Lovely Blog Party | My "Type," as Represented by Fictional Men

To my great delight, Cordy has decided to bring her Lovely Blog Party back for another year, and you know what that means:  couples and sissy stuff and romance galore on ye olde Rivendell

Admittedly, I don't expect to contribute as many posts this year as I ordinarily would.  Blogging can still be extremely draining for me at the moment (I mean, rewarding, but draining), and it's been difficult to get pieces put together on a timely basis.  However, something is better than nothing, and I have what I hope will be an entertaining post for you today.

You see, I'm finally doing it, mes amis.  I am giving the people what they want this Valentine's Day season. 😂  Which is to say, I am finally dedicating a full blog post to answering that juiciest, most tantalizing, most ubiquitous of questions:  

Who are your fictional "dream guys"?

I had already been thinking about making a post on this topic, but I was somewhat reluctant to do so, because, let's be real:

However, I was finally motivated to grasp the proverbial nettle and just write the stupid thing after a few Instagram games and polls revealed that, despite my personal reticence, some of you are in fact interested in seeing me ruthlessly expose myself on a public Internet forum. 😁  The people have spoken, and never let it be said of me that I was backward in coming forward when obeying the will of the people.

(But honestly, the things I do for you all.)


This post was initially inspired by different conversations that I've had over the years with various friends, as we've commiserated over our favorite fictional stories, romances, heroes, etc. and shared our own "real-life" hopes and dreams and priorities for the future. Naturally, these conversations have often taken a detour towards the Romantic Front sooner or later, and they've usually culminated in my friends asking me something along the lines of, "So, Olivia, we've talked about some of the things I want in a guy, and which fictional characters represent those ideals — but what about you?  We've never really talked about what you are looking for in a guy or which fictional heroes best represent your 'dream guy'."

Most of my friends (and most of my followers) know which fictional men are my favorites, but they don't necessarily know which fictional men resemble what I would actually like in a real romantic partner.  (If you're wondering, yes, they're two entirely different groups.)  I've never been able to very successfully articulate to anyone which characteristics I would want in a potential Gentleman Friend of Significance, nor which fictional men best embody those characteristics, for one very simple reason:  I don't know.  I'm not being coy when I say that; I simply don't.  I don't have a very specific idea of what I'd like in a guy if I ever were to have one, nor have I ever been able to pinpoint many fictional examples thereof, even to myself.

For one thing, it simply doesn't occur to me to think about the concept when I'm experiencing a story for the first time (or for the second or third or fourth time).  "Is this the kind of guy I would want to marry someday?" isn't a thought that comes into my brain when I'm reading or watching a male character, no matter how dearly I may love that character, his love life within the story, etc.  It's just not.  It's not like I deliberately try not to consider the question; it's just that I . . . don't.  It doesn't come naturally to me to do so.  Fictional characters — whether my own or someone else's — never "leap off the page" for me.  I really don't get fictional "crushes," and I never experience the desire to "escape" into a story in the sense of wishing that I could literally enter it, so my brain usually isn't capable of imagining fictional characters as literal flesh-and-blood people in any personally significant way.  Thus, the concept of which fictional guys I would marry if they were real is essentially null and void for me.

For another thing, I am the singlest of single pringles and I have no expectation that that will change any time soon (if ever). 😂  Imagining myself in an actual romantic relationship feels weird and inorganic to me, to be honest.  I can't see it.  

actual footage of how I would react if anyone ever expressed romantic interest in me 😂

That said, while I don't know that I even want a romantic relationship, I don't necessarily not want one, either.  I have a lot of conflicting and ambivalent feelings on the subject, which are complicated by a multitude of factors.  For now, suffice it to say that, since I don't foresee myself entering one in any case, I haven't thought that much about what I would and wouldn't like out of such a relationship, at least in terms of specific personality traits that my prospective significant other would possess. 

However!  Over time, as I've scrambled to come up with something to contribute to these conversations, I've gradually been able to identify a (very small, mind you) handful of fictional guys who more or less embody the personality type(s) that I think I would like/would find compatible if I were — hypothetically — to be considering a romantic partnership.

These fine fictional lads are my best approximation of what I imagine that I would go for in real life, always acknowledging that I have no real idea.  You feel me?  It's an "if I had to choose to answer the question" type of scenario.  

