YA is filled with guys who make girls swoon. At Boys Don’t Read, we know nothing about this. But we do know real guys. And more importantly: we know who we’d hang out with. So when Novel Novice asked us to participate in a blog collaboration, we couldn’t resist. They will discuss the romantic potential of six YA guys – the Wow factor. We will tell you if we’d game with them – the WoW (World of Warcraft) factor – or whether they’d be left in the cold with their abnormal abs and mane-like hair. When the smoke clears – when all the XP has been allocated – the world will be a better place. And you will know what it means to be a real dude.
You’d have to worry if Peeta was damaged. Tracker-jacker venom will do that to a man. There would be a time to weigh the risk and reward. But given what I know about the Boys, that would go quick. Because… the guy bakes.
And while some might suggest that baking (and, say, not eating meat) might somehow call into question one’s manliness, I believe the ability to go into the kitchen and whip up some vegan cupcakes is the exact sort of skill a guy needs. Because you never know when you’re going to get a hankering.
At first, it would be a party. Come see Peeta! Try some of his treats! Everybody would be sitting around – smells wafting from behind the closed kitchen doors. And here he comes, carrying a tray of scones into the room. At first, we’d all be like, Hell-to-the-Yeah! Because that’s what we do. That’s how we talk. I’d go AFK and ready myself for some baked goodness.
In the corner of the room, somebody would laugh.
(We would eventually learn not to make sudden movements or sounds. We would know what it was like to live in fear. But that comes later.)
It would happen quick – the glitch coming across his face like a storm. A vacant emptiness would overtake him. Before we could react, he’d have Steve by the throat while Jeff ran to the corner screaming. I’d be left to wrestle this country-fed fool to the ground as he screamed out, “FOR PANEM!” or whatever. And when I finally get him to the floor, he’d crumble. The apologizes and crying would begin immediately.
YA guys. Is it ever going to be worth the trouble?
Sure, you can dust off the scones. And we can always look past a few Man Tears. But it’s all fun and games until somebody has a psychotic episode and starts mangling your dudes. Of course, some people (TEAM PEETA!) will tell you he’s over it – that Tracker-jacker venom doesn’t produce life-long side effects. They’ll point to his time in the cave with Katniss. The quiet moments they shared. How, ultimately, his love for her helped him transcend all the awful things that had happened. They’ll remind you that he is a lover, not a fighter.
But you’d never really know. You’d always be waiting for him to snap and revert back to his days in the Games. And it would only be a matter of time before you came home and found him naked, wrapped in your shower curtain and hiding in the bathtub with a knife, convinced the Capital was after him.
None of the Boys are equipped for this sort of trip. We’re writers, and not of the Hunter S. Thompson or Ernest Hemingway cut. We prefer choice words and towering proclamations on things of importance – not guns or actual danger.
So baking or not, Peeta would have to go.
And therein lies the problem, because hell if I’m going to tell him. It goes without saying that, by this time, Jeff and Steve would be out the door. I’d peek into the kitchen, half expecting to see his maniacal eye glaring at me through the crack. And even if he did look happy – I’d know that underneath that downy veneer, there was some psycho bat-shit-crazy just waiting to bubble up.
The only hope is to take him out on March 23rd and walk him around a bit. Pray he catches somebody’s eye. They’d be all Is that… him? I’d play it cool at first. Feign some internal conflict. Maybe I’d even pull one of the croissants from my pocket, waving it casually in front of their face before taking a bite.
It would only be a matter of time. I’d hand over the apron and pat him lightly on the shoulder, whispering in his ear, “You’ve got a new home now. Everything’s going to be ooohhh-kaaayyy.”
I’d back away slowly, smiling and trying not to do anything he might perceive as a threat. I’d change my address. I’d tell myself there is nothing inherently wrong with pastries. I’d heal. But I would always know that Peeta could show up at any time with a spatula in one hand and a baking sheet in the other, his eyes glinting as he said, “Try a danish…”
VERDICT: I’d keep him away from all heavy, blunt objects – including my laptop. No WoW for him.