Holding out for a Hero

Heroes have come a long way.

The Heroes I used to read about (when she wasn’t looking) in my Mum’s Mills & Boons books were swarthy, lean beasts of men with a strong Swashbuckling or Medical influence.
They brooded, they rippled, they had flinty grey eyes with impossibly long lashes and invariably they gave just enough hints of bulging pectorals to ensure a reader was all unnecessary by page 5.

And the pictures on the covers of these books left almost nothing to the imagination – in fact some still don’t.  Not that I’ve looked or anything.  Well, only in the name of research, of course.

Historical Heroes are lucky, though.  They can stay fiery and brooding and sneer misogynistically at every passing temptress whilst beneath their breeches throbs a yearning of misunderstood proportions.  And equally, the average plucky period heroine can still be feisty and feminine with a heaving bosom and a temper to match her gender opposite. Because that’s what their time period is all about. We wouldn’t want it any other way, would we?   

But not so much your 21st Century Hero, bless him. He’s had to up his game, politically correct himself, work out the 28-day rule and still find time to shave.

Today’s Hero has to contend with things like feminists, equal pay, veneers, control pants and critical managerial out-manoeuvres. That’s what we’re all about, us girlies. We’ve burnt our bras, chained ourselves to railings and thrown ourselves in front of horses so that we can be just as equal as our men folk, if not more so.

So don’t assume we’re going to be overcome with an attack of the vapours simply because you’ve deigned to smoulder in our general direction, Mr Hero, oh no, we want – no, NEED – you to be dynamic yet sympathetic, persuasive and yet understanding of every hormone fluctuation we endure – and if you think for one moment that we can be won over with a spontaneous outburst of flowers or chocolate, then…. well okay, you’ll be halfway there with the chocolate.

It'd also be nice if you had some kind of flaw - this could be physical (say, a slight limp/lisp - so long as it's endearing) or psychological  (not verging on the disturbing or fanatical, these are not sexy qualities).  A chequered past is okay so long as there aren't too many boiled bunnies or axe-wielding psycho-bitches from hell strewn about in your wake.  They might do something for your air of mystery but they do nothing in a romantic candlelit situation.

And you’ll have to be able to cry (in private is fine, so long as we, your reader get to see those heavy drops of compassion hanging from your unfeasibly long lashes), laugh, change nappies, sing, dance …oh,  and cook.

Of course lastly,  but more importantly, you mustn’t forget that the size of your sense of humour has to far outweigh any other of your cheeky but charming bodily attributes … I’m afraid a firm grasp and an ardent euphemism isn’t going to earn you any points these days.

Whereas the chocolate… (see above).


MorningAJ said...

Unless he's a policeman - then he can still be a misogynist of outstanding quality, as long as there's a feisty female copper to act as his foil in a will-they-won't-they emotional tussle.

Lindsay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsay said...

Quick, introduce me to a 21st century hero, I could do with one.

Essie Fox said...


Karen said...

As long as he's Colin Firth, I'm happy :o)

Talli Roland said...

So true, Debs - the modern hero has come a long way. Great post!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Love the line about the breeches (and the rest)!

Caroline Green said...

'sneer misogynistically at every passing temptress whilst beneath their breeches throbs a yearning of misunderstood proportions'

Dear God, I love that sentence!

Debs Riccio said...

Ladies I thank you (esp Caroline for saying that!)let's hear it for the girls!