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Face It—The Era Of The Bad Boy Is Finally Over

FYI: There's no shame in being a good guy
by Chiara Cui | Sep 12, 2018
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In the ‘80s, we swooned over troubled rich kid Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles, while the ‘90s gave us another misunderstood, navel-gazing pretty boy in Jordan Catalano from My So-Called Life and the “I’m the only real thing you have” Troy Dyer from Reality Bites. In the aughts, pretty boys were in short supply and the dawning of the lovable schlub came upon us, giving us dudes like Jason Biggs and Seth Rogen. But what they lacked in looks, they made up for in good ol’ approachability. These days, it’s apparent that the bad boys of the old days just won’t cut it anymore. Now, you’re more likely to impress a woman with your knowledge of third wave feminism and having seen Hannah Gadsby’s stand-up special Nanette than how many dudes you’ve gotten into a fist fight with. 

In 2018, cleanliness isn’t next to godliness, wokeness is, and the problematic behavior patterns that society and women at large used to consider mysterious and troubled now look a lot like toxic masculinity rearing its ugly head.

Last month, the Netflix film To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before went online. Two days later, the internet had collectively lost its shit over the film and hailed Peter Kavinsky, TABILB’s leading man, as the internet’s new boyfriend. The last time this happened, Ryan Gosling was professing his love to women everywhere via feminist-friendly memes. This definitely wasn’t our first rodeo.

 To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before 

So how did we get here? How did we get from applauding Judd Nelson’s f-you attitude towards authority in The Breakfast Club to getting kilig over a guy driving across town to buy a girl Yakult? Easy. Just put on the news or read any of the hundreds of quotable q’s from our very own politicians. Between rape jokes and blatant sexism, it’s no wonder we’ve started clamoring for guys that exemplified the ideals that have been so sorely missing from the mainstream.

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"While wokeness has become the new norm, we’ve also had to deal with some regressive politics both in our country and around the world" 

It’s been a tricky past couple of years, that’s for certain. While wokeness has become the new norm, we’ve also had to deal with some regressive politics both in our country and around the world. For every Justin Trudeau out there, there’s a Trump lying in wake. For every Peter Kavinsky, there’s a Brock Turner. For every Terry Crews, there’s a Louis CK.

The disconnect between what the people are feeling and what’s being handed to us is at an all-time high. When reading the newspaper can make you feel like you’ve somehow found yourself in the darkest timeline, the internet can be both salve and savior.

Apart from Netflix movies, no other show has its pulse on modern-day relationships better than The Bachelor franchise. Sure it’s an unrealistic microcosm of society and all our fucked-up hang-ups about love, but it does manage to distill some very important lessons every once in a while. Case in point, in the most recent season of Bachelor In Paradise, the spin-off show where former cast members from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette take another shot at finding love, Jordan, a male model who initially became a fan favorite due to his, well, acting exactly how you would think male models act, demonstrated that it isn’t that difficult to be a decent guy. After finding Jenna on the beach crying after another couple had unexpectedly broken up, instead of gaslighting her, as most of the dudes on the show are wont to do, he said, “Are you worried? How can I help you? I know you're sad, it is sad, I'm not minimizing that. It's okay to be emotional.” It was a rare and tender moment captured on reality TV. And when you’re puffy-eyed and knee-deep in tissues, hearing those words is probably one of the most comforting things you could ever hear. For women who are usually told that they’re hysterical and that they need to relax, when we demonstrate any other emotion besides being an agreeable fembot, it is incredibly refreshing thing to hear. You might think that the bar has been set incredibly low, and maybe it has, but this is where we’re at, people.

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Listen, we know guys like Peter Kavinsky probably don’t exist, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to emulate him. At the end of the day, we’re not looking for a guy who says and does all the right things—that’ll bring up some red flags of its own—but someone who, like Jordan in Bachelor In Paradise, will at least make the effort. Also, please know that showing some of your own emotions doesn’t make you soft. All men would benefit from a good cry every now and then just as much as letting off steam at the gym helps. And while you’re at it, call out your bros when you catch them being assholes to women, even or especially when there are no women around. Because nothing’s sexier than having you want to smash the patriarchy with us—or at least offer to hold our bag while we do it.

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