In a recent interview I was asked, “What is it about those Virgin River men that makes the women love them so much?”
Okay, it goes without saying they’re handsome, built like gods and virile. Is that enough? Nope. It’s enough to get our attention. Once we’ve taken in the looks, now we require more, and for every individual woman, the qualities in a man that will make her sigh and swoon are unique. In the end, however, I believe there are some universal things.
Quite a few years ago, I agreed to have lunch with a friend and her friend – an artist who was illustrating for her. She described him as “such a great guy, you’ll like him.” It was more than a business lunch for her because she’d known him for years. When we entered the restaurant and she pointed him out, the first thing that struck me was his bleak unattractiveness. His face was pocked with old acne scars, his hair thin, his eyes were too small, his chin weak. He did have a welcoming smile, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. Frankly, he wouldn’t likely draw the attention of the ladies.
Within a half hour, I adored him. And not only that, I was beginning to find him handsome. He embodied those things I find most desirable in a man. He had a great sense of humor to start with. Not a dorky, stand-up comic style but an intelligent humor with depth. He was a happily married father of two and talked about his family with pride and endearing wit – women love that. I think we like to imagine our own spouses speaking admiringly of us; we love it when they poke fun at something about us while it is clearly obvious they worship us . He did things that required physical strength; he was a rodeo kind of guy who kept horses. He had manners and consideration without being foppish. He remembered to ask both of us about ourselves, our work, our families. And, as conversation progressed, I learned things about his character – how he felt about the underprivileged, his attitude toward those military men and women who stood the watch, what books he loved, which pastimes he liked. He loved nature. He camped with his family, hunted with his friends, went white-water rafting when he could. He had that tremendously attractive combination of being easy-going and relaxed while at the same time very much dedicated to his principles.
He came off as a good man. He was decent, civil and not the least boring. I picked up his sense of knowing right from wrong, and his conviction in that. It’s not as simple as religious beliefs, which we never got around to discussing, or his political party, also off limits. I loved his confidence about his opinions, which were respectful and didn’t tromp on my toes. Actually, I think we belonged to opposite political parties. You have to love a guy who can disagree with you and do so without offending.
I was already a romance writer and I remember thinking, this guy doesn’t look like a hero, but he is. This is what it takes under the skin. It isn’t exactly the rare romance in which the heroine at first finds the hero unattractive or even annoying, but is slowly reeled into admiring him because of what drives him, because of his strength of character.
I was acting on instinct when I developed the Virgin River men, but I have heard what women love about them since they emerged in the books. Funny, they rarely mention their looks or physical prowess, although those are dominant traits. Women resonate with these men because they are honorable, hold to the strength of their convictions, are unfailingly loyal and committed to their women, their families, their friends. Because at their core, they are solid. Dependable.
But aren’t we lucky they’re also drop dead handsome?
Robyn will be giving away a copy of A Virgin River Christmas to three lucky commentors. Want a chance to win, leave Robyn a comment about her blog post today and make sure and leave an email addy so we can find you if you happen to be a winner.
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Robyn Carr's Virgin River Series