So, you want to be cast as the male lead in my next novel? It won’t be easy, but if you’re determined, you can win your way into my protagonist’s heart. The modern woman is still attracted to the old handsome—a man’s physical lines and edges—but she also requires a bit more than killer abs and ochre eyes. The following list is what I call the new handsome, and what will win my protagonist’s affection and respect.
- Humorous! A funny guy is a man who knows himself well. He knows he’s all that and a bag of chips, but isn’t the least bit arrogant.
Do you consider yourself outgoing? Are you the one at dinner parties that gets the whole table laughing? Think Kevin James, and Steve Carrell. Adorbs… Am I right? A great sense of humor packs a powerful punch, and is completely endearing.
- Intelligent. You don’t have to be a genius, but it wouldn’t hurt!
Are you able to work alongside the heroine to devise a plan of action that will outwit the antagonist? Have you ever wondered why stories often elevate brawn over brain? Think Megamind, and Walter O’Brien from Scorpion. Sure, you’ve got your social awkwardness, but that’s part of what makes you completely worthy to win my heroine’s heart. You don’t have to be a genius, but never underestimate the power of a good education to attract an equally intelligent woman.
- Skilled. You’ve got man-skills. Think the three F’s. Fire, Food, Furniture.
It’s not that my protagonist can’t build her own fire or change her car’s flat tire, it’s just that she doesn’t want to HAVE to. It’s nice when a guy offers assistance to do the dirty work. Also, survival skills may be necessary in a few of my novels. She’ll help you forage and hunt, but realistically—it’s gonna take you both to make it through to the end of the story. Another skill that will get you high up on the hero list is if you can build her some kind of furniture. Light home repairs are a must.
- Purpose. You have a plan and the drive to reach your goals and dreams.
Every hero needs a purpose. You’ve got dreams, goals, vision. You know what you want and you are on your way toward the prize. Then, you meet Miss Amazing and she inspires you to reach even higher and persist beyond what you ever thought possible. Believe me, she doesn’t want you pining after her every moment. She wants her man to have a mind of his own and the will to make things happen. A driven man is extremely attractive.
- Adventurous! Make life with you memorable.
Take a risk now and then! I don’t mean place yourself in physical danger—not the bungee jumping, sky-diving, slack-lining over the Grand Canyon kind of adventure, but the spirit within that says, “let’s go for it!” when it comes to the unknown. Nothing in life is certain. There’s no way you’re ever going to know for sure if it will all work out in the end. Not sure if our girl is willing to date you? Ask! Take a risk at bruising the old ego if she says no. Believe me, she’s worth it! She’d love it if you planned a date that was out of the ordinary, but most of all, she likes a plan, even if it’s last minute. Never, ever, ever ask her, “what do you want to do?” without having some idea of your own. Whatever romantic moment you conjure, she’s gonna love that she didn’t have to. When, inevitably, that plan goes awry—as often they do in romance novels—she’ll appreciate your effort to rescue the date with the many characteristics that qualify you as the new handsome.
I love hearing from you guys! What other “new handsome” qualities would you like your heroes to have?