Up Close and (un)Conventional – Romance Heroes… or not?

Posted 25 November, 2016 by Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Discussion Posts / 17 Comments

Up Close and (un)Conventional - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Up Close and (un)Conventional Romance Heroes

Welcome to this week’s Up Close and (un)Conventional. This is where I discuss both things that have to do with reading and blogging, and things that just have to do with life in general. This week, I’m thinking about romance heroes. Or the romance anti-hero. Or the incredibly alpha-hero that I love reading about, and that I cheer on when it comes to the heroine, but that I wouldn’t want in my life in the real world. I’m sure you’ve met him (or them, as the case may be) as well, no? If you read romances, it’s almost impossible to not have met an alpha hero who is the take-charge kind of guy. The one who will make decisions – even sometimes ordering food for the heroine. (Blasphemy!! Let me order my own faves, even if you think you know what I want!) Most of the times, when I’m reading this kind of makes me chuckle, and then I just continue.

Would a romance hero like that work for me in real life? Not a chance! I am very independent, and while I have been married for over 20 years, and have to make a lot of decisions with my husband, there’s no way he’d try to order my food for me. Or tell me stuff in that haughty tone romance heroes sometimes do and not be in BIG trouble. (Big, huge!! trouble!) And I’ve been thinking about why it is that I can accept those high-handed males and even sometimes find them sexy and endearing in my books. When I would possibly scream and run in the other direction if a man treated <i>me</i> like that.

My conclusion is that romance heroes – like any other hero or heroine I read about – is fictional. And while there are some things I really want to be realistic in my books, that is not one of them. I think the barrier of being able to actually close the book and shut the guy up if he grates on my nerves is a big plus, too. And while I’m independent and can rely on myself in the real world, I think part of the dream in a romance is to have someone who could truly take care of me in every way. Cuddle me, make sure I’m feeling the best I can feel, feed me, just take away all the things I have to make decisions on in real life. Because, let’s face it, life can be hard, and tough decisions have to be made, and sometimes, it’s really difficult to even find the time to be romantic at all. So those few hours of escape with one of the take-charge romance heroes is just what I need every now and then.

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What about you? Are you more accepting of fictional characters than people you know in the real world, or do you want the characters you meet to act the way you’d want your friends to act?

Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

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17 responses to “Up Close and (un)Conventional – Romance Heroes… or not?

  1. Nice topic! I usually want to read about characters that make sense to me – and those over the top alpha characters aren’t that. However, some books/authors can do it well. They aren’t usually the guys I fall for in books, but I can deal with it sometimes! Romance books are supposed to be a fantasy/escape, you know?


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  2. Great post, definite food for thought! I think how I judge characters is based on how seriously I take the book – if a story makes me laugh I don’t really care how silly the characters are, but I guess one of the reasons we read is to escape reality so I don’t mind if the characters aren’t too realistic. Its not like there is a surplus of hunky, alpha males walking around lol. Imagine what life would be like if there was.

    • That’s a very interesting take on it, Sarah! I also read to escape reality, but sometimes, completely unrealistic characters still kind of make me lose my place and think “seriously?” and that’s probably not what the author aimed for πŸ™‚
      It might have been fun – just once – to be in a place were hunky, strong alpha males were walking around πŸ˜€ I probably wouldn’t get much done, but it might be fun to just see what would happen, you know?

  3. I’m not really a romance person but I’ll base my answer on the UF I like with strong male characters. I’m not into ‘I am Man Hear Me Roar’ kind of characters or the big hero rescuing the swooning dumb female. I like strong men who respect and value the women and who value them as partners like Adam in the Mercy Thompson books, Bones in the Night Huntress books, Jeremy in the Otherworld books. I’m not a fan of alpha bullies or violent men forcing women to submit, in my heroes. I switch right off when that happens.

    chucklesthescot recently posted: This Is My Genre Tell Me Yours Book Tag
    • Yeah UF can have some very strong alpha males, too, Chuckles, that’s for sure. And no matter what I read, I can’t really take a dumb, swooning female character. Even in my HR I want a somewhat strong female lead.
      I’m with you about the strong men who love and respect their partners, and who are able to put their own fear (fear of being left all alone more than anything else, I think!) aside to let their female partner do what they need to do. AndAdam is definitely one of those men. You might really, really like both the Psy-Changeling series and the Guild Hunter series based on that. There is a bit more romance than in the Mercy Thompson series, but still very UF / paranormal, and extremely well written.
      I don’t enjoy bullies either, and it really pisses me off if a male character comes on too strongly, so I agree with you here as well πŸ™‚

    • Yeah, definitely a good thing it’s fiction. There are other things that go on in my novels that I love to read about, but that would totally have me running for the hills if I ever encountered it in real life πŸ˜€ Fantasy life is all good, though!

