Contrary to what the latest’s bestseller says, No Man is that damn perfect. Why writers do this to themselves and to their readers is a mystery of the ages. The freakishly sexy guy with an ironic name who can do no wrong is getting old and old fast. Guys on average don’t walk around with Pantene Pro-V hair and money to burn. Boys are usually rugged, out of shape, lazy, goofy, broke as hell, or all the above.
Flawless guys don’t exist in the real world, and I’m sick of reading about shit no one else can have. The odds are so slim that it exceeds escapism and falls into cartoonish absurdity. Focusing on externalization to an excruciating degree is not only painful to read, it’s poor character development. Here are qualities I keep coming across out of the NINE YA books I read THIS YEAR alone!
He’s got super strength: he can bench press two school buses full of fat people.
He’s a rebel: he pimp slapped a nun and challenged Chuck Norris to a duel to the death.
He’s super smart/ so old, he knows stuff: He read every book in the Library of Alexandria, can finish the New York Times crossword puzzle in five minutes, and aced Friday’s pop quiz.
He’s got a hot bod: A living Adonis, a bona fide sex god with an eight pack and V-shape torso. Even his gums are ripped.
Smells ridiculously good without external aid: His breath is more refreshing than biting into a York Peppermint Pattie, crisp and sweet like the breeze of the Swiss Alps. (Ricola!)
There’s nothing he can’t do: He plays every sport like a pro, can render masterpieces perfectly, can sing like and angel, can build a car from scratch, knows quantum physics, can pat his head and rub his belly at the same time, does his own taxes, and he can do hair.
It’s cool to have maybe two of these, but to have the full ensemble is wish fulfillment at its worst. If the dude is rich, give a sound reason, namely EXPLAINING what his parents do for a living to warrant that lifestyle. If he smells/looks good, provide a legitimate cause and effect as to why he’s that way, (aka personal grooming). If he’s super smart, let the reader see him do smart stuff, like, I don’t know, STUDY! Knowledge has to get in the brain somehow, let the boy geek-out.
Be careful raising the bar too high. It gives young girls false hope, high expectations, and another reason to be more shallow than they already are. Furthermore, you’ll succeed in pissing off the normal guys who live in the REAL world. Honestly, how can an average, nice guy with a fixed income compete with the godlike entity you’ve created. Flaws are what makes us human and how we relate and rely on each other. If perfection is what you want in your characters then switch genres and call it what it is: Children’s fables.