Here’s the thing about this trope, it’s also true in real life! (Which is the thing about a lot of tropes, which is how they come to be tropes in the first place. Deep thoughts, man.) Today we tackle: the self-professed asshole. Oh yes, you know him. You’ve probably dated him! I know I have, he’s very charming, I don’t blame us in the slightest.
General Hospital’s Todd Manning has told Carly he’s a bad person countless times. (Seriously, I actually lost count, because he’s said it over and over again for months and months.) He’s not a good guy, he’s not good enough for her, he’s not good enough for anyone. And yet Carly (no prize herself, let’s be honest) totally fell for him. Just like we did that one time back in college. And high school. And when we were 24. But never after that. You tend to wise up to these dudes at some point (one hopes). You must realize that THEY ARE TELLING YOU THE TRUTH. Right upfront! They are jerks! They are going to, at some point, treat you like crap. And you can’t get mad, because they told you ahead of time, they warned you, and you did not listen, you silly, silly girl.
And the thing is, they’re kind of right. I mean, of course we have the right to get mad, just because you tell someone you’re a jerk doesn’t actually give you license to act like a jerk, we live in a society, man, there are rules. But at the same time, they have a point, they warned us. And yet, for Carly, for the rest of us, sometimes it’s like waving a red flag in front a of a charging bull. Oh you’re telling me to stay away from you? Self-imposed conflict? SIGN ME UP.
And yet we must learn from the Todd Mannings of the world, ladies, even though Carly never, ever will because she is batshit crazy. The Todds will at some point make out with the ex girlfriend who they’re not really over, or stand you up in the rain (always in the rain), or lie to your face about that baby switch (okay, that’s more likely to happen when you’re a soap opera character). But it’s true and let us take heed: when a dude tells us he’s an asshole, let’s just listen, okay?
(Never mind the fact that once you blow him off he will want you even more. Unless you are at least five years younger, and very blonde and very pretty and very uninterested, it will never work. Learn from my and Carly’s mistakes, dear reader.)
Who doesn’t love pirates, amirite? I, for one, celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day like it’s a national holiday, matey — which hopefully it will be one day. Historical romance novels have a whole pirate subgenre, and one of my favorite parts is that the pirate hero is never, like, actually a pirate, oh no. He’s secretly an earl! Or some other titled noblemen! Or a spy. There’s always the possibility he’s a spy. He’s also superhot and misunderstood, but he’ll get through his issues to be true to you, girl. Obvs.
One of my favorite historical romances authors, Julie Anne Long, has a delightful pirate romance called (wait for it) I Kissed an Earl. Oh, yes. The awesomeness grows. Here’s the setup:
Violet Redmond is always stirring up trouble. She’s too smart for her own good, especially in a time when women weren’t given much to do (Regency England, where many historical romances are set). She hails from the superwealthy and powerful Redmond clan and she’s lived a charmed life, but since her older brother Lyon disappeared, family accord has not been what it once was. Dancing with a newly minted American earl (I know, you’ll just have to trust Long here) she learns that he’s to set sail in the morning after a dastardly pirate — a pirate Violet suddenly realizes may well be Lyon. So she stows away on his ship to save her brother, and finally have an adventure.
Long writes a hell of a story, and she takes the pirate trope and wrings from it a heart-wrenching love story. She’s totally going to be one of my keynote speakers at the first official National Talk Like a Pirate Day luncheon. I’ll send you all an invite.