Bring on the Blonds!

simonbaker There is one matter of taste in which I appear to differ from most romance readers: I have a great fondness for blond heroes. Love’em. But I seem to be part of minority, because the majority by far of romance heroes are dark-haired. Not that I mind a yummy black-haired hero … but I sigh for blonds.

In the past, blond heroes were even more marginalized than they are now. In some cases, like in Laura Black’s Scottish romances from the late seventies and early eighties, this amounted to color-coding: As soon as a blond man appeared – usually described as having butter-colored hair – you could bet he would turn out to be the villain.

Recently, I have observed a small increase in blond heroes, however, and this I attribute solely to the advent on television of the delectable Mr. Simon Baker. For those of you who don’t know him: He is an Australian actor who has risen to fame as Patrick Jane, the title character of the show The Mentalist. Patrick Jane is a very close observer and gifted psychologist, and after a serial killer murdered his wife and daughter, he assists the California Bureau of Investigation with their work, in the hope that his path will cross that of the murderer again, and that he will be able to revenge his family.

Now, to discuss Simon Baker/Patrick Jane’s very special brand of attractiveness, let’s begin with his looks. In addition to his brightly blond hair, he has blue eyes, even features and a very charming smile. He dimples. As he’s 41, there are some lines in his face, but they suit him perfectly. While he has a trim figure, and shows to advantage in the three-piece-suits he usually wears in his role as Patrick Jane, there has never any reason to pay attention to “the muscles that rippled underneath his fine lawn shirt” (as so many heros do – have you ever, ever come across lawn that fine??). Simon Baker’s face deserves special attention, I think. Well, obviously. Compare it to the way that romance heroes are described, though, and you come to the conclustion that a face like this would technically disqualify him from romantic hero-dom. It’s neither rugged – far too even-featured for that – nor can you cut anything with his cheekbones. It’s just an oval, symmetric face whose features just add up to that elusive quality, beauty.

Let’s pay some more attention to Simon Baker’s hair. It’s curly and often just a bit messed up – carefully so, of course. I can fully imagine his co-actors getting this urge to smooth back a lock that romance heroines experience so regularly. So in this respect, he perfectly fits the hero mold. :)

It would be undeservedly one-sided to only concentrate on Simon Baker/Patrick Jane’s outward charms. Now I know next to nothing about the actor Simon Baker. From the one interview I’ve read, he seems to be a pretty grounded, very pleasant kind of person – too boring to be hero material really, unless it be the guy-next-door sort. Patrick Jane, the character he portrays, is quite a different matter, though. He is haunted – who wouldn’t be after his wife and child had been murdered gruesomely? – but he doesn’t carry his hauntedness on his sleeve. He never glowers. He hardly ever broods. Instead he is quirky, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes humorous, often aggravating, and stubborn as a mule. He does Sudoku in his spare time. In short, he is not at all like the typical romance hero, not being one of course, but I really wish there were more like him. Romance heroes wide outside the cookie cutter forms. Romance writers, are you out there? Please give us more heroes that share Simon Baker’s blond good looks, and Patrick Jane’s unpredictability.

– Rike Horstmann

25 thoughts on “Bring on the Blonds!

  1. really enjoyed your piece,Simon Baker is really georgous..would like to advise you his eyes sometimes appear to be blue they are in fact very green but still so sexy

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  3. Not forgetting Daniel Craig! Love that man, his Bond is delectable.
    I’ve always had a soft spot for blonds, and I’ve written quite a few. I’m writing one right now, the Polish Andros Zelinski. He’s a shape-shifter, has had muscular dystrophy in the past (the conversion cured him and he still feels guilty about that) and he has an athletic rather than strong body.
    And my most successful hero, Richard Kerre, is a blond.
    Writing Andros has been a great experience. Now I want to read more blonds!

  4. Sir Percy Blakeney! The FIRST “fop on the outside, hero on the inside” hero – the inspiration for Zorro, Superman, Batman, etc.

  5. I love that picture of Simon Baker! Unfortunately it is overshadowed by the pictures I’ve seen of him with his pretty wife and their pretty children. I think that’s why I like reading fictional handsome heroes, they never show up in a magazine with a woman who is not me, er, I mean the heroine.

    Jo Goodman often writes blond male characters and they are often unpredictable. They don’t do the Sudoku puzzles, though.

  6. I’ve loved Simon Baker since he appeared on the late, lamented series “The Guardian”. He played much more a tortured, romance novel hero in that one. He is definitely eye candy no matter what he plays.

    Another blond I love is Sean Bean. Also, Robert Redford was unbelievably handsome when young, one of those genetically gifted beings who hardly appear to exist in the same universe as most of us. And we can’t forget Paul Newman. So yes, I do like blonds and wish more heroes were blonds, not the even rarer in nature black-haired, blue-eyed men who are so thick on the ground in romance novels right now.

  7. Alexander Skarsgard….. “The Northman”from the HBO True Blood series. My favorite blonde actor.

  8. I agree. Let’s not forget Paul Newman. :) He could play the tortured hero with the best of them.

  9. Robert Redford was so beautiful that he once played Death in a Twilight Zone episode and made Death very very very appealing – and not only to the scared elderly lady in the episode :)

    Ditto on Newman though I’ve seen him in so many black and white films I think brunette.

    And I agree on Baker and Bean and would like to add Josh Halloway from Lost – those dimples! *swoon*

    Then there’s young Peter O’Toole (see Laurence Of Arabia), Ruger Hauer (Blade Runner), George Peppard (Breakfast At Tiffanys) etc etc.

