Saturday, 6 June 2009

Readers of romance don't prefer blond heroes

Tall, dark and handsome. That's the physical criteria for the romance-novel hero.

And it makes perfect sense. No discerning female reader wants short and fair, with an ugly mug. God knows, she probably lives with one (throw in a beer gut for good measure)!

But back to hair colour - from what I've read, a blond hero doesn't figure in the genre.

His hair has to be thick, jet black or dark brown (maybe the tips can be sun-kissed, but never bottled!) and there has to be lots of it. There's no such thing as a hunk with a comb-over on the Greek archipelago.

Romance-novel covers are a good indicator of hair-colour preference - no blonds feature, even when we're talking Sweet or Medical.

The book titles also say a lot - you won't find any golden follicles on the noggin of a bloke in The Spanish Doctor's Love Child or The Greek Tycoon's Blackmailed Mistress.

Even historically, blonds have never fared well. They are usually portrayed as weak and/or villainous.

In film, blond actors tend to play the baddies (eg: nasty Germanic types in the Die Hard films and Paul Bettany as an albino monk in the Da Vinci Code) or hapless himbos (Owen Wilson = endearing). They're just not sexy enough.

So, to all the cute Magic-Silver-White surfie types and gorgeous Nordic gods I have ever loved -


When it comes to romance writing, you just don't make the cut.
(The photo is of dark-haired - do I detect golden tips? - American actor Dylan McDermott. He'd make the perfect playboy prince/recalcitrant billionaire rancher/moody genius surgeon - take your pick to fit the pic)

1 comment:

Monique Wood said...

Lol, Shayne! Yep, you're right - most of the heroes are tall, dark and handsome.

I do have a blonde hero, and he'll be in my next book. But he isn't short, nor has he got a beer belly, and he actually likes to surf!

I was 30k through that ms before I stopped for my current one. I promise you can read about my blonde boy very soon :-)