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Buffy's weakness for boys in season 1

telperion66

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Mar 7, 2018
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Hi guys,

I've watched BTVS and Angel forever. One thing that I just pieced together as it were is something we learn about Buffy's character early in season one. Clearly from the onset, there is a romantic attraction between Angel and Buffy, but in the episode 'Never Kill A Boy On The First Date', something interesting happens.

The character Owen is thrust into Buffy's life, and without hesitation, Buffy is automatically romantically attracted to him. She makes efforts to get with him from the onset. This points to an almost promiscuous version of Buffy, that we never really get to see in the later seasons. One can only imagine how many other boys she may or may not have been attracted to.

But, the key thing is, she falls for Owen on sight. If any other "cute" boys were put before her, would she fall for them and make efforts to be with them also? I mean come on, I thought she liked Angel? Owen can't have been the only other cute male at Sunnydale High. Now, I'm not calling Buffy a slut, far from it, and I love Buffy, but what this points to is a far more outgoing girl who is most definitely interested in the opposite sex, and who is willing to make moves.

Don't forget, her interest in Owen is happening *at the same time* as her attraction to Angel is persisting in its germination. So clearly Buffy sees nothing wrong in being attracted to more than one person at the same time.

Thoughts, comments?
 

Faded90

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Apr 2, 2020
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Buffy sees nothing wrong with being interested in 2 people because there ISN’T anything wrong with being interested in 2 people. Angel pops up every now and then to give some advice and be a bit condescending but nothing beyond that. She’s attracted to him sure but he makes no moves towards her so why shouldn’t she show some interest to the guy at school who actually DOES show interest towards her?

What’s promiscuous about Buffy in NKABOTFD? We don’t see Buffy being attracted on first sight, the episode shows that she’s been interested in him prior to the episode hence why she springs into flirtation mode when he comes into the library in his first scene

I don’t think there’s anything more than Buffy being a fairly confident 16 year old who shows some interest in other attractive boys. Her thing with Angel doesn’t seem to be going anywhere so why not? I wouldn’t even regard it as weakness, it’s fairly standard behaviour
 

telperion66

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Buffy sees nothing wrong with being interested in 2 people because there ISN’T anything wrong with being interested in 2 people. Angel pops up every now and then to give some advice and be a bit condescending but nothing beyond that. She’s attracted to him sure but he makes no moves towards her so why shouldn’t she show some interest to the guy at school who actually DOES show interest towards her?

What’s promiscuous about Buffy in NKABOTFD? We don’t see Buffy being attracted on first sight, the episode shows that she’s been interested in him prior to the episode hence why she springs into flirtation mode when he comes into the library in his first scene

I don’t think there’s anything more than Buffy being a fairly confident 16 year old who shows some interest in other attractive boys. Her thing with Angel doesn’t seem to be going anywhere so why not? I wouldn’t even regard it as weakness, it’s fairly standard behaviour

I'm definitely not saying there's anything wrong about liking more than 1 person, its just I hadn't thought about Buffy as being that confident to pursue multiple potential dates at the same time. Oh, and you're right, she did like Owen prior to the episode, that bit just slipped my mind. But still, it just demonstrates the fact that she liked Angel and Owen at the same time which is a fairly intriguing point I think, prior to her hooking up with Angel for real. Also, I think the series made it fairly obvious and clear that there was a definite "thing" between Angel and Buffy (even if the romance was in it's infancy) when she made the moves on Owen.
 

thrasherpix

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This aspect of Buffy is muted once she's fully in love with Angel. In fact, she can't even get into Scott Hope as he's more rebound guy and she's trying to force herself (goaded by Willow who wants Buffy to get over Angel so that it doesn't hurt so much) to "be normal."

It does appear to me that through the first 5 seasons Buffy bases her self-worth on having a guy. If she doesn't have a guy then she's a failure as a woman (and the only reason she stuck with Riley as long as she did and then chased off after him, though I think Riley was spot on that Buffy wasn't in love with him). There are moments she rises above that, but quickly snaps back. I attribute it to her abandonment issues from her father, but I was still glad when this aspect of her character was less prominent after season 5.
 
