Monday, March 4, 2013

Misc Monday: Top Eight Most Annoying Traits in a Hero

Romance month has ended, but I would be remiss if I didn't even out the gender bias created by the last Misc. Monday. So, without further ado, the most annoying traits among book heroes.

Sea Swept (Chesapeake Bay Saga #1)#8 He's Afraid of Love

One of the most tired and boring tropes in romance is that moment when the hero realizes he has feelings--like, real emotion-y things for the heroine--and he responds to it with pants pissing terror. He copes by being a jackass or finding an excuse for a third-act breakup. Sometimes his feelings are excusable or justified, but mostly they're just annoying. Falling in love is scary, but it's also exhilarating and joyful. Most people are happy to be in love, at least initially. Most people want to make a connection like that with another person. The number of romance heroes who shun their feelings so readily is irritating and disturbing. 


Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1) #7 He's Slept With Approximately All of the Women

It's disturbing to me that romance novels have some extremely man-whorish heroes, but rarely or never slutty women. Oh, there are virgin heroes and prostitute heroines, but for the most part the men have all of the experience and the women have all of the "virtue". What's even more disturbing is when his dog-like habits are glorified in the text. Yes, sexual experience is a plus, but too much is just gross, in my humble opinion. In reality, men that have slept around that much are far more likely to have a couple kids and an STD or two.Condoms have failure rates, people. 


Bitten (Women of the Otherworld, #1)#6: He's The Jealous Type

He get's upset when her ex-boyfriend shows up, he doesn't like her guy friends, he wants all of her attention. He's jealous and possessive--he basically thinks he owns her. I don't know why authors seem to think this behavior is sexy. In the real world, overdeveloped jealousy is a huge red flag in any relationship. It smacks of insecurity in himself and a lack of trust in her. Ultimately, jealous behavior is a relationship killer, so I never trust the possessive hero to make the happy ending work in the long term. 

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1)#5: He Has No Communication Skills

Yeah, we all know that guys are not as good at expressing their feelings as women. Nothing wrong with showing that in a romance novel. However, the when the hero's total lack of ability to express his feelings leads to the much dreaded Big Mis. Any conflict that could be easily avoided with a simple five minute conversation is maddening, and has no reasonable place in my books.


Dark Prince (Dark, #1)#4: He's Controlling

There's a fine line between stubborn and total asshat. The hero that's forceful and pushy can be a great challenge to a heroine, and if the heroine is strong willed and pushes back--no problem. The problem is when the hero is, in reality, a complete control freak. When the hero feels the need to dominate every aspect of the heroine's life, often "for her own good", to a point where she totally loses herself to the relationship. I hate seeing the heroine sacrifice her freedom and personal goals in favor of a hero that wants to keep her safe at home. 

Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #6)#3: He Has Unresolved Addiction Issues

More and more romance authors have been trying to tackle the issue of ongoing battles with addiction. For some reason, they lean toward letting the male have an addiction problem. No author that I have yet encountered has handled the subject to my satisfaction. The problem is, addiction is a consuming condition. In reality, an addict recovers only when they decide for themselves that they want to change, and they have to work hard to make it happen. In romance land, addiction is healed by the power of love, with the hero changing as a result of the heroine's influence, or because he wants to keep her. The magic healing is actually pretty insulting in it's ignorance. 

#2: He's Sexist

Dark Destiny (Dark, #13)Another one of my least favorite tropes is  the hero the doesn't believe a woman can do a particular job/activity--contracting, firefighting, cycling, whatever. The heroine's job is to prove him wrong. This plot line exhausts me, because I find it depressing that the heroine has to earn the hero's respect in a given field, while he receives respect implicitly. I feel like we should have moved past this sort of thing by now. While gender bias definitely does exist in certain fields, I would prefer that it not be used as the hero's entire character arc.
New Moon (Twilight, #2) 
#1: He's a Dumb-ass Enabler

The only thing more annoying than a too-stupid-to-live heroine is the hero that constantly enables her stupidity. He plays the night in shining armor to her perpetual damsel in distress act. She jumps into shark infested water, and he fishes her out. She can't decide between two jobs or two men or two slices of pie, and he just patiently waits out her slow as hell thought process. His love makes him totally oblivious to the fact that his new honey-buns is honestly completely useless. The dumbass enabler is annoying because he fails to empower the heroine, to allow her some character development, to let her stand on her own. Quite the contrary, he does everything, to the point that she might as well be a cardboard cut-out. And, as I said last Monday, there is nothing worse that a flat heroine.

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