Saturday, June 17, 2006

I Like Men Who Hit People

I was going to write about my obsession with Cold Case, but then it occurred to me that A)it's probably pretty dull to read about (unless you're a fan, in which case, please comment! But keep in mind I'm quite a bit behind) and B)that would probably only lead me to one of the reason I love Cold Case so much, and it's because I have a geeky love thing for Det. Valens. I loooove him. Why? Well, he's fairly hot, although not in that "Oh my God who is THAT?" kind of way. No, I love him because he bit the living snot out of that pedophile in the park. Just walked up to the guy, presumable led him away into that tunnel or whatever, and beat the man into a bloody pulp.

That's when it occurred to me. With very few exceptions, the heroes in my books tend to be, well, pretty damn violent. They fight with swords or they beat people up for a living or whatever. Why is this? Why did I, as an eight-year-old, form such an attachment to Conan? (BTW they're apparently remaking the Conan movie-the first one, the good one. Blasphemy!) (BTW again I read an article once by a woman who interviewed Schwarzenegger not too long after his election as Governor. He keeps his Conan sword in his office. He let her hold it. I think I would die if I got to actually hold Conan's real sword.)

I digress. My point is, leaving out, of course, men who are violent or abusive towards women (which is so unsexy I don't even need to tell you how revolting it is), what is it about a man who thinks with his fists that's so appealing? Is it because we see it as a sign of virility, because our little hormones were hot wired in prehistoric times to go for the man who could protect us against wild animals or whatever, and so fighting prowess automatically equals sexy?

I would think so, but I've had the sneaking suspicion at times--usually when reading other romance novels in which the hero is supposed to be tough but actually behaves like a friggin' eunuch--that there aren't too many women out there who think the way I do. I've often felt there's an unwritten rule in romance writing that while it's okay to talk about how tough your hero is, and to discuss battles he fought and won, it's somehow distasteful to depict him really and truly kicking the shit out of people, especially if maybe he enjoys it a little bit.

And we musn't dare imply the heroines are turned on by watching Our Hero kick ass. Noooo, they're all supposed to hate his violent drinking roughhousing side, because it means they have to spend more time making poultices from recipes passed down by their grannies, instead of helping sick children or making pies or inventing plaster casts to help a sweet dog walk again. They want him to stop being so darned mean and rough and be all affectionate and looove people, and forgive his enemies, and whatever other crap we're supposed to buy from those godawful Mary Sue-esque heroines who teach Our Hero how to get in touch with his feminine side.

Yes, there are exceptions. But to me this goes with the other unwritten rule about how the hero can never kill the bad guy. The bad guy can die, sure, but he's always beset by bandits or taken ill or accidentally drowns. Blah. We cheer when Mel Gibson kills the bad guys, so why not our romance heros?

What do you think? How tough should he be? What particular form of violence turns you on, if it does, and if it doesn't, why not? Can you think of any good examples of either a real, true, tough guy hero or a real, true, wimpish hero?


Bernita said...

I like men who hit bad people, too.
In fact I like girls who hit bad people.
And kill them. Dead.

S. W. Vaughn said...

That's it, I'm starting a club. Women Who Like Men Who Hit People (Besides Women, Unless the Woman is Actually a Man in Drag, or a Woman Who Hit Him First).

We can call ourselves WWLMWHP.

Killing them dead is good too. Especially if they kill them by hitting them A LOT instead of cheating and using a gun.


December Quinn said...

Absolutely, Bernita. I like my heroines tough, too--just, I'm ashamed to admit, not tougher than the men. They can be as tough, but I read a horrible romance once where the heroine was constantly wiping the floor with the hero. I hated it. I hated her, I hated him, I thought the whole book was garbage.

December Quinn said...

I am totally joining the club, SW! We should start our own blog and discuss sexy heroes who beat people up, and get people to give us suggestions, and review books based solely on the touchness of the hero.

Actually, that's not a bad idea, is it?

S. W. Vaughn said...

It's actually a pretty good idea, December. I would love to have an excuse to read lots of tough-guy books. And getting people to point them out would save a lot of sifting through websites and Amazon listings.

Hmmm...wheels are turning... :-)

Anonymous said...

December: "Honey, tonight when we are at dinner I want you to knock hell out of the waiter.

Hubby: "Why?"

December: "It's such a turn-on."

Hubby: "But, what if I lose the fight?"

December: "Then get me his number!"

December Quinn said...

LOL Anonymous! My husband has probably expected that very conversation for years.

December Quinn said...

Something to think about, SW!

Anonymous said...

I used to have a pretty good right cross. Unfortunately, if I hit someone now I lose my clearance and my job. Do you think you could still put me in one of your novels? Just call me "Just the Cause". -JTC

Sam said...

LIOL - I love Cold Case.
I also love Capt. Mal in Firefly, because he's always in brawls. He throws a punch and then asks questions.

In real life guys like that would drive me bonkers, but in fiction it's helluva fun.

December Quinn said...

Okay, JTC, check. Things I must include in my next book-the phrase "private bone" and a manly tough guy called "Just the Cause."

As long as you promise you won't involve me in some Seinfeld-esque "that guy is based on ME!" kind of lawsuit. :-)

December Quinn said...

Do you ever watch The Shield, Sam? I also have a vilent, obsessive lusty crush on Vic Mackey.

Jason said...

LOL December. I'm a straight guy and I think I have an obsessive crush on Vic Mackey. One of the greatest TV characters ever.

December Quinn said...

Hi Jason! He is, isn't he? I was totally hooked on him by the end of the very first episode.

Does your fiancee know about your man-crush? :-)

Oh, and btw...I completely forgot to recommend the Burke books by Andrew Vachss to you. Start with Flood. People either love him or hate him. I'm betting you'll be the former.

Anonymous said...

Jason, I question your straightness.