In Defense of Average Boys

Recently, I read an article by a young YA author lamenting that real life boys don’t quite stack up to Edward Cullen, or the idealized male. To me, this is like a male saying real women just don’t compare up to porn stars. I guess I just like my partners to be reality-based. I think perfection is boring. If you are already perfect, what do you have to learn? What can you grow from? Now, I get it. Books are fantasy. They are not real (well, fiction anyways). I know people don’t walk around thinking oh, vampires are real. Edward is real. Jace is real. Mr. Darcy is totes my next door neighbor. I get that. However, it’s when we lament an entire gender because of this, that bothers me.
I know as a woman it is HARD being consistently bombarded with images of idealized beauty. I am constantly told I’m not skinny enough, not fashionable enough, not tan enough, my hair isn’t straight enough. To this I say, media KNOCK IT OFF. I know some may say that it is only fair. Time for boys to take some heat. Frankly, as a feminist, I disagree. I think that two wrongs do not make a right. It’s not right to hold people up to some sort of idealization.
Let’s go back to Edward though. He watches Bella sleep. Now, this may seem cute, but have you actually tried this in real life? A normal boy will never watch you sleep. He’d be bored as shit. How do I know this? I made my boyfriend do it for five minutes. Then I decided it felt super weird. You know that feeling you get of someone staring at you? All creepy crawly, and you often want to snap WHAT, what are you looking it? That was my feeling.

It’s also intriguing to me that people want a protector boyfriend. Uh, what? Where do you live that you need a boyfriend to protect you? Are there vampires in your hood? Are you a gang member? Do you have mafia connections? Call me crazy, but I don’t see trouble lurking around every corner. Now, I know there are some sick people out there, but the chances of me ever getting hurt by those people is slim. Why? Well, I take necessary precautions. I’m consistently aware of my surroundings. I carry a cell-phone to call 911. I have taken a self-defense class, and I am in great physical shape. I guess if I really wanted protection, I’d just get a dog. Seriously, German Shepards don’t mess around and are fierce protectors and loyal friends!

I know this is bizarre, but I am just going to come out and admit this. Contrary to popular belief, I am not perfect! I know, you all are filled with shock at that statement. However, I am impatient, impulsive, terrible with money, and I am prone to zits. The boy I date and love madly sweats like crazy, is super calm — which as an impatient person is super aggravating, he’s OCD, and does not party like it is 1999. We are imperfect people, but by dating each other, we have grown. I am still terrible with money, but when I am about to plunk down 100$ for a magic for beginners kit, I think maybe this is not such a great investment and plonk down $100 on comic books instead. See, smarter investing! And Tony, when I take him out no longer has a pained look on his face. Instead, he has learned to tolerate my flailing dancing arms. He’s learned that he sure is a great D.D. and that we all find him funnier after happy hour. Our relationship is a work in progress. I know that if we were absolutely perfect, just great and wonderful, I would be bored out of my skull. Kind of like when in a book NOTHING HAPPENS.

I’d like to tip my glass to boys who rock Super Mario like it ain’t no thang. I’d like to raise my glass to men who find sports more appealing than classical music. Rock on boys who enjoy books, even if they aren’t my cup of tea. Hurray boys who say awkward things, I am awkward too! High five to boys who are real, be they boisterous, shy, funny, thoughtful, outgoing, athletic, artistic, pompous, average, intelligent, short, tall, slim, muscular, nice, terrible at math, fart-jokers, wine appreciators, gamers, secret-Star Wars fans, or CSI junkies. You are fantastic, even if you are not Edward Cullen. This goes for ladies too, you are awesome even though you are not Megan Fox.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 30 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and baby, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

Comments

  1. ~Jennifer~ says:

    Very well said! I've known a few guys who were kind of like Edward. It wasn't pretty. When real life people (attractive or not) act the way he does, a restraining order is usually in order.

    I'd like to say – Ladies, you are awesome because you are not Megan Fox. While most men may find her very attractive, the general consensus is that she has the personality of a viper. Bitchiness gets old quick.

  2. loreleimarsh says:

    Well put! I prefer books with fallible characters much more than I do those with perfect characters. That's why it's called realistic fiction. Edward Cullen exists in a fantasy realm. Maybe that's why he's too good to be true. No one is perfect and anyone who claims to be so is lying. We all do our best and that's the most we can ask for in return. Great post!!

  3. Someone actually said real life boys can't compare to Edward Cullen? ERGH. Overprotective as hell. Most of my friends are guys and I've had boyfriends who went CRAZY over this. But my boyfriend now is much better than them. And he doesn't watch me sleep, or stalk me everywhere in order to make sure I'm "safe." Thank god! He's not perfect, I'm not perfect, but we're better together than apart :]

  4. Enbrethiliel says:

    +JMJ+

    My problem with Edward is not his alleged "perfection" as much as his inability to change. The guy is static–which I suppose can translate into very romantic constancy and fidelity. =P

    But for me, the best part of any relationship is being able to grow and change together–and trusting that your commitment can be stronger than whatever life throws in your way.

    By choosing Edward and making him turn her into a vampire, Bella chooses the easy way out. Their relationship will last forever, yes, but at what price? It's like building a wall around someone and then "trusting" that he won't cheat; yes, you get the same results you would get if he were actually trustworthy, but it's not rooted in the same strength of character.

