I think it’s the attraction of the anti-hero. I mean, a vampire is a clear anti-hero. He lives by his own rules, he kills when necessary (and his idea of ‘necessary’ might be different from ours,) and he often has little interest in humanity. But there is something in us, in our deep down romantic selves that wants to save the bad guy from himself. To be the one who sees the good and somehow makes the hero see the good in himself.
Don’t believe me?
Well now. Let me ask you this. Have you seen Phantom of the Opera? If so…didn’t you root for the Phantom? Just a little? Yeah, he was murderous and probably insane. But there was something so dangerous and sexy about him. Could the right woman save him?
Or, who was sexier—good Angel or bad Angel? (Yes, we’re going back to Buffy and Angel times here). But really. Good Angel was sad, brooding, and even full of self-hatred. Bad Angel was, well, funny. Sarcastic, dangerous, and sexy as hell. He knew what he wanted and he went out to get it. Yeah, he had to go. But while he was around, the show was at its best.
If you were living in Star Wars times…who would you choose? Hans Solo or Luke Skywalker? Luke was a good guy—honorable—selfless—sacrificing. Hans wasn’t. Yet when it comes to sexiness, there’s no comparison. Why is that? It’s because an anti-hero is the ultimate bad boy. And we romantics sure like the bad boys, don’t we?
How about a bad boy with a gun? If you haven’t seen Timothy Olyphant in Justified yet, you really must. He’s a U.S. Marshal who shoots a lot of people in ‘justified’ situations. Yeah, he makes his own situations.
Rick Blain in Casablanca is often hailed as an anti-hero. Sure, he’s selfish, sarcastic and rude. But he’s revealed as a classic bad boy with a heart of gold. Who makes the ultimate sacrifice for good.
So what is it about the bad boy? He breaks the law, he makes his own laws, he even disregards the law. But…when he loves…he does so completely. The bad guy, the anti-hero, when he falls in love, his incredible power is focused completely and absolutely on that one woman. Her safety, her happiness, becomes his goal.
Now that’s sexy.