Who is the perfect hero?
Romance novels seem to think he’s that strong, silent type. The Alpha male. The guy who is gorgeous, has a full bank account, and drives a to-die-for sports car. Who looks impeccable in a Tom Ford suit, and can actually afford one. He’s the man who drives into a full parking lot and finds a space right in front of the store he wants. Nothing goes wrong for the Alpha male.
But, if that’s the case, why is he always without a woman in those books? You would think women would snap him up if he was that perfect.
It’s because the Alpha male is also misunderstood. Even though he’s cutthroat in the boardroom and Romeo in the bedroom, he’s still looking for that special woman to give him his happily ever after. The perfect mate who understands he has insecurities under all that arrogance.
So why is he still looking for Mrs. Right? If he is so perfect at everything he does, why can’t he find his other half? Ahh, now we get to the crux of the matter. The reason romance novels are gobbled up by female readers like Pac Man on steroids.
It’s because finding true love is tough. Keeping it alive is even tougher. And romance novels, for all their outrageous, never-will-happen-in-real-life scenarios, show their readers that no one, not even Mr. Alpha male, can find it easily.
These stories provide us with hope. When we are going around kissing toad after toad, in the back of our minds we continue to expect that one day we’ll meet the man of our dreams. The ying to our yang. The guy that will slay our dragons and wear Armani while doing it.
But seriously, that is why romance novels center around the Alpha male, instead of the plumber with droopy drawers. While this guy is much more true-to-life, he’s also not someone women typically daydream about. After all, most of us live with that type of man. The one who leaves his clothes on the floor, snores in his easy chair, and can’t find the butter in the fridge because he doesn’t realize he can move things around in there. Where’s the romance in that?
The Alpha male takes readers away from the mundane. Gives us that dose of “Ahhh” that we’re looking for in our humdrum lives. Lets us know that even perfect people are struggling to find happiness. And when he finds his true love, and commits to her in one steamy, sexy love scene, how many of us try to recreate that moment with our significant other? Enact our own romantic interlude? Romance novels afford us that opportunity to live out our fantasies.
And by doing so, we elevate our mates to Alpha male status. Perfection in an imperfect world. Gone are the petty infractions. The forgetfulness, or the good-bye without a kiss. In their places is that rare intimacy between two like souls. That love that may get trampled on by day-to-day infractions, but which will come back to life with very little coaxing. That love that the Alpha male struggles to find, but that the reader already has, if she but looks closely.
Yes, romance novels are wildly unrealistic. They are the brunt of many jokes. Women go to great lengths to hide the fact that they read them, from using book covers to slipping a book inside another, to hiding them under the bed. Yet they shouldn’t. The romance novel, and its Alpha male, serves an important purpose in real life. They provide hope. Hope, and the rebirth of finding everlasting love.
I guess you could say that the romance novel is the Alpha male of literature. Go figure.