I have an epic, passionate love affair every Monday night. It’s not one of those affairs that takes place in the dark of the night, in some seedy retro-‘70s hotel room with flickering lights and paisley-flowered sheets. It’s not even the type of affair that could get us into trouble for our ‘unfaithfulness’, or even worse, could find us getting served with divorce papers.
It was absolutely nothing like that. In reality, it resembled more of a slow dance, a tango between two strangers who just happened to meet in the dimly lit shadows. And just like a scene out of a black-and-white 1920s love story, we slowly walked up to each other, probably through fog – me wearing a long dress and hiding under an umbrella while he struts (in a suit and tie) with the confidence of a bold, determined gentleman – and just as our hands mingled ever so slightly, his whispered those three little words into my ear.
"I'm Chuck Bass.”
It’s the allure of Chuck Bass quaintly summed up in three words that sends me into a head-over-heels tailspin for Gossip Girl’s resident bad boy. Interestingly, the single statement all at once reveals so much and so little about the Upper East Sider who has come to revel in his posh existence.
Honestly, I can’t help but feel a bit guilty about the whole thing, like I’m on some sort of voyeurism trip using Chuck Bass for my own selfish gain. But the second he uttered those three words – and he inevitably does at some point in each episode – my face would turn as red as my favorite polo shirt. Yes, I had fallen in love with a fictional character.
I find myself a bit unprepared for this one, though. This time was different; I could feel it, or should I say, I couldn’t feel it. After all, falling for someone like Chuck was completely out of character for me – this new sense of adventure had never been in my nature. I’d lived my life by the rules: No talking to strangers, walk in the crosswalk, honesty is always the best policy.
But Chuck never had rules like that. He must have thought he didn’t need them. Everything from his retro fashion sense (think brightly colored shirts that seem more appropriate for a golf outing than trotting around Midtown Manhattan) to his blatantly low sense of modesty flew in the face of every social convention I had ever known. He made up his own rules: the Chuck Bass way.
So it just seemed natural that, the more we got to know each other, the more any hint of emotions or vulnerability was conveniently absent from those carefully crafted rules. Obviously, that’s the way he wanted it. No intense soul-baring moment. No slow dancing in the parking lot under the spotlight of the moon. And of course, no waking up snuggled in each other’s arms, his feet dancing with yours under the satin-white bed sheets.
Frankly, part of me (mostly the cynical part) can’t blame Chuck for calling the shots and keeping everyone at an arm’s length. In fact, I sort of feel…no, I can’t say it…don’t say it…don’t believe it…resist…resist.
I feel sorry for Chuck Bass.
I never utter these words out loud, of course. It’s bad enough my heart is being torn by a fictional character here; I have to retain at least some sense of dignity.
And that’s when it hit me. I no longer knew what was more pathetic: Chuck’s openness about his reluctance to get close to anyone or my secret desires to ‘save him,’ a fictional character?
My instinct to save him seems to be winning out so far. I can’t help but picture what we could be, and chances are, it would go something like this: I quickly discover the source of his protection shield (maybe it stems from a broken heart, a broken childhood or his shattered self-esteem. I, with the sheer strength of my bare hands, proceed to break down that wall. He’d talk. I’d listen. I’d ask questions. He’d reveal a new sense of honesty I’d never seen before. He’d slump in the chair a bit and bow his head. A small tear would fall to the ground.
“I’m not usually this open and honest with people. It’s different with you. There’s something different about you, isn’t there?”
You’re just realizing this now, Chuck? I’d think. Of course there’s something different about me. I’M NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS.
Then, we could naturally be the couple we were meant to be. We could spend a sunny day walking and talking in Central Park. We could stay up all night swapping embarrassing childhood stories and he would think mine were ‘cute.’ And every morning, he’d wake me up by playing footsie with me under those bed sheets.
And it would all be because of me, because I cared deeply enough to look into those shattered brown eyes and not look away, because I took the chance and saw him for more than he was, because I saw what he could be. It would be the perfect end to the classic fairytale.
Women have tried to unlock the mystery of Chuck Basses for centuries. So what is it that keeps us hanging on, when all signs tell us in very explicit and overt terms that that lock sealed tight, the key discarded to hide any traces of evidence? Simple. It’s our ‘curse,’ our womanly instinct that can’t help but kick itself into overdrive. We’re waiting for the moment when that hard outer shell finally begins to crack and the vulnerability comes pouring out faster than a deluge during hurricane season. We look for every possible, genuine sign: tears, sadness, anger. Anything that let’s us know that there is a heart inside the Big Bad Bass. Because part of us believes we need the Chuck Basses of the world. Desperately. We need to know that men aren’t heartless and incapable of feeling. We need to know that we’ll someday have the relationship our parents and grandparents enjoyed for more than 50 years. We need to know that WE have the power to write a happy ending to our own fairytale.
Some of us, apparently myself included, live for that moment.
In the end, I know that things could never work out between us (one obstacle being the fact that he’s a fictional character). But it’s fun, at least in your own head, to believe in that fairytale. In reality, life and love just isn’t always a happy-ending, prince-rides-up-on-a-horse fairytale. In reality, things would inevitably get messy, we’d both say things we regret and can’t take back, we’d find every excuse in the book to sabotage our relationship and when things eventually went awry, we’d blame the other person and air our relationship dirty laundry on our blog.
Where others see Chuck Bass’s womanizing ways, his shrewd (and sometimes unethical) business practices, his unsympathetic feelings for anyone but himself, I see a man crying out for help. Why shouldn’t I at least try to save him?