Deep, dark admission time: I read “chick lit” and fanfiction, and that may be the girliest thing about me. I love it way too much for words and read almost constantly (especially the fanfiction). I become immersed in these stories of love and loss and general female insanity and simply let them consume me. I’m beginning to realize, however, that they are having some detrimental effects on my perception of men and relationships. Just like comic books and action movies give men the wrong idea of women, female oriented writing gives women an idealized man that simply doesn’t exist. The Unread Reader does a meme called “My Book Boyfriend” which is simply awesome. When reading it, I realized that that is what I have in my life, and all that I have had in my life for the past five years: Book Boyfriends. Women’s lit taught me that assholes are really sweet inside to the right girl, boys ignore you because they’re scared, and man whores who can’t commit are just waiting for the right woman. Today I finished the second book in Meg Cabot’s Queen of Babble series, and *SPOLIER* Luke, who 30 pages before had told Lizzie that he can’t think about the future, proposes when faced with the reality of losing her. Guess what, men who can’t commit when you’re living together don’t grow a brain and come back to propose to you at the end. That is like saying that Zooey Deschanel’s character in New Girl exists in real life and isn’t a crack addict. However, I love my completely unrealistic books and their men anyway. I may have completely unrealistic expectations of men and relationships as a result of my reading habits, but I’m okay with that. In honor of the men that have kept me company for the past five years, I’m going to name my top five Book Boyfriends (in no particular order.)
1) Marcus Flutie – Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series’ main man. Marcus is an intelligent pain in the ass who confounds and irritates Jessica through the first two books. He’s a former druggy and man whore who has reformed himself after the overdose of a friend and eventually goes to a Buddhist college in the desert. He has a crazy fro of hair, is completely mellow, and I have loved him since I first read these books. He can do no wrong (even when he does EVERYTHING wrong.)
2) Owen Armstrong – Sarah Dessen has created some truly wonderful male characters, and Owen is my favorite in Just Listen. He is quiet, thoughtful, and completely immerses himself in music of all kinds. He has a rule of always telling the truth that Annabelle cannot understand but appeals to me because like Owen, I favor the blunt, straightforward approach. I wanted to take him home after reading this book (even if his music sometimes sounds like nails on a chalkboard.)
3) Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy – It’s been pointed out to me recently what a bad influence Mr. Darcy is on women. Mr. Darcy tells Elizabeth all of the reasons why he shouldn’t love her and how he has fought against it but he’s has to give up and love her anyway. Then, after he does one nice (admittedly spectacular) thing for her and her family, she falls completely in love with the egotistical prick. I know all this, and I just don’t care. Love Mr. Darcy to pieces. Story closed.
4) Timothy Tobias Collier – I loved Ann Rinaldi when I was in middle school, and The Last Silk Dress was my absolute favorite. Timothy is only in about 20% of the book (if that), but those were always my favorite parts and the parts that I read again and again. He gave Susan a hard time about certain things but was ultimately a good man who loved her. My original Book Boyfriend.
5) Edward Cullen – I am including Edward not solely because of the Twilight series (which I loved) but because of all of the Edward Cullens that exist in the Twilight fandom. I do like Edward in the original books (it’s one of the reasons I read all four in two weeks,) but the women of the fandom have created too many of my Book Boyfriends to count, and they all use the name Edward Cullen.
So until I actually get back into the dating game and meet some real men, I’m going to enjoy the men in my books and dream of one who doesn’t treat me like dirt in real life. I’ve always enjoyed life in my head better than real life anyway.