Buff Enough?

If one wanted to find out what type of men I like, they need only read one of my stories. From my tales, it is pretty easy to see what qualities I consider befitting of a fictional hero. In fact, the situation has reached a stage where I’m forced to make a conscious effort to make sure they’re not too much alike.

Of course, personality traits are just as important as looks, but that is not where the problem lies. I’ve written about heroes that are lovely take-home-to-see-your-parents type. Whilst others are gloriously arrogant, which leave you sure that only you can be the one to tame them. However, the looks always get me.

The male protagonists are always tall, toned and effortlessly handsome—more elite athlete than stick-thin male model. This sometimes makes me wonder whether I am going over the top with the image I paint of hero. Are they really believable? Am I just catering to myself rather than to the readership?                                   

I once had a story rejected because the hero wasn’t desirable. He was quick, intelligent and loving, but slender and wore spectacles. Isn’t it the geeky Clarke Kent that becomes Superman? And that really is a movie where you have to suspend your disbelief to see any difference. Besides, isn’t it always the quiet ones you have to watch out for?                                  

In addition, I once saw a documentary of sorts that considered the characteristics that women really like in a man. Many women rejected the buff, sculpted type for the sake of the ‘normal’ man—not buff, but not obese nor anorexic. Most were put-off by the idea of a man who would potentially spend more time looking in the mirror than themselves, others thought such a man would heighten the doubts they have about their own appearance.

Hmm, all right, then. I finally made my peace with my characters on the basis that fiction is all about living a fantasy. Real life is all well and good, we’re all required to act a certain way and follow a certain path, but fiction can allow you to enter a different world. And that includes a man you might not consider in real life, for whatever reason. 

With this in mind, I shall continue to create male characters that are buff and beautiful, intelligent, desirable, sometimes witty and sometimes cocky. Of course, they’ll have the occasional fault, but nothing that the heroine can’t get over. The reader deserves nothing less to fuel their fantasies.  

As a bodybuilder and Mixed Martial Arts fighter, Isaiah, the hero in Lean and Mean, is at the extreme end of the scale. But everyone needs to go a little extreme once in a while, don’t they?


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