MusingsWritersWriting

Thinking About Heroes: The Man Slut

Well I was going to talk about the sucktastic Saturday I had (complete with my mother backing into my new car), but that would be unnecessarily belaboring the suck and garnering pity from readers really won’t make me feel any better.

So instead I would rather talk about man whores.

Say what?

Well the other day a friend of mine and I were talking about Made of Honor, and she was saying how she would never have chosen to be with Patrick Dempsy’s character because he’d been a man slut and because he’d had ten years to figure out that she was awesome, and not making a move until someone else was going to snatch her up was not convincing her of his undying love.  I would have to add that if it had been me, I’d be insisting on some STD testing…

It had me thinking about how many books I’ve read over the years (and movies I’ve seen too), where we have these heroes who have been just total man whores.  They’ve slept with everything with a skirt.  They’re a rake.  They’re charming.  They are supposed to be some kind of walking, pulsing testosterone bomb that makes women just fall at their feet, conquored.  And the heroine is supposed to be the one who makes him reconsider his ways and settle down just for her. Oh, and let’s not forget that the heroine is supposed to be a virgin or at the very least have never reached the big O with anyone else.  (Okay maybe things have gotten better on that front the last decade or so).

I don’t know about you, but that just feels unrealistic to me.  If a man has spent years tomcatting around, he probably will continue to do so.   As they age, people outgrow some behaviors, but in general, whatever they are when they are younger, they tend to be more of when they get older.  And while I’m sure this stereotype is supposed to be somehow proof of our hero’s virility and skills in the sack (because he always has the skill to bring our heroine to multiple, mind-shattering orgasms), I just don’t find him appealing.

Now I don’t expect my heroes to be pure as the driven snow.  Men making it to adulthood without losing their virginity are rarer than hen’s teeth these days.  So they’ll probably have someone in their pasts.  But I’d rather have them be someone who meant something, not a string of nameless, faceless, one night stands.  Better yet, let’s not actually talk about the hero’s (or heroine’s) sexual past in the book.  Because honestly, no one matters but the heroine, right?  Leave the reader to make whatever assumptions she will about whatever came before.

What about you readers?  Are you tired of the man whore as a stereotype in fiction?  Does he have redeeming qualities?

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