So.  For what it's worth and because you seemed curious, here they are.  The fictional men I might marry if they were real.

*shoves them awkwardly across the table at you*  

Jim McKay 
The Big Country (1958)

Jim is quiet and thoughtful, but not necessarily shy, which would be a good fit for me because I've gradually come to the conclusion that I don't want a guy who's more reserved or introverted than I am.  [I can't see myself working well with anyone mega-extroverted, either (although, who knows — I'm told opposites attract), but someone with a social bandwidth that's more or less the same as mine could be helpful.]  

What I love most about Jim, however, is the way that he responds to challenges — and, more specifically, the way that that in itself challenges gender norms.  As a white man trying to stake a claim in the American West, Jim is expected to be brash, dominant, and more than a little pugilistic.  It's considered his Job™ to view other men as financial and sexual rivals, to take every challenge they issue as an insult to his honor, and to respond accordingly — usually by shooting first and asking questions later.  If he doesn't turn to violence as a first resort, he'll be written off as a lily-livered coward.

But Jim is having none of that.  As an "outsider" to Western culture, he has the benefit of objectivity.  He can examine its social mores arbitrarily, and that allows him to view those pitiable ideas for what they are:  puerile and pathetic, the essence of fragile and toxic masculinity.  As a former naval captain, Jim knows his own mettle, but he doesn't need anyone else to know it.  Jim has nothing to prove to anyone.  He's got all the strength, intelligence, and courage that any man could ever need, but his skin is not so embarrassingly thin that he feels the need to start actual fistfights with every insecure idiot who tries to goad him into one. 

"A 'coward' — why don't you say it?  Are you afraid of the word?  I'm not.  But I'm not going to spend the rest of my life trying to prove how brave I am."

Jim is not reactive.  He's not combative or hot-blooded or temperamental, and that — in any context, but especially in the context of a Western — is incredibly refreshing and attractive to me.  I like a man who's sufficiently comfortable and confident in his own manhood that he can meet a challenge to it with a shrug and a smile.  

Look at Jim's body language here.  Relaxed, receptive, attentive.  No tension, no competitiveness, no aggression. 
Nothing to prove, no hidden agenda, just an interest in listening to and getting to know another person.

And that's exactly what Jim does.  He knows who he is and what he values, and he's able to follow the dictates of his conscience without making a production of it.  He has too much common sense to confuse violence with victory.  He's not a pacifist; he simply understands that the only person who would consider resolving insignificant disputes with gunplay would be someone with the mental capacity and emotional maturity of a pubescent child. 

He's not overly protective in the obnoxious, stupid, essentially possessive way that the majority of fictional men are when they're specifically written to be protective, but he's quick to defend those who are in actual danger.  (One of my favorite examples of this is when he goes to rescue Julie from the Hannassey clan.  He's not fooled for a second when she lies about being there voluntarily in order to protect him, but he never loses his cool.  He simply eyes her quietly for a moment, gauging the situation, and then states calmly to her captors, "I'm not leaving here without her."  In other words, he says, "We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way, but if you want to keep her, you'll have to go through me first.")

quality content

Jim recognizes the value of those society seeks to discredit and dismiss.  He's experienced and capable, but he doesn't allow that to make him arrogant or unteachable.  He's easygoing, affable, steady, philosophical, and mature.  He has a good sense of humor and an even better sense of integrity, and I respect him very much — all of which, I think, makes him a good example of what I could, in theory, like in a potential partner.

✥ Don Pedro 
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

Washington's take on Don Pedro is possibly the only fictional man ever to almost immediately make me think, "Wow, that — that is the kind of personality I would want in a guy."  Almost as soon as we started getting to know his character, I thought, "This is the one I can point to whenever someone next asks me that question."  And I couldn't even pinpoint why, exactly.  Even now, he's miles away from making it onto any of my "favorite heroes" lists, but still, something just clicked.  I somehow had more clarity on the question than I ever had before.  I could see myself working well with someone of a very similar personality to this character, and the concept made personal sense to me for arguably the first time. 

