Although it seems irreverent, I sort of got the idea for this post from Build a Bear. 🙂 But romance writers create heroes, build them from the ground up. And I thought it might be helpful to look at the major components and what kinds of things go into the creation of a romance hero.
Over the next few weeks I’ll post a series of three articles offering some of my research in what goes into creating heroes that women want to read and fantasize about. The areas I’m going to look at are the physique, the features, and the characteristics of a hero.
The most fundamental question, perhaps, is how do women in the real world want a man to be built? And after doing some research, I have a good inkling of what women want both in a real man and in a romance hero.
According to Men’s Health, women looking for a hook-up go for big muscles. They are “looking for something hot.” The ideal shape is the V-torso: broad shoulders, small waist, narrow hips. And tall to boot.
When they are looking for a husband, however, they choose “scrawny over brawny” according to an article on Netscape. The big, muscular guys are nice to look at, but are deemed “less faithful, less likely to treat them well, less emotionally sensitive.” Muscular guys are also deemed more intimidating and dominant. For husband material women want a guy with an average build, a little taller than themselves, who is less hot and therefore less likely to stray and more likely to value family.
But if you look at most romance heroes (although there are exceptions of course) they combine the best of both worlds. They are tall and broad-shouldered, with a small waist and narrow hips. They are muscular and physically fit. Quite often they dwarf the heroine. They are, in fact, the ultimate hottie.
Despite this incredible build, however, the romance hero also possesses the attributes of the good husband: faithful, family oriented, and sensitive to the heroine’s emotional needs. He may be intimidating and dominant, but the heroine is able to tame these attributes until they are non-threatening toward her. He is, quite simply, the best of both worlds. This fantasy, of finding the perfect man, is at the core of romance novels. The Happy Ever After is happy partially because the hero fulfills both roles of hottie and husband.
So we now have the perfect build for our hero. Next week we’ll look at what features are most desirable to women. And no, I’m not thinking that feature necessarily. LOL
Do you agree with the research? Do women have a double standard for men? And do romance heroes need to embody both standards?