Today in New Delhi, India
Sep 14, 2018-Friday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

Real heroes

Chick lit heroes don’t come out of nowhere. The women who create them have clear views on what’s hot and what’s not. Check them out.

books Updated: Jul 10, 2010 16:41 IST
Parul Khanna
Parul Khanna
Hindustan Times

Anuja Chauhan
Author of The Zoya Factor

A good guy is...
I form a first opinion based totally on what he looks like, and revise it after a conversation. If he’s overtly macho, too full of himself, a hypocrite, or too sensitive to social pecking orders, or talks too much about money, then I pretty much scratch him out.

My heroes!
The most attractive thing is a man who’s hungry for nobody’s approval except his own.

Anuja ChauhanLook who’s talking!

Looks matter. Totally! A lean, tanned, toned set of abs is irresistible! But I hate the too-tight T-shirt, bulgy, steroidy look. I also know lots of incredibly lovely girls who genuinely don’t give a damn if a man is paunchy or flabby or whatever. I even have a girlfriend who digs Sanjeev Kumar. No, not his acting – his hot Gujju bod!

Loaded question
It’s pathetic of men to think wealth matters. And insulting to women. Guys are always full of sad stories. The brainaics moan that they never get any girls because girls dig the ‘cool’ jock types. And the jocks moan that the brainy types get all the chicks ‘because they’re rich…’ I’ve no patience with people whose self-esteem is the exact same size as their bank account.

Drawing power
Success is important to girls because respecting their partner is important to girls. But women respect men not just for their successes, but for their principles too. Many men forget that.

Sensitive men
I find most ‘sensitive’ guys are sensitive only about their own feelings. So I’d like to be the ‘sensitive’ one in the relationship. Makes me feel very feminine. But I’d like the men to be all contrite when I gently point out how insensitive they’re being over something of course. Like Shrek...

Bad boys
Bad boys are very good. The total package Above all, respect. After that, chemistry, cuddling, good advice and the reassurance that you’ve got someone who’ll be there for you no matter what. Oh and financial security, of course. And the ability to be both father and friend to children.

Rupa Gulab

Author of Girl Alone, Chip Of The Old Blockhead and The Great Depression Of The 40s:

'A man who can laugh at himself is dead sexy'

A good guy is...
When I was single, I discovered that the best place to judge a man on a first date is at a restaurant. If he doesn’t talk down to waiters, doormen and car park assistants, he’s a decent human being. If he treats them shabbily, don’t give him your phone number.

My heroes!
Men who have the ability to laugh at themselves are dead sexy – that shows they’re secure about themselves, and that’s a very attractive trait.

Look who’s talking!
Sometimes appearances draw me to someone, and then he speaks and I want to put continents between us. And sometimes I don’t find a man particularly attractive to begin with, but when he speaks, I’m floored. Physical attributes are not that important really – well, as long as he doesn’t look like Shrek. Hey, I like Shrek, I’d like to be friends with Shrek, but monsters don’t turn me on.

Loaded question
Some men believe that with money comes women – but it’s not true that all women fall for money! Incidentally, some men are gold-diggers too.

Drawing power
Success and power are not criteria for me. A man’s got to make me laugh and got to be able to laugh when I poke fun at him. That’s the basis of a happy relationship!

Sensitive men
If by sensitive, you mean touchy feely men who constantly ask how you’re feeling or frequently tell you how they’re feeling, no, I don’t like them! I don’t like touchy feely women either! I like space.

Bad boys
Yes, yes, oooh yes! Bad boys are great fun to hang out with. But you should never marry them. They’re lousy in long-term relationships.

The total package Intelligence, a sense of humour, non-pretentious, and a decent human being. Oh, and if he’s an orphan, even better! That saves women from in-laws.

Anita Nair

Author of Lessons In Forgetting, Better Man, Ladies Coupe and Mistress

A good guy is...
A man who is charming and witty. A man is charming when he is unaffected, non-abrasive and able to put me at my ease. But he should not be pushy. A witty man is very attractive, but a witty man is not someone who is sarcastic and who pulls people’s legs just to be funny. A man with a sense of humour should be able to make me look at things differently.

Look who’s talking!
Looks and a nice smile attract my attention, but in a detached way. Only when I engage with him will I know if he is interesting. It’s nice to see a good-looking man, but only for 10 minutes. After that, what? A man would interest me if he can talk on subjects that interest me – food, writing, et al. I cannot stand men who make superficial conversation.
Loaded question A wealthy man is preferred, if one is looking for a relationship.

