by Lindsay Flanagan
The perfect man is only found in fiction. Right? Well, no. The perfect man doesn’t exist, even in fiction. “Perfect” characters are made of cardboard—rigid and flat rather than well-rounded and multi-dimensional. They don’t have flaws and quirks that a reader can grab hold of and relate to or become fascinated with. There is nothing about a cardboard lead that hooks the reader into getting to know him.
The most intriguing characters are fascinating, complicated, and flawed yet compelling (or appalling, if that’s your aim). Heathcliff had a terrible temper, Rochester was moody and unpredictable, and Darcy was haughty and vain. However, these male characters have stayed with readers because of those very traits—traits that made them memorable and that allowed for complexity, since underneath those flaws lay additional traits readers could relate to.