After reading Bad Romeo and getting really frustrated over the main character’s desperate attempt to try and fix the ‘bad boy player’, it got me thinking. What I could not fathom was this apparent appeal of the ‘player’ that many authors seem to present as the epitome of panty-dropping godliness.
I honestly do not understand the appeal.
When I picked up my next read, I Was Here, the same thing happened. The love interest was once again a playboy that enjoyed sleeping around and messing with girls’ emotions.
WHY are these characters the basis for a perfect romantic interest? What could they possible offer our heroine aside from emotional turmoil and a whole load of baggage?
I have the biggest problem with players in novels due to their lack of empathy for their conquests. Most of the time they’re written to be so flippant about the people they sleep with, and it’s overwhelmingly frustrating when the protagonist becomes another pawn in their seduction game.
I always want to shout “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! WHAT IS THEIR APPEAL?!” More often than not the only thing they have going for them are their ‘perfectly godly features and masterfully shaped abs’ that do nothing for me. So of all the qualities they can have, their only one is a pretty face and some muscles?
What’s even worse are the excuses authors seem to use to explain away these player’s need to sleep around.
- “Oh, someone broke my heart awhile ago so now I sleep around so I don’t have to get close to anyone”
- “My parents abandoned me when I was younger so now I have commitment issues”
- “I can’t find the right girl for me so I sleep around until the right one pops up in my bed”
- “I’m pretty so I can get away with anything”
I’d hate to see what our society has come to if this is the standard of men that readers of YA should be falling in love with. Or you know, shipping.
When someone finds a need to parade around their conquests to the world, then I think they also need to be strapped to a flashing neon board that spells out ‘I’ve probably got an STI or two’. Because lets be honest…if you’re 17 and have slept with more than 10 different people, that would be the question I’d be asking. Not ‘how can I get him to commit to one relationship’. If he’s not mature enough to commit, then don’t waste your time girl!
Okay, so while I more often than not abhor players, I have once upon a time read a very well written story involving a player. The difference being that this player had a lot more going for him than just a pretty face. There was backstory and depth to the character, two important things that authors often tend to forget when writing about a playboy love interest.
What are your thoughts on the ‘player’ love interest? Have you read a great book that involved a player? Or do they make you cringe as well?