Golden age
In their early twenties, girls gravitate towards good looks. But, as you get older, you realise looks are not enough. Companionship is what women start to look for in men.

Sensitive men
I prefer the ‘not so sensitive’ guy. I would rather be the one with the handkerchief. A man should be sensitive enough to gauge moods, but that’s that.

Bad boys are also an age thing. They appeal when one is young. Bad boys make you want to cross boundaries. You want to be with them and break rules. But once you hit your thirties, they would start to look like losers to you.

The total package
A man should be easy on the eye and intelligent without being intellectual (that can be very boring). He should be charming, and someone with whom I can have a good time. Aggressive, macho types are a put-off.

Nirupama Subramanian
Author of Keep The Change

My heroes!
I like a man with a sense of humour. It doesn’t mean he has to crack jokes all the time. It has to do with the way he looks at things. A man who doesn’t take himself and the world seriously is attractive.

Look who’s talking!
A man should be fluent, should be able to talk of different things, and it shouldn’t be a monologue. More than looks, confidence attracts women.

I’m all ears for...
A man who engages with you, who really listens to you. He looks right into your eyes and talks. It’s a cliché but true: most men do not listen to women. They keep talking about themselves.

Loaded question
A wealthy man is not necessarily what the urban working woman is looking for. Though financial independence is important, a man with a Ferrari isn’t. But I would add that stability is necessary.

Drawing power
Power and success are great initial draws for women. They love being associated with such men, even if they are not conventionally good looking or stylish. Also, animal psychology works here – women feel that the alpha male will take care of them.

Sensitive men
Women don't like men who get emotional at the drop of a hat. They should just be sympathetic. Men who feel the pain of others are very attractive.

Bad boys
A few young women do get attracted to bad boys. They want to reform them, or they feel like rebels. But as they grow older, they get disillusioned.

The total package
Intelligence, the ability to have a conversation, a sense of humour, a listener. He should also hold the promise of a decent life. If he’s handsome, it’s great and if he can dance, it’s better.

Jaishree Misra
Author of Accidents Like Love and Marriage, Afterwards and The Little Book of Romance

A guy who listens is great – but rare, if not mythical

Look who’s talking
When I enter a room, I’d notice a good-looking guy. I like men who are tall and have a commanding personality. But unless I have a conversation with him, I cannot decide if he is attractive.

My heroes!
The first quality I look for is a good sense of humour. The guy should also be capable of being reflective, should think and be serious. He should be able to talk on a variety of things, not just books – though books are my passion – but also movies, life in general, current affairs. A guy who is up-to-date, informed and bright. Conversation ranks high on the ‘must have’ lists of lots of my friends.

Brawny men
I don’t like the muscular look on men. It implies that these men lavish hours on themselves and on protein supplements. It’s unattractive. In the same way, men who lavish hours on grooming and spend a lot of energy and time on clothes seem unattractive. Especially those who are into designer wear. This says that such men are not comfortable in their skin. Of course, they don’t have to be sloppy!

Golden age
When they’re younger, women want good looks. Later, things like the guy’s nature, sense of humour and whether he is kind come into the picture.

Bad boys
Being attracted to bad boys has to do with the maternal instincts of women. Women feel ‘I can sort him out’. Those who have outgrown that stage look at these women and say ‘Fool, don’t even try’.

The total package
Someone who is kind – talks nicely to children, waiters, et al – who is not full of himself, is sensitive to other’s emotions. A guy who listens is great, though mythical and rare. Someone with whom you can engage on an emotional level.

Men: How are you doing?
1. At a party, you are likely to be:
a) The centre of attention
b) The one people like
conversing with
c) The quiet guy
2. How sensitive are you?
a) Huh? I am a man!
b) I am intuitive
c) I cry easily
3. Your grooming routine comprises...
a) Waxing my chest, underarms and getting a pedicure and
b) Using a deodorant, keeping
my nails trimmed, that’s all
c) I bathe sometimes
4. With your sense of humour, you...
a) Make fun of everything
b) Do not take yourself seriously
c) Are always cracking jokes
5. What is your strength?
a) Money, I am very rich
b) I converse well
c) My good looks

Mostly A: You are aggressive, flashy and focus on superficial attributes, which puts most women off. You have to work on your personality.
Mostly B: You are quietly confident, intelligent and do not take yourself too seriously. You are a woman magnet.
Mostly C: You need to develop confidence and stop being hyper sensitive. Women don’t feel you are strong enough for them to lean on.

First Published: Jul 10, 2010 16:35 IST