I think the primary reason I'm so drawn to Don Pedro is that he's such a perfect blend of charisma and character.   He's charming and witty and playful, but he's also intelligent and faithful and circumspect.  There's such an exuberance and zest for life and laughter there, but there is also an underlying strength and gravity.  Don Pedro is the (rare) kind of impish and mischievous that delights rather than annoys me, but he has grit, too.  He never makes light of what should be taken seriously, and he knows how to appreciate the merit in others beyond their ability to entertain him.  I would have so much good, old-fashioned fun with this kind of guy, but I imagine that I would also feel safe and understood and valued with him.  And that, in my opinion, is no small consideration.  

Now, granted, my enthusiasm for this Don Pedro only makes me all the more disappointed in his behavior circa the Hero debacle.  Stern Words and Genuine Repentance are in order, but that's the thing:  my ability to recognize Don Pedro's lapse in integrity also allows me to recognize the existence of that integrity in the first place.  I still like and root for him even after seeing him commit a pretty serious mistake, and I still have faith that he can learn from that mistake, which in and of itself is a pretty compelling reason for me to place him in my "would marry" tier.

✥ Daniel Sousa 
Agent Carter (ABC)

To be honest, I don't even know that Daniel really belongs on this list, because my predominant thought when watching him is usually just, "Wow, this is a precious angel human who is literally flawless and we must all Protect™ him at all costs."  I don't necessarily think about how much I'd like a guy like him in real life, I think about what an adorable cinnamon roll he is and how much I love him as a character, if that makes sense.

Additionally, since we basically only see him in connection with massive government plots to overthrow the world order, it's harder for me to think about him in a normal, everyday, non-crisis context, which is what I need to be able to do in order to gauge whether a character represents the kind of personality with which I could be compatible in a real romantic relationship.  As I said earlier, my brain doesn't naturally separate fictional characters from their fictional stories, so trying to imagine how a particular character's personality would look on a hypothetical human man is already difficult for me.  It goes without saying, then, that I have a hard time trying to translate a character who is primarily concerned with life-or-death situations into a potential romantic partner for me, in my life.

Still, if I do examine Daniel's general personality and character traits as removed from the plot of his story, I can recognize that, yes, they're the sort that would be attractive to me in real life.  He's conscientious, hard-working, courageous, intelligent, kind.  He faces setbacks with honesty and humor instead of bitterness and despair.  He's loyal, but he isn't blinded by or enslaved to his loyalty.  He doesn't allow it to cloud his judgment or override his conscience.  (He is 10,000 times the man Steve Rogers could ever even conceive of being, is the moral of the story. *cough*)  At the same time, though, he sees the best in other people and is willing to give them second and third and fourth chances, because he knows that people can change and should be given the opportunity to do so.  He stands up for what he believes in, and steps in to defend the mistreated.  He's serious and sweet, but can also be the Sassiest of li'l Sassmasters — which is, essentially, exactly what I'd like in a guy.

He is an adorable treasure, basically, and we should all take notes. ♥ 

Welp, that's all I've got for now.  Hope you all enjoyed my discomfort. 😅

Your turn:
Who are your fictional dream guys?

how I feel after writing this post


  1. Yes!!!Thank you for stating that fictional heroes/crushes are not always the same type of men we would want to be with in real life! I've thought that for years, but no one ever talks about it.

    1. Right?! I feel like people always assume that I have "crushes" on the fictional heroes I fangirl over, but that's really never the case. xD


    Have you seen Agents of SHIELD? He joins the cast in the final season (time travel is involved, lol) and he's soooo sweet and amazing. Depending on how much you ship him with Peggy, you might not care for the li'l romance he has with AoS' main character (I thought it was lovely, but ymmv). Also, I love how you snuck in that jab about Steve. XD Just a precursor to a whole post dedicated to the topic, eh? (HERE'S HOPING.)

    Also...I obviously need to see The Big Country. I think I keep confusing it with Giant, which is also a western (and one that I didn't really enjoy), but thanks to this post I finally realized they're two different movies. =) So I will be adding TBC to my list of movies I need to see!

    1. HE IS, HE IS. *hugs him*

      Ahhh, AOS. I haven't, because I hate the way the MCU messes with time travel and disrupts PERFECTLY PERFECT RELATIONSHIPS AS A RESULT (*ahem*), so I think that, unfortunately, it would just annoy me. xD But I'm glad you liked it!

