Discovering My Dislike Of Bad Boys, One Supporting Actor At A Time

Have you ever seen What’s Your Number? Don’t. It will make you squirm and cringe and question your stupid, stupid past self. Somehow, I found myself watching it recently, probably because it was filmed in my former home of Boston, and because of my girl crush on Anna Faris. (Boston sidebar: her character lives in Beacon Hill, and uses the Porter Square stop? Nice try. I’m on to you, Hollywood.)

What’s Your Number? is a classically structured tale of girl-meets-neighbor, girl-hates-neighbor, girl-falls-for-neighbor-and-lives-happily-ever-after. That neighbor is, of course, a little douchey, overly cocky and clearly has trust issues. You know the type: he goes shirtless under zip-up hoodies before noon and is always seeing a different girl out of his front door. (And, he could never afford to live in Beacon Hill by himself.) Sorry for ruining the plot, but I warned you not to watch it anyway. In What’s Your Number?, that neighbor is played by Chris Evans, which I did not realize until two-thirds of the way through the movie. Weird, right?

It’s just that he looked so… different. It wasn’t until his character started to show emotion, 54 minutes into the movie, that I said, “Is that D-list actor actually Chris Evans?!” How is that possible? Chris Evans is Captain America. He’s a superhero. He’s adorable. Maybe it was the unkempt hair and scraggly beard. Maybe he’s just that good a character actor. Or maybe, I recognized him as one of the bad boys. Whatever it was, I was instantly turned off.

I wasn’t nearly as attracted to Colin Shea, the womanizer, as I was Captain America, the superhero. Once I knew Chris Evans was hiding underneath that d-bag exterior, I realized: I will never look at a womanizer and a hero through the same lens. Is that wrong? Am I shallow? Am I judging books by their covers? Maybe. I’m sure there are womanizing superheroes out there, but you get my gist: I’m more attracted to nice guys, both consciously and subconsciously, and I’m willing to bet you (ultimately) are, too.

As girls, we’re constantly told that we’ll go through an inevitable phase of chasing the ‘bad boys’. It might be when we’re teens, it might be in our twenties, it might be to piss our parents off, it might be after a bad breakup. But in the end, do we really want to end up with a bad boy? And subconsciously, which are we more attracted to: the good guy, or the bad boy? I can only speak for myself, but with Chris Evans as my evidence, I think we’re more drawn to the good.

I dated a textbook bad boy when I was sixteen. We always hung out on his clock, I only met his “friends” when he was selling them pot and I’m 95% sure he stole my wallet that summer. (Our relationship was a short one.) I never felt compelled to change him, but I liked knowing I could keep up with him while still maintaining my own moral standards. It felt like the ultimate acceptance: I didn’t give in to his bad boy lifestyle, and he respected me for it. It was fun until it wasn’t, and then I was ready for a man that would never put me in harm’s way and knew my middle (okay, last) name.

I believe the ‘bad boy’ thing is a phase. At first, it might feel good to lust for and be lusted after by someone who is the opposite of us. But after a while, the unnaturalness of it all takes over; we start to crave the stability and happiness and warmth the bad boys lack. Maybe it’s because I happily have a nice-guy boyfriend, but Chris Evans didn’t even register on my radar when I saw him in the role of the jerk. Once he started to show his emotions and transformed into a character that cared for Anna Faris, he became a lot cuter and recognizable.

I already knew I would consciously choose the good guy over the bad guy. But it’s interesting to see that I subconsciously made the same decision while watching a chick flick. What do you guys think?

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