    I’m usually drawn more to dark haired/blue eyed but I do appreciate a beautiful blond and because they’re so rare in Romance I get more excited when I find one than a do typical physical ideal. (ditto red heads)

    Some of my all time favorite heroes are blond:

    Robin: Rogue Angel (Mary Jo Putney)
    Esmond: Captives Of The Night (Loretta Chase)
    Ross: Silk & Secrets (Mary Jo Putney)
    Restell: If His Kiss Is Wicked (Jo Goodman)
    Sebastian: Duchess Quartet books (Elosa James)
    John Smythe: Vicky Bliss series (Elizabeth Peters)
    Lord Peter Wimsey (Dorothy Sayers)

  10. Definitely Alexander Skarsgard (Eric Northman of True Blood) and his father Stellan!

    But, really, the problem is that it’s difficult to be tall, DARK, and handsome if you’re blond. Maybe you’re tall, blond, and handsome then, but that’s not the well-known cliche. (LOL)

  11. How about Lucien — the glittering marquess of An Unwilling Bride by Jo Beverley? He’s one of my favourite blonds of all literature.

  12. Other blond heroes:

    Francis Crawford, Master of Lymond in Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles

    Peregrine in Loretta Chase’s Last Night’s Scandal

    Isn’t Robert Redford more a redhead than blond? If one includes redheads, then Jamie Fraser of Outlander would be top of the list.

  13. I love a blond hero! Fave blonde heroes are Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Keven Tucker in This Little Heart of Mine and Dean in Natural Born Charmer. I’ve also written a few in my Harlequin Romances…there’s something about those golden Gods that get me everytime

  14. Redford is blond (very blond in films like Barefoot In The Park & The Way We Were) though at times, especially later it can look strawberry blond.

    As for redheads if we include the chestnuts and dark auburns there are more to choose from. My favorite is Cyn from Beverly’s My Lady Notorious.

    More blond faves (more than I thought!):

    The Seduction: Alden (Julia Ross)

    Welcome To Temptation: Phin (Crusie)

    Simple Jess: Jess (Morsi)

    A Most Unsuitable Man- Fitz (Beverly)

    The Serpent Prince: Simon (Hoyt)

    The London Season: David (Wolf)

    Lady Fortune: Nicholas (Anne Stuart)

    Yours Until Dawn: Gabriel (Medieros)

    And two of my favorite Balogh books have blond heroes: Robert in Beyond The Sunrise and Alex in Longing

  15. I absolutely love blond heroes, especially blond Bond Daniel Craig! My favourite literary blond is Sebastian St Vincent in Devil in Winter by Kleypas.

  16. Add me to the Blond Hero Fan Club!

    You guys have already mentioned some of my favorites: Esmond from CAPTIVES OF THE NIGHT (reformed villain AND a blond! Swoon!); Sebastian St. Vincent (another blond reformed villain–pattern?); Alden from Julia Ross’s THE SEDUCTION (totally underrated book, IMO); Restell from IF HIS KISS IS WICKED; Dan from Roxanne St. Clair’s HUNT HER DOWN…there are so many! My latest fave was Adrian from Anne Stuart’s BREATHLESS.

    I’m writing a blond hero right now for my the second book in my upcoming Regency trilogy but it won’t be out for a couple of years yet. I’m glad to see that blonds seem to be getting more popular. And I agree that the popularity of blond actors help. I mean who can resist Simon Baker or Daniel Craig? Not me.

  17. Oh, yes! Esmond, Smythe and Wimsey are my top faves, too! (And I agree that Phin was also a pleasure!)

    Personally, I have no problem reading a hero with hair of any color. But in the visual medium of TV, movies — and, oh yeah, real life! — I have often found myself more attracted to the fairer-haired. Especially in buddy flicks, where the dark one is meant (or thinks himself) to be a ladies’ man, I prefer the lighter man.

    Returning to print, didn’t G. Heyer have a selection of sweet blonds, too? My memory may be faulty, but I’m thinking here of Kit (& twin, Evelyn), among what must have been others.

    Not to go off-topic (too far, anyway), but I had thought – read somewhere, perhaps – that in the publishing world, the unpopular hair color for heroes is (was?) red. I never noticed that there was any prejudice against blonds.

    Luckily, I am “equal opportunity” as pertains to combinations of hair and eye colors! :)

    Upon reflection, I believe that my least favorite hero would have a shaved head: both because of the stubble and the fact that it’d deprive me of the enjoyment of actual, you know, hair !

  18. Let’s not forget Feehan’s twin blonds, Aidan and Julian (Dark Gold and Dark Challenge). Um, yummy!

  19. In time for christmas you could read
    One Christmas Knight by Kathleen Creighton ,
    in spite of the cover and publisher image an excellent book, one of my all time favourite heroes, and blond!

  20. Paul Newman and Robert Redford–sexiest blonds ever! And they made two of the greatest movies together: “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “The Sting”.

    All you Simon Baker fans–do you remember that he had a small role in that very wonderful movie “L.A. Confidential”? In the credits, his name is “Simon Baker Penny”. (If you can’t remember his role, he was the young male actor who got caught up in the various nefarious activities by the movie’s villains!)

    Best blond male protagonist of all time has to be Francis Crawford of Lymond–one of the most erudite, yet tormented literary characters ever!

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