Monday, July 18, 2011

The Differences Between Real-Life Men and Fictional Men

Dangerous Pleasure, Lora Leigh
I keep coming across these articles on the Evilness of Romantic/Fantasy Fiction and how it "ruins" women's real-life relationships because they judge their husbands/boyfriends against these fictional heroes.

It has honestly never occurred to me to judge my husband against a fictional character because, obviously, he isn't fictional. He's real. And real men don't get centuries of immortal life to work on their abs and glossy, long hair.

However, I sat down to sketch out the main opposing features of Real-Men Vs Fictional Heroes. This is what I came up with.

The most radical differences, in my opinion, are in: Initiating Sex, Body Type, Money, Sexual Intensity/Advanced Techniques.

Initiating Sex:
  • In a romance novel, the hero may lean seductively against the doorway to the bedroom with such heat in his gaze that it sears the panties right off of the heroine. A crook of his finger and the lady is sprinting for the bedroom. Of course it doesn't hurt that he's probably wearing low-slung jeans with the top button open and nothing covering his superhuman twelve-pack abs and hairless chest.
  • In real life, the man is most likely leaning against the bathroom doorway after using said bathroom in any number of unattractive ways. He's probably scratching his chest hair through a t-shirt and absentmindedly looking at the wall while he says "So... you wanna do it?" (Disclaimer- this is not about my husband. I know plenty of other wives who complain about this.)

Body Type

  • In a romance novel, the hero is usually at least 6'3" with a lean, ripped body the likes of which you haven't seen since the last time you visited the Ancient Greece sculpture section of the Arts Museum. His eyes, no matter the color, are always so bright and clear that they sparkle in the sunlight. His soul shines through and melts the heroine where she stands whenever eye contact is made. Oh... and he doesn't mind that the heroine is a little older and chubby. Cause, well, he's awesome.
  • In real life, the man is lucky to be 6' tall. It's just a fact of life. Most men are kinda short. They're also kind of soft. No matter how well they take care of themselves, unless they are consuming nothing but protein shakes and spend twelve hours a day in the gym, you are not going to find a man that looks like a Viking Warrior. But guess what? If all men actually looked like that, the women would feel so freaking bad about ourselves it'd be like living in a really really beautiful hell. And the thing with the eyes? Lots of husbands have lovely eyes. However, they're probably bloodshot from waking up four times a night when your three-year-old decides the "witching hour" sounds like a great time to play.


  • In a romance novel, he's rich. He may be rich from living 700 years and making great investments or he's so good at killing bad guys while wearing leather pants that people pay him millions of dollars to thwart their enemies. Point is, he doesn't have to worry about paying the mortgage, he probably gets all the time off from his job that he could ever want and drives a car that hasn't even been invented yet. Oh, yeah... and he's gonna share all that money with the heroine.
  • In real life, he's broke, or at the very least, on a budget. There's no long lost relative that's going to kick the bucket tomorrow and leave him a gazillion dollars. He drives a used car and plays spin-the-wheel to decide what bills to pay that month and which ones get the "check is in the mail" message. But, he's got a job and he tries damn hard. (If he doesn't, dump his ass.)

Sexual Intensity/Advanced Techniques

  • In a romance novel, the chemistry between the man and woman is so explosive that the woman is in danger of: fever, chills, nausea, fainting, seeing flashes of light where none exists... you get the point. Sounds like the fine print in an ad for anti-depressant medication, doesn't it? In this case though, all the above reactions are from a need so violent that the woman can't possibly get the man naked fast enough to satisfy her urges. He knows how to tie her up, how to swing a flogger, when to invite his friends to watch/join and when to be super-emotional-lovemaking guy. And the lady is totally down for every variable given.
  • In real life, you've probably got fifteen minutes until the kids wake-up or one of you has to leave for work and you settle for a naked-from-the-waist-down quickie before jumping up so you can both go off to do all those other things that make up the daily monotony of real life. He's not spanking you or tying you up, he'd probably be speechless for a week if you asked. There is no "third" in the bedroom. It's just the two of you and that's okay. Fictional characters might not have to deal with jealousy but real men do. And, he probably assumes the woman will veto anything too adventurous and maybe cut him off completely just for attempting.

The conclusion? If reading a book helps you realize that your drunk, toothless, unbathed husband needs to go, good for you. If, on the other hand, you look at your completely normal husband and think "Why can't he be a time traveler from thirteenth century Scotland here to whisk me away and give me fifteen orgasms in a row?" Get over yourself. The real world is more boring than fiction. That is why we have books to read and movies to watch.