Holding out for a hero…

The red haired hero - a much maligned man

The red haired hero – a much maligned man

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 works just fine for a smart and sexy heroine.

Red works just fine for a smart and sexy heroine.

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.

Leslie Howard really didn't stand a chance.

Leslie Howard really didn’t stand a chance.

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?

What that man does for a pair of sunglasses!

What that man does for a pair of sunglasses!

15 thoughts on “Holding out for a hero…

  1. Wonderful dark amber hair … with eyes to match. Yum! Prince Harry’s red hair doesn’t seem to hamper his pulling power. And those eyebrows that melt into gold. Not that I have a thing for Harry, I hasten to add!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoyed this post, Janet. Jamie Fraser in Outlander (the lovely Sam Heughan) is described in the novel as having “wavy red hair,” and so maybe that show will change people’s minds a bit. I’m Scottish and Scotland is full of red heads, so it’s not a problem really for me to see them as being heroes. btw Sue, I agree with you re. Charles Dance. And I think the movie you refer to might be ‘White Mischief.’

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Janet. I’ve always had a thing for David Caruso, too, from his NYPD days. And there was a film (sorry I don’t remember the title) where Charles Dance played a ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ army officer that had me curling my toes. Maybe the answer lies in referring to them as ‘flame-haired heroes’ rather than ‘ginger’ or ‘red’?

    Liked by 2 people

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