I’m a big fan of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. Not just because Mike’s a big hunk o’ eye candy with a penchant for making quips and poop jokes, but because he (and The Discovery Channel) show us people who are everyday heros.
In a romance novel, a hero can be a Beast (as in Beauty and the), scarred both physically and emotionally. He can be a hit man the likes of Anne Stuart’s Ice Blue. He can be a soldier, a vampire, a werewolf and spy. He can be a cop, an Ad man, a guy who paints in his spare time when he’s not being a a billionaire who collects art and runs his family’s casino. This isn’t to say there aren’t any real guys here. There’s the bad boy Fireman and the charmer investment banker, followed by the hot nerdy professor who’s only pretending to be a nerd. The bartender at the corner pub used to be a marine, the boy next-door is a public defender, the jock is the high school football coach, and his buddy the comedian is the local mayor. Of course there’s also the recently divorced Vet who looks after the widower rancher’s livestock. These are all respectable everyday positions available to the average hero. Nice, solid, guy’s work, but Mike Rowe makes me want something beyond The Beast, beyond the billionaire, marine, coach, Indiana Jones type.
Dirty Jobs makes me want a Dirty Hero.
And I don’t mean x-rated dirty.
Call it a yen for some realism, but I want a hero who’s an undertaker. Or, like Mike shows us, a man who cleans out giant wind turbines that generate electricity. Or a guy who crawls under houses to replace insulation. Or a guy who tidies up sinkholes where people dump their trash. Because really, are these dirty men not worthy of romance, of love?
If the crux of a romance novel is built upon a central love story with a optimistic emotionally satisfying ending, not the job the hero has, who are we to say, "Sorry Dr Sebastian Morris DDS, but cleaning teeth and fixing fillings just isn’t as sexy as a Assistant DA cleaning crime outta the Big Apple?"
Why do we get fixated upon rules, upon what is and isn’t allowed within the frame of romance fiction? A heroine can’t be over the of 40. A heroine can’t be a bitch. A hero cant have an unappealing job like undertaker, butcher or dentist. Who’s to say a dentist can’t be hot? If you put Mike Rowe to work as in a dental office, you better believe he’s gonna make a scale and filling look incredibly sexy.
I’m making my appointment for a checkup today!