Men always want to know: Why do women love bad boys and villains so much? Why don't they ever go for the nice guy? Well, first of all, we DO try to go for the nice guy more often than not. No one wakes up in the morning and says, "Hmmm, I think I'll try to hook up with a dark, tormented guy who's trying to take over the world today." In real life, at heart, we're all hoping for healthy relationships. But why deprive us of the bad boy fantasy? I blame film makers and authors for the bad boy fantasy, frankly. And here's why...
It's shallow, but...
I was watching the first episode of Cursed on Netflix a week or so ago. Frankly, I was almost ready to throw in the towel early on because I found the main character, Nimue, to be an annoying whiny teenager. Then this guy came on screen...
He's called The Weeping Monk. I literally sat up straighter in my tv-watching chair and was suddenly 100% invested in this story. Why? Because when a dark, messy, unbearably hot villain with haunted eyes and a sharp jawline comes onscreen (or on the page, if you're reading), you just KNOW he's going to have a super-interesting, tragic backstory, AND the potential to eventually become a good guy. If he was a boring, one-dimensional bad guy, he'd be ugly. I've found that to be true at least 90% of the time in the fictional world. There's always going to be outliers, but typically, that's how it works. (Off topic: Cursed gets better if you hang in there past episode 4. And I was TOTALLY RIGHT about The Weeping Monk. No spoilers, but you'll LOVE IT when you find out who he really is.)
They get all the best lines
It's my theory that authors and film makers often love their villains more than their heroes. As proof, I offer Loki. Count up all the GREAT moments he had across all the Marvel movies, and compare them to the heroes' great moments. If you're count matches mine, possibly only Iron Man comes CLOSE to Loki. (Because, hey, he's Robert Downey Jr. Not many men, heroes OR villains, can compete with RDJ.) If film makers and authors didn't want me to fall for villains, they'd make them ugly and inarticulate.
They'd do anything for the one they love
Heroes are honor bound. They make sacrifices for the greater good all the time. It's kind of their thing. Which makes me think that being the significant other of a hero would kind of suck. Broken dates, late nights, lots of time alone...that's what I'm picturing. But villains? They're ready to burn the world down for the one they love. Or, in the case of Kylo Ren/Ben Solo, give up every last bit of their life force for love. (Don't get me started on all the stuff that's wrong with the Star Wars sequel trilogy, especially what the writers did to Ben and Rey in The Rise of Skywalker. Just know that if Kylo Ren had offered me his hand, I would've taken it. That's all I'm saying. Again, don't @ me.) And before a fight breaks out, NO, I'm not saying that women want men to kill and burn down the world for them. All I'm saying is that the notion of someone who would do anything for you is inherently romantic. It's a fantasy, remember?
They don't know they're villains
Just like every hero has an origin story, so does every villain. Their pasts shape who they are, what they eventually become. From their point of view, they're doing what they have to do. In their minds, they're righteous. They don't know they're villains. Maybe if they'd had a few lucky breaks in their origin story, they would've turned out to be the hero. That's certainly the case for The Weeping Monk, Ben Solo, and Loki.
Guys, don't take it personally. We love villains. It is what it is. Doesn't mean we approve of abusive relationships. Doesn't mean we prefer jerks and alphaholes to nice guys. Doesn't mean that good guys don't stand a chance. All it means is that we enjoy the bad boy, villain fantasy. And don't you think we should just let everyone enjoy whatever fantasies they want and not judge them for it? *steps down off soapbox*
What to read
Want to read about some of my all-time favorite bad boys who get their happily ever afters? Try these...
Online Writer's Resources
ROMANCE AUTHOR SERVICES
Romance novel blurb help
Romance Remedy program
Romance author services