      Lol, I debated inserting the Steve snark but at the end of the day I COULDN'T RESIST, MWAHAHAHA. I think I will have to write that blog post after all, because, Eva, I just -- I jUST -- I JUST -- *tears hair in frustration* Hehe. So glad to have your support in my unbridled rage and hatred for Steve Rogers. xD

      The Big Country is FANTASTIC. One of my top three favorite Westerns, I believe. I know what you mean, haha -- I think I confused it with Giant for a long time as well. But yes, two different films, and I think you might like TBC!

  3. Had to come back because I remembered a part of this post Amused Me Greatly when I read it last night.

    "...since we basically only see him in connection with massive government plots to overthrow the world order, it's harder for me to think about him in a normal, everyday, non-crisis context..."

    SO RELATABLE. XDDD And hilarious. And true. Love it.

  4. "the singlest of single pringles" ALL DA SINGLE LADIES, PUT YOUR HANDS UP

    (Why did we, as a society, let that song die??? It was a certified Bop.)

    I appreciate the sacrifices it took for you to bare your soul in this post xD xD It's most enlightening and fascinating! I notice some definite themes; you appreciate guys who are laid-back and relaxed, slightly whimsical or sassy, but not goofy or irresponsible. You like guys who "hold things loosely" and aren't easily provoked to anger, but can take a stand if need be.

    I think you definitely place a higher premium on objective moral integrity than I do--which sounds kinda bad (for me), but hey, I don't mind admitting it ;) I'm not so much drawn to men whose moral codes I can admire, as to men I feel I can TRUST. Because trust isn't exactly the same thing as integrity. Like, there's a Venn diagram with two overlapping circles, "makes moral decisions" and "feels trustworthy," but the overlapping area isn't necessarily very wide. If that makes sense? *scratches head*

    When I saw Don Pedro on your list, I was ready to flip a table ;-P I was like I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER WHAT HE DID BUT I KNOW HE WAS TRASH

    Still and yet, I can certainly see how the personality you described would be attractive to you, separate from his decisions within the play. ;)

    Hehehehehehe. More Steve Rogers for meeeeeeeeeeeeee. I get alllllllllllllllllll the Steve Rogers. *hugs him protectively*

    (Well okay I know I gotta share him with Rachel, BUT HUSH)

    I've tried watching Agent Carter multiple times, but I never get beyond the first few minutes. Don't know why, it's just not the vibes for me.

    Happy Valentine's Day, old bean! <3

    1. Thank you, thank you! I'm glad my sacrifice is noted. xD Yep! Those are all definitely qualities that I imagine I'd need in a partner.

      Lolz, 'tis true, 'tis true. I mean, I'd need to feel that I could trust the guy as well, but if I don't ALSO feel that he has a solid moral compass that points true north -- well, he hasn't a snowball's, as they say. ;)

      He isn't trash, but hE DOES A VERY TRASHY THING, INDEED *fumes with you* But yes, haha. Overlooking the disgusting behavior he condoned re. Hero -- *but giving major side-eyes to it* -- I still like him a lot as a character, and definitely as a personality type. Which, as I mentioned, I think is kind of significant in itself, for me -- I still root for the guy even after the guy does A Very Gross thing, because I still think the guy can learn from it, whiiiiich wouldn't always happen, for me, with a person. ;)

      Hehe, yes, shield him, shield him, for my wrath draweth nigh on wings as eagles. xD

      And the same to you, old sport! <33

    2. Intriguing! In my case, the only male character I can recall rooting for even after he did something I considered Very Gross is Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows... and I think that was largely because he's in such a "gross" story where EVERYONE is morally gray (some would say, shading to morally dusky black ;)) So there really aren't any better options to root for. But that's a big exception for me. Usually I just toss the characters who do gross things without rooting for their redemption or growth.

      Well, well, you hate Steve Rogers, and I hate Tony Stark, so fair's fair. Turn and turn about. ;-P

    3. That's interesting what you said about trust and moral compass. I think I need trustworthy and moral compass, but not in a laws and rules way, an ethics way (which as I'm team Cap is how I think he views the world, laws and rules are supposed to reflect deeper ethics but if they don't, as they often don't, you go for ethics).

