When casting men for the new season of The Bachelorette, the guy who described himself as 70% man and 30% boy didn’t make the cut. Okay, there may be have been other reasons, but it raises the question, “Do you want a man who is ‘all man,’ or one who has a bit of boy in him?”
Personally, I’d take Richard Castle. Here’s a quote from the last episode I watched:
His mom, Martha, talking about his daughter Alexis: “She’s growing up.”
Castle: “She doesn’t have to. Look at me!”
And I don’t want him to grow up! His boyish enthusiasm, curiosity, and enjoyment of play and adventure are part of his charm. Of course he wouldn’t be anywhere near as charming if he wasn’t also a responsible father and son, a brilliant writer, a skilled amateur detective. He’s definitely a grown up, but I like the fact that there’s still some kid in him.
(Personally, I think Kate Beckett could do with a little more kid in her, but that’s a whole other story.)
This made me reflect on the heroes I’ve been writing in my Wild Ride to Love series, so I did a quick analysis of the boy/man situation.
First, there’s Australian Damien Black in Sex Drive. He leaves a journalism job because it’s too rule-bound and boring, and launches into a career as a thriller writer—with a hero who not only solves serious crimes but does so with the aid of creator spirits from the Dreamtime. In fact, his job is a lot like Castle’s: hard work, but fun too. Come to think of it, heroine Theresa Fallon, a workaholic prof who can’t help but be drawn to him, is a lot like Beckett! (And I wrote that book before Castle first appeared on TV…)
Then there’s Nav Bharani in Love, Unexpectedly. Nav’s the boy next door, the nice guy who’s stuck in the buddy trap. To make the woman he loves open her eyes and see him for the man he really is, he has to figure out who that man is. He’s still a nice guy, but more mature, more confident, and more adventuresome. How many men would play “stranger on a train” to win love—and how can Theresa Fallon resist?
The third hero, marine biologist Mark Chambers in His, Unexpectedly, is most definitely a grown-up. The child of a hippie mom, he takes life seriously. Too seriously! What a challenge for free spirit Jenna Fallon! She’s the perfect person to teach him that “fun” isn’t a dirty word—with methods ranging from a dinosaur park to skinny dipping—and he’s just the man to show her that commitment can be a blessing, not a curse.
Finally, there’s Matt Towsend in Yours, Unexpectedly. For 14 years, since he was seven, he’s loved one girl, Merilee Fallon. But when she gets cold feet and calls off the wedding, she makes a valid point: they’ve grown up bonded at the hip. They don’t even know who they are as individuals, so how can they know how they truly feel about each other? When they both unexpectedly wind up on their honeymoon cruise, it’s an opportunity for each of them to figure out who they are as young adults. I bet you’re not surprised to hear that Matt turns out to be a mature, responsible young man—who loves zip lining, dressing up as a pirate, and adventuresome sex! And I bet you can imagine how Merilee responds, and how this story ends!
Yes, all my heroes are mostly man, but partly boy. Maybe not 70/30. Maybe more like 75/25…
What do you think? What’s the perfect mix for you? Are there any characters in books, TV, or movies who you think are ideal men?