Bad Boys and #MeToo
I’m rewriting my first attempt at full-length contemporary m/m fiction. It’s set in 2001 (chapter 1), 2010 (chapter 2), and 2013 (the rest). It’s also set in Hollywood, and the main character (MC) is a very strict, by-the-book talent agent.
In the scene set in 2010, a potential client grabs his ass and makes a joke about it. “It was there. It’s nice. Sue me.” They’re in a comedy club, and the people around them laugh. Before #MeToo, this was acceptable to the MC – a part of life. Now, it makes me cringe. Just because it’s a part of life in 2013, it doesn’t have to continue as part of life in a rewrite in 2018. The MC lives by a strict code of ethics and he expects his clients to live by those same rules. When clients are late for a day of filming, or for a photo shoot, he steps in and becomes their alarm clock. Why wouldn’t he have a talk with his potential client to say: “Look, you can’t go around grabbing asses like it’s Hooters. First of all, that’s not even cool at Hooters. Second of all, people won’t want to work with you, and it’s my job to keep you paid. Stop that behavior right now. I’m writing a morality clause into your contract.”
This is only the first example of behavior I’ll need to address in this novel. The potential client, who ends up being the love interest, is a diamond in the rough, but that rough is … you get it … ROUGH.
He says, and does, many questionable things. He pretends to be straight, which is really shitty. He also pretends to have a kid with his “girlfriend,” who is really his stepmom, and the kid is his half-brother. I don’t want to alienate my bisexual audience, but at the same time, I have to be true to my character.
People aren’t always cut-and-dry, good vs. evil. We all have faults, some bigger than others. I personally hate reading romance novels about goody-two-shoes princes who sweep in to save the day. I’m hoping my audience does, too. Sometimes, “bad boy” isn’t just a look. Sometimes, it’s a personality flaw, and sometimes, flaws can be overcome. I hope I know how to redeem this bad boy in time for the audience to care.