It happens to the best of us, ladies. We've all been there, minding our own businesses during an evening, watching reruns of our favourite rom-coms, when suddenly we see our old favourite 'Bad Boy' with that flock of seagulls haircut and baggy jeans that even hipsters wouldn't be caught dead wearing now.
But worry not, for I am about to remind everyone of all the Hollywood and fictional (and sometimes both) bad boys that we forgot existed.
Remember way back when we believed that we could change them all? Yep. We're laughing at that, aren't we?
1. Danny from Grease
Who else could top our list of iconic bad boys turned good? Danny and Sandy's love story is not only notorious for the unadulterated bops that accompanied their sentiments. But they represented the ideal 50s aesthetic of leather jackets, wafty skirts, and some good old fashioned summer loving. Back then, all the world's problems and the film's plot holes could be solved by a prep jacket and some knee-high boots and leather spandex.
2. Johnny from Dirty Dancing
No, I didn't know his name was Johnny either, frankly, he will always be Patrick Swayze in any role he played. But, seriously, how could any list be complete without a bit o' Swayze? Ambitiously characterized as a 25-year-old dancer, the broody, athletic and ridiculously sexy 30-something actor brought a level of attention and fluid grace to the role that was positively carnal. He barely spoke, but he didn't have to and let's pretend that we're not still mega jealous that Baby succeeded in having him wrapped around her finger. I mean, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" - really?! What a man. (Yes he was four times your 12-year-old self's age at the time, but what is age, if not a number?)
3. Patrick Verona from Ten Things I Hate About You
I mean, this film had it all, and I mean it had everything. Heath Ledger in his prime, baby-faced Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and a Julia Stiles ready to absolutely obliterate the patriarchy (as well she should, tbh). It had Shakespeare, the perfect pompous villain, heart eyes around every corner. And it had Heath Ledger (the baddest of all the bad boys) serenade her in the bleachers for goodness sake. .... gosh I'm getting a hot flush. Bear with me for a moment.
4. Patrizio from The Silver Linings Playbook
Okay, what is it with all the bad boys being 'Patricks' in some form?? Either way, Bradley Cooper is something of an expert in portraying the troubled, down on his luck bad boy from down the road that everyone loves, but also keeps their distance from. He had no trouble capturing our hearts and minds as he and Jennifer Lawrence put each other through the emotional wringer over the course of 112 intense minutes.
5. Either one of Mark Darcy or Daniel Cleaver from Bridget Jones' Diary
Okay, let's make one thing clear here, folks. Mark is just as much a bad boy as Daniel. While Daniel was the more obviously roguish scoundrel that was emotionally unavailable but down for a 'shag' on a mini-break, it was Mark who was misunderstood and quietly broody but prone nonetheless to the heartfelt public outburst. He also wore naff Christmas jumpers, which just screams to his nihilistic tendencies. But yeah, like Bridget, we thought we could have it all and get Hugh Grant and Colin Firth together in not one, but three films. Whoops.
6. Josh Lucas from Sweet Home Alabama
They were married, they left one another, she moved on - or did she? You'd be forgiven for thinking the rugged farmhand ex was out of the picture, but not so. The polished and otherwise very amenable Patrick Dempsey made way for Reese Witherspoon to go back home to Alabama and realise why she fell in love with the rustic, unavailable bad boy all those years ago. I swooned then and I swoon now for the beach lightning scenes. You know the ones.
7. Christian Bale from Batman Begins
Okay, save the judgment for later. It's Batman and Bale. What would you have done?
8. Robert Downey Jr from Iron Man (or well, anything, really)
Self-explanatory isn't it. The playboy billionaire philanthropist was as sexy as he was charming, and even your 14-year-old self acknowledged that it would take Gwyneth Paltrow to pin him down. It's just the way of the world, but at least she got to live out your misguided dream of domesticating the ultimate playboy. Now let's stop there and pretend we aren't still hurting from what went down in Avengers: Endgame.
Now that I've gone down memory lane and got everyone all hot and bothered again, I'll just remind everyone of what great taste we had in men when we were younger.
Oh how things change.