• Sheila & Swede

Hero Chasing Heroine vs. Heroine Chasing Hero

In every romance, there are at least two characters who are drawn together for a mutual happy ending - or at least a temporary "happy"... How they get there, though, is what makes each romance novel unique. For example, sometimes it's the hero who pursues the heroine, sometimes it's the other way around. Read on for our take on the pursuit.


Which scenario do you prefer?

The Sheila


There’s nothing I find more off-putting than a wishy-washy heroine who doesn’t know how she feels about her hero. When the heroine’s in pursuit, however, there’s never any question in my mind about how she feels. I don’t need the heroine to chase the hero from the word go, but I’d like to see the heroine give chase at some stage – even if it’s just telling the guy how she feels. And not just at the end, once the hero has given up.


Here’s why.


Women who give chase are a celebration of feminism in romance novels!


Years ago, women weren’t supposed to pursue men. We had to wait for the opposite sex to decide they might like us. Forced into inaction by society, we had to play coy games, hoping we might be seen, noticed, chased. But we don’t live in that day and age anymore, thank goodness! Women can go after what they want now, and every heroine who does so is a celebration of the fact.


On a side note, women who are willing to put their hearts on the line are more relatable to me. I was often so overcome with lust and romantic feelings for certain individuals growing up that my feelings would leak out until I was declaring myself to the object of my affections. This led to some humiliating moments over the years and a whole lot of rejection. However, it also resulted in my HEA with my husband!


A woman who is in pursuit feels deeply about the hero


In romance novels, the guys who relentlessly pursue the female characters are often the kind I’d stay away from in real life. Need an example? Just look at Christian Grey.


Growing up, the guys who chased me were not the ones I wanted. After all, if they were chasing me it meant I was running in the other direction. And there was a good reason for that! I knew we weren’t compatible and that they wouldn’t make me happy. If I didn’t feel compelled to chase or tell a guy how I felt, I wasn’t interested.


When I’m reading a romance novel, I want to feel what the heroine is feeling. This means that I want to be taken through the full gamut of her emotions, and I want to be swept up in how intensely she feels about her guy – because that takes me back to what I used to feel when I was younger. If she’s resisting for reasons that are a bit wishy-washy, I’ll end up feeling frustrated rather than intrigued.


Some might argue that if the hero doesn’t pursue, he’s not interested in the heroine, but I like a hero who is a little aloof and unattainable. I like the chase. I like the push and pull.


Heroines who chase are more direct and play fewer games


I always enjoy a little emotional honesty in my romances. Hello, adulthood. I’m a reader who enjoys tension derived from honesty rather than a lack of communication. There’s nothing more satisfying than putting down a book and truly believing in the HEA a couple has been given. If the two of them don’t know how to be honest with each other, I’ll question whether they’ll make things work long-term. And heroines who resist the hero are either uninterested or playing games. Neither scenario appeals to me.


A heroine who pursues the hero, however, is honest about her feelings. I think she’ll have a better chance of success with the hero.


The Swede


Wish fulfillment


Just like the Sheila, I read (and write) romance novels for wish fulfillment. I’ve never chased a man, not since I was about six years old and told my classmate I fancied him, to which he replied, “I don’t like you”, and punched me in the stomach. Since then, I’ve gotten used to unrequited love, and I haven’t dared to ask anyone out for fear of rejection. Thus, I enjoy reading about heroes chasing after the heroine.


Just not that into you


The Sheila will tell you that if the heroine isn’t into the hero, then the reader won’t be either. Of course the heroine needs to have some interest in the hero, but either have personal issues preventing her from truly believing he wants her, or have other clear obstacles for why she can’t engage with him. Chasing after a woman who doesn’t want anything to do with you makes you a stalker, not the hero of a romance novel.


Clingy?


The Sheila claims a man who chases after a woman and wins her will be clingy. Meh. To me, a man who makes the first move knows what he wants, and so he won’t go looking for something else (in theory). I realize this conflicts with my preference for Beta males, but in this respect, I don’t mind a bit of Alpha in a man. He doesn’t have to be a jerk about it, or overly flirtatious, but he can be there for her. Maybe he’s a bartender quietly sliding a drink across the bar for the heroine because she looks like she needs it and he’s offering to listen if she wants. Maybe he’s a detective or fireman checking in on her from time to time to make sure she’s safe. Be still my heart.


Finding the middle ground


We both read romance for both entertainment and wish fulfillment. We want to experience falling in love through the characters’ eyes. Therefore, the chemistry between the characters needs to be believable and strong, and mutual. Stalkers aren’t dreamy romance heroes and future partners - they’re past or future mistakes.


How do you feel about the chase? Do you prefer the hero or heroine to do the chasing, or do you prefer it when there’s no chase at all (insta-lust/insta-love)? Do your own experiences play into what type of romance style you prefer? Let us know in the comments!


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