by Mary Margret Daughtridge, guest blogger and author of SEALed with a Promise.
I like men. I couldn't live without the friendship and support of women, but I thoroughly enjoy the company of men. I think that's why I write hero-centered romances.
Men are not the same as women except with the... you know and not...the other. They really are different. In fact, since they have a chromosome women don't, I read an argument once that men and women can be considered different species. Their humanity offers them the same challenges, but their experiences are sometimes poles apart.
I don't like to lump people, even as broad a category as men, with generalizations, since one can always think of an exception. But liking men as I do, and enjoying to challenge of writing a man's point of view, there are a few things I've noticed.
Men, more than women, engage in purposeful behavior. I know, I know-women do too. But men are much more likely to be single-minded in their goals than women, and the clearer the purpose, the better they like it.
It's the reason some men don't know what a woman who kept house and looked after three children "did" all day. It's the reason they want to bang their heads when a woman has been gone for hours and says she was "shopping." Men are perfectly capable of spending hours in a store, but when they do it's because they know they're looking for a pair of deck shoes, a tractor, a rotary saw, a forty-inch bat. Now pay attention: that's what they are looking for even if they already have ten of the above, or don't intend to buy for the next eighteen years!
I understood question of purpose when I overheard two men discussing a movie romance they had been coerced into watching. I had watched the same movie and not liked it much, so I was very curious to hear their opinion. They were talking about the hero who was just plain rude, in a pig-headed macho way, to the heroine the first time they met. All romance fans will recognize a stock "alpha" hero.
The guys were laughing at him. They thought he was an idiot. Because he was rude? No. Because he was pig-headed? No. Because he was macho? No.
Because they assumed his purpose in speaking was to get the heroine to go to bed with him, and he was stupid if he thought that had a prayer of working. In short they assumed his behavior was purpose-motivated rather than emotion-motivated.
And that brings me to my second observation. Men really are thinking about sex all the time. I have a hard time imagining how they get anything done, that being the case, but I know it's true.
Women of course are not thinking about sex all the time-only some of the time. Most of the time, they're thinking in terms of permanence, meaning they are aware that they are, or are not, looking for permanence, and they are evaluating his fitness for the long haul.
One of the things I like best about the romance genre is that the writer has the freedom to switch points of view between hero and heroine. Since my biggest interest is to explore relationships, I often use point of view shifts to reveal the humor of men's and women's different agendas.
Now, I don't write comedy or even light romance. But even in the juiciest, most emotional stories there's room for humor and what could be funnier than watching men and women mix themselves up?
Caleb, my hero of SEALed with a Promise is super-smart and wily. There's a little well-controlled bad boy in any SEAL. In Caleb, there's a lot. He has realized Emmie can help him attain his goal of getting close to a powerful senator. Being seen with her will probably be sufficient, but being a man, hey why not add sex too? I mean, why not? He's not going to hurt her, in fact, he'll make sure it's good for her. And he'll be doing her a favor. Any woman who dresses the way Emmie does can't be getting much.
And of course, when the hero and heroine are together I love to confound their expectations. What he doesn't know is that Emmie, child of missionaries, was made for him.
He's a Bad Boy. She's a Good Girl.
SEALed with a Promise is a hero-centered romance, meaning that the story is pushed by his goals, But she's just as capable of pursuing her own agenda and just as smart. You can find out more about SEALed With a Promise and me at http://marymargretdaughtridge.com
What about you? Do you like a hero-centered romance, or do you prefer one that's told mostly from the heroine's point of view?