  4. Great post!! I find I am very accepting of all kinds of romance heroes because I can see that they are perfect for the heroine in the story. Would I always like a man like that? No, but the story isn’t about me. I think because I can empathize with a heroine I don’t have many issues with the over the top alphas, or the domineering heroes, or the insta-love stuff.
    And, there is a part of me that would LOVE someone to make decisions for me. Seriously, sometimes even figuring out what to eat for dinner is way too taxing.

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    • If the alpha males really are perfect for the heroine, then I’m all for it! However, if he takes away some of her own strengths to beat his own chest, he’ll make me very mad πŸ™‚
      And in real life, no way would I be able to live with someone like that… I have a couple that come to mind when I think about the ones that come on too strongly.
      You’re right about the fact that the story isn’t about us, too, Samantha. I hadn’t thought of that perspective, as I feel like I will bring my own experiences into what I read – even if I keep telling others that one of the things I love when it comes to reading is walking a few miles in someone else’s shoes.
      Oh, for a little while, and by choice, having someone just take care of everything would be heaven. But just for a very little while πŸ˜‰

  5. Great post! I totally agree that men we love in fiction are not men we would put up with in real life…not usually, anyway. Maybe there are a few things we would like to see IRL.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • There might be some things that we would be happy to see in real life, but maybe not all the time? I’m not sure. Even in some of the romances that I really enjoy I would just never have the stamina to keep up with some of the characters πŸ˜‰

  6. Alpha heroes sure seem more common and accepted in books than in real life. I agree that some of the behavior of characters you read about isn’t very realistic, but that’s okay as it’s a book. But on the other hand I can appreciate a book where the characters act very realistic. It’s not a requirement for me to enjoy a book, but I will most likely enjoy it more of the characters act realistic. Even though it’s fiction I like seeing that bit of realism. But I also agree that some behavior is just better to read about than to experience in real life. Things like drama or awkward scenes can be fun to read at times, less so in real life. Great post Lexxie!

    • That’s exactly it, Lola! I think that sometimes, if the characters behave in a realistic way, I will understand them even better, and possibly also find them more relatable. Even if I don’t really like them, I might like their story better.
      On the other hand, though, since I enjoy paranormal stories, I can’t say that meeting an archangel is something that’s really realistic πŸ˜‰ And having one of the angles behave like a ‘normal’ human man would be really weird.
      Having the fantasy and knowing that it is just a novel is part of the attraction for me when it comes to books, I think, and sometimes, the more outlandish alpha males are the ones that make my escape complete πŸ™‚

  7. I’m not a big fan of alpha males in books, actually. I try to kind of avoid them, but yeah, it’s impossible not to read about them sometimes lol. But like you said, it’s fiction, so I am able to let it slide sometimes and still love the occasional alpha male even though I would NEVER put up with that in real life. I could just imagine how their kind of behavior would go over with me in real life, haha.

    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted: Book Review: Darkchylde: The Ariel Chylde Saga by R. Queen
  8. Great post. I agree with you. I take a lot more from a fictional character than I would ever allow for in real life. I read several dark romances and there is stuff in some of them that isn’t even legal, but they are great stories. Something that I heard discussing politics, I can’t remember who said it, but he said something along the lines of “Everyone likes Tony Soprano, but you wouldn’t like anyone like him in real life” I think it could have something to do with the fact that many “bad” people have great charisma. I read comment, i think it was Dan Rather, about Castro’s death and he commented about several of his faults, but also his charisma. I think most “bad boys”, be they in fiction or real life, they have charisma. Great topic.

    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted: Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop
  9. I think you already know that we share similar thoughts about heroes in our romances. I definitely give a fictional man more leeway than I would in real life and I agree with you in that despite we’re both feminists and independent women, the idea of having someone take care of everything for us is appealing…at least in our fictional worlds. πŸ˜‰ *sigh*
    {{{BIG HUGS}}}

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