Canadian researchers report that women find dark, brooding men attractive.
This isn’t really news, as anyone who’s read their Jung or their Byron could have told you the same thing for less government funding. But I’m happy to read that current research confirms the notion, since that’s one of the important cornerstones on which I have built my first draft of Project Alpha. The male lead is attractive because he nourishes secret darknesses, darknesses he cannot share even though he loves the female lead, especially because he loves her, for to unveil the darknesses within him could only injure her.
Here’s an indicative excerpt, recording the first conversation between the girl protagonist and the brooding young man in question. He wants to tell her he loves her, but he won’t, because he’s protecting her from himself, so instead he puts up barriers that are misinterpreted as hostility and anger.
Ah, young love.
* * *
“Hey,” he said again. This time he looked, and he had that same piercing stare in his eyes, like a bird of prey, like a hawk. There was a hardness to his face, too, an inaccessibility, a remoteness. “Am I in your way?”
My mouth was too dry to speak. I shook my head and pointed at my locker, right next to his. He nodded, made a grimace that was not quite a smile but was still exquisitely beautiful, and shuffled slightly to the side to make room.
I opened the locker and shoved books and papers into it, along with the hairbrush and lipstick. He couldn’t help but see it all and I was grateful I had nothing too embarrassing.
“The location’s not bad,” he said, cool but polite, “but I hear that all the lockers have the same combination.”
“Are you new here?” I finally squeaked out. “I don’t think I know you.”
“Sure you do,” he contradicted me. “I’m Manny. We had three classes together last year.”
Manny. I tried to think back, which was hard, because all my brain could focus on was his perfect face.
“You grew, like, a foot over the summer,” I pointed out the obvious, “and you’re beautiful!”
His face hardened, a shield of tight expression falling down over it instantly like a portcullis.
“Sorry, I… sorry, that rounded sude, I… sounded rude, I didn’t mean to say that,” I staggered through half a retraction.
“Guess not,” he acknowledged.
“I’m Ash Evans,” I said, immediately realizing what a foolish introduction it was, since he’d already said we knew each other.
“Sure,” he agreed, “you’re the girl that almost ran me over this morning.”