Bad Boy Musings

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Oh my God. I need to never, not ever, drink a 20-oz bottle of Dr. Pepper seven hours before bedtime. Lying in bed for going on three hours, listening to my heart beating in my chest, the weighted blanket worthless, and trying not to keep checking the time. The corner of my bedsheet and the mattress pad have pulled off, again, and I tried to ignore that too, but it was bunching up under my pillow and so I laid there thinking about how to fix that without waking Todd.

Instead, I pulled out my iPad and returned to my latest obsession on Netflix. Ha. Excellent and perhaps not-so-accidental choice of words for You. Veruca suggested it a few nights ago and we started watching it together, in spite of the mature rating, and later abandoned it because there was just waaaay too much material of a suggestive nature (that’s putting it mildly). However, momma returned to it on her day off whilst attending to household duties and now I can’t stop.

It’s riveting and soapy, the writing is sharp and yet there are times when it’s just ridiculous how the story plays out. I think Penn Badgley, the lead, is outstanding. The style of the storytelling, without giving too much away, is mostly in present tense – but there are flashbacks for the main character and then there are his voiceover monologues. It’s those inside thoughts that really drive the story in so many ways.

I think Penn Badgley outdoes himself. He fully encompasses his character’s persona – his voice, his facial expressions, the sounds of a man in the throes of orgasm (see? Waaaay too much for a 14-year-0ld) – in such a way that it’s easy to forget he’s an actor playing a part.

V told me her friend has watched nearly all of it, and my first reaction is – she’s too young, she doesn’t know what she’s seeing, how does she feel about this character?? WHY??? But see, I already know the answer.

Penn Badgely, in an interview I read somewhere and quickly forgot, was stated as admonishing fans on Twitter for lusting after this psycho-sociopath. His – and his character’s – good looks are completely overshadowing the Big Red Flags of a man with serious boundary issues and a casual disregard for human life. The female viewership is not discouraged.

What does this say about women – about people – today? And it makes me wonder what a 14-year-old girl is thinking when she’s watching the shit show that is Joe/Will. Does she find him “pretty,” as she once referred to a boy IRL? Does she fantasize about meeting him, dating him, having him love her like that?

And that’s where it gets scary. When did we learn to glorify bad boys? How do we teach our girls how to identify “bad”?

The boy with the leather motorcycle jacket, the pierced ear, the long hair, quiet and seething below the surface… is he sexy or someone to be careful of? Why do you like him? What is so tantalizing about him, the idea of him – what does bad mean?

How do you not end in up in love with guys who ignore you until they want you, punch holes in walls near your head, cigarettes in one hand and a coke straw in the other? Guys with wandering eyes and other girls too, guys who need your money, or never call back.

At some point in your young life, you decided that “bad boys” were desirable. Which movie was that? That the troubled, volatile, no-rules boy was IT. How many of them were there?

Was the boy in leather who drives a fast car really as bad you made him to be? Or did you just want him to be bad? What did it take to make him bad? How far did he have to go to qualify?

How many good guys did you burn on the road to badness? How much badness did you really see? Did you find out that the bad boy wasn’t all that bad, or that he was, in fact, worse than you ever imagined? How many bruises did you inflict, or did he inflict on you – your body, your psyche, your soul?

How many decades will it take to undo the damage you opened the door for and invited in, all because bad boys are soooo good? Once you open that door, it’s not so easy to close. The weight of the room inside is full and the door no longer closes.

When you met him, did he give you all of his attention or did he make you feel like he could be somewhere, anywhere, else? Hello! Over here! Did he stand a little too close to you? Did you like that – the discomfort in his proximity to you – while his eyes bore holes through you? Did it make your stomach dip like a free fall?

Did you relish the moment you made him jealous of someone else? Did you do it because you wanted the reaction? Did you want to see him angry? Angry with you? Did you want to fight with him, because the fire it sparks is exhilarating, makes you feel alive, because you believe that you need the turbulence?

Is it your own desire to be bad that drives your desire to capture it in someone else? Why is being bad so damn good? What are the rewards? What are the consequences?

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