You’ve likely heard it said before: good girls like bad boys. It’s a classic cliché for good reason. Take me, for example. Growing up, I was a good girl by most people’s definition, and when I was thirteen, I fell for a ‘bad boy.’
Cory Donovan reeled me in from the moment I met him. He was my first serious crush. I thought about him all the time, dreamed about him and wrote his initials in love hearts all over my textbooks. With dark hair, dark eyes and a body like you wouldn’t believe, he sent me into cardiac arrest every time he smiled at me. I wasn’t the only girl pestering him for attention, either, he had a string of ex-girlfriends always vying for his attention. He was my friend’s brother, and when he looked at me I forgot every bad word she’d ever said about him.
Below, you’ll read a real journal entry from me. This entry documents my early love of bad boys and cements their place amongst my favourite clichés.
I went to a sleepover last night at my friend Hannah’s place. I am feeling confused so I thought I would talk to you about it. Hannah has a brother. His name is Cory. I really like him and I know he likes me. I just don’t know how much. He was touching me and laughing with me, but he likes to flirt with everyone, including his ex-girlfriend.
When I make eye contact with him it feels so special and good, but his ex is still crazy about him and she was all over him at the sleepover. How am I supposed to compete with her when she’s so much more experienced than I am? I really want to be with him. I know he just got out of juvie and he’s older than I am, but do you think we could we make a relationship work?
He was my complete opposite, yet Cory was not one of my unrequited crushes. When he made it clear he liked me back, I completely freaked out and thought about nothing but our future together. Sadly, my heart was broken shortly after our most romantic moment occurred, when Cory was arrested and sent to a youth justice facility.
Had this story been a romance novel instead of reality, my love for Cory and his love for me would have transformed him. But in reality, things don’t work out that way. Bad boys are exciting in their recklessness. Loving them is a thrill. But my naïve thirteen-year-old self believed I could change him and he would be different when he was with me.
As an adult, I now have a new perspective on the desirability of the bad boy. I’ve come to understand I can’t change someone else, I can only change myself. I’ve learned that excitement comes from having a goal and chasing it, and people who don’t respect me or themselves are not someone I want to enter into a long-term relationship with.
Despite this newfound wisdom, my love of the bad boy cliché persists. To see how this cliché has influenced my writing, check out my novel – Let Me Be the One.