Mr. Darcy and the Myth of the Bad Boy

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It is a well known fact that every girl loves a bad boy. Bad boys are good looking, mysterious, they usually have fancy, exciting transport and a leather jacket, right? We probably owe that imagery to Rebel without a Cause to be honest. Although bad boys have evolved in the shape of the Christian Greys, whose appeal is somewhere else than in the paraphernalia and to this day I can’t understand why any girl would fall for him, but that’s a subject that would take a whole post.

The fact is, in many books and movies, the main female character falls, rightfully so, for the so called bad boy. And this leads to a huge amount of trouble in real life because, where in movies and books the bad boy turns out to be simply misunderstood, in real life, the bad boy is an a**hole. Come in “girls always try to change men”. Well, breaking news, people, girls are not trying to change their boyfriends, they are trying to find the good in them. Sadly, sometimes they can’t find what’s not there, no matter how much they try, and eventually dump them. Because there is that much bad one can take.

I blame Jane Austen for this. Writing Pride and Prejudice might have been one of her biggest achievements and every girl loves Mr. Darcy, but I think Ms. Austen did us all a disservice. Because Mr. Darcy is the ultimate Bad Boy. But what makes him a bad boy?

The Silent, Brooding Type

Now, remember to put things in historical context. If we take Mr.Darcy’s entry scene, at the famous ball where Mrs. Bennet was so desperate to go so her daughters could meet Mr. Bingley, it is obvious that nobody knew much about him. His status of very rich and very single made everybody wonder about him and there was a fair bit of gossip going on around the room. Mr. Darcy is in no way inclined to enlighten people about himself, though, and doesn’t even want to dance.

Honesty not Required

Bad boys in literature and movies will tell you what they think, whether you like it or not. Mr. Darcy had no issues advising his friend against marrying Jane. Admittedly Bingley could possibly have grown a backbone and told his friend to… well, you know.

The Smoldering Look

An image… you know:

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They are Guarded

Their feelings are a mystery. So much so that when Darcy first proposes to Lizzy she is so completely baffled she probably wouldn’t even have known what to say. How could she had possibly expected that, there was no indication that Mr. Darcy even liked her, let alone wanted to marry her. Luckily for her, Darcy showed his utter ignorance of women and total (and again non-required) honesty, insulting her family so much that it gave her plenty of fuel for an answer.

The Heart of Gold

And that’s their redeeming quality. In the very bottom of their hearts, they are good people. Mr. Darcy didn’t change so Lizzy would like him, he just showed her a part of him that he didn’t show to many people, because of the above. Johnny Castle didn’t change for Baby, Baby was so worth it that he showed her his good side, and then proceeded to become the girl in that relationship, but that’s yet another subject for another blog post.

And that’s the issue at hand. When you meet the bad boy in real life, you expect that eventually they will show you that good side, because you’re worth it, right? Well, you are worth it, absolutely, but as I said above, some bad boys are not the bad boys of Myth and Legend, they are simply morons not worth your time. The key is in learning to recognize them early and move on, which can be no less heartbreaking. But don’t despair, you can always read Pride and Prejudice again or, as an alternative option, watch the BBC mini series and rejoice in Colin Firth’s absolutely spectacular interpretation to feel better. A tub of ice-cream might be required though.

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