      Also to extend this rabbit trail, I think you both might enjoy Cinema Therapy's character analysis of Stark and Cap (I've not watched Cap yet, but this channel is just awesome, Stark's is a two part and so in depth, its a licensed therapist and filmmaker who critique movies and character and it's awesome).

    4. Ooh yes! Cinema Therapy is so good!! I haven't seen that particular episode, but I've seen their other takes and I love it.

      (Their Twilight videos killed me xD)

    5. @Katie: Ooh, that's interesting! We have such wildly different perspectives on redemption in fiction, which we been knew ;) , but I wasn't aware that you felt that way about Kaz! I don't know much of anything about the actual storyline of SoC (started it once but gave up pretty quickly precisely BECAUSE of the fact that everyone is "morally gray," lolz xD) -- but I knew you liked it. I didn't know that Kaz had one of those kinds of redemption arcs, though.

      Indeed, indeed. We must all have at least one character to hate with the fire of a thousand suns. You have Edward Rochester and Tony Stark, et al; I have Steve Rogers and Maxim de Winter, et al . . . xD

    6. Definitely! Both trustworthiness and moral integrity are vital characteristics, hehe.

      (Lol, as a Steve anti, of course, I have the opposite perspective on his worldview -- I'd like him a heck of a lot more if he DID make decisions based on ethics and objective morality, but don't think he does. bUT ANYWAY . . . *coughs*)

      Cinema Therapy is great! Like Katie, I haven't watched their Cap or Steve vids, but I'll have to keep them in mind.

    7. @Olivia--you would absolutely loathe Six of Crows. Do not read it under any circumstances whatsoever. xD

      Ha! At least we are united in our hatred of Maxim de Winter. Maxim de Winter is TRASH.

    8. Lolllll, indeed -- I vividly remember being in my li'l community college's library and picking it up since all my Goodreads friends were raving about it, but then within a few pages being like, "You know what, though? I actually don't enjoy assassin protagonists and I don't buy into the supposed Angst of it all and I probably never will and that is Perfectly Okay." xD Good times, good times.

      (Although, fun fact! Rhiannon -- the protagonist in my fantasy WIP -- was originally supposed to have "assassin undertones," which amuses me now. xD)

      We are, we are! xD Maxim de Winter is neither Katie- nor Olivia-approved.

    9. *tries to picture Olivia writing an assassin character* *fails miserably*

      Maxim, my dude, if you find yourself neither Katie-approved nor Olivia-approved, you know YOU DONE MESSED UP. xD

    10. HA, exactly -- all of a sudden I realized, "Now, wait a dashed minute -- the only way I accept assassin protagonists is if the author Actually Deals with the moral weight of such a profession, and I have never once seen that done in YA literature, and *I* am certainly not going to do it because who's got the TIME, and I also want this character to be actually, y'know, *likable*, so why the heck would I make it even a little ambiguous as to whether or not she kills people for a living???" xD

      *addresses Maxim sternly* Now go sit in the corner and think about what you did. xD

  5. Sadly, I had not heard of any of these men before, but I enjoyed reading your post anyway. As for your runners-up... I have, in fact, heard of them all, and since Roger Hamley and Faramir are both on my list of fictional men who have qualities I'd like in a real one (what a mouthful that is), I wonder if perhaps the others you've listed might be as well. I don't know.

    Lovely post :)

    1. Aww, thank you! Faramir is possibly my favorite fictional character ever, and certainly my favorite male character, but I never ever think of him in a, "Oh, I'd want to marry someone like him!" kind of way. But then, when I do stop and think about it, I can see that the overall personality could be a good fit for me -- in addition, of course, to the multiple qualities/values/etc. that we love to see in real guys. xD And Roger, too -- minus the Cynthia thing. xD xD

      If you like Faramir and Roger, you definitely might like the others I mentioned! Don Pedro is the least like them, but Jim McKay is a lot like Faramir, and Daniel Sousa is a lot like both Faramir and Roger, if that makes sense.

      Thank you!

  6. Awwwwww. Jim McKay is fantastic, and so is Don Pedro.

    I appreciate this:

    I don't have a very specific idea of what I'd like in a guy if I ever were to have one, nor have I ever been able to pinpoint many fictional examples thereof, even to myself.

