by K. Trian
Disclaimer: this post is written humorously, even ironically. Please don’t take any of this awfully seriously. My intention is not to mock your taste in literature.
I got my monthly Goodreads update and browsed through some of the new hot stuff they advertised. I came across a novel called The Collector by Victoria Scott. It’s about this sexy demon guy who comes to collect the soul of a nerdy girl and then falls in love with her. At least that’s what I deduced from the blurb.
But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.
And I think this the girl; Charlie (!), he falls in love with:
She looks like a porcelain doll… beat three times with an ugly stick… glasses, frizzy blond hair, a spray of pimples. and a stick-figure so not attractive on a seventeen-year-old.
Ah, your regular author’s wish fulfillment story, right? Well, I wouldn’t know about that. The author’s a cute young, married woman, so let’s not get a-judging here, but what caught my attention was this whole premise of a bad guy falling in love with the nerdy girl.
You know, that’s not really in accordance with my life experience. Guess when the bad boys started noticing me? When I turned bad myself around the age of 14. Guess when nerdy guys liked me? When I was still outwardly nerdy (glasses, shirts with pictures of horses, stick-figure). Guess which one I wanted: the nice, nerdy guy or the bad boy?
You guessed it.
The latter me was invisible to the bad boys, to the “flippin’ awesome” who knew they had “good looks, killer charm and stellar confidence”. No, they weren’t dazzled by my wits and quirky sense of humor and intelligence. They liked the dumb blondes (because they put out, right?). But I consoled myself in books with heroines as spazzy and glassy as me, who were ugly, maybe a little chubby or too skinny, unassuming, shy, but oh-so-smart. And in these novels, they always got the hot guy; the bad boy. The nerdy girl evoked some deep yearning inside the boy who then abandoned his tool-y ways and threw himself at her feet. And she could be herself! The little old nerd with pimples and a plank for boobs!
Enter real life.
Let’s start with the good news. I landed the bad boy. Got what I wanted, all right. The whole package of muscles, tattoos, guitars and guns, and enviable looks. So happy ending for the nerd girl.
But how did I get it?
Changed. Stopped being shy. Dressed to kill (and it doesn’t mean skimpy, but it’s not horse sweaters either). Stopped being the unassuming heroine from my teenhood novels. Took risks and turned adventurous. The guy wasn’t gonna drop on my doorstep to collect my soul and fall in love with me. So I crawled out of my shell and ‘improved’ myself. Or more like, found myself.
Now I’m thinking… what if I wrote my story? What if I distorted that fantasy into realism? Who would read it? Would I have read it as a nerdy teen? Maybe, I don’t know. I think I needed my fluffy fix back then. I think I wanted to know I was okay as who I thought was the real me, and I could still be loved by the sexy anti-heroes of the YA novels. It’s a shallow thing, really. The message: you’ll get the bad boy even if you stay chubby or stick-like and wear glasses and forget skincare and don’t bother learning any social skills.
Some guys might ask: do you chicks really want that bad boy? Are tattoos and muscles and killer charm all you care about? Of course not. It wasn’t what I cared about either. I just wanted to be happy and loved like the heroines.
So now I haven’t got riches or fame, but I’ve got love. And I think that’s what I partly owe to my teenhood heroines. They planted that seed for romance and gave me relatable characters. It’s not healthy if your only life goal is that hot bad boy, but I guess these stories kinda made me feel like “yeah, I can get and achieve someone or something ‘flippin’ awesome’ even though I seem to be nothing special.”
And I haven’t changed from the inside. I’m still that nerdy girl who got a bad boy.
P.S. I might even end up reading these Dante Walker novels if they’re anything like the YA fluffiness I read as a kid. For the sake of nostalgia, if nothing else. Plus, I love unlikely heroes and heroines!