Monday, August 29, 2011

Dark, Damaged and Clingy

I just read a book that featured the kind of hero that leaves a reader a little bit in love and swooning... But in reality would drive a girl mad.

You know the type. Think John Cusack (no, really, think about him. purrrr) in Serendipity. Blindly and completely devoted to that one girl.

And you know you want to be that girl.

There are billions of books, movies and songs about that guy. Sometimes he is dark and broody and needs to be saved and only the heroine really sees him. Sometimes he is aloof and arrogant but under it all he is as soft and squashy as a bunny rabbit.

And I have fallen in love with this guy in fiction over and over again. Probably every girl has at some point.

I have also fallen for him in reality and the real thing... well, it ain't all it was cracked up to be on paper.

Dark, damaged and broody with single-minded dedication to you can also translate, in reality, to baggage, obsessive, and clingy. You will note that these three words are seldom used to describe this character in the movie or book forms... Because then women would have the good sense to be bloody creeped out. And I might also add, while I am splashing around in the cold water that so often is reality, that whiny tends to go hand in hand with clingy.

Think of the stalker song, "Every Breath You Take" by the brilliant bard Sting.
Oh can't you see
You belong to me
How my poor heart aches
With every step you take. I'll be watching you.
Okay, that is scary. Yet hot. Why? I don't freaking know.

In Odd Stuff, my paranormal series, I had a hero that was all dark and creepy and devoted... and I had a complete asshole. I mean, this jerk guy would come in, call things like they were, annoy the hell out of the lead character and then pop out again when it suited him.

He also, coincidentally, saw her for who she was, not some glossed over image of what he wished she was or who she could be.

In the end, I wrote her into the arms of the man who really saw her rather than the one who was darkly broody, came with a ton of baggage and would have stayed devoted to her for all time. I wrote her into love with the man who would never just do something because it was easier or because he knew it wouldn't make waves--Instead, this guy would go toe to toe with her and tell her what he thought regardless of the shitstorm that she would no doubt rain down upon him.

Because that is somehow hotter even than the dark and broody guy.

Now, not to say that I don't still fall for the bruised guy who needs to be saved... Just that with age, I want a little something more. And I think a lot of readers do. The book I just read left me in tears and a little in love with the hero... but in reality, I must admit I would have backpedaled like hell away from him.

So I thought I would point out--and understand this is strictly my opinion as a reader and author--that probably more women would fall equally hard if given a suitable hero. One who would make her pulse race AND her brain agree. What is wrong with a little logic in our love stories?

And remember... "Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says 'I need you because I love you.'"--Erich Fromm

Oh... and enjoy John up there. I know I am.

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