    Because you know what? My husband has basically nothing in common, personality-wise, with any of my fictional crushes. And it's a good thing I didn't dismiss him for not being enough like the fictional dudes I adored when I was in college (who, let's face it, I still adore -- Sherlock Holmes, Sgt. Saunders, Angel, et al). Because I have really bad taste in fictional men -- I tend to fall for the Sad and Troubled and World-Weary guys in fiction, because I want to help them be happy. That's an ISFJ for you -- protect and nurture and comfort All The Things. But if I spent all my emotional energy on cheering up my love interest, I would burn out super fast and be rubbish at the rest of my life.

    So... don't find a type for yourself. Take people for who they are, and if a guy clicks with you at some point, go with that.

    I mean, my husband is basically Gandalf/Magneto/Professor X/Dumbledore. NONE of whom I have ANY romantic interest in. At all. But he's just right for me...

    1. Yes! Both such quality lads. *hugs them*

      Okay, YES! I almost included a whole spiel in this post about how I'm actually glad that I don't have any rigid ideals in mind for a guy, but I ended up tossing it because the post was too long already. But I was essentially saying the same thing.

      I completely agree: idealizing fictional characters and expecting the men in our lives to live up to that fictional standard could be extremely harmful. For one thing, because it's unfair to expect a flesh-and-blood human to live up to a near-perfect fantasy, and for another, because it seems kind of gross to me to have, like, a checklist of characteristics that your significant other either Must Have or Must Acquire in order to win you? Like, that smells an awful lot like trying to mold your own Perfect Human out of someone else, who, let's remember, does not exist for you?

      Of course, having standards and understanding certain compatibility basics is GOOD and NECESSARY, but beyond that, I start to get leery.

      (Also: "Because I have really bad taste in fictional men" -- that made me giggle out loud.)

      I always love hearing about the way your relationship with your husband developed.

  7. Well, I think I didn't post my first comment.

    Firstly, your gif's and photo choices are awesome. And I don't know, but single pringle is just such a fun phrase.

    I tend to fall in book crush easily but not always necessarily well (i.e. Captain Wentworth and I are NOT a good match).

    Also I need to rewatch Much Ado. I was laser focused mainly on my favorites B and B. I need to observe the other characters better.

    1. Haha, thank you! I had fun with them.

      "I tend to fall in book crush easily but not always necessarily well" -- oof, even though I don't get book crushes, I feel that in other areas of life. xD

      Much Ado is such an excellent movie. There are so many great performances to focus on, for so many different rewatches.

    2. .. and I may or may not be watching it as I type this..

  8. Ahh, thank you, Olivia, this was just what I needed. <3 I love how you presented the different sides of the characters and how you saw them. And when you said that you had a hard time imagining characters outside of their stories, I had to re-read that just to make sure it said what I thought it said, for the very simple reason that I thought I was the weird one with that sort of mindset. Me, all by my (happy) lonesome, not accepting fictional characters as people who are capable of messing with my emotions in *that* way. They exist in the story, and they exist for *reasons* which do not include myself, and I'd feel extremely childish and foolish if I ever took it upon myself to have a fictional crush. But I do love getting to know and appreciate their strengths and responses to adversity, and learning from that. I feel like I get to know them from a distance at a deeper level than I would in real life in such a short period of time, and there's insight to be gained there as well.
    And Roger! Dear, dear, Roger, not seeing the dear sweet girl right in front of him and opting for the flashy-- *screeches to a halt bc spoilers
    Ah, Roger. I believe in him, though. Poor Molly. I wish I could enfold her into a big, loving family who would take care of her, instead of her always having to be all things to all people, so that she would feel what it truly means to be cared for out of love, and not out of grudging reciprocation for the work she's done.

    1. YESS, exactly! I hear other people talk about "seeing" the story when they read a book, or about being in love with a fictional character, and I absolutely accept that that's legitimate for them, but I also know that my brain simply Does Not Work That Way. Never has, probably never will.

      Lol, yes -- dear Roger. Dear, sweet, stupid Roger. xD But he's a good chap and I love him.

      Molly deserves the world, no question about it.


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