Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nice Boys Poop

Guys in young adult novels are freaks. I love them, but they are sometimes freaks. Why?

 They listen to the girl in their life.
 They are sensitive, and protective, to the right extreme.
 They read books, listen to sappy songs and think about the future.
 They are heroic, gallant, etc., etc., blah blah blah.

So are authors setting up false expectations of guys for girls?

Will a teenage girl read a book and think that guys like Edward, Peeta and Sam actually exist? Will they hold out for that chivalrous, poetry reading, classical music loving, baking gods who make their knees go weak? I mean he could probably slit their throat if the situation called for it, but he'd do it with feeling. :)

Are these literary guys ruining a generation of girls with a lie that real guys can't live up to?

I think not.

Think about it, I've never read anything that questions whether classic literary figures spoil our expectations. I've never heard anyone complain Mr. Darcy, Mr. Rochester or Heathcliff set a bad example. These guys have been aloof, mysterious and consumed by love with dangerous consequences for a lot longer.

I know, have known - and dated - nice guys. There are still guys who hold the door open for you. Guys who listen and can share an intelligent conversation. Guys who are emotional and sensitive. Can they get grumpy, snap at you and sometimes - shock, horror - ignore you when you are being over-dramatic? Yeah. But even us girls sometimes do that :)

Are nice guys out there? Yes. And the best thing is they are real.

Maggie Stiefvater the author of Shiver (and other awesome books) also answered the question on her blog. I think her answers are interesting.

Also, check out this Jackson Pearce clip and her response to the question:

So remember, nice guys DO exist...and they poop.


Pam Harris said...

Great post! I actually make a joke reference to that in my latest WiP. :)

Kell Andrews said...

I'd rather see too many nice guys in lit than controlling, broody, stalkerish, or snarky ones. It's better to look for a nice guy than an evil one.

This reminds me of my own clutzy dating years, when movies, TV, and literature dating back to Beatrice and Benedick had convinced me that snappy love/hate relationships were the standard for romance.

There was a cute guy with whom I thought I had an ongoing intellectual banter, and eventually he was bewildered. He asked one of my friends, "Why does Kelly act like she's interested in me? She doesn't even LIKE me."

Hmm, good point. That was the end of that.

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Kelly, I'm with you. I was all about being Elizabeth Bennett, but it turns out arguing with guys and pretending to hate them doesn't actually work.... or maybe I misread her character at fourteen. Hmm... food for thought.

Awesome post, as usual, Lindsay! I love it when you invoke Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater!

I like the guys in Sarah Dessen novels. They sometimes have more character and quirkiness than their female leads. I think if we all shot for that in lit, we'd be in a good spot. Her nice guys did poop, or at least talked about pooping, which was gross but real.

Michelle McLean said...

awesome post :D you know, even if these guys are a tad realistic, it's fun to read about them. I don't read for realism, after all LOL and there are nice guys out there...somewhere... ;-) And I love Jackson LOL her videos always crack me up :D

Kimberlee Turley said...

I recommend "Austenland" by Shannon Hale for anyone who has ever thought they wanted to marry someone just like Mr. Darcy, or who are still holding out for someone just like him.

Anonymous said...

Oy, I don't know. It would be cool to have the "perfect guy." But reality holds that that's just not gonna happen, LOL!

Nice post! :D

Melissa Sugar said...

I love your post and video. You make a lot of sense. Sadly for me, I always ran from the nice guys {whether they pooped or not} I thought the bad boy was dangerous and deep and all that other crap. I realize now that nice guys are the way to go.

This is my first time viewing your blog and I love it so far. You have a great flair for storytelling. I look forward to navigating my way through more. This was hilarious.