Review Excerpts

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Trope-tastic Thursday: Pretty Boy

And we're back!

Trope: Pretty Boy

Description: While usually handsome in his own right, the Pretty Boy isn't your rugged, muscular, lumberjack type. You know, the type that oozes testosterone with his every grunt. Pretty Boys are typically on the slender side (if not shorter than your average male), and have more dainty, delicate facial features. At the risk of stating the obvious, he's just pretty.

(Note: This doesn't mean that Pretty Boys can't be strong or powerful. It's just not as blatant.)

Examples: Legolas from Lord of the Rings, Roger in Rent, many of the male vampires in Interview with the Vampire. And Twilight. And the Anita Blake series....

Pros: Just like women, men come in all different flavors. What's attractive to one audience member can be wildly different to what's attractive to another, and why shouldn't we try to mix things up and cast a wide net? As mentioned above, this comes up a lot in vampire works, which means it can be used as a characterization shortcut. If a newly-introduced character is a Pretty Boy like the other vampires, some safe assumptions can be made.

Cons: That thing about different people being attracted to different types? Yeah, that can work against you with some folks when it comes to Pretty Boys. There is a reason that the typical "hero" is the aforementioned rugged type with the rippling muscles, and they still have a pretty big audience. Also, if a character is a Pretty Boy, he can sometimes expect to take some teasing for his softer appearance. Bullying isn't nice, yo.

Would/Did I Use It?: When writing Searching the Skies (the sequel to which has been officially confirmed, if you haven't heard the news!), I wanted there to be a big physical distinction between Ash and Marcus. While I don't think I've ever described Marcus as "pretty", he's definitely the, uh, prettier of the two, and has the shorter, slighter build. Whether or not he actually qualifies for this trope...I haven't decided yet. I'll also confess that when it comes to the Pretty Boy vs. the outwardly tough muscle-bound men...I do have a preference for the latter. *blush*


  1. I prefer tougher guys as well. ^_^ But there is something fun about the Pretty Boy and I use this from time to time, especially for villains. No one picks on my pretty boys! I make them pretty to deceive and distract you. Muh-haha!

    1. Ooh, that is a good idea, using them for antagonists! I like it!