The books we read give us men who are men, to use a tired old cliche, and women who are free and independent, spirited and adventurous -- women we want to be, let's face it, and often can't. Sure, I can work up the courage to ask for a raise next time I feel I deserve it, and after researching the how-tos and what-fors endlessly on the internet. Maybe I'll even get the raise (fingers crossed!). But I don't know if I could everything I know for the love of a man. I don't know if I could venture into an uncharted land in search of intrigue and end up in a stranger's bed. I don't really think I want to find out. But the books we read let us do that.
We can see the exception to our workaday rules in the romance novels we love, where every man:
- is at least six feet tall (and often taller);
- is handsome (runners up: craggy, "vital" or rugged);
- has muscles; and
- carries about him an "air of" sophistication, power or raw sexual energy.
- violet-eyed (runners up: turquoise, azure, emerald etc.); and, invariably
- trim, slender, or voluptuous (but never as a euphemism for chubby).
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