Hero or Anti-hero? Help me find Mr Right

Well, I thought I’d finish the week as we started it; with a post about ideal men.

I think about men quite a lot these days, obviously when I’m writing, but also because I’ve found myself single again after twenty-two years with someone I thought was Mr Right. After months of sorting practical matters, soul-searching and re-discovering the girl I used to be, I’m coming through the other side. Being an eternal optimist and true romantic I realise not all men are swines or lack scruples and integrity. So here I am; a peri-menopausal, middle-aged old bird, with two sons, a cat and Labrador puppy, about to start contemplating whether I’ll find my ideal man again.

According to friends, I’ll discover him in the most unlikely of places and when I least expect it. If all else fails, Sainsbury’s on Friday night (‘singles night’) is a sure bet. It seems a little drastic to go browsing for more than just food and hit on some poor unsuspecting guy who happens to pass me along the frozen food aisles. What am I meant to do – somehow bump trolleys, check him out while giving the inside of his basket the once over, to see if it’s full of microwave meals for one and thus make him a prospective beau? Really, I’m not that desperate.

I admit; I rather like being single, being able to do as I please. So it’s going to take a rather special man to get me to give up my independence, persuade me to hand over the remote control and switch off the electric blanket that stays on all night if I choose! And just say I did go to the supermarket to pick my ideal man off a shelf. What would he be like? I suppose there are some basic pre-requisites;

–          Somewhere between Shrek and Pierce Brosnan would be good.

–          No grease monkeys – and he must have clean hands and short nails

–          Clean shoes. (Yes, you may laugh but my Nan always told me you can tell a lot from a man by his shoes, and I don’t just mean the size of his feet!)

–          A man with the same values as me

–          A man of integrity

–          Patience and understanding are imperative; especially as it’s probable at our stage in life we’ll both have baggage and children.

–          The ability to make me laugh. Give me laughter over looks any day. Well, dashing good looks, charm and the appeal of an Alpha Male are all well and good if it’s simply going to be a fling or dalliance, but if I want a man to spend the next twenty-two years with, I’ll want one with a bit more substance.

Perhaps it’s my own experiences that have made me more realistic, but I’m not expecting, nor do I particularly want, whisking away by a knight in shining armour on his white horse for a lifetime of happy ever after. I think like many women these days, and certainly the Romantic Novelist, the idea of the predominant Alpha Male has evolved somewhat over the years. We writers focus more on the psychological and spiritual aspect of our heroes in order to make them true to life and want our readers to be intrigued and have sympathy. We’ve developed the structure of a story so the main character has more of a clear character arc and changes throughout the course of the novel, until the climax shows him to be a true hero at last.

Like the hero character of Romance novels, my ideal man will have emotional depth and flaws. Give me a tortured soul over a brave heart any day. Flaws and the complexity of the character are what will hook me and really get hold of my heart. Imagine a man who has the propensity to bruise my heart or make it bleed and truly hurt you…

I know put like that it sounds a frightening prospect and you may think having been hurt already it seems a rather macabre way to look at a potential suitor, but perhaps it illustrates the point better if I tell you the first hero character I fell in love with in a novel was Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre, closely followed by the fathomless, brooding and unforgiving Heathcliffe in Wuthering Heights.

Neither of them might be instantly loveable, yet they both have the ability to grab me by the heart and pull me to them in a heart-stopping, emotion-wrenching, all-consuming kind of way with their complex characters. Mr Rochester might be horribly flawed but I see his vulnerability and forgive him, knowing he is trapped by his predicament in a wretched life.

It’s ironic that by the end Mr Rochester shows he’s the archetypal Alpha male and redeems himself when he saves his mad wife from the attic, in the process losing his house and to the peril of his own well-being. Do you see what I mean? How could I not love him?

Is it simply something that captures my romantic, creative mind about the anti-hero? Or is it the same for you? Don’t we all just love the underdog? And isn’t it the case anyway that lots of men might look perfect from a distance, but beneath it all they are probably an anti-hero, or at any rate a struggling knight-in-the-making. It’s when you get close enough to touch them that their flaws become more obvious, just like the rest of us.

Well, I’d better get back to my quest to find my own terrific hero and happy ending. Perhaps instead of  looking for Mr Right, I’ll try for Mr ‘Right Enough.’ Or maybe I’ll do what was suggested to me by a friend.  She said if I kiss enough frogs, one day I’ll find a Prince!

