“He’s a Rebel”


I wrote that all sorts of influences tell us about love. One of the most pervasive, though misleading, themes running through songs in my teen years was the “bad boy.” Always misunderstood always alluring, the bad boy was held out as a desirable catch. In the song  “He’s a Rebel”, The Crystals told us that everyone said he would never be any good, but they knew better. Everyone being opposed to the romance heightened the excitement.

After reading a recommendation from beetleypete’s blog, I watched “The Third Man,” starring Orson Welles as the “bad boy.” Although a “good man” becomes available(Joseph Cotton) our female lead sticks with the ne’er do well. “I love him,” seems reason enough for her.

It makes for good pop songs and intriguing movies, but how helpful is the idea in real life? Sadly the love of a good woman doesn’t always change the “bad boy.” In fact, many of those fascinating teenagers turn out to be unreliable and undependable not so grown men. The plea that “I love him,” confuses close friends and seems a poor reason to tolerate appalling behavior no longer attractive in an adult.

So I am grateful that while I enjoyed watching James Dean lounge seductively around,  I was never fooled. I had seen the adult version in the fathers of a couple of my friends. They held no appeal. The life of the party, they were inattentive and unattractive husband material. I went for the “good guy” and I am glad I did. But when he puts on dark glasses and throws his jacket over his shoulder, there is just enough “bad boy” to keep things interesting.

12 thoughts on ““He’s a Rebel”

  1. I am so glad to know that their are women who appreciate sensitive kind men with compassion. I try to be a good man and couldn’t be a “bad boy” if I tried. I feel a lot of people see that as weak especially in such a macho society. Great post


  2. I’m glad you watched and mentioned THE THIRD MAN (1949). It’s a great film, and one of my favorites of all time. Contrary to most “happy ending” movies of the pre-film noir era (which began in the late 1940s), the “good man” and the girl don’t end up together — the last scene, where she walks down the middle of the road past him as he waits, is classic.


    1. I think there are more around than we know. They don’t get much focus because they are considered “boring.” If sobriety, fidelity and constancy are “boring,” I guess I like being “bored!”


  3. I spent my formative years watching girls choose the bad boys over me, and allowing themselves to be treated shabbily, when I would have been affectionate and kind. When some of them were later abandoned (usually left with small children) by those same ‘bad boys’, I used to think it was suitable retribution for them. But as I matured, I just found it all very sad.
    Best wishes, Pete.


  4. I agree with you, Elizabeth. I have never been interested in the whole bad boy scene. I met my hubby in the final year of his articles to become a chartered accountant. I was in my first year. I studied part time due to financial constraints at home and he supported me and never suggested I go out with him rather than study. Today we have been married for 18 years.


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