If you are a professional in an emerging industry, like gaming, data science, cloud computing, digital marketing etc., that has promising career opportunities, this is your chance to be featured in #CareerKiPaathshaala. Fill up this form today!
For most women, it's a rite of passage, isn't it? At some stage in our lives, we have all said the following (say it with me loudly and clearly, ladies), "I LOVE BAD BOYS!"
For most women, it’s a rite of passage, isn’t it? At some stage in our lives, we’ve all said the following (say it with me loudly and clearly, ladies), “I LOVE BAD BOYS!”
Yep. We’ve all said that. We love bad boys because they are, well, bad. They represent danger. They represent intrigue and drama. And, for most of us, well, most definitely for someone like myself, they represent everything that I am not. Bad boys represent all that we probably wish we could be but we are not.
Our image of a bad boy is often that of someone who might not be gorgeous to look at but could be very striking. In our daydreams, they ride bikes like a, well, a dream. They probably have thick luscious hair that stands on its end when they ride said bike at 200mph. And we find ourselves clinging to them for dear life as they give us a ride from Los Angeles to Napa Valley.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the bad boy image is romanticized by the movies we watch and the books we read. For a lot of us, the bad boy image that we find irresistible probably started with Charlotte Bronte’s Mr. Rochester of and Jane Austen’s Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Books and literature have done their part in making the bad boy seem irresistible to us, no? So much that Mills and Boon and Harlequin romances have created a million-dollar industry and have kept it going for a century.
Over the past decade, the publishing industry all over the world has taken a hit with reading as a lifestyle choice and/or a hobby, with the book industry suffering untold losses. But guess which genre continued to do well? Yep. The romance genre!
The modern Harlequin bad boy, of course, is dark, tall, and handsome (they are always tall, mind you. They can be ugly as sin but they are never short). And they are rich as sin. Not just millionaire-rich. They’re billionaire, shortly-to-be trillionaire-rich. They are also playboys who sleep around with hot models or actresses.
One-click of their finger brings everyone scurrying around to make sure every wish of theirs is fulfilled. They never fly first class. That’s so passé! They have their jets. Mills and Boon and Harlequin romances tap into this innate wish-fulfilment that most women desire from their partners. And these publishing houses continue to laugh all the way to the bank churning out these romantic tropes month after month.
In real lives, the average bad boy that most of us meet is the boy close to next door, who probably looks ‘yummy’ and good enough to eat, has a devilish charm, and sleeps around (honestly, who can resist him, amirite?). He is someone who says it like it is (he is probably rude) which we swoon over, does not have to be loaded with cash (hey! We believe in equality and we can spot him 100 or 200 bucks if he wanted, right?) and so on.
But the thing is, in real life, none of these bad boy traits transform into what we think or hope they would be. The bad boy is just bad. Like, just bad.
Calling them playboys is more of a compliment they do not deserve. They are just fuckboys who can and will sleep around with anyone who will allow them. They are indiscriminate. They run the gamut between having no money whatsoever to being extremely rich. They probably drink like fish and can be abusive.
Unlike romance novels, in real life, the bad guy is never satisfied. Maybe this is a gross generalization but the bad boy who miraculously becomes a faithful family man, loves his wife even after she has had his three kids, and does not look as svelte and stunning as she did when they just got married is not even a myth. It’s a full-on fantasy. When something looks too-good-to-be-true? It is.
I still remember, so, so, so vividly when a friend of mine hooked up with this so-called bad boy that everyone in our friend circle wanted to hook up with. Including yours faithfully.
Later, my friends told me I was smart not to do anything about my crush. I wish I could take credit for being smart. I was as dumb and as stupid as the rest of my girlfriends. I was also just honest about my chances with a dude everyone and their grandmothers (and a few grandfathers) wanted to hook up with.
Given how stunningly beautiful some of my girlfriends then were, I knew I had no chance. So, yeah, I was as culpable and as dumb as the rest of them. I was just realistic about my chances.
So, this girlfriend of mine was stunning. Just traffic-stopping stunning. And this bad boy we all adored was luckier than hell that he got to call my friend his girlfriend. And in the initial phase, it seemed perfect. He seemed like a reformed rake. He wooed her, said all the right things, took her to all the right spots, and just made a big fuss over her.
But soon enough his eyes started to wander. Even with the most beautiful woman in his arms, he would make eyes at other women. And it did not matter if the other women were as attractive as his girlfriend or not. If she was a woman, he looked. And eventually, he cheated on my friend.
