When I'm creating my characters for MM romances, these little gossip-fests have a tendency to stick in my brain. I never want to turn my heroes into stereotypes, but I know that there are certain buttons that people like pushed. Personally, one of my buttons happens to be the stereotypical hunky guy - especially if he's in a profession where those muscles make perfect sense. I mean, come on - we're all in this for a bit of fantasy, right? However, that doesn't necessarily mean that every character has to be like that - or else the story will just dissolve into a one-note cardboard person.
You need the top, but you also need the bottom. I'm not just talking about stories - this is life! It's all about balance, contrast - all of that. I was in a relationship once with someone and we were both really into our submissive sides at that time. Trust me - it did not work. Two bottoms is worse than two tops - you really turn into the laziest, most useless lovers ever.
So the other character that provides the contrast still needs something to make him stand out. In my new MM release, "Set Ablaze", my bottom is a sweet, caring younger guy - contrasted against the older hunky fire chief. The slight twist in the whole top/bottom thing, is that the fire chief is recently out of the closet - so he's still in the beginnings of figuring it all out. Luckily - they both get to figure it out together. Here's a short excerpt from when Tom first sets eyes on the chief:
Almost an hour had gone by since he’d arrived, Keri had given him several forms to fill out, and he felt a little restless. He’d obviously picked the worst possible time to show up—the chief was meeting with some pretty intense-looking guys. He wanted to make sure he made a good initial impression, so he planned to be brief, polite, and get out of the man’s way as quickly as possible. If he was professional and respectful of the chief’s time, he had a better chance of being considered should a long-term position come up.
The chief’s door flew open, and the two guys who had been meeting with him were standing and shaking his hand, still talking about something. Tom couldn’t care less what they were saying—he couldn’t take his eyes off Chief Anderson.
The chief was a big slice of hunk heaven. Tom didn’t typically go for overly muscled men, but this was a man who wore it well. Tall, probably six-foot-four, he was bronzed with a golden halo of short, wavy hair and beautiful, pale blue eyes. He looked late thirties, early forties with a natural air of confidence about him, and he was all man. It was like seeing a Norse god standing before him.
Not good. Not good at all…
He could not be attracted to his new boss. This was not part of the accepted plan. Tom shook his head as if he could clear the picture of the glorious vision before him.
“You must be Tom Sherwood?”
Tom looked up and into the eyes of his new dream man. He was suddenly like some goofy little schoolboy, all jelly legs and awkwardness. He couldn’t even think what to say. What had he asked?
“Yes, yes, I’m Tom.” He went to stand up and dropped the forms he’d finished filling out thirty minutes before all over the floor.
“Here, let me help you.”
Tom stood almost transfixed as the chief leaned over and started gathering up the scattered papers. He wore a short-sleeved T-shirt that clung to every perfectly shaped muscle on the man’s torso, and Tom thought he might become hypnotised by biceps flexing as the chief picked up the forms. There was one paper that had flown almost to the other side of the room. The chief noticed it, walked to where it was, and bent over…
Oh my God…
“I hope you handle a hose better than you do papers.”
So what pushes your buttons in romance? Do you to cheer for the more masculine and aggressive top, or do you support the sweeter, more sensitive bottom? Or maybe it just depends on what mood you're in. *wink*