Four Fatal Flaws of a Romantic Hero
by Jassy De Jong
My first introduction to romance novels were the piles of old Mills & Boons which could be found in every bookshelf in our house (I have three older sisters). This was in the early 1980s, when romantic heroes were very different from what they are today. As an impressionable pre-teen, my role models were the flashing-eyed, self-obsessed, controlling and jealous archetypes that populated those pages. No wonder I started off dating all the wrong guys… it took me decades to overcome this conditioning.
So, in the spirit of public service, here are four “don’ts” to avoid in a romantic hero, whether real life or fictional. I’ve included made-up 80s excerpts to illustrate.
Jealous 80s excerpt:
Roger’s eyes blazed. “Don’t let me see you speaking to that man again… ever!” he exclaimed. “You are mine… all mine and only mine. I’ll have no stranger devouring you with his lustful gaze!”
“B-but Roger,” I stammered, “that man is my brother Tom!”
Jealousy… definitely one of the least likeable and most destructive traits a romantic hero can possess. A heroine who ends up with a jealous man can expect to be alienated from her friends, estranged from her family, and have her choices criticised and controlled. Which brings me to the second flaw…
Controlling 80s excerpt:
“What will it be, Monsieur?” the waitron asked, as I admired the sumptuous decor of this three-Michelin-starred restaurant.
Roger’s powerful jaw tightened decisively. “We’ll have a bottle of the Chianti, the caviar starters, and the lobster mains, Luigi.”
By all means choose Mr Controlling as your romantic hero if it’s the last choice you ever want to make. He’ll decide everything for his heroine, from what she wears to what she eats and where she travels. She’ll never get another look at a wine list, and if she’s on a diet and he fancies dessert – well, let her eat cake.
Violent 80s excerpt:
“We’re leaving now!” Eyes flashing, Roger grasped my arm in his own powerful, muscular grip, holding me so tightly with his sculpted fingers that I cried out in pain.
If the alarm bells aren’t ringing so loudly for this romantic heroine they sound like a fire truck, she must be deaf. The only time your hero should grasp your arm tightly enough to cause pain is when he’s pulling you out of the path of a runaway train, or a charging elephant.
Patronizing 80s excerpt:
“What’s that” I asked, looking at the small clockwork gadget with interest.
“Oh, it’s an invention I put together in between writing my PhD and winning my Olympic gold fencing medal,” Roger told me dismissively, adjusting the collar of his starched Armani shirt. “I’d explain how it works, but it’s rather complicated and you wouldn’t understand.”
The subtext here, of course, is that you need to be the owner of a penis to understand this. Really, why would a romantic heroine want to trouble her frail, feminine mind with its workings… or with any knowledge at all beyond how to remove her lacy underwear on command? In future, she must do the sensible thing and leave these weighty issues to the menfolk… or, of course, she could make the really smart choice, and look for a different hero!
Jassy de Jong was inspired to write her first novel, Random Violence, after getting hijacked at gunpoint in her own driveway. She has written several other thrillers including Stolen Lives and The Place for Fallen Horses, and edits a hair and beauty magazine. She lives in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg with her partner Dion, two horses and two cats. Her new novel, Drowning, is an exotic romance set in South Africa.
Drowning, by Jassy de Jong now available in print and ebook. Amazon
LOL! Gotta love the sarcasm. 😛 Makes me want to read this for that alone!
LOL, I know, right?
Ooh yea those are not the heroes I want to be with.
Nope, not at all.
Braine Talk Supe
It’s only in PNR where I can tolerate heroes with these traits. They have their “beasts” as scapegoats, contemporary men don’t have an excuse except for their whackadoodles.
So true! I never thought of that. hehehe. wackadoodles!
hehe…love the 80’s traits.
I really thought this was a fun post. 🙂
Oh, I am definitely going to like this series of posts seeing as I am an aspiring writer myself! And I couldn’t agree more, those are some flaws that no one wants to see flare up in a romance. :3
Check out my review and giveaway: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2014/12/prophecy-review-giveaway.html
Thanks! I love this feature of mine the best. I learn so much from different authors.
Oh goodness, I cringed so much while reading this. Way too true though…none of these attributes are what I want in my leading man in fiction or real life. Great post 😀
But sometimes they do exist and it’s scary!
LOL … but I see all of these in books today. Even in YA and it makes me cringe. I read one book where he slugged her in the face hard out of anger, then they were in love by the end. Yeah, that book made me barf.
No, NOOOOO. Seriously!!! I would have burned that book!
oh that’s fun! thank you for the post!
Happy you liked it!
Yikes! Yeah I agree with all of those. Why would someone want to read about that kind of guy? I guess it’s the whole bad boy thing. Nice post.
Yeah, bad boys are hard to resist sometimes.