Does he exist? It’s a question I get asked an awful lot (often followed up with something along the lines of, ‘doesn’t reading romance novels give women unrealistic expectations?’). My answer is that yes, the perfect hero exists. But with an article change – namely ‘the’ to ‘my’. Because all readers are different, we all need different things from our heroes. That’s why a romance novel hero doesn’t have to be perfect – but he does have to be perfect for his heroine (or hero).
However, last week, in an orgy of wine and good food, Escape Artists Lily Malone and Eliza Redgold baked up a recipe for their perfect hero – and challenged me to concoct mine. I never back away from a good challenge, so here we go.
My perfect hero:
While a bit of angst only makes the ending sweeter, I can’t go past a playful hero who recognises that falling in love – and all the stuff that goes with it – should be fun. We don’t get a lot of play time as adults – we’re too tied up in our jobs, our chores, our money worries, our families. We need someone that can remind us that playing (whatever that means to you) is just as necessary and probably more important.
leads from the front.
There’s a lot to complain about. My hero doesn’t sit on his butt whinging – he gets up and tries to do something about it. Whether it’s as small as speaking up if someone makes an inappropriate joke or making sure that he separates his garbage from his recycling, or as big as captaining the USS Enterprise, my hero is aware of his own responsibility and power to enact change.
Not in an open-the-door-for-me kind of way, (honestly, I’m a fast walker. I get to the door first), but in a using-might-for-right, standing up for the downtrodden way.
keeps the alpha to a minimum.
My love for beta heroes is well documented. Not for me the foot-stomping, chest-thumping, growling, grunting alpha male. All that pride – it’s just exhausting.
but still fights for what is right.
Even if it’s to his own detriment (and occasionally that of his crew).
seeks to improve himself.
I’m not saying that going to business school in order to best use the profits from your drug ring is necessarily laudable, but you’ve got to applaud the forward thinking and recognition of knowledge gaps – and the gumption to do something about it.
isn’t intimidated by strong women.
or, you know, women.
Because great sex is very important, but a man that can make you laugh? Priceless.
and doesn’t get all in your face about it.
(see: beta heroes, advantages of)
…and, okay, it wouldn’t suck if he looked like this: (I would have looked back, John Thornton! I would have looked back!)
So…what do you think? Have I baked up the perfect hero? What extra ingredients would you add?
He should be able to dance. Because.
You are so right Ainslie!
I hope you made a double batch. 🙂 And I LOVE that you included Joss Whedon on your list.
Ability to cook wouldnt go astray….
you and Lily have the same idea!
And can cook, Kate! (Not just cheese on toast)… and handy. There’s something about a guy in overalls with a tool belt about to hammer stuff, I just adore.
Thanks for ‘playing’ with Eliza and I!
ahh, but cooking can be taught. Maybe together. Late at night. A nice chocolate sauce….it’s all in the motivation 🙂
My kinda guy, Lily!
I think you’ve got the perfect recipe there! 😉
He understands the power of a long, hot bath and has no fear of bubbles.
Reblogged this on Juanita Kees – Romance Author and commented:
Kate Cuthbert, Escape Publishing, gives us a peek at her choice of the perfect hero.
And be good with kids. A man holding a baby — that’s a heart melter for me.
One who loves animals and kids (notice where I put the kids – :)), has a sense of humour, is able to laugh at himself, will stand beside me offering support if I need it (and no I still have not reached the age of walking frames) AND PLEASE, PLEASE, who doesn’t think its un-manly to ask for directions. Oh and can give an awesome massage.
Can I order up a combination of Kate’s hero and SE’s?! 🙂 *sigh*
Mmhmm…that was perfect! Now where can I find me one? 😛
Julie Mac, yes! I totally agree. The sight of a man with a baby cradled against a nice bicep = sexy protector 🙂
I have to agree about John Thornton – I would have looked back too! Sigh!