Beauty and the Beast sounds a whole lot better than Beauty and The Average – or even Beauty and The Not Very Attractive. We realise that all the people you’ve met in the world of Fisherman’s Creek are, let’s face it, attractive to gorgeous.
But let’s be honest, that’s not real life is it – especially, dare I say (and I do!) in small town New Zealand, or anywhere. We were thinking today though, that while we expect a high beauty quotient in our romance novels, our expectations in real life are quite different. Why is that?
Of all the people we know, most we would say are attractive in some way, but almost all of them would not qualify as conventionally beautiful. Although, I just asked Lisa who she thought was the most handsome man in the world and we have had to agree, that all of both her and my choices are pretty quirky – way hot but all slightly eccentric in some way, rather than conventionally Prince Charming handsome.
Quite a long, but by no means exhaustive list includes (although we don’t agree on all of them): Tom Hiddleston, Sean Bean, Liam Neeson, Jason Momoa, Dan Carter , Peter Dinklage, Kevin Smith, Alan Rickman (ooh that voice!), Hugo Speer, John Hannah (we are both always a sucker for a Scottish accent) and Ben Affleck. The exceptions we both agree on are Chris Hemsworth and Richard Armitage. And Lisa wants me to put in Mark Ruffalo because he has kind eyes. I think he needs a shave.
From the boys’ side, we have Scarlett Johanssen, Cate Blanchett, Joan Cusack, Jennifer Garner – all very attractive but not all classically, or perhaps ‘Hollywood’ beautiful. It’s also hard to go past Michelle Pfeiffer and Geena Davis – which brings us to back to the boys with Jeff Goldblum – both of them were so hot in ‘Earth Girls Are Easy’ – and I’ve gone all nostalgic for the ’90s now 😦
So, why do we demand good looks as well as personality in our fantasy characters when in real life we don’t have that expectation? Does it make harder to engage with these people because they are too perfect or is it just because in a perfect world we would all be beautiful on the outside as much as on the inside?
I know this sounds pretty shallow but we realise there are some commonalities in the people we think are hot. Lisa for example, being tall – even taller than me – prefers a bit of size. We both like someone who is funny, or at least can laugh at themselves, even if only some of the time. None of the above are always picture perfect in pap shots – I like that as it reminds us that they are just people too, regardless of what industry publicity machines would have us believe. Mostly, we felt that the people we find the most attractive were those people we could have over for a beer and a laugh.
And linking that back to the characters that populate our books, we feel that their physical attractiveness does owe more than a little to the mores of the genre. Overall, we have tried to imbue characteristics to create people we would be happy to call friends. Would readers engage in a love story between two average schmucks carrying a bit more weight than the ideal and coping with middle age spread and male pattern baldness? Perhaps, but then again, it’s a fantasy so perhaps not.
So… two questions… well technically three but let’s not get pedantic.
1. Would you like to see more realistic attractiveness in your fictional characters?
2. Who would be your ideal fantasy man/woman? And why?