N
Nearwild
Having been a teenage girl in the 90s, can confirm the idea that 'if she doesn't have a guy then she's a failure as a woman' was basically gospel back then. At least it was in my school.

Priceless

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Buffy is a teenage girl, I'm sure she's interested in cute boys and athletic boys and the dark moody ones who are really cool etc. etc. It's perfectly normal and natural at her age. Even Willow is interested in Xander but is happy to go for ice-cream with vamp boy.

I think for Buffy there is an element of 'it's normal therefore I must do it', because as she often says, she's so much more than just The Slayer and she wants a normal teen girl life. So you could argue that her attraction to Owen came out of nowhere, but if you look at his character, he's very much in the mould of Angel - poetry loving, solitary and aloof, mysterious and moody.
 

thrasherpix

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@Nearwild I was as well. It was rather annoying how everything I did was assumed to be a strategy to get a boy. Even a few adults did so.

When I didn't get a boyfriend from my mostly male friends in 9th grade it was assumed I was having sex with all of them (hard to tell how much of this they actually believed, and how much they made up maliciously, and when I did have a sort-of boyfriend, other girls began moving in on him just to spite me, but he couldn't stand them for understandable reasons).

While I can think of many reasons for it, I think the primary reason (not counting my sexual orientation which I wasn't fully aware of yet, or that my grandmother who I looked up to far more than my parents had never married in her life) is that I was shunned by girls from ages 6-10. For the most part this was arranged by parents to keep girls from knowing dysfunctional families like mine existed. The boys did not care and I played with them a lot while dropping a lot of girl media (eventually going scifi/fantasy in which women aren't just there to snag a man/be a prize for a man), and so I wasn't trained to think that way, and there was little effort by my family to get me to do so.

Perhaps that's why I don't relate to that aspect of Buffy's character (or all the others who love makes crazy in the show). Still, no regrets here, what was painful to me as a child turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
 
Last edited:

TriBel

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This points to an almost promiscuous version of Buffy
Buffy is a teenage girl, I'm sure she's interested in cute boys and athletic boys and the dark moody ones who are really cool etc. etc. It's perfectly normal and natural at her age. Even Willow is interested in Xander but is happy to go for ice-cream with vamp boy.

I think for Buffy there is an element of 'it's normal therefore I must do it', because as she often says, she's so much more than just The Slayer and she wants a normal teen girl life. So you could argue that her attraction to Owen came out of nowhere, but if you look at his character, he's very much in the mould of Angel - poetry loving, solitary and aloof, mysterious and moody.

I find it deeply, deeply ironic* that this is "rectified" in S12 - "look how she's matured...she doesn't need a man". No - instead she's handed the reins of the WC over to three of 'em and gone to work for "the man". However much I try, I can't put a positive spin on S12.

*That's a euphemism for lots of swear words.
 

Nearwild

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@Nearwild I was as well. It was rather annoying how everything I did was assumed to be a strategy to get a boy. Even a few adults did so.

When I didn't get a boyfriend from my mostly male friends in 9th grade it was assumed I was having sex with all of them (hard to tell how much of this they actually believed, and how much they made up maliciously, and when I did have a sort-of boyfriend, other girls began moving in on him just to spite me, but he couldn't stand them for understandable reasons).

While I can think of many reasons for it, I think the primary reason (not counting my sexual orientation which I wasn't fully aware of yet, or that my grandmother who I looked up to far more than my parents had never married in her life) is that I was shunned by girls from ages 6-10. For the most part this was arranged by parents to keep girls from knowing dysfunctional families like mine existed. The boys did not care and I played with them a lot while dropping a lot of girl media (eventually going scifi/fantasy in which women aren't just there to snag a man/be a prize for a man), and so I wasn't trained to think that way, and there was little effort by my family to get me to do so.