Bye for now

Debbie xx


PS – We’d love to know what your ideal man is like, both in life and the kind you like to read about.

Is it the anti-hero with the troubled persona or the charismatic hero who always gets it right?




31 thoughts on “Hero or Anti-hero? Help me find Mr Right

  1. Hugs, Debbie. After 9 years, brief compared to you, I kicked my ex out – or rather he left me (for the third time during our marriage) so I changed the locks, it was my house! I’ve been single for 7 years – and I’ve never been happier. Very soon after he left I realised there were no longer raised voices in the morning – or ever, in fact laughter was all that could be heard. I got used to being single very quickly and decided I didn’t want to change it. I love everything about it.
    I’m now far too used to doing things my way to even contemplate living with someone. An occasional friend to go out for dinner with would be nice, but definitely not a man who would want to move in. My bed is mine – as is the remote control; more importantly – as is my life.
    I’ve been thinking about blogging about being 50 something and single, your post reminded me. Thank you, and good luck with whatever you eventually decide to search for.

    • Hugs right back, Rebecca. Grrr, perhaps all men ARE swine’s!
      Thank you for your lovely comment. Here, here. It sounds like we’re both better off single than living that kind of half life with a man who lacks integrity.

      And you get that blog done, girl!


    • Hello Anna

      Thank you for your comments. Yes, I don’t think they are too unreasonable either!

      And the link made me laugh! That’s wonderful. Especially like the ‘What the hell are you looking at!’ 😀


  2. I think my ideal man is someone who knows exactly who I am and loves me anyway – someone I don’t have to pretend with. And I think that applies in fiction, too – my books are always about my heroines (and heroes) discovering who they really are, and along the way finding the person who loves them for it.

  3. Thanks for your comment, Sophie. That’s soo true and the same applies to my friends – they love me, warts and all.

    I’m discovering who I am every day. Let’s hope along the way I’ll find that special person who loves me for ‘being me’ too!


  4. Hi Debbie, I am with you there with a love of the Bronte anti-heroes you just picked two of my favourites! I’m a Taurean and I reckon if Emily and Charlotte were writing about archetypal Scorpios in those tomes especially in Heathcliff’s case.

    I’ve been blessed with some lovely men in my life so I can guarantee that not all men are swines. There are some great ones out there. I got really badly hurt last year by someone I thought was my soulmate. I didn’t know pain could be so hideous but I also now understand why it happened and it took two for it to occur.

    As for where you meet someone for the next 22 years? The answer is anywhere! But the key thing is to meet people, to physically put yourself out there. And you’ll know when you are ready because you’ll be looking forward to it and wishing to widen your social circle. The more comfortable you are in your own skin, the easier it will be for someone to know you as you truly are now and that I think is the most important thing.. x

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Yasmin. Sorry to hear you were hurt last year too. It’s a rotten feeling, isn’t it?
      And you’re right about getting out there. I think that’s where I am now and know I’m ready to take the next step. Thank you for that link 😉

      You made me smile about the star signs. Perhaps because I’m a Scorpio too, that’s what I see in Heathcliffe and Mr Rochester!


  5. Oh and there is a really great site called MeetUp which hosts social events where the emphasis is on doing fun stuff with groups of folks rather than the pressure of dating which I think is way healthier and allows people to be more relaxed : )


  6. After 12 years with my ex-husband it was a relief to be single. I was happy and planned to stay single until I met Rob and we’ve now been together for the past 12 years. He makes me laugh, gets on well with my children, walks my dog, listens to my insecurities with my writing and never moans about the hours I spend in the shed. So it was worth giving up my single life for him, but I can’t think of another man I’d have given up my single life for.

    I’m sure you’ll meet someone who’ll appreciate you like you deserve to be appreciated.x

    • Thanks Debs. It’s good to hear you got the happy ending you deserve. And you’re right – now I’m actually happy being single, it will take a rather special someone to want to make me give that up.


  7. My husband died suddenly just over a year ago so I am single and yes my friends all say the same thing about me meeting someone. Haviong got over the grief stages I am ready to meet someone but I dohave a very full life and have always been fairly independent so, like you, it will have to be someone special. But there’s no reason why either of us won’t meet that person. As my mum said to me, “darling, you’re the sort of person things happen to”.

