I bet you know exactly where this is going, right?
I always get annoyed when someone comments on an aspect of a fictional novel saying “It’s not realistic” or “That’s not how it really is.” First and foremost, I want to point at the classification of fiction and ask if they understand what that means. If you want reality, read an autobiography.
Secondly, I jump right to the romance hero. I mean, after all, it’s so realistic that all men are
big, six foot two alpha males with hairless chests and six-pack abs, stunningly gorgeous with a chiseled jaw, sharp cheekbones, piercing eyes and thick hair. They are innately rough around the edges but surprisingly sensitive to the woman who captures his heart by walking into a room. He can be the worst man-whore or proclaimed bachelor or even celibate, but that all changes when she comes into his life.
Reality, right? Because I’m sure we’re all married to that man right now. Or dating him. Or we’re walking into every room waiting for that handsome stud to be enlightened by our presence. I mean after all, it’s what the romance book says happens.
More and more books are also making the heroines hard to get instead of the other way around, too. It’s the hero who’s working to win her love or change her mind or help save her ranch/business/home or whatever. He’s the one going out of his way to be with her. Men do that all the time in real life, right?
Of course we also have the infamous beta male who rarely appears as a successful romance hero. This is the man who’s more buddy than stud, usually classified as shy or a nerd or recluse and has a sedate job working behind a computer or is the whimsical artist. This guy sometimes gets the girl, but is more frequently the sidekick because the woman can’t resist the big alpha stud.
Reality? Not even close.
I’m willing to bet that a large majority of us women are actually in love with a “beta” male. That guy who mows the lawn and changes the baby diapers and cooks dinner without complaining and still manages to have guy friends that don’t turn him into a beer-swilling ogre. He works an ordinary job he may or may not like. He might be fit or have a few extra pounds. His hair may be thinning and (egads) he wakes up with bad breath and farts, too!
We all know that the romance hero doesn’t really exist as he’s written on the pages. Well, not usually. Nor do we expect our real-life heroes to be like them. But dang, they are mighty fine to fantasize about and a great way to escape from the reality that is our life. Even if it’s only for a few hours as we snuggle into the pages of a romance novel.