I tried and failed to conceal at the theater how much the trailer for Labor Day turned me on. See, it’s a dramatic film starring Josh Brolin as a wounded escaped convict and Kate Winslet, queen of the questionable romance that ends in tears (The Reader, Titanic, Little Children). Not exactly the stuff of lovesick daydreams. However! Not only does this film star my bearded fantasy lover, Josh Brolin, whose scraggly face I would like to climb like Mount Everest, but Frank is a murderous fugitive who single mom Adele must hide from the law long enough for him to reveal his sensitive side. In the 2:33 minute trailer alone, Frank teaches sad kid Henry how to play baseball, does a little from-scratch baking involving peaches (cobbler? pie? my fantasy must know), and asks struggling Kate Winslet to run away with him. And he is maybe innocent? But also dangerous? Be still my heart.
We all know how this one ends. Probably. I will anxiously devour a jumbo popcorn in hopes that poor Adele and sexy Frank will live happily ever after in Canada. But half the reason we love bad boys (and girls, hello Alex Vause) is because these romances never last and are more beautiful because they’re doomed.
Tortured romance is the best kind of romance. For further proof, I present 10 Solid Reasons to Date a Fugitive.
1. Captive audience. It’s no secret that a certain kind of woman loves a man behind bars. He’s trapped on the inside, with you as the sole means to his happiness. And you get to float around in civilian land, grocery shopping and hitting happy hours, blissfully at peace because your lover won’t see another woman for ten to twenty. If you manage to go successfully on the run, the prison of your beat up Jetta will do just as well as the state pen while you drive across state lines for the sweet, sweet Mexican border.
2. Prison is really hard. Mildew and gang fights and pudding cups from Desert Storm throw everything that isn’t prison into bright, shiny contrast. You, with your greasiest hair and nattiest sweats and worst stress breakout, are still sexier than anything about male prison. It’s like seducing a thirteen year old WOW fan.
3. We are all idiots with Pygmalion complexes that think we can change our partners. I read that “every man wants a good girl that will be bad just for him, and every woman wants a bad boy that will be good just for her.” I hate proving Tumblr right, but criminals that just want to be good are basically crack for “good listeners” and any girl that ever swooned over a shelter pit bull.
4. Good girls need bad boys. I don’t know about you, but even as a 4-year-old I preferred lying kleptomaniac Aladdin to Sleeping Beauty’s singing do-gooder Prince Phillip. For neurotic type A ladies, making out with dangerous people with a past is a great way to get a taste (heh) of wild, irresponsible adventure without actually failing a class or maxing out a credit card or leaving our beds unmade in the morning.
5. Criminals are unfairly sexy. Is it because there’s nothing else to do in prison besides work out and read the Bible? Do all those fist fights and running from the law result in a chiseled physique? Are attractive people more reckless because life was easier as an adolescent? A disproportionate number of famous criminals have been at least more attractive than average. For modern proof, see the slightly (very?) disturbing hot&busted.
6. Thrill of the chase. No one likes a partner that’s too available. What could be more satisfyingly hard to get than a babe on the lam from the law? Just think of all the adventures you’d have tracking them down. You’ll be like a bounty hunter that gets paid in sex.
7. Presents! Money needs laundering. Drugs need sampling. And stolen diamonds need a new home wrapped around your pretty little wrists.
8. Finally, a reason to delete your Facebook/Twitter account. No status updates allowed when you’re on the run.
9. Survival skills. There is a reason that every zombie apocalypse show (or Lost) features at least one cast member who is some kind of ex-convict or escaped prisoner. Pulling off a heist/murder/escape from Alcatraz requires certain skills that you totally want in a life partner. Next time the power goes out or your small town is devastated by an earthquake, you’ll be so glad he can hotwire a car and fashion a stove out of a blowtorch and an old guitar case.
10. See the world! Our beloved homeland has the muscle to prowl around most other countries if your lover is truly Most Wanted. You’ll have to get creative and find some untouched heavenly beach where you can live like royalty on $20 bucks a day and a fifth of rum.
From Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to James Dean, ladies love a bad boy. Watch Labor Day (or the phenomenal 1967 Bonnie and Clyde) and just try to prove me wrong.