I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the sooner we accept this, Ladies, the better off all we'll all be. Are ya'll ready? Brace yourself, because here it comes and it ain't pretty.
There are no perfect men. I can hear the wailing now. But give me a minute and I may be able to make you feel a tad better.
First, I don't mean perfect in the physical sense, because let's face it, I know of a few men who I don't think I could find a flaw with if I went over them with a magnifying glass. (But darn it, if I wouldn't like to be given the chance to go over David Boreanaz, AKA Booth on Bones, very carefully, and maybe twice.) But no, I don't mean physically.
I mean perfect in character. The kind of man who doesn't make mistakes, one who never says something he doesn't mean in a moment of anger, a man who never leaves the toilet lid up or his underwear down, or one who doesn't snore or hates taking out the trash, and oh, how about one who never, ever passes gas.
Whenever I tell someone this, they always sigh and say, "Yeah, that's why we love romance novels." And this is where I have to deliver the bad news again. Because if there is one characteristic I work the hardest to give my heroes, it's the trait of being human. And darn it, humans just aren't perfect.
Take my husband for example. And the point is that very few of you would keep him. You know those flaws I mentioned above, well, stamp him guilty and put him away to do ten to life, for all the offenses. On top of that, if you've read my blogs at Killer Fiction, you'd know that this man actually drove through the Burger King drive-though and special ordered a hamburger when I was in full labor. Oh, he also spot-cleaned my carpet using an Exacto knife. He is so NOT perfect. But you know what, he's perfect for me. His flaws would drive some women straight to divorce court or even worse, straight to murder. And not that I haven't considered the latter a time or two, but for the most part, his flaws are to me . . . tolerable. And I still love that man.
And this is what I strive for when writing my heroes. Not to write a man who is perfect, but to write one who is perfect for my heroine.
In Gotcha! my hero Jake is so darn lovable, but he's so crass that he causes some serious eye rolls for my heroine Macy. Nevertheless, Macy is a bit smart-mouthed herself, and finds my hero's borderline-inappropriateness to be funny-most of the time. But then he makes one big mistake. I wanted to kick his butt when he did it, too. So did my heroine. He had some serious groveling to do, but he did it so right. In my books, and in real life, a man who knows how to grovel can be a hero.
I once heard a psychologist/relationship counselor talk about finding a lifetime mate. Something he said really resonated with me. "When shopping for a spouse, never, ever shop for good qualities. Shop for a mate, by looking at their flaws. After you find flaws you can live with, then see if his good traits are something you could love."
He said, that no amount of good qualities will keep a marriage together, but a flaw is always what will break a marriage apart. Hence, when I shop for heroes, I shop by looking at flaws that will create conflict as well as a great resolution. So there you have it, a little armchair psychology to use in life and in your books.
And here's what I'd like to know from you. What flaws do you find tolerable or intolerable in your man and in your romance novels? Can he leave his underwear on the floor as long he looks good in them and even better without them? If he passes gas, do you pass on him? What guy would you like to take a magnifying glass to inspect? Today I'll give away a signed copy of GOTCHA! to one lucky poster. So, good luck and start commenting!
By the way, today I'll also be giving away copies of Gotcha and other prizes at my blog, Killer Fiction, and over at the Writing Playground. Plus pop over to Dorchester where I have a contest posted on the Special Features section that a winner will walk away with a basket of books and goodies. So make sure you pop over.