In romance and its many sub-genres these days, there is a common trope for the leading male character. He’s tall (usually several inches over six feet), he’s built like a brick sh*t house, he’s an unrepentant womanizer, and he’s affluent if not obscenely wealthy. In short, he makes the ladies swoon just by cocking an eyebrow at them and lifting the corners of his mouth in a knowing smirk. They’re nearly always at the top of their profession: the business owner, the elite warrior, the high ranking nobleman. Let’s throw in the occasional rancher, who’s usually the largest landowner in the county.

There are two general variations on this paragon of masculine pulchritude: the arrogant swine and the decent gentleman. Guess which one appears least?

OK, we’re dealing with fantasy here. Yes, Virginia, romance is fantasy. But why are we all dreaming about the same guy? What is it about the arrogant swine that makes us ladies want to read about them? They’re controlling, possessive, protective, and so damned superior that each one desperately needs to be knocked down a few pegs and learn some humility. These are the alpha males: they tell their heroines what they want, what they’re going to do them, and they don’t brook refusal. And we eat it up.

I wouldn’t care to deal with one of these guys in real life, so why do we write about them as ideal mates for our heroines?

What the hell is wrong with us, ladies?