Long Live the Beta Male!

I recently posted a Tweet that went ‘My heroes are not muscular, ripped, Alpha Men. They’re just blokes who fall in love’, and it was suggested that I write this blog post to talk about why I write this kind of hero.  So I shall try my best to explain, without recourse to my not-so-secret crush on Tony Robinson…

I’ve never really been a woman for the thews and biceps, or for the kind of man who wants to ‘save’ a woman, and, for some reason, in Romance Hero Land, these two attributes tend to go together like hot porridge and treacle. In fact, dare I say it, if a big, burly man rode into my life and wanted to rescue me from ‘all this’, he’d find himself limping away solo, with his Stairmaster jammed somewhere uncomfortable.  I much prefer the kind of man who says ‘I can see you need a bit of saving.  Me too.  Shall we help each other along the way?’

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp

While I can suspend disbelief with the best of them (see above comment about Tony Robinson…) I can never quite manage to put myself in the place of the heroine being wooed by the Alpha Male.  Too many of them seem helpless, waiting for the obligatory Big Strong Man to solve their problems and ‘know best’.  And where does that leave the man who really hasn’t got a clue?  Who is floundering around in his life, just as the heroine is floundering in hers?  Men who admit to their vulnerability can be every bit as sexy as the man who has none, in fact their very sincerity and approachability is often what attracts the heroine in the first place.  So Long Live the Beta Male and his sensitivity, and you can keep your abs and pecs – I’ll settle for a relationship of equals every time!

Jane was born in Devon and now lives in Yorkshire. She has five children, four cats and two dogs! She works in a local school and also teaches creative writing. Jane is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and has a first class honours degree in creative writing.

Jane writes romantic comedies which are often described  as ‘quirky’.

Her debut Please Don’t Stop the Music won the 2012 Romantic Novel of the Year and the Best Romantic Comedy Novel award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association.  

Jane with award copy

11 thoughts on “Long Live the Beta Male!

  1. Totally agree with you Jane. We all like romance, but it has to be real. Real men are vulnerable, thoughtful, caring and sexy at the same time. A one dimensional hero is a turn off quite frankly. I have to draw the line at Tony Robinson however. *runs away* :)

  2. I was right with you, up until the ‘drawing the line at Tony Robinson’ thing… But yes, I think authors have to be able to put themselves in the place of their heroine, as do readers (hopefully), and I could never see myself attracted to an Alpha Male, nor any Alpha Male that would be attracted to me!

  3. Is it allowed to want a bit of both? I totally agree with the beta male concept – adore a bit of vulnerability – but have to admit to wanting that inside an alpha male body (yes, I love a big bicep!). I know, I know, I’m just greedy – I do like to have the cake and eat it :)

  4. I’m with you on this (although will happily pass on Tony Robinson – he’s yours) and most of my own heroes fit your description. Of course sometimes they also have the big biceps thing going on and I’d never object to that!

  5. I like a hero who can bring out the best in my heroine and vice versa. Like you, I think it’s about creating a partnership of equal. If anyone thinks that sounds a bit boring they should read Vampire State of Mind to see the sparks flying when Sil and Jess are brought together. I’m looking forwards to seeing what they do next in Falling Apart.

  6. I have very little empathy with a hero who doesn’t have Vulfac – the vulnerability factor. I think fiction has evolved somewhat, and we don’t see so many (any?) helpless heroines. Being vulnerable doesn’t mean weak, but does mean human.

  7. I much prefer the beta male too. I never really saw the attraction of the muscly man. I prefer the skinny, bespectacled, funny men. Apparently, Clever is the new sexy – which is annoying because everyone will be after them now.

  8. Thank you for your (general) agreements, ladies. I think my main problem with The Bicep is the amount of time that has to be spent to maintain this robust male figure. A few years down the line, I imagine the heroine sitting in alone with three children under ten, whilst Alpha Man works out in the gym every night to keep himself Bicepy! At least geeks have plenty of time to spend with the heroine – when they aren’t on Facebook, or Cracked…

  9. The hero of my forthcoming title is a geek. I’m hoping everyone will take him to their hearts…

  10. Ahhhh. Johnny Depp. I spent long, grafting hours researching Johnny Depp’s eyes to capture that perfect ‘come on’ look for Chris Frampton. (Book 2) Having written two non-alpha males, I’ve decided to try one out for book 3. Am I bucking the trend? As a photo reference, I’m going with a Steve Backshall feel – you know, from Deadly 60? I’ve been told it’s an unusual choice. Great post, Jane :-)

  11. I admit I’d take funny and capable any day over rippling abs – especially as I would then imagine I would have to rise to body beautiful too and that would entail kicking a chocolate addiction ….. Unthinkable, really.

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