Brad or George? That is the question!
by Eleanor Prescott
Writing chick lit is harder than it looks. As if twisting the plot, creating a colourful cast and making it funny isn’t hard enough, you also have to conjure up a swoonsome, shaggable hero … and make him believable! It’s enough to give you writer’s block! Mr Perfect doesn’t exist in real life, but somehow we have to create him in fiction. But how? One man’s meat is another man’s poison … one woman’s Brad is another woman’s Martin (Clunes). You might think Ryan Gosling is the hottest thing to walk the planet, but what about all the women who (whisper it) just don’t fancy him?
It’s common wisdom these days that, complete with a pair of breasts and a compulsion to max-out the credit card on shoes, all women must fall into one of two camps … Camp Pitt, or Camp Clooney.
Apparently we all go for either big-lipped, honey-limbed perfection, or a dark-eyed silver fox. But surely it’s not as simple as that?
So what, exactly, are we after in our heroes? Looks? Money? Intelligence? Or charm? Trust? An ability to rewire our house? Is power the greatest aphrodisiac, or the ability to make us laugh? The answer, of course, is all of the above … and none of it either. Our tastes are complicated. Too perfect is boring. Too obvious is, well… too obvious! Ricky Butcher is way more fanciable than Ricky Martin.
Pheromones are tricky buggers. Their magic can’t always be explained. My best friend is a certified 39-year-old cougar, who lasers in on blokes whose chins have barely sprouted fluff. How then, can I explain her reaction every time she glimpses David Dimbleby on the telly?
And me? I once had an epic crush on someone described as ‘brilliantly ugly’. When I was single, I’d look past the model-handsome, trendy guy (I never stood a chance with him anyway) to the bloke who’d just spilt his pint down his shirt because he was too busy cracking jokes. And yet I have racked up a vast catalogue of fruity dreams starring world leaders. But would I list superpower leadership as a prerequisite for my Mr Perfect? Don’t be daft!
So how do you write the perfect hero? I’m blessed if I know! I reckon it could be another 199 years until Mr Darcy is beaten. And in the meantime, it’s probably best to be vague. Either that, or plump for a dark-eyed silver fox!
Eleanor Prescott’s debut novel Alice Brown’s Lessons in the Curious Art of Dating from Quercus is out now.