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Heroes With Potbellies, Anybody?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Posted in: Uncategorized

So would ya?

Would you read a romance book featuring a ‘pleasantly plump’ hero?

39 Comments »

  • Yeah – but I’m weird…

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  • wendy
    April 28
    8:55 am

    Why not? I like men thin, short and bald but read about muscle-bound, tall men with huge swinging cocks that I would run a mile from IRL. If the author is good she can convince me that a pot-bellied man is exciting and desirable.

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  • Sure, why not? DH has the tiniest pudge and I think he’s drop dead sexy. Of course, I have to be honest that when I see pot bellies on men, I automatically think of Type II Diabetes and heart disease…but that’s just because I come from a family of diabetics and heart attack vics.

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  • Dawn
    April 28
    10:14 am

    Call me shallow, but no, I don’t think I’d want to read about a pot bellied hero.

    He doesn’t need to muscle-bound or have a six pack, but I’d like him to at least be fit.

    DH does have a bit of a belly, but that’s real life. I read romance for the fantasy.

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  • ‘The Taming of the Duke’ by Eloisa James features a pot-bellied alcoholic hero. Of course, he sobers up and slims down over the course of the book. It is my least favourite Eloisa James. I found it really difficult to see Rafe as hero material, even after his makeover. Also, it was simply a bad book in general.

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  • FD
    April 28
    11:20 am

    Mark Vorkosigan, anyone?
    I think it depends on the author and the genre, fwiw. Doubt we’ll see pudgier heroes from Harlequin Presents anytime soon due to the constraints of the line – IMO, the page limits mean that the writers are forced to shortcut the relationship arc a little and rely on the fantasy elements to carry the story. (Fantasy elements being: rich, alpha, intelligent, incredibly handsome, tall, titled/boss, athletic etc.) If the hero has ‘flaws’ besides those that create the conflict (usually over-entitled asininity) then that requires additional page space to deal with the heroine coming to terms with that too. And I would hazard a guess that we don’t tend to get romances themed around falling in love with guys that are not conventionally attractive and dealing with that as the central conflict, because that would make them shallow, and romance heroines aren’t generally allowed that kind of flaw – at least not by authorial intent.

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  • I’m shallow – but nope. I wouldn’t read one for the same reason I don’t care for plus-sized heroines.

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  • jmc
    April 28
    12:32 pm

    I think a couple of Carla Kelly’s heroes are potbellied. Definitely the hero of Libby’s London Merchant, and maybe Mr. Butterworth, too?

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  • How big of a pot belly are we talking about?
    If the hero reminds my of Hurley from Lost, I would be on board. Love me some Hurley.

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  • Las
    April 28
    1:00 pm

    Just how plump are we talking about? Eh, I think I’ll play it safe and say no. He doesn’t have to be ripped, he doesn’t even have to be in shape, really, but I don’t want a whole lot of extra pounds. A pudge-y belly? Sure, I have one myself. A full-blown pot-belly? No way.

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  • Someone is writing me as a Romance Hero?
    *sigh* I can just see the sex scene ARGH! No no it’s not you my back just went out.

    Is it wrong to think aerobic sex and dramatic romance is best left to the young?

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  • Is this called now the Boomers want to have a hero their own age to fantasize about?

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  • No.
    I don’t like plump heroines, either.

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  • I love pudgy men. Fat, no, but a bit of soft around the middle is appealing to me. Pot-bellies are different than a pudge though. I think potbelly and picture the big round, tight looking bellies where guys look preggo. Not sexy. A man with a soft tummy and pokeable pudge is adorkable and I’d def read (and write) one.

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  • Although a lot of us may have partners with potbellies, I’m not convinced that we would be overly impressed with romance books that featured such heroes. Can you imagine if Nora decided to give Roarke a potbelly, and love handles?

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  • Yup. Have considered writing one.
    In the end, it’s not the hero’s appearance that hooks me, it’s his behavior and relationship with the heroine.

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  • But would that book sell well though Raine?

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  • Marianne McA
    April 28
    3:39 pm

    Mark Vorkgosigan definitely.

    As long as the heroine sees him as attractive, it works. Vast majority of heroes aren’t my type at all, and – lookswise, at least – I don’t think it matters.

    Also, it’s always nice to read something different – I loved the first romance I read where the hero wasn’t rich and the first romance I read where he wasn’t handsome. (And I completely fell for the hero of Libby’s London Merchant.)

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  • My hubby has a potbelly and I still find him very attractive and adorable. But honestly, like someone said, you read romance for the fantasy, so I wouldn’t go out of my way to read a book featuring that kind of hero, but if the book sounds like a good read in general, I’ll give it a try.

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  • Sure, why not? If I can watch the Sopranos and just mentally block out the image of Tony Soprano’s big white gut while watching him do all those hot babes, then I can do the same with a pot-bellied romance hero.

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  • But would that book sell well though Raine?

    Possibly not. Romance is very much about the fantasy.
    But we accept heroes with scarred faces, bodily injuries, those who’ve been abused, etc. Hell, we take on zombies.

    It may not sell well, and the hero may not be attractive to the reader initially, but I think a story about a hero sporting a bit of pudge who gradually steals a woman’s heart could steal mine too, depending on the execution.

