Michaeline: Holy Hot Heroes!

A young woman with a sketchbook.

How do you draw your heroes on the page? (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Let’s talk about heroes. Most of us like a good one, many of us are writing one. I think the number one quality a hero needs is the ability to care. Number two: the ability to put his caring into action, however that may be. But does he have to have a hot body and a dick of granite?

Article after article, like this one from Yahoo! Health and this one from the Independent (UK), state that men tend to like attractive and healthy mates, and women tend to like mates with status and resources.

And, that may be true, but let’s face it. Health and attractiveness are still on the list of things we look for! So, let’s spend a little time thinking about men’s bodies.

A member of a mailing list I belong to sent us a link to a very interesting post called “The Ideal Physique: What Girls Want and What Men Want to Be” on the Foxhound Studio blog.

Foxhound Studio is a digital creative studio with a blog that has an awful lot of posts about physical fitness. (-: I thought they were a gym for a few weeks. Anyway, they conducted a survey where they asked more than 1,000 women and men about the ideal male physique, and while it’s not super-scientific, it’s certainly food for thought.

They found that women generally preferred male bodies that looked like they were naturally healthy. There were subsets of course, and fascinating trails. They also asked about hairy chests, which was a fun look into another world for me. Men, however, thought that women should prefer a ripped, body-builder sort of physique. It’s very interesting that most women don’t.

Another interesting note: a few men get ANGRY if most women don’t like what they like. The comments are really, really interesting. A couple of commenters call women who prefer “healthy” bodies over the groomed gym body bad names, usually involving bodyfat ratios. I’m still processing that – overall, I think it’s good that they feel free to express such opinions so sensible women can steer clear of them.

Anyway, I hope you go over and take a look, and tell me what you think. Are you an average woman or man? Or are you an outlier? (By the way, check out their “about” page. Oh, they are cuties! What smiles! They are creative long-hairs with just a bit of healthy muscle, and they look like they are smart and funny, too. Just what I like in a hero!)

Of course, as interesting as all this is, I think you should write what you like. I think your passion for a body type will come through in your writing and make a more interesting description than a paragraph about a body type that you think you should like, but just can’t work up much heat for.

And while I was researching this, I found an interesting article about, well, male genitals from Live Science (“What do Women Want in a Penis? The Whole Package” by Elizabeth Palermo). What do women want in a package? Good cosmetic appearance of the whole she-bang. Interestingly enough, the appearance of the pubic hair was the second most important quality that women consider. Hmmm. Something to think about next time I write a romantic, intimate scene.

Please use caution if you decide to google this. I got a warning from my virus program while on the site. Still, it’s interesting, and I’m sure others have talked about the research done about hypospadias patients who had surgical corrections done to their penises. I am almost sure the study was headed by Norma Katharina Ruppen-Greeff, and more details can be found here: http://www.pubfacts.com/detail/26701106/Appraisal-of-adult-genitalia-after-hypospadias-repair-Do-laypersons-mind-the-difference.

9 thoughts on “Michaeline: Holy Hot Heroes!

  1. I write heroes I describe, at a hgh level, as really buff, but in my head they pretty much look like the Brad Pitt body on the website.

    • Yeah! Buff is buff; chiseled is chiseled; emaciated is emaciated. My husband wants to look like Sly Stallone. I keep telling him he’ll have to spend money on special clothes to fit around those muscles (and also, I’ve read enough of my husband’s mags to know that body-builders can’t sustain that low-body-fat ratio to look really ripped for more than a few weeks at a time — they get Diet Crazy and cranky). He doesn’t listen. It’s not about what I want; it’s about what he wants, so I just let him go and do his thing. I do worry that he’s got some male form of anorexia sometimes, though.

        • Yeah, I don’t know if I can even find words to describe that. They really torture themselves to get themselves into that performance shape — IIRC, they are trying to get their body fat ratios down to five percent or something. So, before a competition, they are just putting their body chemistries (and that includes brain chemistry) out of whack. So . . . might make for great conflict, doesn’t make for a great hero, IMO.

          Dedication to one’s art is sometimes quite frightening to watch. And they are definitely not doing this to pull the girls or be able to lift cars. They are turning their own bodies into a piece of art. And we all know that true art is not fluffy kittens nor sad-eyed clowns. It can be grotesque.

          Not my cup of tea. I often wonder how it would be if my partner was a creative type. But I also often think it might end up as too much crazy in one household. I don’t think I’d like to live with that type of artist.

  2. The Foxhound Studio blog post was really interesting, Micki, thanks, and the comments were fascinating. As one of the bloggers said, there certainly seemed to confirm the consensus among the men about which were the ‘best’ bodies.

    I don’t always write heroes with the same body types, but they are always naturally fit and strong. I prefer to give them vocations and habits that will support their physique – so in Book 1 my hero is an entrepreneur, but he likes to problem solve by running in the hills above his house, swimming in his loch, free climbing the nearby cliffs, and we also see him helping his best friend to rehab a new restaurant property. Oh – and he has a sailboat. No wonder he’s in great shape!

    • Yeah, I don’t think I’ve written a schlubby hero. Or heroine, for that matter, either. (-: Fiction is supposed to be better than reality? I have written about a hero who is very interested in his looks . . . well, actually two. But one’s a transvestite, and the other is an artist who is interested in looking good, not sculpted. None of my heroines have been high-maintenance, either. They look good, they may enjoy a nice outfit, but they aren’t spending an hour and a half each day washing their faces (which I saw on a TV program — the young woman spending the most time on her skincare regime spend 90 minutes. The least: a not very beautiful woman who spent 90 seconds each day, and while she is considered unattractive, her skin is fabulous and glowing and wonderful).

        • (-: More “body as artwork.” She (all the girls, in fact) are actresses, models, “idols”, that sort of thing. She apparently does her whole body, though, not just her face and neck. The skincare doctor they had on did a lot of tutting and t’ching, that’s for sure. Too much leads to dry skin, which was the topic of the show.

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