Imaginary Boyfriends

What makes a great book? I think it’s a combination of factors. Sure you need an enthralling plot, complex characters, a likable lead, but even with all that it’s difficult to pull off a great story without a solid love interest.

Of course there are exceptions, not all books are romances, but we can’t deny the current trend of Teen Beat book beaus. These crafty constructs of literary deliciousness authors write so well that we fangirls and boys divide ourselves into opposing parties. Guys can suck it with their fantasy football, we have teams devoted to our imaginary boyfriends. I am a virtual varsity all-star, just ask me which book and I’ll tell which team I’m on. Normally I am extremely monogamist but like many readers I’m a polygamist of published suitors, hoarding them like some scrawny prepubescent boy collects baseball cards. This is probably the only situation in the known universe where I don’t mind sharing a man, I even feel a camaraderie with my fellow teammates.

Edward, Jacob, Will, Jem, Peeta, or Gale, how do they capture our hearts so completely? What makes a great fictitious fellow? Sometimes it’s simply about preferring vampires over werewolves, good guys over bad boys. But what are the defining traits that attract a fervent female following?

I think we idealize these characters partly because of real life relationship woes. There’s nothing I hate more than a selfish lover. Treat someone how you want to be treated. Personally I think all men should practice a little paganism and worship women for the deities we are. Likewise a lot of these leading lover boys treat the heroine like the most beautiful breathtaking woman they’ve ever seen and everyone else just falls away.

This reminds me of my first love at 16. We met at a driving school in a strip mall that was next to a beauty salon. There were at least five other guys in the class of twelve. One day during a break, there was a girl enjoying the attention, flaunting herself in the salon and all the guys were looking at her through the window. I rolled my eyes and moved around one of the brick pillars away from the ogling, after a moment my future first love came around the column to talk to me. And I realized that while everyone else was looking at her, he was the only one looking at me. This is why I love Peeta from The Hunger Games so much. When he told the story of hearing Katniss singing when they were children and how he knew then that he loved her. He noticed her out of everyone else. I fell for Peeta. Gale never had a chance.

I could keep going, and will in this ongoing discussion of the many aspects and complexities that create our Imaginary Boyfriends. Next week that elusive one girl guy and that coveted prize the unattainable guy.

What do you think of this topic and todays snippet of what makes a great bookish beau, and what character facet would you like featured? 

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