I’ve been thinking about heroes this week. Partly I think it’s due to a new television ad featuring the classic rock ballad ‘Holding Out For a Hero’ by Bonnie Tyler. The ad has slowly crept into my consciousness… despite the fact that I don’t watch much TV.
The other thing that has crept into my consciousness this week are old episodes of CSI Miami –featuring the taciturn –but oh-so-sexy hero – Horatio Caine, played by David Caruso.
Horatio has risen above a great handicap to become a hero. He has intelligence and strength, moral fibre and sexy voice, but that’s nothing compared to the fact that he has….. whisper it please … red hair.
When I first started writing, I was told that heroes don’t have red hair. In fact, some editors have been known to make a writer change the hero’s hair colour.
Why is this?
There are many, many heroines with red hair… from Nicole Kidman to Maureen O’Hara and Jessica Rabbit – flame haired screen sirens have men falling at their feet.
Red is fine for a side kick, like dark-haired Harry Potter’s carrot-top friend Ron Weasley, but not, it seems, for the hero.
Scarlett O’Hara may have thought she loved Ashley Wilkes, who tended towards ginger (at least in the movie), but he was never going to win out over Rhett Butler in the hero stakes.
Hair does not make a hero. A hero has to be so much more. Give him strength. Give him honesty and kindness. Give him flaws, a troubled past or a limp. Give him a killer smile and listen to Bonnie Tyler who says he’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be gotta be fast and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight. (And check out her video here – an 80’s classic)
And then give him red hair. Go on. I dare you!
In my days as a news reporter, I worked with an elite police task force – intelligent and tough, but also thoughtful and honourable. They put themselves in harms way to help others. That’s the stuff of heroes… and every single one of them had red hair.
Bonnie might sing ‘Where have all the good men gone..?’ but my question is, where have all the red-haired men gone.
In The Wild One – my second Coorah Creek Book, I had a red haired hero. In fact, in my mind, he looks a lot like Horatio Caine.
So come on Bonnie – how about a rock song for a red-head.
And in case you’re not sure – here’s Horatio again. And there must be others. Who is your favourite red-haired hero?