Perhaps that's why I don't relate to that aspect of Buffy's character (or all the others who love makes crazy in the show). Still, no regrets here, what was painful to me as a child turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Samesies, probably why I was watching Buffy, rather than Dawson's Creek and Home and Away. I was woefully ignorant of the whole 'girls like boys' subculture of teen dramas and boy bands, but I was aware that this made me a weirdo to my peers so I can relate to the idea of her joining in with it to feel more 'normal'.
 

Dora

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Why shouldn't Buffy date many boys , it stands out quite a difference from my youth dates and those of my children , we had many friends of the opposite sex, you take one of them them out to the pictures etc , it meant nothing , just nice company , different , next time maybe you ask another , no strings , were today meet at a night club, going steady, moving in together, all in a few weeks, My daughter has a friend lovely girl, beautiful 23 cant find a guy who's not a prat , she goes on on line dating not sure if its a lack of social skills or what ?
 

thrasherpix

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I don't see anything wrong with Cordelia playing the field (other than her general personality that manifested in all aspects of her life). She didn't NEED them, she just ENJOYED them. Only with Xander does she become truly monogamous, without the jealousy Buffy would've experienced, but even after she was heartbroken with him she didn't blame herself nor wondered what was wrong with her the way Buffy would.

(Not gonna count Angel, though I'd have liked to have seen what might've been between her and Doyle.)
 

thetopher

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Sineya
The character Owen is thrust into Buffy's life, and without hesitation, Buffy is automatically romantically attracted to him. She makes efforts to get with him from the onset. This points to an almost promiscuous version of Buffy, that we never really get to see in the later seasons. One can only imagine how many other boys she may or may not have been attracted to.

But, the key thing is, she falls for Owen on sight. If any other "cute" boys were put before her, would she fall for them and make efforts to be with them also? I mean come on, I thought she liked Angel? Owen can't have been the only other cute male at Sunnydale High. Now, I'm not calling Buffy a slut, far from it, and I love Buffy, but what this points to is a far more outgoing girl who is most definitely interested in the opposite sex, and who is willing to make moves.

Don't forget, her interest in Owen is happening *at the same time* as her attraction to Angel is persisting in its germination. So clearly Buffy sees nothing wrong in being attracted to more than one person at the same time.

I think it's pretty consistent behavior on Buffy's part. S1 Buffy very much wants to be 'the normal girl' who just happens to have a pesky sacred-danger night job. She is, in a way, still pining for her old life of cheerleading, being sociable and popular with lots of cool friends; basically being very much part of high school normalcy.

This is (sort of) what Owen represents albeit subconsciously; he is 'normal high school' boy, although he's a step up from the jocks that Buffy used to date; he's quiet, he reads poetry, he's deep (but not really) and he represents something normal that 'school-Buffy' could attain; she could be that high school girl with a normal boyfriend.
It's only at the end of the episode where not only is Owen a secret danger-junkie but he's actually more interested in Buffy's night job that she ditches him; Owen is no longer a normal to yearn for, he's a liability.

Angel is different because, although he's super-cute and mysterious and Buffy seems to dig him, he's very much part of Buffy's secret world; he doesn't go to school, shows up at the Bronze to give cryptic clues/warnings and is evidently some kind of monster-fighter himself (see 'Teacher's Pet'). But Buffy doesn't want that just yet, or at least a large part of her doesn't. Hence her inner conflict when it comes to liking Owen and Angel at the same time.

So it's entirely feasible for her to like two guys at once, especially since those two guys appeal to different aspects of her character.

For the record 'NKABOTFD' is a great episode for establishing a consistent aspect of Buffy for the next 5 seasons but also for many great Buffy/Giles scenes, capped by their first bonding moment.

Also: See also S2 'Reptile Boy' and 'Lie To Me' where Buffy shows interest in normal guys even when at the same time she's much more heavily into Angel.
 
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