ROMANTIC HERO TYPES
When we think about the romantic leading man, there are a couple of types which immediately come to mind over the underrated romantic heroes. One of these is the charming flirt. He’s the kind that attracts women like bees to honey. The consummate gentleman, he is never short of the perfect compliment. His other flaws are easily overlooked in the face of his teasing grin and twinkling eyes.
The opposite of that is the strong, silent type. They are often misunderstood, with the heroine assuming he is a snob. Sometimes, the lady believes he has no interest in her when he might actually carry a secret passion for her. This type does what he thinks best and feels no need to explain or defend his actions. But when his quiet, hard outer shell is cracked, he is usually revealed to be a big softie.
Then there’s the rogue or bad boy romantic hero. These men are particularly hard to resist. They are often a mixture of the first two types. They ooze personality and their own brand of charm. But they also make no excuses for their questionable actions. However, there is often some redeemable quality about them that calls out to the heroines. This type is particularly dangerous precisely for that redeemable quality. It makes the heroine look past all the disreputable about him to believe there is something worth loving.
But there is a romantic hero type that doesn’t get much attention. And he is one that I’ve been noticing more and more lately in both entertainment and fiction. These underrated romantic heroes are the quiet, unassuming leading man. He is a man of steady character, patient in his pursuit, often considered boring and decidedly less flashy than the other male hero types. He is easy to overlook, but it is a mistake to do so because he is ultimately the type that makes the most thoughtful, practically romantic partner.
So, I’ve compiled a list of these underrated romantic heroes who deserve more of our attention and consideration.
NINETEEN QUIET UNDERRATED ROMANTIC HEROES
(in no particular order)
#1: Ray Singleton in The Magic of Ordinary Days
Ray is exactly the type of underrated romantic heroes that often gets overlooked. He agrees to marry the pregnant Livy sight unseen because he longs for a family. Livy does not appreciate Ray at first thinking him rather dull, uninterested in the world outside his farm. But he shows his respect and growing feelings for her in small ways every day.
Moreover, he doesn’t judge her past choices and he is patient as she adjusts to married life. Ray does everything he can to make her life easier even though she makes little effort to get to know and care for him. Eventually, his kind and faithfulness win her over.
#2: Linus Larabee in Sabrina
Sabrina’s infatuation with David Larabee makes her completely blind to his older brother Linus. Linus is a business predator and the man described as ” the world’s only living heart donor.” In his personal life, he is completely the opposite; awkward and unsure. But time spent with Sabrina creates in him a desire to be a better man. It also gives him a safe place to display and nurture his newly discovered softer qualities.
#3: Sgt. Paul Sutton in A Walk in the Clouds
Paul is a WWII veteran who is also an orphan. He returns home to his war bride who insists he returns to his job as a traveling salesman. His first few encounters with Victoria Aragon are less than pleasant for him, but he responds as a gentleman. When he learns of her family predicament, he puts his life on hold to rescue this stranger. Even when Victoria’s father insults him repeatedly, he reacts with respect. He puts his job and his marriage at risk in order to provide support and encouragement to a vulnerable woman.
#4: Endeavour Morse in Endeavour
Just a bit socially awkward, Endeavour none the less has a well-hidden sweetness in him. He has a logical mind which notices details that might slip by others. Yet he also appreciates some of life’s finer things, like opera and beautiful women. Often underestimated, he never gloats when proven right. Endeavour also knows how to carry a torch as he does for his boss’ daughter. He’s not someone who trusts easily, but his loyalty is worth the effort.
#5: Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility
Though overlooked by more romantic, vivacious types, Colonel Brandon is definitely sigh worthy. He’s the kind to keep his thoughtful gestures a secret. Responsibility may not seem sexy, but the Colonel knows the value of taking care of others, even when it costs him financially and emotionally. He is practical in his approach to romance and does not push in where he isn’t wanted. But when the opportunity arises he steps forward and shines in his own quiet way.
#6: Oliver O’Toole in Signed, Sealed, Delivered Series
The main characteristic Oliver possesses is caution, with good reason. But he also has a very tender heart which longs to find a safe place to land. He’s thoughtful and methodical, not to mention a man of faith who generously encourages others. He may be slow to pursue, but Oliver is a man worth waiting for because he loves with his whole heart. And did I mention? The man can dance and sings in his church choir.
#7: Dawsey Adams in The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society
Who would ever expect a pig farmer could be such a romantic hero? But Dawsey is a man with a poetic soul who appreciates a good book. He is also a man of strong character who honors his promises even when it changes his life. Extremely loyal, Dawsey also knows how to write an engaging letter, which in my opinion is one of the best gifts a woman can ever receive.
#8: Jack Callaghan in While You Were Sleeping
For his whole life, Jack has looked up to and played second fiddle to his handsome older brother Peter. He has watched from the sidelines as Peter got the best of everything. Jack also has squelched his desire to go into business for himself in order to help his father in their family business.
When Lucy appears on the scene, Jack suddenly finds himself envying his brother for the first time in his life. Lucy thinks she is in love with Peter. But as she spends time with Jack she discovers an unselfish man with a warm heart who is protective of his family and those he cares about. Jack also proves he is an excellent listener (which is a very underrated quality) and a very thoughtful gift giver.