    • Hi Sue

      I love that quote from your mum! We sound like peas in a pod.

      I’ve followed your progress and marvelled at how you’ve come through this far after Pip died. It’s a similar grieving process for me and one day we will both find someone to share the good (and not so good) times with again. For now, let’s just relish our singledom and independence.


  8. Sending hugs and wishing you luck in your search.
    What I demand above all other things in a man is a sense of humour. My (third) husband has this and although he can drive me mad and tempt me to phone the locksmith, he manages, so easily, to make me howl with laughter.

    • I agree, Shirley. A sense of humour and the ability to make me laugh will win every time over looks!

  9. That should have course read luckiest (note to self – do not hover near the post button and always read what you’ve written.) Also as I told a friend of mine who is on the look out for Mr Right – its more about the way a man treats you than the way he looks – IMHO

    • I sooo agree, Colette. It’s the same for me with laughter/fun – give me that over looks, any day.

      So glad you met your Mr Right – and crossing the road?? What are the chances of that? It must have been fate.


  10. Interesting post – and replies. I’ve often wondered how I would deal with singlehood. Time alone – specifically, uninterrupted time to write – is at such a premium these days, but…
    Who am I kidding, I know I would stay single; am too grumpy to ever dive in again!

    • Hello there and thanks for stopping by. It is interesting, isn’t it, to see other’s responses and their take on the prospect of singledom?

      I know EXACTLY what you mean about being too grumpy ( fear it’s my grumpy tendencies that got me into this situation in the first place. – What is have they say; ‘Beware what you wish for in your heart…’)
      But hey, here I am, able to write, uninterrupted and do as I please. I never thought I’d cope or enjoy being single but I have and you would too.

      It’s funny how things work out, and how you find people 😉



  11. After my marriage broke up I was adamant I wanted to stay single. Well, you know what they say about plans … my Honey, winds me up something chronic, but he makes me laugh every single day, and for that he gets a lot of free passes 🙂

    • I know exactly what you mean, Sarah 😉

      It’s funny how things work out, isn’t it. Best laid plans and all that. I’m glad you found your funny man, and I will too…
      (love the thought of that and good to know they DO exist 😉 )


  12. I loved your post. In my book the heroine’s mother calls her boyfriend ‘right-enough’. Is there such a thing? Maybe, on a part-time basis (and I even question that), but not if you’re going to live with him.
    I’m single again after eight years and I have to say, dating sucks. I was on a date last night and the guy showed up with a baseball cap on his head. To go to Orchestra Hall. Maybe okay if he’s 16 but he’s not, he’s 67.
    He’s also history.

    • Oh, Samantha! A baseball cap? Too right that he’s history. Good for you.

      And thank you for your kind words. Perhaps we’re better off alone, my friend 😉 or at least until we find someone who merits the time and effort.

      Good to make your acquaintance.

  13. Hi Debbie, long time no see, so I popped over to see how things were with you and I happened on this wonderful post of yours. So honest and soul searching. I imagine at this stage of life, finding yourself unexpectedly single, would be a challenge – challenge is a good thing! Sounds like you’ve thought it through and know what you want. I hope this very man of your dreams walks into your life, whether at Sainsbury’s or not!


    • Denise, how lovely to hear from you! And that you’ve taken the time to find me again, and discover my new Romaniac buddies.

      Yes, I’m afraid life has been rather a challenge over the last year or so and I’m conscious not to have visited you, or others as have been side-tracked by life and events. However, I’m desperately trying to claw my way back and thank you for your encouraging words.

      Will pop by your blog very soon!

      Best to you and yours

    • Bless you, sweetie.

      Yes. I know you’re right. And that’s the beauty now; I am happy in my own skin. And if Mr Right comes along one of these days, well.. that’s a bonus.


  14. My ideal man makes me laugh and understands the importance of comfort food.
    The heroes in my books tend to be similar. Well, they make me laugh anyway. Might be tricky getting them to bring me food…

    An old friend used to say the only good reason for being with someone is if they make you happier than you were when you were single. I think she’s got a point.

  15. Rhoda, I think that’s so true about the only good reason to be with someone is if they make you happier than you were when you were single. Your friend is very wise.

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