Remember Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone? He had fucking Deepika Padukone in his arms and he still cheated on her! He ‘traded up’ with Katrina Kaif and then when she ‘got to be too much,’ he dumped her for Alia Bhatt.
But ask almost any actress in Indian cinema today as to who they did like to be with, I can bet my right arm the answer will be Ranbir Kapoor! Even though he has never made his modus operandi a big secret. That is because he epitomizes the ‘bad guy’ and all the girls want to be ‘the one who changes him.
Hugh Grant was with Elizabeth Hurley and still cheated on her. Tristan Thompson and Kevin Hart cheated on their stunning partners when they were pregnant. Tiger Woods slept with literally any woman he came across when he was with a stunningly beautiful woman Erin Nordegren. Nick Cannon has had four kids in the last six months with three different women! This, in reality, is what bad boys are about. The whole, “I can change him” never works.
I can bet anything that Darcy would have found Elizabeth Bennet a complete embarrassment once the initial ‘love’ phase got over. Her frank and blunt and decidedly middle-class behaviour would have gotten on his innate upper-class snotty nerves. Chances are that they would have separated a few years later.
Their ending would probably be dramatic where Lizzy would have yelled, “Get stuffed you sanctimonious prick!” and Darcy would have politely but cuttingly retorted, “Uncouth as ever, Mrs. Darcy.”
As I grew up and experienced life and started to understand it and myself better, not only did I not like bad boys anymore but I started to find them boring. They started to grate and get on my nerves. When a dude is too good-looking or too slick or says all the right things, I know something else is up with him. And it always is.
With experience, I also realized that it is a lot harder to be a good guy than a bad. A bad guy lives life without consequences since society has zero expectations of him and he is, therefore, under no obligation to worry about them.
He is a ‘bad boy,’ see? That means he is forgiven all the transgressions in life.
But a good boy is hard working, caring about family and the world around him, he does not think honesty is boring and believes that being faithful is sexy. He is probably not a risk-taker and probably not as overtly dynamic as you wish. He is dependable. He is the guy who will show up when you need him at 2 am.
And despite being a good guy he is also dismissed by many with a snarky, “Oh, god! He is a nice guy!” Meaning, a good guy is boring. But he soldiers on. And with experience, you realize that it is a lot of hard work being nice. And when a dude sticks to his goodness (despite all of the derogatory dismissals that he faces), that one’s a keeper and charming beyond all means.
Girls, take it from someone who has lived life. It is probably a smart move to sow your wild oats and have a few flings with bad boys and get them out of your system. But you should always, always, always take the good dude home to your parents.
They are the ones who last. They are the ones who will be there for you. They are the ones who may look (and, honestly, who doesn’t?) but will never act on it because they understand that one affair is not worth breaking up a life with someone and disrespecting their love.
Finally, bow down to the genius of Toni Morrison. So, when a man tells you he is bad, believe him!
(A version of this post has earlier appeared here: https://www.themessyoptimist.com/why-bad-boys-are-boring/)
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views. Individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, sign up and start sharing your views too!
Hi...I'm Roopa. I'm also a messy optimist! I'm an academic-cum-artist. I'm a writer, filmmaker and professor of creative writing. Academically, I've a Double Masters and a Phd read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Did the creators of Masaba Masaba just wake up one morning, go to the sets and decide to create something absolutely random without putting any thought into it?
Anyone who knows about Neena Gupta’s backstory would say that she is a boss lady, a badass woman, and the very definition of a feminist. I would agree with them all.
However, after all these decades of her working in the Indian film industry, is her boldness and bravery the only things worth appreciating?
The second season of Masaba Masaba (2020-2022) made me feel as if both Neena Gupta and her daughter Masaba have gotten typecast when it comes to the roles they play on screen. What’s more is that the directors who cast them have stopped putting in any effort to challenge the actors, or to make them deliver their dialogues differently.
Sullu vows to never, ever speak to Renu again. Every time, a Hindi film song extolls the virtues of ‘Dosti’, she feels a tide of anger within her.
Sullu arrives at the duck-pond and seats herself on ‘their’ bench.
Two girls are standing near the edge of the pond. Around seven or eight years old, they are clutching a bag of food in their hands. They call out making cooing sounds.
Sullu knows what will happen next and watches with amusement.