BIG BOYS DON’T CRY—BUT MAYBE THEY SHOULD
Many women admire strong, silent guys who would rather chew nails than express emotion. Chalk it up to our Puritan heritage, or the vestiges of the Wild West. The cult of the Alpha Male dictates that strong arms and minds are perfectly acceptable but strong feelings should be under wraps at all times. I’m discounting an alarming trend among male politicians to blubber like babies over almost anything. When adults, both male and female, are in charge of our destinies a little self-control goes a long way. (That means YOU, Mr. Speaker).
The tension between virile and sensitive heroes is the ying and yang of sexy. Most readers want balance — a guy who can hold his own in a fight but is no Neanderthal; a man with a sizzling intellect who enjoys brainy babes. Naturally great hair and sculptured abs are always a plus as are sizable holdings or a royal title.
A man who’s comfortable with feelings is sexy through and through. He’s self-confident, in touch with the world and loaded with testosterone. Smart too, because sensitivity is the secret to scoring with the opposite sex. Not weeping random buckets but gestures, generosity, tenderness and kindness toward other living beings. Men who hug their child or pat a puppy are winners. Similarly, kissing a lady’s fingers, stroking her hair, or dancing to Coltrane, fuel an intense emotional connection between lovers.
Writers have always known this. The banter between Rhett and Scarlett, backed up by that incredible staircase scene made feminine hearts flutter then and now. But Alpha Captain Butler also greatly loved and grieved for his daughter Bonnie Blue, adored Melanie and admired Mammy and he wasn’t afraid to show it.
The appeal of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga rests with the romantic relationship between Bella and the other worldly Edward. His physical abilities could easily vanquish her but he wins her heart with a rocking combination of strength and tenderness sans sex. Abstinence never looked so good.
In my novels, I exploit the push/pull of virile men who pursue their dreams with intellect, physical prowess and humor. That’s an intoxicating mix guaranteed to captivate most women of substance.
So gather ‘round all you heroes and listen: big boys don’t (necessarily) cry, but through words, deeds and gestures they must show feeling. Unleashing emotion takes work and attitude adjustment. Change never felt so good. It’s just such sweet surrender.