Monday, December 07, 2009

Male On Monday - Courtesy is Sexy


A big PHS welcome back to Ellen Hartman, with today's Male on Monday post.  She titled it "That Thing He Does".  When I read it, it begged the question:  do you find courtesy in a man sexy?

I read back over a bunch of Male on Monday posts (I know, torture, right?) to make sure I was approaching this topic from the right, ahem, angle. I was struck by a common theme—most of the posts start out with an overview of the uncontestable, factual beauty of the guys, but then the move on to the specifics. The things this guy does that make him irresistible. I thought we could explore that theme today.



I’ll start. I have known from an empirical standpoint that Ryan Reynolds is an extremely attractive man. I’ve seen the pictures. (See? No way we can argue with the pictures.) He’s hot.

This weekend, I happened to catch him in The Proposal and my appreciation for Ryan Reynolds shot straight from empirical appreciation of standard male attractiveness to OMG, I love him. Swoon.

What changed?

His character held the door open for his girl.

I know. I know, it’s not a big thing. It’s not even a thing I necessarily always appreciate. But he was tall and lean and handsome and then he reached over the heroine’s head and pushed the door open so she could go through first. Oh, baby. Casual good manners. I love it!

Mr. Ryan Reynolds, I approve. (Yes, I do know Ryan Reynolds held the door open because it was in the script, but still. You get the sense he’d do it anyway.)

When we read or write romance, we have to see those fully-realized, wonderfully detailed characters on the page and we like to fall in love. Jennifer Crusie is a master of this craft. Davy Dempsey (from Faking It) is a character I’ll never forget. His cheerful, dogged determination to blow his heroine’s mind in bed was so refreshing and real. I try to learn from her and give my heroes that special something that makes the heroine (and the reader) fall in love. After all, we can read about the chiseled cheekbones or washboard abs (yes, I’ll wait while you scroll back up to the pictures), but those things won’t make us love a guy in a book—he’s got to be doing things right.

In my new book, Plan B: Boyfriend, the heroine, Hailey, starts to fall in love (even though she doesn’t realize it) when Charlie McNulty hands her a paper towel while they’re hiding out in the ladies room. (Trust me, it’s a good thing.)

Here’s one from my life. I met my husband at a New Year’s Eve party. My friend, who likes to challenge people with her blunt remarks, pointed out that my husband had a thread dangling from the fly of his suit pants. I believe she may even have touched the thread. I was mortified. My husband pulled out his money clip, unfolded a tiny scissors from the edge, and clipped the thread. He folded the scissors back up, put it in his pocket, and smiled at my friend. “Better?” he asked. His utterly unflappable self-confidence was my idea of perfection. That very night I wrote in my diary, “I just met the man I’m going to marry…”

What about you? Who are some memorable heroes in your real life or in books or movies? What was the thing the guy did that moved you away from “He’s cute” into a more specific appreciation of the guy himself?





I’m giving away a copy of my new Superromance, Plan B: Boyfriend, to one person who leaves a comment.

Check out Ellen's Plan B: Boyfriend, out this month!

16 comments:

  1. Hi Ellen. Yup, he was pretty good in The Proposal! The cover of your new release looks so gorgeous, especially the heroine.

    Soraya

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  2. Hey Ellen,
    He was VERY nice in The Proposal.
    Soraya's right on the lovely cover, I can't wait to read about a hero who offers paper towel...
    I think the first thing my real-life hero did to move beoynd cute was be cooking dinner for his brother (they shared a house) and offer to tutor me in physics. Told me he was domesticated and smart, as well as hot!
    =)

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  3. Hi!

    I love it that we're sneaking in early! What better day to start early than (Male on) Monday?

    After seeing The Proposal, I've gone back to seek out more Ryan Reynolds. Yay! I love a project. ;-)

    Thanks for the compliments on the book cover. I've been lucky in the cover department. The scene that's depicted is one of my favorites, so I'm pleased with it.

    Becca--good cook, smart, hot, and kind to his family? You've got a winner there, for sure. I could definitely see myself falling for anyone who would explain physics! ;-)

    Thanks!
    Ellen

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  4. I notice courtesy too. I'm a midlle-aged, middle class, plain enough woman, but I'm not stupid, and I notice how people treat me! Many years ago a very old gentleman (a friend of my dad's) met me on the platform as we were both taking the train in. He insisted on paying my fare and I still think it was one of the most courteous things I've ever experienced!

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  5. I haven't seen this movie, but he does look delish! I love your heroes, Ellen. Can't wait to read this book.
    There was a guy I knew in high school. We worked together on the school paper. He was a grade above me. I wasn't physically attracted to him, but when he opened his mouth and started talking to me and we began to have all of these great philosophical discussions, everything changed. We remained friends for a long time even after high school. He is now a minister somewhere in Texas, having been greatly drawn to the Hispanic culture.

    LindaC

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  6. All I can say is "Grooooowl". Take care. Caroline x

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  7. Hi Alison--your thoughts ring true for me. I love the idea that good manners are out there in the world knitting us together, when other forces are trying to make divisions!

    Thanks for stopping by,
    Ellen

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  8. Hi Linda,

    I think these pictures might be from a few years ago because he looked a bit older in The Proposal. Older AND better. ;-)

    I love your high school story. I had a friend like that in high school, too. We sent long handwritten letters (showing my age!) in college and I kept them. It was a wonderful kind of friendship. Your friend sounds terrific.

    Thanks for stopping by,
    Ellen

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  9. Hi Caroline,

    I wasn't sure if you were speaking to me or to Mr. Reynolds. ;-)

    Heh. Grooowl, indeed!

    :-)
    Ellen

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  10. I have always like his movies. He is always so funny. The Proposal was halirious.

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  11. I have to agree with you. Good manners are attractive especially since there are times when it seems that they are lacking in the world around us.

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  12. I always like a chivalrous hero. One who hides the heroine from prying eyes when the door opens unexpectedly and she's reaching for her discarded clothes. It's caring. And the fact that the hero is just like that every day, considerate to all people, makes him totally yummy. Harrison Ford also stands out in Working Girl as being extremely good mannered. Works for me!

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  13. Hi Rebekah!

    We're in complete agreement!

    :-)

    Ellen

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  14. Hi Maureen--that's one of the fun things about writing romance. I can create these guys who are loving, polite, and hot!!

    Even if they're fictional, it's nice to spend time with them.

    Cheers,
    Ellen

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  15. Hi Sally,

    Harrison Ford works for me, as well!

    You're right about those small gestures making a big difference. I like the scenario you mentioned.

    Thanks for stopping by,
    Ellen

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  16. Hi Everyone!

    Alison is the winner of the book today!

    If you want to send me your postal address at ellen at ellenhartman dot com, I'll drop it in the mail to you!

    Thanks to everyone who commented!
    Ellen

    P.S. Alison--I peeked at your blog. Your cards are gorgeous!

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