As a book nerd, a music nerd, a video game nerd, a you-name-it nerd, I grew up being one of those socially awkward teenage girls who fit in better with the guys. I couldn’t talk clothes or boys to save my life, but I could discuss the various locations of hidden treasure chests in Mario Bros. or the surprise twist in Ender’s Game.
Not surprisingly, this put me solidly in the “friend” category with anything carrying a Y-chromosome. And while I loved all of the same things guys typically loved, I had a hidden cache of romance novels under my bed. What I truly wanted was to make those boys breathless. Being the not-sexy best friend was…not awesome.
Imagine my surprise when I grew up, started writing romance novels, and discovered the not-sexy best friend was a two-way gender street. In a writer’s workshop on hero archetypes, a best-selling group of authors discussed the various types of hero—the warrior (rawr), the professor (rawr), the bad boy (double rawr), etc. They explained that when they began a new project, they put all of the archetypes in a bag, drew one, and made that particular archetype their hero. Except, here is where it got interesting: if they drew “the best friend,” they always put him back because, “He’s really, really hard to make sexy.”
These amazing authors did not mean to make that statement a challenge, I’m sure, but I definitely took it as one. With visions of my teenaged self with frizzy hair, braces, glasses, and purple E.T. t-shirt dancing in my head, I set out to make the gosh-darn sexiest best friend in existence. I owed it to humanity! My mission felt downright patriotic.
But someone had already beaten me to it: Miss Jane Austen.
Emma had long been one of my favorite books, and when I re-read it with this “not-sexy best friend” nonsense in my head, I realized Mr. Knightley is pretty much Exhibit A-Z when it comes to ways a best friend can be very, very sexy.
And then my publisher announced their Wild and Wanton line—hot twists on beloved classics. I jumped on board. When it came to the book’s hero, I didn’t have to work too hard to bring out his sexy. It was just there. Miss Austen knows her men.
So, former “not-sexy” best friends, the time has come for us to unite! Let us end this gibberish once and for all. Pick up Emma: The Wild and Wanton Edition, and see what everyone misses out on when they dismiss the best friend.