  5. That is by far one of my favourite blog posts…ever.

    I wouldn't want Edward anyways. I don't like pretty boys who are emotionally abusive and massively over protective and who think they're in love after less than a month.

    People are fascinating because they're imperfect. All I can say is "Hell yeah!" To this post. Awesome job.

  6. Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com says:

    Amen gf! Mr. Whimsy is a real man's man and that's how I like him. He's rough around the edges and more like David from the Uglies series.

    Cool post! You tell'em girl!

  7. Seriously great post. Really.

  8. Great post! In my experience, the vast majority of readers are smart enough not to expect real life characters or experiences to measure up to fictional ones and still not be disappointed. But there is certainly no harm in imagining a place where people and life is extraordinary.

  9. Jessica Secret says:

    Awesome post. I agree 100%.

  10. catherine says:

    well-said, April! i agree–Edward Cullen is NOT what you want a real life guy to be like: he's ANNOYING and STALKERISH! I personally couldn't stand someone that clingy.

    i do wish sometimes guys measured up to Jane Austen men though (i.e. Mr. Darcy). i'm not gonna lie about that one…

  11. You ROCK!

  12. *high five for Mario bros* haha I heart you girl. This is a great post!

  13. witchybooks says:

    My thoughts exactly! Ugh, I can't believe Edward is anyone's true ~ideal~. Suspend disbelief when you read the books all you want, but don't pretend that his behavior is actually desirable in real life! My boyfriend is awesome because he doesn't "protect" me or act like he knows best– we take our journeys together, mistakes and all.

    Of course, my boyfriend is pretty perfect for dozens of reasons– once I convince him to write his guide to relationships, you'll see ^_^

  14. This is a great post haha!! My husband use to watch me sleep, when we first started dating. But not like, all night. Because seriously, that does get boring.

    To me Edward had no personality. He treated Bella like she was made of glass. I mean seriously, the girl survived this long WITHOUT you, I think she'll be fine.

    And I'm OCD! Diagnosed and everything and my husband is not. He's the total opposite. It drives us both crazy. I think imperfections in people make them so much more interesting!

  15. Michelle (my books. my life.) says:

    Love this post. 🙂

  16. This is such a well though-out post! I do think Alexandra is right to point out that teenage boys often mature more slowly than girls.

    However, I think it's unfair to say the same of more adult males, and I don't think Edward Cullen should be the boy that every man feels they have to be.

    If you want more on this topic, I highly suggestion watching Jackson Pearce's video "Nice Guys Poop."

    http://www.youtube.com/user/JacksonAPearce#p/u/14/uOKiuNcK-kU

  17. Cheers. While teenage boys to walk around with their heads up their asses most of the time, I still wouldn't pit them against the likes of Edward Sullen there. Why? So they can get creepy relationship tips or work to bounce a quarter off of their make-uped abs? Really, those poor boys. Granted if the chick is delusional enough to compare every guy to Edward Sullen, would the guy really want to date her anyway? She might not be worth the bag of bat shit she comes with.

  18. Kah Woei says:

    Thank you, thank you! Watching someone sleep like that, feels more like stalking.

  19. Allison says:

    Great idea for a post, and well-written 🙂 yay for awkward, Trekkie, average boys!

  20. gabrywrites says:

    Probably what would creep me out more than just the person watching you sleep is what they're thinking! Still I love your post on this, great point. I'm a person who can get easily annoyed despite my nature online. Yay for average boys because they are real! And fictionbal boys are based off the real ones. Love your input on this, William Kostakis, and Steph Bowe.

  21. Alexia561 says:

    Great post! Yea for the average guy, as he rocks! 😀

  22. Well said, April 🙂

  23. Avid Reader says:

    Fantastic post. Cheers to all the real guys out there.

  24. Well done. Ok there is a leetle bit of me that wants to be like 'Haha and now it is your turn' with regards to the bombardment of perfect images thing – but in my heart I know that is not the right response (continues trying to be a good person). Aren't a lot of people (generalises, but I am) all attracted to the secondary male characters in books anyway – the less perfect one, that we know is probably going to get their cool ass romance on soon (I used to call it the Ron Weasley syndrome for a while).

  25. reederreads says:

    This post made me laugh out loud – seriously! The fact that you had your boyfriend watch you sleep was hilarious! Way to stick up for the young adult boys! 🙂

  26. Margaret says:

    Plus Bella faints all the time and I've only seen one person faint in my entire 60 years. (Maybe she's anemic and it's good she becomes a vampire.)

  27. Angela Craft says:

    I'm a few days late here, but wanted to let you know that I' also totally in your corner. I was just reading some comments on Goodreads about a book where the guy goes beyond Edward Cullen stalking and actually kidnaps a girl from the airport – and all of these girls were saying it was romantic and they want a "protector" too! I was flabbergasted.

    Adding a link to this to my weekly links roundup – this definitely needs to be read far and wide!

Trackbacks

  1. […] favorite discussion post was my In Defense of Average Boys post. A)Because I find myself funny and B) Because I think something should be said for imperfection. 4. […]

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