Every genre has certain character tropes, or set patterns into which the characters fall into. One had the beautiful, virtuous and passive heroine of classical Indian literature. One had the modest, chaste heroine of Victorian literature. Then there was the age of the anti-hero.
Today, young adult (YA) literature has become extremely popular, and, while there are several genuinely fresh and relatable characters, there is also the YA hero. For the purpose of convenience, lets call him Dreamy McSexypants.
- In order to attract Dreamy McSexypants, you must be beautiful, a social outcast, (because you’re not like other girls), have the self-esteem of a teaspoon, be as clumsy as a baby koala learning how to walk on stilts, frequently require rescuing, and of course, be open to the concept of teen marriage and/or pregnancy. Sounds like you? Yes? Congratulations, you’re hired!
2. Dreamy McSexypants has certain tells, which are subtle. So subtle, that they need to be hammered in. Preferable with Mjolnir. When he’s angry, he clenches. A lot. His jaw, his knuckles, and perhaps certain other anatomical features we shall not mention in the interests of propriety. His knuckles are known to turn white frequently, owing to the unrestrained storm of emotions within him. And though he speaketh not, he murmureth. Dreamy McSexypants murmurs in a voice of honey, or molten gold.
3. Dreamy McSexypants has several ways of showing you that he loves you. Ignoring you for days, invading your personal space, stalking you and driving you home are some of them. What, you thought he was driving you home late at night because he wanted to be nice? What do you expect him to do next, tell you straight out that he loves you?
4. Lest you should start thinking that he’s a dead end loser, let us inform you right here – Dreamy is a prodigy. He has, at the age of seventeen a licence to drive a plane/helicopter/tank/ship. He also has a trust fund that ensures he never has to work in his life, from conveniently dead grandparents. He is a master of languages, a programming genius, and plays with the stock market. He also has Taekwondo skills (how else did he beat up those twenty goons that were harassing you?)
5. Before he started dating you, Dreamy McSexypants was dating your antithesis, or in YA terms, The Cheerleader Prototype, who is tall, popular, and socially successful, which necessarily equates with being mean, fake and shallow. Why was he dating her? How dare you ask questions, Dreamy does what Dreamy wants, an Dreamy is never wrong.
6. While Dreamy never saw you as a romantic interest while he was dating The Cheerleader Prototype, he naturally fell into fits of passion-filled rage and jealousy when you started dating your best friend, the nice guy in spectacles, even though he doesn’t produce the fire Dreamy does in you. The number of times Dreamy clenches his knuckles here is in proportion to how flattering you find his jealousy.
7. Dreamy and you are equals. In every way. Except for the fact that he’s (at least) four years older than you, better looking, richer, more popular and more experienced. Hey, at least you’re both human beings, right? That’s why he gives you nicknames like “pet”, “lamb”, “sugar.” Hush sugar, let him shower you with gifts.
8. Dreamy, being a misunderstood artist, scoffs at bathing or changing his socks, preferring instead to douse himself in Drakkar Noir. He is sharply attired in a black leather jacket, black shoes, black t-shirts and black pants. Rings of smoke surround him, and he must have a chiselled jawline, and resemble a Greek God. Preferably Adonis. If nothing else, Dionysius will do.
9. The most important thing you must know about Dreamy – he does not exist. Dreamy is not the cute independent filmmaker who told you you have an arresting face. He is not the debate guy who told you you inspired him to anarchy. He is not the guy you met at a fest who promises to tattoo your name on his arm. Dreamy is a construct created to pander to unrealistic expectations, and create illusions of what successful, healthy romantic relationships are like, often causing long-lasting damage. If you ever meet someone with any of these signs, run.