Monday, March 4, 2013

The dark mysterious boy

The dark mysterious boy, or the DMB, has become a staple of YA fiction. Whether he's a vampire, a fallen angel, a demon, or you know...just a boy, he gets around. He goes all the way back to the Byronic hero, I suppose, although you know that if you so much looked at Byron you'd get syphillis. And count yourself lucky that's all you got, right? 

But I understand the attraction. The DMB is always good looking, and we girls do love a bit of a mystery, don't we? 

The dark mysterious boy. Add paranormal origin of your choice.

Well, no, actually. Because boys are people too. I sometimes think that half the mystery of the DMB comes from writers who just don't know how to write boys. The author can't get into his head, therefore nobody else can. 

There were no DMBs at in my school, and none in my life ever since if I'm honest. Which I sometimes am. A boy remained mysterious for exactly as long as it took to say, "Hi, I'm Jen. What's your name? Have you just moved here? Where are you from? Any brothers and sisters? What do you parents do?" And so on. 

Because kids ferret information out of each other. Even the kids who don't talk don't stay mysterious. And in small towns, everyone knows everyone's business. 

I spent a lot of time growing up in small towns. In fact, when I arrived in Goondiwindi just before starting high school, it was to discover that the girl next door (I hated her, BTW) already knew everything about me. 

"You've just moved here from Bundaberg. You're the new bank manager's kid. You have an older sister, and you'll be starting Grade 8 next week." 

(Mind you, she also thought I was rich because my father owned the bank. Owned it. She didn't appreciate how I pointed out that if my father's was rich we'd hardly be living in Goondiwindi, would we? She didn't like me much either.)

And that's how it works in small towns. 

We knew a week beforehand that Andrew was coming -- the rumour of his arrival was like blood in the water to teenage girls. Fresh meat! 

His father was also the bank manager. His managed the branch -- mine managed agribusiness. Which was something to do with going out to properties and watching men put their hands inside cows; I'm sketchy on the details. Because Andrew was my age, and our dads worked together, naturally I got volunteered as his tour guide, even though I was anti-social, bad tempered, and would have rather spent the afternoon in the chicken coop. Seriously. I was teaching the chickens to balance on my shoulders. 

So, I guess Andrew fit the bill as a DMB. He was dark haired, good looking for a thirteen year old boy, and Mysterious. 

Well, for about half an hour. We went up the street. We checked out the shops, such as they were. I showed him the school, and the riverbank, and that was pretty much it for Goondiwindi. We were both thinking it. 

Then, it happened. A girl came up to him. Not my neighbour, but the same sort. "I know who you are," she said. 

"Do you?" 

"You're Simon, and your dad's the new bank manager. You live over in the new house they built. You're from Brisbane." 

"My name's Andrew," Andrew said. 

"It's Simon," the girl insisted. 

"Simon's my little brother. My name's Andrew." 

"No it isn't," the girl said, and flounced off. 

I looked at Andrew. Andrew looked at me. 

"I think I'm going to hate this fucking town," Andrew said. 

Shortly afterwards he misbehaved enough that he got sent away to boarding school. 

Wish I'd thought of that. 


  1. So Andrew wasn't a DMB but a PBB -- pre bad boy. Those are even hotter in YA. :)

    1. He was just a smart boy with a smart plan to get out of a small town. Given that we only had one tiny little high school, it wasn't that hard to get expelled. :)

      The one good thing about a boarding school, is that it's usually in civilisation...

  2. I like Andrew.

    And you must post a picture of yourself with chickens on your shoulders. :-)

    1. I believe there is no photographic evidence of that...

      *looks around shiftily *

  3. Funny! I'm glad Simon -- I mean Andrew! -- escaped to a boarding school.
    I'm not a fan of DMB, but they sure are popular in YA, aren't they?

    1. They sure are popular, Lexa. And really, you've been on the planet a handful of years. That's not much time to amass a lot of mystery.

  4. Yeesh. No matter what the country, the teenagers all act the same.

    I never knew any dark mysterious boys either. The rare people who kept to themselves (wanted to stay mysterious, I suppose) were treated as weirdos, not idols. Plus everyone knew all about them anyway.

    1. Absolutely true, JEFritz! Everyone knew all about them anyway...

  5. Good god! Cannot believe I just found your blog.

    Now, if I remember back to 1986/7, you were rich, because you had a beta max, AND videos. I think the first time I ever saw a naked man on film was when we snuck in and watched Life of Brian one day.

    And then you moved to sodding Goondiwindi! Bundy was never the same after you left. But can you believe people still live there?

    Melissa Mc - aka Ghost of Primary Schools Past



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