Michaeline: What’s BDE?

Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert on a bus for It Happened One Night.

Clark Gable’s characters had it. Do yours? (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

BDE doesn’t always mean “Best Day Ever” – allow this old lady to rant just a little bit. I can’t believe we’ve come to a time and place where the phrase Big Dick Energy is not only allowed in public discourse, but actually celebrated.

But so it is, and here we are, and I have to admit, BDE has its uses.

Justine talked here recently about how alpha males are really not arrogant dickheads. The ones Franz van der Waal studied were also good at building community and consensus. Sometimes that meant pounding a few heads, but it also meant knowing when a thump wasn’t going to make a difference.

Many sources have noted that Big Dick Energy isn’t about having a dick; it’s about having an attitude, and can used to describe people who are rumored to have big dicks (like Pete Davidson and David Bowie), as well as people who have never had a dick, and probably never will, like Rihanna.

What characterizes Big Dick Energy? Continue reading

Jilly: Alpha Males and Guilty Pleasures

Alpha Males & Guilty PleasuresHow alpha do you like your heroes? If your favorites are uber-dominant types, do they inhabit a sub-genre that expects or requires that behavior?

In my reading life I greatly enjoy alpha male asshattery. There are provisos: obviously the asshat in question must be a good guy deep down, he must have brains and a sense of humor, and he must be enlightened enough to respect and enjoy being challenged by a heroine who’s his equal and maybe even stronger.

Even with those provisos met, though, most of my favorite heroes indulge in the kind of high-handed, obnoxious behavior that I would find totally unacceptable in real life. It’s been on my mind this week, because I’m in the first draft of a new story and I’m gradually filling in all sorts of details about my hero. As I’m writing contemporary romance, it’s closer to home, and I’m finding it tricky to get the balance right. I found it a struggle with the previous book, too: after reading my opening scene from an early draft (a McDaniel College romance writing assignment), Jenny Crusie said she’d keep reading, but only in the hope that my hero, Ian, would get hit by a bus. Continue reading