Thursday, May 22, 2008
The True Fantasies Of Young Men
A week or two ago I read this graphic novel, Lily. The picture is above.
It's about a girl who is visited by four of her other selves: three future selves and one past self. They all have things to work out, issues, whatever.
I couldn't help but notice it's written by a guy. And illustrated by a guy.
That's fine. It's a good book, mostly, with interesting characters and a nice drawing style.
But I found myself noticing something about the story, guy-wise.
What happens in the book is that the girl is in high school, and she has a major crush on her dreamboat theater teacher. She's friends with a well-meaning but awkward guy her own age, who is in love with her. It's obvious to everyone that he is in love, but the girl doesn't notice. She's wrapped up in Mister Drama.
A big part of the story is that the 80-year-old self lets on to the teen self that she spent her life alone and lonely, and kicking herself for not pursuing the Nice Teen Guy. The older woman basically re-engineers the main character's life so that she recognizes Teen Guy for the gem he is, and goes out with him.
Um, OK. But I couldn't help but think this was kind of a guy's view of things. . . That girl who won't give you the time of day? Wouldn't it be awesome if she ends up alone and sad because she wouldn't date you? Wouldn't it be awesomer if she could know, now, that she'll end up alone and sad without out, and change her ways?
It also has that element of, you know, the only reason she's not dating the Teen Guy is that she's got her eye on Drama Teacher. You know, like she's just distracted. Sure, show her a good thing, she'll just, change her mind. "Oh, Johnny, now I love you! I wasn't paying attention!"
I know women are often attracted to bad guys and often not attracted to nice guys, especially when they're in high school, but I don't think just pointing out the error, or even threatening girls with life-long loneliness, is really going to change anything. So this book? Maybe kind of a Guy Fantasy. And not in a good way.