We've all had it drilled into our heads alpha male is the best hero for a romance novel.

Not true.

Beta Heroes have their place as well and can often be a very refreshing read.

I tend to think of Beta Heroes as 'real'. In today's day and age, rare is the man who embodies 'alpha' "I'll take what I want, and if she doesn't want to kiss me, or sleep with me... well she doesn't have much choice."

Beta Heroes still have to be strong men. They can't roll over when your heroine has a tantrum about something, or in their arguements. They can't be weeping buckets over everything all the time. Passive isn't really a good idea either.

Beta Heroes are best employed when you have a very dominant female, in my opinion. Think about it -- If your heroine is headstrong, stubborn, and demanding, pairing her with her equal isn't going to lead to much peace. Paired with a man who is able to push the gas pedals while she steers the car, however, keeps the balance of control equal, and offers a nice opportunity for having softer moments together.

Beta heroes know what buttons to push to navigate their lady the way they want them, without being obvious about it. Beta heroes know when to take the lead, and when to allow the heroine to have the limelight.

As I write this, I think of one actor who plays beta heroes frequently -- Kevin Costner.

The Bodyguard -- he knew how and when to get things done. Whitney had the limelight.
Message In A Bottle -- he was a little too good at backing off here.
Dances With Wolves -- he HAD to be beta to relate to his heroine. She had to teach and educate
Robinhood -- Yes, I know he was alpha when it came to accomplishing his duties. In relationship to Marion -- he backed off and let her do her own thing, silently supporting her goals, motives, and aiding her conflict resolution.

Beta heroes can have a bit more human qualities too, which I find enjoyable. You can get away with empathetic qualities -- great for triggering the 'fantasy' aspect of romance. Your handsome-as-sin, knows-what-he-wants, man can, if done tastefully, actually shed tears. And while men hate to admit they do this, they DO. Just privately, and with people they don't think will ridcule them.

The trick to an effective beta hero is knowing when to emphasize his beta qualities, while also giving him a few alpha moments. To not become a pushover wuss, he must stand up for himself in situations that would compromise his ethics, his ideals, and his goals. Just like most red-blooded American men would.

Some ideas:
- Your beta hero can be an alpha lover, directing your sexual encounters while your heroine willingly hands over the lead.
- Your beta hero can show alpha qualities when your heroine's world falls apart and she doesn't know which way to turn. She welcomes his assistance to help her through and guide her to resolving her own issue.
- Your beta hero can be alpha in his career, and other instances outside the actual relationship
- Your beta hero can compliment your heroine's weaknesses by exhibiting alpha qualities in those key areas.

More on beta's tomorrow. I am fascinated with them presently.



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"Victorians used the term 'limbs' as a euphenism for legs, which were thought to be so sexually exciting to a man, even a glimpse of a table leg could incite him to sexual frenzy. Table skirts were invented to prevent any unnatural unions between men and furniture."
(History Channel International)



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