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  • MB (Leah)
    April 28
    5:05 pm

    Well there’s Pot bellies and then there’s pot bellies. IRL I love a soft rounded pouch on my guy and am not so turned on by hard sculpted male bodies.

    But I guess it would depend on how the writer portrays him. I’d read it though.

    I read a book with a hero described as really tall, lanky, with big feet and long gangly arms and legs. So. not. my. type. But it fit the character who was an outcast type person.

    If it’s a heroine, I rather enjoy if she’s described overweight or well rounded. That I don’t mind at all.

    In the end though, I’d rather an author just give vague descriptions of characters and let me imagine them as I will. Unless it’s really pertinent to the character’s psychological make-up.

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  • Tough one.

    I think I’d rather the author leave out physical descriptors altogether than emphasize a pot belly. OTOH, I love to read about a pudgy heroine, so maybe it’s all in the skill of the author.

    I certainly don’t need a chiseled 6-pack and bulging biceps on every hero I read, but don’t go so far the other way that I’m reading about his big, round belly that shakes like a bowlful of jelly.

    Unless we’re talking about bears. (and not werebears either)

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  • areader
    April 28
    5:37 pm

    Good Lord No. I can get enough of that in real life. My fantasy life is not going to be filled with pot bellied heroes, thank you very much. On the other hand I don’t mind pot bellied heroines. Sexist? Hell yeah.

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  • I agree with Marianne – “As long as the heroine sees him as attractive, it works.” Yeah – romance books = fantasy but I also want to believe anyone regardless – storybook hero or not – can fall in love and be loved.

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  • Jenns
    April 28
    9:38 pm

    To echo a lot of other comments on here, why not?
    If he’s a great guy and it’s a good story, sure.

    I simply love Amarinda’s comment: “I also want to believe anyone regardless – storybook hero or not – can fall in love and be loved.”

    That just sums it up so beautifully and touchingly for me!

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  • What Jenns said! If we can have BBW heroines I can’t see why heroes have to live up to a standardized body image.

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  • Yes, only if he’s written by Pamela Morsi. She made me fell in love with a short hero, and a balding hero too. Throw me a ‘pleasantly plump’ hero anytime, only if it’s by Pamela Morsi.

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  • Lorraine
    April 29
    1:25 am

    Nope, I have no interest in reading about a pleasantly plump hero. I read romance for the fantasy of it, not the realism. I want my heroes big, buff, and strong. IRL my standards are considerably less demanding, always gravitating to men who are on the leaner side, rather than musclebound. But I love to look at and read about well built men.

    I don’t even consider it shallow, since IRL my standards are completely different.

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  • willaful
    April 29
    1:46 am

    Considering that I keep wishing the burly union organizer in “North and South” was the love interest, I think I’d adore it!

    I also have a thing for Hagrid. So sue me.

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  • I’m shallow, so nope. Don’t date ’em in real life; not gonna read or write about ’em in fiction. At work, at the gym, at the dojo…I’m surrounded by really fit, really athletic guys. There must be something in the water in Calgary because nothing else explains why boot camp classes in this city are so popular.

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  • All depends on personality of the hero. I’ve had a crush on Oliver Platt for years. He’s funny and adorable, and I find him ridiculously sexy, potbelly and all.

    For writing someone like him into a romance, though, I think I’d have to use his Three Musketeers body. He’s still a big man in that, but far more trim than he is now.

    (I also have a thing for Stephen Fry and Robbie Coltrane.)

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  • willaful
    April 29
    3:38 am

    Oliver Platt in “the Three Musketeers! Drool! And I’m so crazy about Robbie Coltrane, all my husband has to do to get me fired up is imitate his accent from “Blackadder’s Christmas Carol.” 😉

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  • Yes, without a doubt. I like my heroes — and heroines — to be flawed or unusual. Besides, there is a pretty good range between drop dead gorgeous and blech, whether books acknowledge that or not.

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  • I think the hero in Jane Heller’s Infernal Affairs has a little pot belly IIRC.

    And I’d third the shout outs for Oliver Platt. 🙂

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  • If it’s a book I’m otherwise interested in, sure, why not? I like variety.

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  • Dalia
    May 1
    6:25 pm

    Oh Willaful! Nicholas Higgins!!!!! Yes!

    Ok, well, no, not to replace Thornton (oh em gee, never!) but to have his own love interest, definitely.

    I suppose his love interest was his daughter.

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  • Niniane
    August 21
    8:14 pm

    Over on the romance board on Amazon.com, we had a discussion about overweight heroes, and I compiled the books we came up with into a Listmania list. If you’re interested, the title of the list is “Romances with Portly Heroes.” If you can think of any more books that should be on the list, I would appreciate it if you would let me know so that I can add them. Thank you!

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  • Heather
    April 1
    2:50 pm

    As some of the other posters have said, it depends how far it’s taken. My OH has put on a tiny bit of pudge in the last couple of years and it’s the sexiest thing imaginable. Since then I do find my eyes drawn by a bit of softness around a guy’s middle (Channing Tatum in the Jump Street films, for instance) but I still find a huge beach-ball belly a turn-off. So… a cute bit of softness on a belly, absolutely (I want these books and just can’t find them!) but unhealthily fat, nope.

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