He’s over six feet tall, with a chiseled jaw and large muscles. He is extremely good looking and is fiercely protective of his woman and is not afraid of anything. He is great in bed and has a really big…heart. He is the elusive hero in romance novels.
He is like Big Foot. We read about him all the time, but no one actually ever sees him in real life.
I was thinking about this the other day when I had some friends over. I was sitting on the couch looking at my friend Russ, who is about 250 pounds of pure Oreos. He had salsa on his shirt and face and crumbs all over himself. He was arguing with my other friend Keith, who is also overweight and was trying to see how far he could shoot a peanut out of his nose. They were trying to figure out who could come the closest to touching their toe to their chin.
I won’t give you the details, because it is disturbing, but as I watched them I couldn’t stop laughing, and it occurred to me — none of us would ever make it into a romance novel. What’s really bad is that we are all in our forties. I glanced over at our wives as they stared at us, and I was thinking the same thing they were. Why did they marry us? We’re nothing like the heroes in romance books.
I wondered, did they just settle for us because they thought they couldn’t find the perfect man? Do they wish we were more like romance heroes? If they could change us, would they?
I understand why romance heroes are perfect. These books are fantasy. They are geared toward women and are written mostly by women, so it makes sense that they create the perfect guy. Romance heroes all have inner conflict and demons that the heroine will help them overcome, but physically they are almost always perfect, and they always have a really, really big…heart.
But as a man who reads and loves romance novels, I would like to offer my perspective and then ask you a question.
One of my favorite heroines I have ever read was Jen St. James from the book Because of You by Jessica Scott. The reason I liked her so much was because she was so normal, and she was not physically perfect. She was a cancer survivor who had a breast removed, yet she was beautiful in every way. She had a quiet, feminine strength that resonated, and I couldn’t read enough about her.
But my desire to read about normal heroines does have its limits. A heroine who is 300 pounds and has lettuce stuck in her teeth isn’t going to work for me.
I read a book where the hero was a complete geek, and it totally worked for that particular book. A lot of it has to do with the writing and the author’s ability to create the character. But still, the authors create mostly heroes who are physically perfect. They have even gone beyond that. When perfect wasn’t enough, they turned the heroes into vampires and wolves and dragons.
To answer the question of whether physical appearance is that important to women in the hero of a romance novel, I went to an expert: my wife. No one has more experience living with a below-average man than she does, so I asked her, “Honey, would you read a romance novel with a hero who wasn’t necessarily good looking or muscular or had a really big…heart?”
She said, “No, I wouldn’t read it. Romance novels are a fantasy. I want a perfect hero who is gorgeous, sensitive, macho, protective, and has a really big…heart.”
I told her she must be pretty disappointed to have married someone so different than that. She said, “No, men like that don’t exist, and if they did, I wouldn’t want one. You may not be perfect, but you’re perfect for me, little heart and all.”
What’s your opinion? Would you read romance novels with heroes who are just ordinary men, or are you like my wife?
by TheRomanceMan who can be found on most social media – ***Caution: follow at your own risk.
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