Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool's Question: Would You Sooner Friend a Badboy or a Geek?


Space alien caught out: The tip-off is the pizza is just his excuse for eating the plate.

Today is the long-awaited, much-touted book release of Farnsworth's Revenge: A Rollo Hemphill Misadventure. Actually it's his third silly story. The first two were My Inflatable Friend (2007) and Rubber Babes (2008). And if you appreciate your books as electron flows, the Kindle editions of Revenge and Babes are both on sale for a week, starting today. (Paperbacks also shipping now because electrons make sucky gifts.)
My foolish thought for the day is inspired by all the talk-show patter I hear from intelligent young women complaining about how lame, underachieving, insensitive, and selfish are the male prospective partners in their lives. And just the other day, the father of one such bright girl complained that we must be in a declining era because all society can produce is losers as candidates for his hottie daughter's affections.
I submit that the root of all evil in this regard is the stereotype of badboy as male romantic hero. Charles Bronson as crazed and vengeful (but justified) killer is an old formula. But these days it seems the more corrupt the soul of the male protagonist, the more believable - and even the more lovable. Don Draper on Mad Men is a serial adulterer. Walter White on Breaking Bad has his reasons. And come to Momma, Dexter, because we know you just can't help yourself.
Badboys are more fun, the women seem to think, over and over again. Perhaps true, for a night or two, but why would you ever put one in the same category as your candidates for long-term relationships? Don't tell me you want to fix him. I don't believe you.
Now, Rollo is a geek. His confessional misadventures expose his obsessive thought processes. He's always getting into trouble and then devising some screwball scheme to get out of it. And, oddly enough, in his life circumstances, he continues to fail ever upward. He prospers in spite of himself. But as to his relationships, he's clueless most of the time.
I found out not that long ago that the audience for the Rollo books has at least as many women as men. This surprised me because I conceived the genre as boychik lit, the diametric opposite of chick lit, and deliberately aimed at men. Rollo is a young man continually on the make. And mature men, who buy more books, apparently like to fantasize about what it was like to be young and on the make.
The women of any age, and I'm guessing here, are just entertained by male foolishness.
So my advice. On this April Fool's Day, as the juices of spring stir, consider the clueless geek. Wouldn't you rather be tickled to death?


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