Villians We Hate to Love
Imagine a British accent as our questionable character pushes through an audience of Girl Scouts and their mothers standing outside a shopping mall.
“I’m sorry, ladies.” He smirks rather than smiles. “But I’m in need of some cookies. Free cookies.” Lifting four boxes of Thin Mints from the display table, he shoves them in a ragged backpack and slings it over his shoulder. After adjusting his leather collar to stand up against his neck, and winking at the mothers, our villain snatches one of the samples and takes a bite then turns away. His long strides exude confidence. The dark shifty eyes constantly scan his surroundings, knowing trouble is but one breath away from eternity. (And that guy to the left is Tom Huddleston who plays Loki.)
I’m notorious for falling for the bad boy, the villain, the questionable character, the troubled soul who straddles the line of right and wrong. Take Alan Rickman’s character in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. He was despicable. He deserved everything he got. Yet as handsome and noble as Robin Hood was, it is the Sheriff of Nottingham that gives me the goosebumps and giggles. The same can be said for The Avengers where superheroes save the world. Yet who rose up to seduce women across the world? Loki; the lying, screaming brother of Thor, wormed his way into many a heart.
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in my writing after taking on the whole bad boy research. My lead characters tend to have flaws. They aren’t all that handsome but seem to have certain characteristics Psychology Today lists as things to watch out for in real life. After going through the list, I realized I created a Loki, Sheriff and who knows what else?
I’m not sure I buy into all of these reasons why we love bad boys. Some of them are true for me while others make my eyes roll. But here are a few. And the guy to the right is Richard Armitage. Sigh. And I’m sure you recognize Alan Rickman to the left.
Reasons we like the bad boys:
1. Hormonal crazy – I take offense at this, but it was on the list. That time of the month apparently makes us more attracted to bad boys. When those days end we go back to liking that hunk of a good guy who is dependable all the time.
2. Narcissistic – These guys are confident. Way confident. Makes us feel safe, irresistible, pretty, reckless and adventurous. Okay. I’m buying that. To add to this knowledge, it seems this characteristic is more prevalent in men across all cultures. Better watch out for some prince from Nigeria, is all I’m saying.
3. Fling worthy – Some ladies do not like to commit and we all know bad boys are not big in the commitment department. It’s easy to walk away—or run away if the situation demands it.
4. Danger Stranger – This is another one I don’t get. Some gals are afraid of being victimized by some unknown danger walking around. Our bad boy seems to be able to handle anything—maybe even you! As time goes on they’ll take advantage of such a weakness in you. Then, where are you? In danger!!!!!
I remember my father telling me after he read my first novel, An Unlikely Hero, “There must be something really wrong with you if you can make such mean characters.” At the time I laughed, thinking I’d accomplished something amazing. Now I wonder why I make my characters stand both in dark and light. So, I called my therapist. Surprised? Curious? Actually, she is one of my resources who lives in Washington, D.C. When my characters go all wonky, she tells me how to fix them. When I asked her about my attraction to bad guys she gave me a few pearls of wisdom.
“The attraction to bad guys isn’t twisted, but quite common. Sometimes it’s the edgy part of a good person. It could be the relief that someone is not perfect, that even good people can do bad things. It’s exciting when someone else says/does things we might think about, but never do. That can be very attractive.”
I understand Gastone from Beauty & the Beast is very popular at Disney World. The ladies love having their picture taken with him. He snubs the hubbies and boyfriends. Perfect.
More Reasons We Fall for Mr. Wrong
• Nice guys’ personalities sometimes seem too good to be true so we fall for the flaw.
• Abundance of their own self worth.
• Women love to nurture. We are programmed to love and fix things.
• We feel needed with bad boys. We’re their moral compass.
• Strength & grit.
• Not really into commitment so you don’t have to be either.
• Some women have low self esteem and think they don’t deserve a good guy. Seriously?
• Sex seems reckless and mind blowing (I guess. Not my words folks.)
• Sexy. Okay I’ll buy that one.
• Charming to a fault.
Of course, there are some villains that have no redeeming qualities. Think of Skeletor from He-Man, The Joker from Batman, Kobra Kai, sensei from Karate Kid ( I wouldn’t want this guy!), Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter, Hannibal Lecter of Silence of the Lambs, and Jabba the Hut from Star Wars (looks sweaty and not in a good way). I understand Bruce Dern had a difficult time getting parts in Hollywood after shooting John Wayne in The Cowboys. I hated that guy for years until I understood what an amazing actor he was. Then there is Eli Wallach who starred in the original Magnificent Seven. Love him! Well you know what I mean.