Great (?) Literature’s Worst Boyfriends: Part Two

Jun 29th, 2014 | By | Category: Columns

Genevieve: They negotiate her sexual surrender while they stand over the corpse of her father.
Me: that would turn ANY woman on

A summary of the Stockholm syndrome classic THE WOLF AND THE DOVE

So, in the first installment of Great (?) Literature’s Worst Boyfriends, I may have passed over a wonderful example: Trollope’s Phineas Finn. But I’m hesitate to focus on a novel that features dialogue like “THE JEW DID IT!” I hope you all don’t mind. Some other time?

Less Early Classics

Ah, Ernest Hemingway, my mortal dead enemy. If Ernest Hemingway and Sean Penn were drowning in a lake and I had to save one, I’d let Sean Penn swim with the fishes and I’d abandon Ernest on Lesbos Island.

The Sun Also Rises revolves around the story of Jake Barnes and his flaccid penis. Jake Barnes spends the majority of the novel watching bulls run around as a symbol of his lost masculinity. To regain it, he belittles the woman he loves and drinks a lot. The woman he loves deserves to be belittled because she is a big slut and he needs to drink to make his penis happy. In the end, neither action fulfills him so he goes fishing with his best bro (no homo) and ends up having a fistfight, because all his friends want to sleep with the woman he loves because she is a big slut.

Thank you Hemingway, for creating the dudebro.

The Most Recent Classics

Nothing is sexier than a man who knows how to rape, and rape well. The romance novel industry knows this. There’s stories about men raping, men reforming from raping and  men masterminding another man for some raping. Are these plotlines an attempt to normalize a vicious act and give the reader a sense of agency through the reform of the rapey hero?  Nah.

No one has made rape more seductive than Kathleen Woodwis. You may remember her as the stack of books on your aunt’s nightstand. You were probably always curious as to what was inside those flowery nondescript covers. What was your aunt up to? Well, dear reader, she was up to reading a bunch of books on rape sex. (Or a Harlequin novel about a man and woman who get locked in a basement to avoid a tornado and the lights are out and they get covered in peach juice because the basement is full of jars of peaches and they end up having peach sex because they keep bumping elbows in the basement. That was a weird book, Aunt Cloris.)

Anyways. Kathleen Woodwis. Her most famous novel is The Wolf and the Dove, starring worst boyfriend Wulfgar. Wulfgar is the proud new owner of Aislinn, a lady of Darkenwald. Aislinn has spent the first fifty or so pages of the novel watching her father’s murder, watching her mother’s savage beating, watching herself get tied to a bed by the neck with a rope, and of course, being raped. (This all must be the “pleasure” part of “pleasure reading” LeVar Burton taught us about.) After all this humiliation, Wulfgar takes over and ties Aislinn to a bed, but with a chain. Upgrade!

“…to her utter amazement he fastened one end of the shackle to the bed and the other around her ankle. Now she
gazed at him in complete bafflement. Glancing into her face he read her confoundment and apprehension.
He smiled.”

Did I mention Aislinn is also naked and has to sleep on the floor? But don’t worry, Wulfgar has great calves so she forgets about nude imprisonment to admire his shapely legs.  Her mother does not approve of this new situation. But Aislinn thinks she has a pretty good deal since he doesn’t beat her. He just threatens to beat her. And have we talked about his calves? He has great calves, mom! Just let me go to prom with him. And stay out of my room! I’m not smoking pot in my bedroom, it’s just incense Janice gave me, okay? Jeez.

Like Woodwis, Karen Marie Moning has made a buttload of money off of novels featuring rock hard abs and the ladies who love them. First, she wrote a series of novels about sexist Scottish highlanders, then she wrote the Fever series, which features a sexist man beast. I love when a writer challenges him/herself!

The Fever series revolves around MacKayla (Mac) Lane. This is going to shock you, but she is very sexy. Sexist man beast? Also very sexy. His name is Jericho Barrons by the way. And when he’s not asking her “how is your gag reflex?” and “who owns you?” he likes to remember the good old days “when men provided and women accepted. And if they didn’t like it, they pretended they did.”

Now we all can get a bit of yearning for the past. Here are some other things we should definitely miss:

  • Scold’s bridle
  • The Coiffure à la Belle-Poule
  • Smallpox (Jenny McCarthy might bring this one back, though. Thanks Jenny, loved you in Singled Out!)
I'd like to ride that boat into port. Aw, yeah.

I’d like to ride that boat into port. Aw, yeah.

Regardless of whether one yearns for the old days or not (hint: you shouldn’t yearn for the old days), no one wants to be into a dude who tries to choke out a woman the third time he encounters her. Unless I missed that chapter in Ladies’ Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness.

Aside from being into manhandling, Barrons gives Mac a makeover so she’s more “womanly.” He also spends his time in all four novels of the series insulting and degrading her–but he buys her expensive clothes and lingerie! What can’t consumerism cure?! Here we come, North Korea!

Shut up bitch, I bought you some hot clothes.

Shut up bitch, I bought you some hot clothes.

My favorite part has to be when Mac wakes up and she’s chained to a beam in a bikini. You see, Barrons found out she was visiting a Fae dude who mesmerizes Mac with sex beams (which once caused her to nearly disrobe at an art museum. Check out the work of art that is my ass, Rodin!), so he got super jealous and broke all of her shit and when she came back from the Fae beach he chained her up. Then he threatens to tattoo her so he can always know where she is at all times, like a magical GPS tramp stamp.

Mac is kind of scared, but also kind of turned on. “He was going to stand close to me, work slowly and methodically on my naked skin for what might be hours depending on the complexity of the tattoo. The thought made me feel light-headed, queasy.”

Did you get all that? Also I’d like to mention that this series was on the New York Times bestseller list. If you don’t believe God is messing with us, you might want to reconsider. Just like Mac reconsiders and decides Barrons is her true love and they end up having crazy animal sex. And I mean literal animal sex because he’s also a beast man and his penis can grow faster than a Walmart opening up next to another Walmart.

And there you have it, folks. I hope you enjoyed learning about all the terrible boyfriends in great (not so great) literature. Hug your dogs, kiss your wives, your childrens’ wives and above all else, stay away from dark corners, for a worst boyfriend may be lurking in the shadows, biding his time to tell you about his favorite author, Ayn Rand.


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