The Men of Romanceby Cypher Lx on 06/20/11
20 June 2011
Where do we get our ideas of the perfect male specimen? Why, despite all efforts to make them appear flawed, are most men of romance physically perfect? And why, oh why, are they so possessive and overprotective? I started asking myself these questions after reading fellow author, Alison DeLuca's blog this morning. To see what started my train of thought visit Fresh Pot of Tea.
I've always been attracted to the tall, thin types. Of course, at my height of 5'4", most men are taller than me. So it's not a huge surprise that the men I have dated in the past were at the very least 5'7" or so. My husband is the tallest man I have ever been with, standing at a full foot higher than me. Okay, so in one aspect, my man fits one of the characteristics of the typical romance male. After all, don't they all tower over the women at heights of over six feet? And the women are always petite with huge breasts. Yes, I am petite and am well endowed. But here, the similarities end. Once, I attended a bachelorette party that occurred at a male strip review. If you've been to one, you know that they are usually overly muscle-bound men, oiled up and wearing Speedos after they strip off everything else. Ewww. While the rest of the women were going crazy over how 'sexy' these guys were, I was disgusted. And like cats who can detect which person in a room doesn't like cats and then purposely nuzzle close to them (which annoys the cat hating person), so do these male strippers detect which female doesn't want the attention. They kept coming up to me and I hated it. I had to leave early. It was just too much to try and appear interested. Okay, so I do like my men to be in shape physically, but when they start looking like WWE wrestlers, I have to draw the line.
Then, of course, we come to the possessive and overprotective features. I think this is because the women in the novels are, despite all efforts to make them seem independent, really damsels in distress. For whatever reason, this sparks the primitive instincts of the male to shelter the female from all danger. She, of course, places herself in danger at every turn, which only makes the male worse. Honestly, if I had to live with a man that wouldn't let me do anything on my own without his prior approval, I would go insane.
Here inlies the mystery. Women write these novels. Is this really what they fantasize? Do they really want a man with model looks, a wrestler's body, and a caveman's brain? This is definitely not my fantasy. I also feel bad for the men in the lives of the women who read these books and drool over these nonexistent males. How are real men supposed to compete? Granted, there are some romance novels out there that break this stereotype, but they are still few and far between.
Are the romance novel males truly unflawed? No, not really. The fact that they have such primitive mentalities makes them inherently flawed. So, they may be perfect physically, but mentally they are severely lacking. The females of romance novels probably reflect the physical attributes that most women wish they had instead of being satisfied with the bodies they were given. And the helplessness? Quite possibly the desire to let go of everyday stresses and be rescued for once. Personally, I prefer stories where the men have brains and endure the same flaws that are inflicted on normal people and strong female characters whom the men sometimes have to rely on in order to accomplish difficult tasks. That doesn't mean that I'll stop reading romance novels. If you're like me, I can tell you that once you get past the romance stereotypes, there is often a good storyline underneath.