#9: Dean Forester in Gilmore Girls
Look fellow Gilmore fans, I will argue to the death that Jess is the best match for our beloved Rory, in spite of his many flaws. On the other hand, no one will convince me that Dean is not the perfect first boyfriend for Rory. Dean is a great match for our girl next door. He’s unassuming, humble, thoughtful and completely in love with Rory.
He follows her around with puppy-like devotion, respects both her and her mother and celebrates their differences. He may not be intense like Jess or wealthy, charismatic and flashy like Logan. But his care of Rory sets a high standard for the other men in her life to follow.
#10: Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey
When this unassuming middle-class man becomes the heir to the Earl of Grantham, he does not allow it to turn his head. Matthew remains the same practical, kind, thoughtful gentleman as always. When he’s insulted and patronized by the sophisticated Mary Crawley, he doesn’t hold a grudge or judge her character by her behavior. Matthew accepts Mary as she is and doesn’t try to change her, but believes she can be better.
#11: Gabriel Oak in Far From the Madding Crowd
Never underestimate the power of a patient man who knows what he wants. If he is completely unselfish, humble and self-sacrificing, all the better. And if he is willing to quietly serve the woman he loves as an employee, working for her benefit even in his off hours, don’t wait until years go by to snatch him up. Do it immediately.
Ignore the handsome, dynamic soldier. Kindly let down the wealthy neighbor who offers you a life of ease. Because no one will love you longer, understand you better or stick by you more faithfully than a man like Gabriel Oak.
#12: Tony Fiorello in Brooklyn
In the segregated immigrant world of New York City, Tony dares to step outside his comfort zone. The son of Italian immigrants falls for the Irish Eilis. Tony is not the type to immediately catch the eye. But he proves to be earnest, sincere and persistent in his pursuit of Eilis. Tony’s devotion and patience as he waits for Eilis to return from Ireland, shows a love that is unselfish.
#13: Constable Hugh Collins in The Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries
While everyone is enamored with the will they/won’t they aspect of Phryne’s relationship with Jack, I’m over here falling in love with the secondary characters Hugh and Dot. Often overshadowed by the stronger personalities of Phryne and Jack, they serve as assistants to the main leads.
But Hugh has such a sweetness of character that deserves to be appreciated. Constable Collins is one of those people comfortable working in the background with little credit. He serves steadfastly and without jealousy. Both he and Dot find themselves easily shocked by the scrapes they get into thanks to Phryne, but they never judge her more liberal nature. His reliability, protective instincts, and devoted love are the perfect match for the increasingly independent Dot.
#14: Norman Warne in Miss Potter
Every woman needs a man who believes in her enough to stand behind her when everyone else is saying her dreams are silly. Norman proves to be such a man for Beatrix Potter. He sees something special, not only in her work but in her as an individual. As the youngest of three sons, he stands up to his older brothers in order to publish her work. Beatrix flourishes under his steady support and encouragement.
#15: Ned in Pushing Daisies
Thanks to his unique gift, Ned is a man uncomfortable with physical affection. He is a bit awkward, socially challenged, but still sweet with his own special charm. Not to mention, the man bakes pies! And he’s remained true to his childhood sweetheart after years of separation.
#16: Will Thacker in Notting Hill
Ladies, here’s a tip: Never turn down a man who owns a bookshop. Even if he is a bumbling, awkward Englishman who isn’t in the same class as a world-famous movie star. He’s patient and understanding not only with his wacky roommate but with the famous actress who takes advantage of his kindness. Will is also forgiving as is proven by remaining close friends with the best friend who married his ex-girlfriend. He’s just a sweet puppy-dog of a man.
#17: Peter Colt in Wimbledon
Peter Colt seems an unlikely match for rising tennis star Lizzie Bradbury. His best career days are seemingly behind him. Peter lacks ambition, content to settle for being a tennis pro to middle-aged women. Peter also seems to lack confidence. Even his family doesn’t believe him capable of doing more with his life. But he values privacy, treats Lizzie like a normal human being instead of a public commodity. His awkward sincerity eventually wins her over. Their relationship makes each of them a better person.
#18: Ted Mitchell in New in Town
At first glance, Ted appears to be a surly, grouchy, unkempt man. But appearances are deceiving as Lucy learns. Ted is a man who turns his whole life upside down for his loved ones and has experienced the pain of real loss. He loves his daughter with fierce devotion and is willing to give Lucy the benefit of the doubt after a bad first impression.
#19: William Dobbin in Vanity Fair
Dobbin’s understanding of the meaning of true love is self-sacrifice. The fact that his love is unreciprocated does not deter him in any way from acting in the best interests of the woman of his dreams. He acts as a friend to both her and his own best friend and facilitates their relationship.
Furthermore, he is always behind the scenes advocating for Amelia secretly, even though she takes his faithfulness for granted. He does this with no hope that she will return his affections. As a soldier, he knows how to fight and to command, but as a man in love, he does neither. Instead, he is kind, respectful, gentle and tender with a woman who remains stubbornly in love with the wrong man.
Feature Photo Credit: Warner Brothers Television
Are you a fan of the quiet, unassuming romantic hero? Who would you add to this list of underrated romantic heroes?
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