it all works out.
From one who has watched the relationships of others for years, I will say right now that mean guys often stay that way. And while thinking that “love changes all” seems romantic, it’s really just saying you love an idea of a person, rather that who they really are right now. Ouch. Not the most healthy position. And all those harsh smack downs he gives the heroine? Yeeeeah, that’s called verbal abuse. It’s not in the stable relationship category either.
So what’s the deal? It’s pretty obvious to everyone that the mean guy is mean, so why is he always getting off scott-free? Perhaps it’s the motherly instinct factor. These guys are only mean because of their horribly tragic pasts, after all. Who couldn’t love that (can you hear my sarcasm echoing off your screen)? Well, considering that one’s past should never dictate their future, nor excuse future action (it can explain, but never excuse), that idea doesn’t hold up either. Even so, I have little doubt that is what is constantly being pushed, as is evidenced by many shoujo and otome based shows (Amnesia, Neo Angelique, or Kobato). The rude is often marketed as mysterious, dark, forbidden, etc. All things that appear attractive. So long as you don’t think about it too much, that is. Because the truth of the matter is, if most (if not all) of these characters were real, no self-respecting woman would want anything to do with him. Bad attitude is simply bad in the real world. It’s not endearing. Unless you have a complex of some kind, in which case, I wish you all the best with your psychologist.
But maybe that’s another reason why this idea of the redeemable jerk is so attractive in media. Because it’s normally impossible. Because everyone has known that one mean kid and wished, perhaps unconsciously, that they would be nice. And it didn’t happen. So seeing it happen in a story, no matter how illogically constructed, is refreshing. It’s a dream realized. Just like the explosions making spectacular sounds in scifi shows. It’s what we know we can’t have, and yet love to see. What we wish for. A world where our love alone changes others, even against their own will, even when that love of ours is fractured and impure. We don’t just wish for a clear sky, but a rainbow. We wish for miracles.