Friday, September 17, 2010

What Makes an Alpha Hero Irresistible?

Uh, no... I'm not here to tell you the answer. This time I'm asking... what makes an alpha hero so irresistable? Women love them, in books at least. In real life I doubt most women would tolerate their crap, but in a book, those cavemen-like charms are endearing somehow.

I naturally gravitate to... I don't want to say beta hero, because they aren't moody and emotional. They're manly men, but more blue collar. Cops, PIs, construction workers, former military types. I guess they're alpha in a different way. They're confident, but have a sense of humor. Protective, but enjoy watching the heroine spin like a top. And let's not forget they're good with their hands. :)

I guess the better question is what makes the Presents / Desire alpha hero so irresistible? That throws some cash and power on top of the typical alpha traits. I'm compiling a list. Last week several of you guys said you were fans of various Harlequin/Silhouette lines known for their strong alpha heroes so I'm hoping you can help me out here. So far, here's my list:

1) Attractiveness. Even if not 'pretty' they have an animal magnatism that draws in the heroine, no matter how badly he irritates her.

2) Masculinity. He may not carry two by fours around the construction yard, but he definitely oozes manilness.

3) Sexuality. This guy can make parts tingle on you that you didn't even know you had. Especially when he's infuriated you (like every ten minutes). He knows his way around a woman's body and he's not afraid to use his skills to get his way.

4) Confidence. I guess with this kind of hero its even downright arrogance. They are in control of their universe and they know exactly how everything will happen (ie. the way they say it will).

5) Wealth. I'll just throw that out there. You don't have to be rich to be alpha, but you have to be alpha to be rich. And not just well off. Scrooge McDuck swimming in gold coins rich. Although there are about 20 men on this planet with that much money (and they're probably all fat and old, sadly) there are plenty to be had within the romances pages. Whether he inherited the money/business/title, or he built his empire with his own two hands, the alpha hero owns all he sees, usually including the heroine (although she may not know it yet.)

6) A secret soft spot. Maybe he grew up in a foster home and donates millions to orphanages. Maybe he has a baby sister he spoils. Maybe the heroine is his only weekness. But he always has an Achilles' Heel. Its the heroine's job to uncover and exploit this weekness until she brings the mighty to his knees (preferably with diamond ring in hand.)

What else would you add to the list?


Problem Child said...

Alpha-ness isn't a character flaw. Granted, some can cross the line into Alpha-hole, but Alphas, by definition don't have to be arrogant and mean. It's an attitude of leading the pack.

Linda Howard once asked "where's the satisfaction in bringing PeeWee Herman to his knees?" Conquering the Alpha hero is the ultimate in Girl-Power. An Alpha male on his knees means one of three things is about to happen, and they're all good...

Problem Child said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angel said...

OOhhhh... I like PC's answer. :)

With my books being more explicit, I tend to link 2 of these characteristics. When you have a take-charge kind of guy (no matter that he may take charge when you don't want him to), you can simply look at him and know he's in control in EVERY situation. So going to bed with this guy is going to mean that he'll do it right, and do it thoroughly. Guess that's why all parts tingle in his presence. :)

I think you've got a good list going here. My heros tend to be alpha without the asshole tendencies. He's not afraid to do what he thinks needs to be done, even if you don't agree with him. But he doesn't use his power to humiliate and denigrate the heroine (or anyone else), because that would be akin to kicking a puppy--which I don't find to be an attractive quality.


Playground Monitor said...

You mention attractiveness, yes I can think of two Silhouette Desires where the hero had a facial deformity -- one had been mauled by a lion as a child when his family took a safari to Africa and I can't remember the other. Fire maybe? They had your other characteristics though. These were truly Beauty and the Beast-type stories.

I love that moment when the Alpha hero realizes the heroine has found the chink in his armor and slipped through. It's his "V8" moment where he slaps his forehead and says, "Duh! I love her."

I agree with Linda -- seeing PeeWee on his knees when his bike was stolen just wasn't an alpha hero moment. ::grin::

Playground Monitor said...

...YET I can think of two...

Have not had caffeine yet this morning.

Kristi Gold said...

I just love alpha discussions! I definitely agree with Angel and PC on the fine line between arrogance and "Alpha-hole." To add to what's been said about creating an irresistable alpha guy, I personally believe you can get by with quite a bit when he possses one all important quality (aside from a great butt)--honor.

IMHO, an honorable hero would never resort to repeated cruelty directed at the heroine. And if for some reason that is the chosen character path, he better darn sure have strong, believable and sympathetic motivation. Otherwise, there's nothing really heroic about him.

After all, Webster's defines a hero as "a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities."

Oh, and a well-placed tattoo doesn't hurt, either.:)

Back to beating my Alpha into submission.:)

Kristi G.

robertsonreads said...

What about a little humor thrown in on the side?
Love all the ideas mentioned so far.
Hope everyone is doing great.
word verification - singlusi - when i have had a little to much to drink, i singlusi

catslady said...

Courageous and honesty (usually to a fault lol) and everything you listed as long as they aren't really as controlling as they seem to be lol.

Stephanie Jones said...

Oh so sorry I am late to this discussion! Great post SP. I love, love, love the Alpha-male.

I think your list is great! I am especially a fan of the confident man. He knows just what needs to happen and makes sure that it DOES happen. Hard to beat in my book!